In the past, ISIS
has carried out attacks in Turkey
but this attack eclipses those in scale. Previously ISIS
has targeted tourists; this time they’re going for the heart of Turkey
, and in a brazen attack that has claimed many more lives than previous ISIS
Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport is the main entry point for the majority of the more than 30 million people who visit Turkey
every year. It’s also the hub of Turkish Airlines, the country’s only known international brand and the gateway to doing business in Istanbul.
This attack is going to hurt Turkey’s tourism economy and the business community by seriously challenging the idea that Turkey
is a safe place to visit and do business.
is the anomaly in Islam
is the norm in Islam. Turkey
has a secular constitution.
It’s a democratic society where you have gender equality between men and women. It’s a member of NATO and is in succession talks with the European Union. It’s a friend of the West and the United States and only yesterday agreed to restore diplomatic ties with Israel.
The question was not if, but when ISIS
would carry out an attack like this.
Turkey-backed rebels have been, for a while now, attacking the Islamic state inside Syria
, together with U.S.-backed Kurds, so thus the attack could also be seen as retaliation by ISIS.
Build up to war
For a very long time, the relationship between ISIS
looked like a Cold War, with both sides avoiding fighting each other.
For instance, when ISIS
surrounded the Turkish exclave in Syria
in 2014, it did not run that over. And similarly, Turkey
avoided joining the U.S. to fight ISIS.
Then, the relationship evolved into what look like limited warfare as Turkey
came on board in 2015 to help the U.S. to combat ISIS. At that time, ISIS
carried out a number of small attacks in Istanbul’s old city, killing mostly foreigners.
is indeed behind the attack today, this would represent a significant escalation towards Turkey.
will continue to crack down on ISIS
, as well as increase cooperation with the U.S. and Western intelligence agencies against the group.
, though, will continue to play its nefarious game of creating an environment of fog and suspicion through attacks, this time in Turkey. The group, which did not take responsibility for past attacks in Turkey
, will likely also not assume responsibility for the Istanbul
This is because ISIS
wants to create an environment of suspicion in Turkish politics. Al Qaeda in Iraq
, the mothership jihadi organization from which ISIS
was spawned, carried out a number of suicide attacks in Iraq
after 2005, and yet the group claimed responsibility for none of these attacks.
This led to an environment of suspicion in which the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq
blamed each other for the attacks, starting retribution-style attacks. Subsequently, Iraq
descended into civil war.
By not taking responsibility for its attacks in Turkey
wants to do the same, triggering societal fault lines, this time between supporters and opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
, leftists and rightists, Turks and Kurds, seculars and conservatives.
Turks of all political persuasions and backgrounds ought to learn from Iraq
and unite in the face of the ISIS
At the same time, the Turkish government needs to use its full force to combat the ISIS
threat to prevent Turkey’s potential catastrophic descent into chaos as a result of ISIS