A knock on the door

A knock on the door

Most parts of Turkey are still covered in snow. For the past few months there has been a relative lull in the ongoing separatist terrorism, not necessarily because the terrorists have become more humane, but rather due to adverse weather conditions.

Although in the meantime thrilling stories involving prosecutors with special powers, the police, the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), the government, plus the persistent Ergenekon and KCK campaigns, as well as allegations of a rift between the Islamist Gülen brotherhood and the Islamist ruling party, have managed to add some color to life in the country. Some unfortunate developments regarding the health of the prime minister, who has undergone two operations in the past two months, have also created extraordinary excitement. Despite all these, the past several months have been the calm period we have wanted so much.

Yesterday, there was a noisy knock at Turkey’s door. A bomb exploded on a motorbike in front of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul headquarters, wounding scores of people only slightly, thank God. It heralded the coming of spring – not only a time for romance, love and such human feelings, but also the time when beasts come out of hibernation.

Of course the government - through the relevant state agencies and well-designed policies within the limits of the law - must try to engage the beasts in the mountains in a process of peace, with the understanding that while terrorism can be contained through force, the civilian approach is a must in order to marginalize terrorism, if not end it all together.

There may be external factors inciting separatist terrorism. There may be “allies” abetting the beasts, assuming that they are pets. Whatever the case is, the problem is ours. It is our sons who are losing their lives trying to battle the beasts on the mountains. It is our sons who are being killed by our sons, who assume they are hunting beasts on the mountains. It is our mothers who are weeping for our lost sons, irrespective of whether they lost their lives fighting for or against our country.

There was a knock on the door yesterday, reminding us of our responsibilities. Will the government stop burying itself in its revanchist “save the İmam-Hatips” campaign, and act with an awareness of the serious challenges that lie ahead?

Ankara held hostage by primitive conditions

Intense snow, hilly neighborhoods, incompetent local municipalities, the metropolitan municipality’s refusal to assist local municipalities, as well as some other factors, have equalized lifestyles in the Turkish capital at a bitter, awful level. The residents of many large and small eastern settlements have also been stranded for months because of the adverse weather conditions.

Thank God the proximity to centers of civilization such as hospitals, schools and public offices does not allow anyone in Ankara to recite stories of babies being delivered on carts trapped in the snow on the way to the hospital, or small children walking dozens of kilometers through the snow to get to school. Still, the social democratic local government of Çankaya and the Islamist conservative metropolitan municipality ought both to be given an award for excellence, in their collaboration to downgrade living conditions in the heart of the Turkish capital to something like those of the early 19th century.