Too late, but you’ve gone after the wrong terrorists

Too late, but you’ve gone after the wrong terrorists

“Friend-less” Turkey has not only tried to survive in a quagmire maps call the Middle East, but it has remained confident that it would be the mighty game-maker in the quagmire. Former Ottoman lands would cheerfully unite under the emerging Turkish empire. There would be no place for Bashar al-Assad in the new Middle East, but plenty of place for Hamas, Muslim Brothers and a rich menu of other Sunni Islamists. We would live happily ever after. 

Instead, Turkey has become the quagmire itself. It’s all about its “Rolls Royce ambitions and Rover resources.” But, wait! The world’s evil men would of course unite to stop the “rise and rise of Turkey.” The evil men were simply the rest of the world plus 60 percent of Turks minus Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar and a rich menu of other Sunni Islamists. Quite a crowd to fight…

Naturally, the good men who were Sunni Islamist Turks had to fight the terrorists, which they mercilessly did. First they fought the terrorists in the ranks of the Turkish military. They imprisoned not just the top brass but also the chief commander of the military on charges of terrorism. 

Then they ran after every dissident, and imprisoned hundreds of journalists, academics, writers and intellectuals on terrorism charges. Any dissident could be a terrorist; so could anyone who criticized our supreme leaders. 

Then they broke up with their ideological next of kin – the smart men who locked up the generals and others on terrorism charges. They ran after their one-time allies, declaring them terrorists. They imprisoned police officers, prosecutors and judges on charges of terrorism. 

The law enforcement officers who chased “terrorists” had suddenly become the terrorists themselves. So had any journalist writing for a newspaper linked with the “new terrorists,” or any businessman with some connection, any bureaucrat rumored to belong to the new terror organization of their own making. Most recently they even banned seven private pay TV stations including a cartoon channel for kids on charges of links with terrorism. And a 90-year-old Turkish Jewish businessman is being probed on terrorism charges.
A few years ago, yesterday’s Kurdish terrorists were today’s peacemakers to be blessed. Only as long as they remained peaceful and did not cost the ruling elite votes. And yesterday’s peacemakers are once again today’s terrorists. 

They declared other states as terrorist states. They accused peaceful protesters of being terrorists, even a 15-year-old boy who was killed by a gas canister. They accused western newspapers, companies, airliners, banks and anyone they could portray as the evil mastermind for supporting terrorism. They enjoyed living in their powerful and comfortable make-believe world. Us good Muslims against infidel terrorists. Nice story. 

The only people they never chased for being terrorists were the terrorists who in other parts of the world can also be called jihadists. Muslims never commit acts of terror, they have proudly claimed. 

They were probably nodding in approval, with happy smiles on their faces, when a pollster found last year that more than 10 percent of Turks did NOT think jihadists who controlled parts of Syria and Iraq and had the habit of beheading people were terrorists. Now, after Reyhanlı and Suruç the terrorists reached the heart of Ankara, probably deserving a nice joyful welcome. 

Why, really, were the jihadists’ sleeper cells across Turkey raided, with dozens of men being detained, after the worst ever single terrorist attack in Turkish history, and not before? If their hideouts were known to the police why were jihadists not arrested like thousands of terrorists the Turkish police have arrested over the past years, including the commander of the military?      

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has an answer: “Turkey is a state of law and you cannot detain anyone without evidence of an act of terror.” More from Mr. Davutoğlu: “Turkey is not a country where people can be detained without reason.”

If the prime minister was not trying to be so ridiculously funny he could only be targeting a nomination for the year’s worst black humor award.