Terrorism, which has been a specter haunting the Middle East and Europe recently, showed its face again yesterday in Istanbul, on a calm and rainy morning when Muslims were fasting to thank God during Ramadan.
Police officers were on a shuttle bus, heading off to duty. The shuttle bus was around Istanbul University, just behind a kindergarten. There were banks, restaurants, a business center and some tourists walking toward the Hagia Sophia around the bus. And suddenly, a bomb-laden vehicle exploded in the midst of the crowd.
Some 11 people, including five civilians, were killed. Dozens were injured.
Evaluating the details of the attack, security sources and experts agree that the perpetrator is the separatist and outlawed PKK. Within a year, the PKK has organized similar terrorist attacks in major urban spaces, including Ankara, Diyarbakır and Istanbul. Dozens of police officers, military officers and civilians have been killed in these attacks.
Suspicions were fueled after the PKK's legal wing, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), issued some ambiguous statements instead of condemning the attack.
Turks are now familiar with almost everything about the PKK and the HDP, with the latter systematically advocating the former's violence. The counterterrorism fight has been maintained with support based on full awareness, and serious progress has been made. Many attempted attack by various terrorist groups, including the PKK and DAESH, have been prevented.
However, Turkey has a greater problem than these organizations, which do not feel the need to conceal themselves and their diabolical methods. A greater problem is posed by those who provide ideological support to such terrorist activities and try to legitimize them.
Besides, this problem does not just incorporate the Turkish media, politics, nongovernmental organizations and academia. Some media outlets in Europe and the U.S. are also having difficulty distancing themselves from the terrorist groups in Turkey. Most of the time, they exert efforts to come up with justifications for the attacks.
For instance, following yesterday's attack, some media outlets, including the BBC, emphasized that police were the target despite the fact that civilians were also killed.
As a person pursuing a career in journalism for years, I wonder how the BBC and others could understand the true motivations and targets of the PKK so soon, even before the immediate effects of the attack were discarded.
Although it is globally accepted that the universal and unchanging target of terrorism is to realize its political goals by spreading fear regardless of whom the victims are, what is the reason for this favor bestowed on the PKK?
As for the terrorist attacks in the U.S., Paris, or Brussels, have you ever seen those media outlets emphasize that only a state apparatus was targeted while the civilians who were killed were in fact not targeted?
Is the possibility of killing civilians on the street in a bombing a negligible risk? On what tangible grounds can the BBC claim that the PKK did not consider killing civilians as part of the attack, even though the PKK has not issued such a statement yet?
So, why are they doing this? Is it because the PKK is a leftist, secular organization, or does this double standard only stem from orientalist biases and habits? I do not know. There might be more organized activity with a rival countries perspective.
Whatever the reason is, all I know is that their language and tone have been deciphered to a large extent, which has elicited reactions. Those media outlets, including the BBC, CNN and Fox, also undermine the global counterterrorism fight by demeaning the countries they represent in the eyes of the people in the Middle East.