Turkey shaken by attacks

Terrorists have targeted Turkey for the second time within a few days: a suicide bomber killed himself and at least four others when he set off a bomb in a pedestrian zone in Istanbul on Saturday. According to Ankara he was an IS supporter. How can the situation in Turkey be defused?

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Sözcü (TR) /

Are Ankara's secret services at all functional?

The numerous terrorist attacks in Turkey, many of which were carried out by the IS, make it obvious that Turkey's intelligence services are not working as they should, the Kemalist oppositional daily Sözcü concludes:

“The national intelligence service MIT has once again revealed many weaknesses. … But now we ask ourselves: why doesn't it track down these people? Doesn't it do any work? Of course the organisation works, but politics has cast its shadow on it. The people at the top of MIT are politicians, members of the ruling party! This is the first time in its history that MIT has been in such a situation. … When we talk of the weakness of the intelligence service we must consider that not only MIT is involved in these activities but also the police, the Turkish Gendarmerie and General Command have their own intelligence services. They exist in name, but are they really out there?”

Milliyet (TR) /

Condemn attacks no matter who the attacker

The attack in Ankara was carried out by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons while the government holds the IS responsible for the attack in Istanbul. The Turkish people must take to the streets to protest against all forms of terrorism, the conservative daily Milliyet urges:

“In the end it doesn't matter whether the PKK or the IS carried out the attack, because no matter what the objectives, innocent civilians and children die in every bombing. … We can see the impact of the attack on Istiklal street in Istanbul and in the tension surrounding [the Kurdish New Year's festival] Newroz: the streets and shopping malls which are normally teeming with millions of people were empty. This spiral must be broken. The only way to do this is for everyone, regardless of their political views or religious beliefs, to realise that this attack was against Turkey as a whole. And for everyone to condemn the terror without reservations and to react together. Just as they did in France.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Ankara paying the price of its strategy

The most recent attack in Istanbul, which the Turkish government has blamed on the terrorist organisation Islamic State, is a consequence of Ankara's policy in the region, writes the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger:

“Turkey is under threat from Islamic State fanatics and Kurdish extremists. The danger is growing because the conflict with the Kurds and the war in Syria are spreading to western Turkey. Now Ankara must fight on two fronts, and all because its authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has needlessly ended the peace process with the Kurds and allowed his country to become a playground for IS terrorists. … The Turkish government realised too late that tolerating the terrorist militia could have fatal consequences and was always reluctant to join the anti-IS coalition. Erdoğan, the would-be sultan, is now paying the price for his strategy.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Authoritarian Turkey on the brink of the abyss

Following the latest attack in Ankara Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to extend the term terrorism and has MPs, journalists and the directors of NGOs in his sights. The conservative daily Die Welt sees Turkey embarking on a dark path:

“At some point one has to ask whether the 'authoritarian tendencies' Western politicians have been attributing to Erdoğan for some time now haven't already become full-blown, with the result that an authoritarian, personlised regime is now installed in Turkey. Apart from Turkey's not having the nuclear bomb there is not much difference between it and Pakistan these days. A different question entirely is whether it is morally justified and politically wise to submit to this regime to the extent that the German government is now doing. … But the question is not how long this regime will last but who and what it will drag down with it when if collapses - and what the consequences will be for Germany and Europe.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Violence begets violence

In reaction to the attack in Ankara the Turkish army has bombed positions of the Kurdish PKK, pro-Kurdish intellectuals have been arrested and a parliamentary committee is looking into lifting immunity for Kurdish MPs. President Erdoğan would do better to end the spiral of violence, the liberal daily Phileleftheros stresses:

“The only time when Turkey felt safe was during the peace talks with the Kurds. In the hopes that they could achieve some of their goals - such as for example the recognition of their language - they stopped resorting to armed violence. Now the negotiations' lack of success has incited renewed violence. So it's quite simple: if Erdoğan wants peace he must negotiate with the Kurds. Otherwise he should get ready for the next terrorist attack.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Erdoğan must rebuild national unity

The strong state President Erdoğan is so fond of boasting about can't protect its own people, the centre-left daily Frankfurter Rundschau comments after the latest terrorist attack in Ankara:

“The country with the second-biggest army in Nato seems to be helpless within its own borders. Erdoğan has deployed the police, the military and the secret services in a war on three fronts that is beyond their capabilities: against the Kurdish PKK, the Islamic State and the Islamic Gülen movement. … What he needs to do is to relaunch the dialogue with all the social movements, to push for national unity and underpin the country's EU course with democratic reforms. Otherwise Turkey runs the risk of becoming a problem case rather than a stronghold of stability in the Middle East. Europe needs Turkey, and not only in the refugee crisis. It should assert its influence in Ankara to prevent further destabilisation.”

Sözcü (TR) /

Turks too afraid to protest

The AKP government has harshly condemned the attack in Ankara and expressed its condolences to the victims' families. But once again it has failed to take appropriate action, the Kemalist, anti-government daily Sözcü rails:

“That's all the government has to offer. And as for the opposition parties, they've put their faith in Allah. It hasn't even occurred to them to use their democratic right to protest and organise. Terrorist attacks have been carried out in various countries. The people there fill the streets to protest against the terror. ... But who's organising protests here at home? ... Everyone is just pursuing their own interests. All we hear is moaning and groaning, but no one thinks of taking appropriate action. ... The government's policy of fear and intimidation has worked: the people are afraid.”

T24 (TR) /

Erdoğan won't bring stability or peace

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan bears partial responsibility for the terrorism in his own country, columnist Hasan Cemal stresses in the liberal online paper T24:

“Erdoğan is a despot. With him neither stability nor peace are possible! In the presidential elections of 2014, after the parliamentary election on 7 June 2015 and the repeat election on 1 November 2015 in which he received 50 percent of the vote, I have always stressed: ... Those who expect Erdoğan to bring stability are fooling themselves; with Erdoğan the bloodbath in our country will only spread - and that is precisely what is happening now. Yesterday evening another bomb exploded in the heart of Ankara. I condemn this act of terrorism. With every new bomb that explodes, every new massacre that is carried out, my conviction grows stronger. … Erdoğan is an absolute fiasco.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Joint military action against terrorists needed

In Ivory Coast too, at least 20 people died in bomb attacks at three hotels on Sunday. The liberal daily La Stampa enjoins the West to crack down harder on terrorists:

“We are about to lose the war against terror. … We will never overcome the threat if we don't resort to military measures in addition to the diplomatic and political efforts, and with more resolve and courage than we have shown so far. … The terrorists are not immune to our weapons but we are reluctant to use them or use them too sparingly. Yesterday's attacks occurred far away from Italy and Europe. Thanks to this great distance we may think we are safe. We will refrain from travelling or close down holiday villages in exotic destinations. But let's not deceive ourselves: with this approach terrorism advances while we, Europe and the civilised world, retreat.”

More opinions

Hürriyet Daily News (TR) / 21 March 2016
  Terrorism not the only threat in Turkey