Monday, January 9, 2017

Turkish reaction to terrorist attacks

Turkey is facing somehow the same terror as Europe. For example, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was killed in Ankara during a terrorist attack on 19 December 2016.1 The shooter openly linked his act to the war in Syria and shouted ‘Allāhu akbar’ (god is the greatest). The Islamic State celebrated the death of the Russian ambassador.2 Just one and a half week later, 39 people were brutally killed in Istanbul. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for this act as well.3

The difference between the European and Turkish response to the IS-terrorist acts is that the Turkish government often starts to blame their opposition, like the Kurds or the Gülen movement, rather than IS. Although the murderer of the Russian ambassador was part of the AK-regime police, the government in Ankara blamed the Gülenists right away.4 These institutionalised reactions of the AK-party are poisonous for the society as a whole. It also affects the Turkish minority groups in the rest of the world, for example in Germany and in The Netherlands. Nations under the threat of terror do need a government that reacts effectively with a policy focussed on the cause of the terror.

It often seems that the Erdogan regime uses severe and serious incidents in its own country as an excuse to use the Kurds and the so called ‘Gülen-supporters’ as a scapegoat. The lists with names for people to be punished by the government, army, police and judiciary seemed to be ready immediately after the coup attempt in July last year.

The European countries must take these developments very seriously. Keeping the EU-Turkey accession talks open means cooperating and dealing with a government that reacts very dangerously in times of troubles. This is a risk we should not take.