The angry, alienated Sunnis on a boomerang
“Terrorism is like a boomerang… which will come back and hit you,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned the countries of the European Union on June 24. “Terrorism is like a boomerang… which will come back and hit you,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned the countries of the European Union on June 24. “If you [the EU] abet terrorists [and]… give them financial support, you will have worse days.” Five days later, the boomerang came back and struck – not precisely EU soil, but Istanbul. Sadly, in the president’s grossly inconsistent thinking, the terrorists hit Europe because the Europeans abet and financially help them, but when they hit Turkey it is not because Turkey abets and financially helps them.
What better governmental sympathy for the jihadists than former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s not-so-shy words of empathy: “Past anger, alienation and insults [against the Sunnis] have caused a reaction [which resulted in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL]. Such an accumulation of anger would not have existed if Sunni Arabs in Iraq were not alienated.” Would the former prime minister have an explanation for the “past anger, alienation and insults” against the jihadists who killed dozens of innocent people in Istanbul on Tuesday evening? Who may have alienated and insulted these angry Sunni men in Turkey?
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said after the attack that “condemning terrorism is not a strategy to fight terror.” But fabricating acronyms for terror groups is not a strategy to fight terror, either. In October 2015, Mr. Erdoğan thought he could avert evil just by inventing a linguistic euphemism in line with his Islamist cause. In a Paris speech, he corrupted the Arabic acronym for ISIL by rejecting it and instead calling it “Daesh,” because ISIL contained the word “Islamic.” Ironically, Daesh is the acronym for “ad-Dawla al-Islamiya fi-l-Iraq wa-sh-Sham,” or “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” and contains the word “Islamic” [al-Islamiya].
Finding unconvincing explanations for terror attacks is not a strategy to fight terror, either. Messrs. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu and their party’s big guns have stubbornly defended that the primary reason for jihadist terror in the West was Islamophobia in Western countries. Which prompted this columnist to ask several times: Do the jihadists kill in Turkey because of Islamophobia in the Crescent and Star? Mr. Erdoğan does not want to understand that the angry, alienated jihadists are killing in Europe, Turkey or elsewhere for exactly the same reason: Jihad.
Remember what Burhan Kuzu, a parliamentarian and a chief advisor to Mr. Erdoğan, commented on Twitter after the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015? “Why did Daesh choose Paris to attack?” he asked. Then he explained: “The aim is to cause… a loss of affection for Islam.” Mr. Kuzu’s tweet was followed by dozens of others that, in plain language, “cheered” the attacks, with someone even adding a smiley face to his happy line.
Systematically boosting political Islam in a country where violence is part of everyday life is a not a strategy to fight terror, either. A survey by the Pew Research Center in November 2015 found that 27 percent of Turks did not have an unfavorable opinion of ISIL (compared to 16 percent in the Palestinian territories). That makes over 20 million Turks.
Wishing death upon Israelis injured in a terror attack in Istanbul, as a Justice and Development
Party (AKP) official did, is not a strategy to fight terror, either.
Wrong diagnosis, denial and self-deception are not a strategy to fight terror, either.