Tuesday’s carnage at the Istanbul Airport, one of the world’s busiest, cut short 42 lives and wounded over 200 innocent people.
It was the sixth major terrorist attack this year in Istanbul and the country’s capital, Ankara. No one has claimed responsibly.
In the past, the Kurdish separatists have been carrying out such attacks, but they targeted only police and military personnel.
The latest atrocity bears all the hallmarks of an IS strike as it aimed at causing maximum loss of civilian lives at a popular tourist destination, and to hurt the country’s economy.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told journalists that “the findings of security forces indicate that the attack was committed by Daesh (IS).”
What Turkey is experiencing is a blowback from the wars in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, something like what Pakistan had to face following the US’ two wars in Afghanistan.
The Turkish government has been siding with a particular group of rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria, initially allowing them to form an interim government and also letting in Syrian refugees.
Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are Assad’s key supporters from the region. According to media reports, a preliminary probe into the attack indicates the terrorists were foreign nationals, who could have used the cover of Syrian refugees to move in freely.
The IS had at least two motives to act against Turkey, one of course is that it is a Nato ally which is carrying out air strikes against IS, and the other a crackdown on its support groups.
However, it must not be forgotten that the IS emerged from the ashes of the US’ war in Iraq, and found further sustenance from the Western countries and their regional allies proxy intervention in Syria.
The original sin, so to speak, was committed by the US president George W Bush’s unprovoked war against Iraq to ‘change the map of the Middle East’.
At the time, those familiar with the area’s geopolitics had warned it would crack open the old faultiness destabilising the entire region.
As predicted, Bush’s war unleashed violent sectarian forces, leading to the rise of IS, while the vicious foreign-backed civil war in Syria helped IS to expand its territorial gains.
The Syrian conflict has caused unspeakable death and destruction, rooting out hundreds of thousands from their homes and livelihoods to seek safety in neighbouring countries and also to knock at Europe’s gate.
Meanwhile, innocent people like the travellers at the Istanbul Airport are paying the price of different governments’ policies over which they have had no control.
It is about time Turkey changes its mind and for the time being forgets its Kurdish problem and the Assad regime to focus on fighting the IS, which is threatening lives everywhere in the world. -Business Recorder