Conflagration in hearts
The third Ankara blast within five months - or the second blast in less than one month - may indicate many things, but particularly the total fiasco of the Turkish intelligence network that often boasts of being a great success at home and abroad. Could Atatürk’s famous saying “Peace at home, peace in the world” have any meaning nowadays? We have fire abroad, fire at home, and worse conflagration in our hearts.
It is not sane to believe for one second that - through the 173 people ripped from life in the Oct. 10, 2015, Feb. 17 and March 13 terrorist attacks - the terrorists could manage to scare Turks and make the Turkish state accept their demands? Of course, people are deeply concerned for their security after these three attacks. There has been drop in visits to malls and similar crowded areas considered possible terrorist targets. But will we stay indoors forever? If terrorists have started to blow up bomb-laden cars at bus stops, it must be obvious for everyone that there can be no safe place, because we are confronting a wild beast that kills indiscriminately. What should we do then? Should we stay indoors all the time? No, this cannot be the answer to the questions that Turkey and Turks are confronted with today.
The problem is the clear deficiency of intelligence. The intelligence network should do something to triple, quadruple its capabilities so that not just one, but all 20 of the bomb-laden cars thought to be roaming around Turkey are captured. So many people should not have perished or been wounded in order for the second car to not explode in the heart of Ankara. Was it not a success that on that dark March 13 day a second bomb-laden car was captured in Ankara? Was it not just few days ago that a terrorist preparing to stage a suicide attack inside a major mall in Ankara was captured? Of course those successes must be praised, but unfortunately we should also underline that no one should consider what’s being achieved as sufficient.
Why did the government wait until after the nation exploded in anger on social media to condemn the governance deficiency and the failure to appoint a chief police commander to fill the post vacated immediately after the February attack? It is easy to find many excuses, but how could it happen that a Western embassy warned its citizens and an education foundation warned its students - hours before the March 13 blast - that there was credible suspicion that something bad might happen in Bahçelievler, downtown Kızılay, or the Güvenpark area, and people should avoid these regions?
The U.S. Embassy disclosed later that it had issued its warning on intelligence provided by Turkey. Has Turkish intelligence lost its ability to read sensitive intelligence material?
In the past, the post of national intelligence chief was always filled by a two-star general. Later Turkey “civilianized” the post and the government introduced ambassador-level appointments to that crucially important post. Now a former non-commissioned officer is serving as Turkey’s intelligence chief. Should the government and the prime minister not think for few seconds about whether a strategic mistake was being committed and it is now time to return to normality?
What huge disaster does Turkey have to go through for the prime minister and the president to realize the need to overhaul the security network? Should we not ask the interior minister, who failed to prevent three major explosions that killed 173 people in less than six months, to step down? Can those who fail to meet the challenges of their posts not be held accountable for their failures?
If the challenges of such key posts cannot be met and these posts continue to be occupied by incompetent and greedy people who assume they own those positions forever, is it possible for Turkey to avoid a fourth attack in Ankara in the near future?
In the hearts of those 173 people who perished in the Ankara attacks there is conflagration. This fire can only be put out by demanding that those responsible accept their share of responsibility for what happened.