How Finns are reacting to the Turku attack

After a knife attack in the Finnish city of Turku in which two women were killed and six other people injured, investigators are working on the assumption that the motive was terrorism. Now a majority of the parties are calling for the national intelligence service's powers to be rapidly expanded. Does a new intelligence service law make sense?

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Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

More powers not a cure-all

Giving the intelligence agencies more powers won't prevent terrorist attacks, Ilta-Sanomat points out:

“Finland is one of the very few Western nations that has no legislation on civilian and military intelligence measures. So the Finnish security authorities can't detect dangerous situations that pose a threat to the safety of the citizens and the nation in advance. ... According to a report from the spring, a law on civilian and military intelligence would for example give uniformed police and the armed forces more powers to monitor people's emails and text messages. ... Such a law is necessary, but it is not a cure-all. Even the most effective intelligence measures won't necessarily prevent knife attacks like that in Turku or terrorist attacks using a car like that in Barcelona.”

Kaleva (FI) /

High time to expand powers of secret services

After the attack in Turku Finland needs to quickly pass its new intelligence service law, Kaleva stresses:

“The reform of this law was the subject of lengthy discussions and has been worked on for years. The fact is that Finland is behind the rest of the world as regards its intelligence services legislation. In a changing security environment it is important that the relevant authorities have at least the same means to procure information as in other EU member states. … In the long term Finland's intelligence authorities can't depend solely on publicly accessible sources or the good will of the national security agencies of other countries.”

Etelä-Suomen Sanoma (FI) /

The light and the dark side of society

The attack in Turku has revealed both the good and the bad side of Finnish society, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat observes:

“In Turku several bystanders tried to prevent a terrorist act and drive the perpetrator away from the victims without regard for their own safety. The fact that among those people there were also immigrants testifies to the broad spectrum of Finnish society. In social media, on the other hand, the attack didn't bring people together but divided part of the population into two groups that voiced their views with passion and aggression: the anti-immigrants and the pro-immigrants. These two extreme groups have a lot to learn.”

Savon Sanomat (FI) /

Trust the authorities

People in Finland must not make the mistake of reacting to the attack in Turku with aggression, Savon Savomat warns:

“Reacting to the knife attack with hate, confrontation or agitation would only play into the terrorists' hands. Already on Friday social media were full of hate-filled commentaries criticising and ridiculing not just the terrorists but also the Finnish authorities and politicians. ... It would be a big mistake to view all asylum seekers as terrorists. ... At the same time, however, one must admit that there could be terrorists among them. ... People would do well to trust the authorities to do a good job.”