TURKISH GEOPOLITICAL DILEMMA:
BETWEEN CHAOTIC MIDDLE EAST AND CALCULATIVE EUROPEAN UNION
“Turkey is a European country, an Asian country, a Middle Eastern country, Balkan country, Caucasian country, neighbor to Africa, Black Sea country, Caspian Sea, all these.”
I am walking all the way down through the Istiklal street, wondering around and breathing Istanbul in. I havent been born here but I feel the city of famous Gallata Tower as my own. All those shops, the scent of delicious food, oriental music in the background, happy people who are coming my way and smiling at me, honestly and with no reason. My Istanbul. Since day one, I left my heart there, on every corner of this historical treasure, in every resident of this Bosporus pearl. Istanbul , the city where I bought my first leather jacket,learnt my first words in Turkish language, met my first true friends, found myself when I was lost everywhere else.
My Istanbul is now in the fire of blood.My Istanbul is now injured and it is bleeding out the hundreds years of significant heritage. My Istanbul is attacked now by some new people, some new ideology and some new evil.My Istanbul and my Turkey are the targets and the victims of the terrorism madness. The hungry chacals of war are crawling into Turkish garden of serenity, ready to spread horror and bestiality. Nothing will be the same again but everything must be changed.
Istanbul Airport Terrorist Attack on Tuesday, June 28th 2016 was one of the worst bite on this vulnerable country. The black score of this terrorist storm is seen through 44 killed and 240 injured people but the virus of terrorism has already infected Turkish body, enervated by internal tensions and different political strategies.
The bloody reports of terror attacks are following Turkey since the beginning of this year. Majority of them were committed by controversial PKK, especially those in Diyarbakir Province and the province of Sirnak in January but also in February, the famous Ankara bombing and Diyarbakir bombing. In March, it was also the car bomb and rocket attack in the Mardin Province, Southeastern Turkey. PKK was suspected. New Ankara bombing in the district of Kizilay when were about 34 people killed and wounded at least 125 by Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, extreme wing split from PKK. Then it comes the bombing in Nusaybin city. Bursa bombing in April and May shooting on soldiers in Hakkari Province. In June it was Istanbul bombing by Kurdistan Freedom Falcons,in Vezneciler district of Istanbul. In the meantime, there were many of spontaneous clashes based on Turkish-Kurdish animosity regarding the political solutions.
However, Turkey hasn’t been only under the rabies of Kurdish terrorism. There is a list of terrorist incidents from January to June this year which includes the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL-ISIS-DAESH) into the domestic terrorist activities against Turkish goverment and Turkish people. On January 12th, it was happened the horrible Istanbul bombing near the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, when the suicide bomber blew himself killing 11 people and wounding another 14,mostly foreign tourists. DAESH was suspected and one to be blamed for this attack. In March, Istanbul faced again with suicide bombing in one of its busy quarts when 4 people were killed and 46 injured. The 80% of victims were Israeli tourists.The terror group of ISIS took responsibility for this incident. After it, comes the April’s rocket attack in Kilis by Islamic State too.In May, terrorists of DAESH committed Gaziantep bombing against Turkish police officers and again attacked by rocket the city of Kilis. The bloodiest attack of the Islamic militants was definitely the last one,on the International Airport Ataturk in Istanbul with the scary number of innocent people who died for the sake of terrorism.
It is interesting to note that the main stream media all over the Globe don’t report about the serial terrorist attacks in Turkey during the whole year but they do come up with the variety of ideas about possible Turkish role in Islamic State oil business. They do not write about millions of Syrian and Iraqi refuges accepted by Turkey and humanitarian crisis based on this unsolved issue but they do comment the internal disputes , like Kurdish problem. They do not analyze the geopolitical position of Turkey now but they do question the capability of the same country to be the part of the European Union. At the same time when the elitist club of European countries is falling apart, Turkey is trying to ensure its place somewhere. Turkey is a Muslim country but it doesn’t belong completely to the Muslim world of the Middle East. On the another side, Turkey is definitely the European country with stable economical and social growth but doesn’t share the values of Christian membership.
The accusations of the rest of the world that Turkish goverment is pro Islamic oriented and that must be actively involved in the war against the ISIS turned the whole country and society into one fragile target. That was to be expected. In my own opinion, Turkish goverment was trying to make balance between its own Islamic goals and democratic demands but the Turkish intelligence service has been very helpful to the intelligence work of other countries in the counter terrorism field for years back. Some of the terrorists who were arrested and doubted as dangerous by Turkish police and secret service were released in France and Belgium later. Sadly, the same people made terrible terrorists attacks after a while and proved the Turkish evidences against them.
We shouldn’t forget that Turkey became hyper sensible in security with the millions of refugees who are coming there every day. The national security experts claimed that it is just a matter of time when militants will sneak themselves into Turkey and contribute to the ISIL revenge against Turkey. The latest horror on Istanbul Airport, according to Turkish officials, linked them to the fact that the night mare team of terrorists were consisted of the terrorists from Russia’s North Caucasus region and the others from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.That leads us back in 2015, October, when Istanbul Anti-Terror Directorate has arrested dozens of foreigners involved in militant activities and plans. There were more than 18 suspicious homes in Istanbul’s eastern Pendik district and more than 53 people have been detained. Among them, there were about 24 minors. Based on police statements, they crossed the border illegally and all of them were from Central Asian countries of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They were planing to train children for terrorist activities and many of them were already deeply indoctrinated in extremist ideology. The data that more than 5,000 of fighters for DAESH are those who are believed to be Uzbek nationals. It has a lot to do with the fact that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) , the terrorist organization founded in 1996, pledged in August of 2015 the allegiance to the Islamic State after they left the loyalty for Al-Qaeda.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is one of the most controversial political figures in recent Turkish and world history. Blamed to be a new Islamic despot, the third hand of the Middle Eastern terrorism, the new sultan…but whatever we think or dont think of him, he is one who is leading his country now and who is trying to find the best solution for Turkey to survive on the sand storm from all over. Turkey is located on the ruins of the old world and on the birth of the new world. It is stuck on the point to embrace Islam and to make deeper and brutal divisions between secular and Muslim Turks.Every state desire is limited by unsolved internal conflicts with Kurds. On the diplomatic level, Turkey picked the side of the Western war against the Islamic State and balancing with Russia, which they have had many disagreements with. On the humanitarian level, the EU is promising to help Turkey with unlimited refugees and maybe to give nothing for something. Turkish never ending hope to become the part of the EU is replaced by the decision to ensure security and to solve the growing refugees crisis inside.The UK example of leaving the Union should help the Turkish goverment to realize finally that community brings lots of dust for a single atom of gold.
After the Tünel area and the kingdom of graffiti, I decide to go down the Yüksek Kaldırım St to reach the seaside. I hear the Turkish traditional music from one of the small shops and I recognize older people who play chess, drink tea and enjoy the Istanbul sunset. Life goes on. The show must go on. Everywhere. In Istanbul too. I fell the whispering of the Bosporus wind that Turkey will survive and I know that my prayers are safe. Yaşasın Türkiye.