Nowhere is safe...
It is not an exaggeration, nowhere is safe anymore. It was New York, London, Paris, Istanbul, Ankara, Brussels yesterday, it might be somewhere else today or tomorrow. Neither the millionaire nor the beggar at the corner of a crowded street of a slum city somewhere in the underdeveloped world can think for a second that he is safe. No one is safe, anywhere.
An important football match was postponed because of the “reliable information” of a threat and the inability of the state to take adequate measures to provide security. The same night a young lady of the neo-upper family of the country got engaged to a young man in a lavish ceremony, with elaborate security measures.
Why the need for such measures? Everyone is scared.
Four blasts in less than five months in Turkey, and over 170 people have perished. This country is unable to declare a few days of national mourning. Why? In the first place, the rulers of the country do not want to admit they failed to provide for their citizens, while a declaration of national mourning might further increase the threat perception and lead to increased panic in society. Nonsense, hypocritically, those in executive seats hope the nation will forget their losses, consider such deaths as normal and vote in greater numbers for the ruling party for the sake of stability. Well, it has worked well since the June elections last year, why should it not work in a snap election in the fall so that the elected chief executive of the country can win the required majority to make a new constitution and declare himself the elected lifetime sultan?
So many innocent lives were lost in Ankara and Istanbul. We were saddened by the blasts in Brussels and the losses there as well. Rightly in the social media, newspapers and even in some Western media outlets, people are asking: We were Charlie, we were Paris, we were London, we were Madrid, why could we not be Istanbul or Ankara for a seconds? Apparently it’s not just the government of Turkey that considers the lives of Turks to not be valuable enough to declare a few days of mourning. After many of them fell prey to such infernal events, European friends of this country, probably acting with religious prejudices, consider predominantly Muslim Turks as accomplices to those beasts and could see no need to make any gesture of solidarity. Why? Don’t Turks who have been aligned with the West all along deserve some affection? Why this ignorance, if not hate?
We are all in the same boat. The Turkish government might be wrong in many things, including in the fight against terrorism, particularly Islamic terrorism. Can the Turkish nation – inclusive of all ethnic, religious and other differences – be held responsible?
Scared and feeling abandoned by friends… This must be a very odd feeling and hopefully none of the European friends of Turkey will ever be compelled to live through it.
Talking of the need for concerted efforts to fight terrorism, developing common strategies, uniting means and enhancing knowhow are all important, but if we do not feel as though we are in the same boat, can we indeed ever have an effective campaign against terrorism?
Turkey is deficient in human rights and liberties. Despite all the improvements, its treatment of minorities is still appalling. The deficiencies in Turkish democracy are being eradicated in some areas while new deficiencies are erupting in others because of the obsessive demand for power on the part of the elected chief executive of the country. Can this Turkey ever be a full-fledged member of the European Union? That is another subject.
Even most Turks cannot form a definitive idea at present. But all Turks want visa-free travel to Europe. Is that not a paradox? Who do they hate most? Europe. Where do most Turks want to go first? Europe. It is like a husband and wife, my friends often say. They must have rather difficult marriages. Right, from time to time my wife perhaps think of seriously walking out on me, but can she or I think for a moment without the other half of ourselves? Is Europe the other half of Turkey? Or does Europe really believe Turkey belongs to Europe? Difficult questions.
Without feeling each other’s pain, how are we going to be one family? After the heinous Brussels attacks, the mayor of Paris proudly declared that the Eiffel Tower would be illuminated in Belgium’s national colors in demonstration of solidarity during these difficult times. Could the mayor of Paris not think of making the same gesture of solidarity when Turks fell prey to the same beast, just like the lord mayor of London? After all, is he not from a Turkish background? Despite all the bad old memories, he must still have some idea about the country of his forefathers, no?
We, those who believe in democracy, supremacy of law, individual rights and liberties and those who are committed to maintaining a decent and respectful lifestyle are all in the same boat irrespective of what national colors we might have. The threat of terrorism is directed at all of us. No one is immune…
If the primary aim of terrorism is to send people into panic, spread anxiety in societies and achieve political goals by shedding innocent blood, is it not high time to establish bonds of solidarity, form a democratic front and fight the beast together? The threat that might appear distant and unthinkable for some societies today might be unfortunately very close indeed.