The Turkish public is really confused about the US embassy's posting a 36-year-old photo of the U.S. president with the assassinated Turkish PM Nihat Erim
For Turkey, 2016 was not easy. After successive terror attacks carried out by the outlawed PKK and Daesh terrorist groups, and the coup attempt of the Gülenists, people hoped the new year would bring the horrible attacks against Turkey to an end. Unfortunately, in the first hours of 2017, Daesh, which for the first time claimed responsibility for an attack in Turkey, struck to an upscale nightclub in the Ortaköy district of Istanbul, killing 39 people and wounding many others who were celebrating New Year's Eve.
The time and location of the attack were not random. Striking one of the most popular nightclubs in Istanbul on the New Year's Eve, the terror group aimed to destroy people's hopes and trigger political divisions by driving a wedge between secular and religiously conservative people.
The secular social media users who were outraged right after the incident started to attack the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, alleging that their politics paved the way for Daesh's atrocities.
It was not the U.S. government's fault when an American-born shooter who pledged allegiance to Daesh attacked a nightclub in Orlando and killed 49 people; it was not the French government's fault when the Bataclan theater in Paris, where 89 were killed, was attacked by Daesh linked terrorists; but suddenly, the Ortaköy attack in Istanbul is the fault of the Turkish government. Some social media accounts in Turkey mercilessly praised the attack, sharpening the quarrel on the internet.
The attacker managed to escape; he was at large, tens of people were struggling for their lives, but people on social media were sadly fighting for other ends, which was very disappointing, given our ideals of humanity and unity against terror.
Just days after New Year's Eve, on Jan 5, there was yet another terror attack, this time in Izmir, a western coastal city of Turkey. The consequences of the attack, that targeted the main courthouse, would have been terrible, if the terrorists (linked to the PKK, according to initial findings) had not been stopped by Fethi Sekin, a Kurdish traffic policeman.
Izmir, one of the leading coastal tourist cities, is known as one of the most developed cities in the country. Sekin, who clashed with the terrorists until he ran out of bullets and sacrificed his life to stop the assailants, did not only save the lives of dozens of innocent people.
This chain of events is just one indication regarding the extent to which Turkish society is sick and tired with the barrage of terror attacks, along with the never-ending provocations and reactions of well-known figures who incite outrage instead of calling for patience, unity and calm.
On the very same day that Turkey came back from the threshold of another massive terror attack and following outrage, the official Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara posted a tweet. This was really intriguing, considering the fact that anti-American sentiment is on the rise, and the number of the people who think the U.S. is supporting terrorists like the PKK and the coup attempt was staged by Gülenists is really high.
The tweet was a picture of Nihat Erim, a former prime minister of a technocratic government formed after the 1971 coup d'état in Turkey, along with former U.S. President Richard Nixon in a meeting, a year after the coup. Erim was also assassinated by a radical leftist terror organization, Dev-Sol in 1980. His assassination was part of a wave of public violence in the late 1970s between leftists and right wing nationalist groups, giving rise to the 1980 coup d'état.
From among all the Turkish prime ministers and presidents who have had their picture taken with U.S. presidents and other political figures, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara decided to choose Nihat Erim, a symbol for darker days in Turkey. However, the embassy's official account posted the Turkish tweet with the hashtags, "#Turkish-American friendship" and "#tbt," which is an acronym for "throwback Thursday" used on social media to remember the "good old days."
According to reports, the officials in the U.S. Embassy said they had no intention other than to show how ‘deep-rooted Turkey-U.S. relations were.' Nevertheless, Turkish social media users did not believe this and the incident once again raised questions about what kind of relations the U.S. officials have in their minds.
Amid all the terror attacks targeting Turkey and the worries of the Turkish people, it looks like the Americans want to give us a message to recall the darker days of Turkey's past as the "good old days" for the U.S. If not, why would an official diplomatic social media account do such a thing and strengthen Turkish public opinion that the U.S. is the mastermind of the terror and chaos targeting Turkey?