The DAESH terrorist organization's suicide bomb attack in Istanbul's Sultanahmet district is more strategic and purposeful than its previous Ankara attack and Paris shootings. This is because it targeted Turkish tourism, and therefore the economy, and a group of tourists, most of who were of German origin. As Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu emphasized, the Istanbul bombing targeted not only Turkey, but also Istanbul, which is becoming increasingly more developed and is poised to become a major global economic capital. In the very near future, the city will have its third Bosporus Bridge, railway lines running between Asia and Europe and one of the largest airports in Europe with an annual passenger capacity of 100 million. Furthermore, Istanbul is a giant metropolis that is experiencing an intense influx of refugees. This is why DAESH singled out the city as a strategic target at a conjuncture where Turkish-German relations are increasingly improving due to the refugee problem.
It is significant that Germany displayed a cooperative approach following the attack and joined hands with Turkey against terrorism. The reassuring statements that German authorities made about safety in Istanbul, where 20 million people live, indicated that DAESH's terrorist act will not attain its goal and Germany's policies on Turkey are changing in a positive way. From now onward, Turkey will monitor whether Germany will change its "traditional" attitude toward the refugee crisis, Turkey's EU accession process and negotiation chapters that will be opened for Turkey's membership. Germany must make a tight turn in its relations with Turkey in order to help the EU overcome a crisis and avoid new and multifaceted insurmountable problems that might accompany a refugee flow.
Chapters about energy, the judiciary and fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security, education and culture, foreign security and defense policies will be addressed in the upcoming months. The concrete discussions over these chapters is a very important commitment from the EU. Here, Germany should abandon its previous attitude and should not hamper the EU's commitment. So far, Germany has resisted this commitment and posed a deadlock for the resolution of the Cyprus question. Germany, along with Greece, should pressure the Greek Cypriot Administration to remove its blockade on Turkey's EU accession. If Germany does not act sincerely on the matter, refugee and terror problems will rock it through Turkey. The chapters on energy and defense, which will be opened in the upcoming days and which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has insistently wanted all along, are very important in the current conjuncture. This is because when the resolution of the Cyprus question and the chapters of energy, defense and foreign security policies are addressed together, it can be suggested that the EU will further lean toward Turkey's theses willy-nilly. Certainly, this signifies a new era in Turkish-German relations. I think the EU should take this step without delay. This is because the resolution of the Cyprus question and the removal of Greek Cyprus's blockade on Turkey's membership will be a response to Russia's aggressive actions, which violates international law. This will be a step toward peace and the resolution of the Syrian crisis. Only in this way can Russia start stepping back from the moves it previously made in Ukraine and Crimea by violating international law. If Russia steps back, DAESH will be undermined in the Middle East. The primary condition for this is that Russia must feel that Germany will no longer give implicit support to it.
Russia's return to its own borders and observance of international law is possible only when it faces a serious rival that challenges it in energy and when there is a major alternative to Russian energy. The sole way for this to happen is if Turkey connects the Caspian energy resources, as well as Iraqi (Mosul) and Levantine natural gas reserves, to the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). This will also pave the way for Israel to see Turkey's sensitivities, as these steps will undermine Iran's threat against Israel.
Today, both Russia and Iran have a part in the wave of terrorism that has reached European metropolises. So, the Istanbul attack should be addressed from a multidimensional perspective. Although DAESH is the perpetrator of this attack, we cannot say that it committed it independently from Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. The EU cannot address refugee and terror problems separately from the Syrian crisis. From this point of view, as a direct part of the EU, Turkey's stability is not a concern for Turkey alone, but also a direct concern for the EU.