Attack on Istanbul airport

Three suicide bombers killed more than 40 people at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on Tuesday evening. The Turkish authorities blame the IS for the attack. What goals are the jihadists pursuing with their terrorist attacks in Turkey?

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Slate (FR) /

IS waging covert war against Turkey

The IS terror organisation fired anti-tank missiles at a Turkish artillery battery at the end of April and has been attacking the Turkish security forces since the start of May. The jihadists have opened a new front in Turkey, Slate comments:

“The new weaponry being used and the targets of these small-scale attacks have often met with silence on the part of the Western media. But along with the attack on the airport in Istanbul they provide the real picture of what's happening in Turkey, now the only possible fallback position for thousands of IS jihadists on the run. It is the picture of a not always overt war opposing the Turkish state with an organisation, the Islamic State, whose emergence it facilitated for over three years in the name of the fight against the common Kurdish enemy. And now Turkey must do battle with the IS not only in Syria and Iraq, but also on its own territory.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

IS attacking Erdoğan's peaceful Islam

The terrorist IS has targeted Turkey once more because the country showcases a more peaceful brand of Islam, the pro-government paper Daily Sabah suspects:

“It is simply because Erdoğan and Turkey are the champions of true Islamic values, which are peace, compassion, mercy and superior human values like love for human beings as they are all the creations of God. Daesh is aware that these are dangerous values that challenge its existence and thus see Turkey and Erdoğan as the main obstacles for its quest to tarnish the good name of Islam with their crooked religious beliefs. That is why while Daesh has launched attacks in France and Belgium, it has repeatedly hit Turkey over and over in Ankara and Istanbul. Daesh has been launching missiles at the southeastern border city of Kilis, killing dozens of civilians. So those who claimed Turkey and Erdoğan were supporting Daesh should now see that they were making a great mistake and should apologize.”

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Attacks a sign of IS's weakness

Behind the images of the devastating attack Svenska Dagbladet detects a glimmer of hope:

“Now we mourn with Istanbul and Turkey. … But when we think of the darkness we should remember that not everything is pitch-black. One reason for the growing number of terrorist attacks is that the Islamic State is slowly but surely starting to collapse. Four days ago Kurdish and Iraqi troops recaptured the city of Fallujah. For two years the population there was forced to live under the inhumane rule of the IS. On Sunday the whole world saw pictures of women crying for joy and tearing off the niqabs they had been forced to wear.”

La Croix (FR) /

Attacks highlight Erdoğan's failure

The spate of terrorist attacks in Turkey carried out by jihadists and Kurds shows that Erdoğan's foreign policy has failed, La Croix comments:

“The conservative leader who has ruled in Ankara since 2003 played the card of the Muslim Brotherhood during the Arab Spring. In Syria he wanted to set them up in Damascus in place of Bashar al-Assad. But the war has opened two Pandora's boxes: that of the jihadists on the one hand and of the Kurdish nationalists on the other. Turkey started by supporting the former against the latter, before ceding to pressure from the US, which wants to destroy the IS. Today the two fronts have opened on his own territory. And Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's nationalist and pro-Islamic strategy has had another repercussion: the isolation of Turkey. Over the years he has fallen out with Israel, Egypt and Russia. ... And his relations with the US, the European Union, Saudi Arabia and Iran have cooled.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Peace with PKK essential to defeat IS

Ankara can only fight the IS successfully by resuming the peace process with the Kurds, Cumhuriyet believes:

“The Turkish state uses the bulk of its intelligence and police resources not to fight the IS, but against the PKK and Kurdish political movements. It sees these as existential threats. ... But if it were to enter into a peace process with them the fight against the IS would be simpler. Moreover, the whole idea behind Turkey's approach to the Syrian Kurds is based on a mistaken equation: Turkey is using its Syria policy and its political will to prevent the spread of the Kurdish movement in Syria - just as it did in Iraq in the 1990s. ... But Turks and Kurds can only put the confessional wars in the Arab world and the decades of chaos behind them by joining forces.”

Õhtuleht (EE) /

Too late for rallying calls

The number of tourists who travelled to Turkey in May dropped by roughly 35 percent compared with the same month last year. No wonder, the tabloid Õhtuleht writes:

“All too often we have lamented the news about the steadily rising numbers of victims. All too often we have heard our leaders denounce the attacks, declare a war on terror, and express their condolences to the victims and their loved ones - as if in unison. But now something has changed. When Paris was hit by terrorist attacks last year we gave ourselves pep talks: the main thing is not to be afraid or change your behaviour because that's exactly what the terrorists want. That's all a thing of the past. Now fear haunts everyone perusing the cheap holiday offers and hesitating over what to do.”