No doubt, 2016 was a very difficult year for Turkey. Numerous terror attacks and a coup attempt left hundreds of dead and injured. That is why we wanted to begin 2017 with new hope and leave behind the memories of this bad year. But, we could not. We entered the new year in terrible fashion with a huge terror attack in the heart of Istanbul occurring as early as the first hours of the year.
For those who do not know Istanbul, Reina, where the attack took place, is a recreational complex, including different restaurants and a big night club on the Bosporus strait. It is located in the most prominent spot on the European side, under the first Bosporus bridge and was the symbol of Istanbul night life for many years. For us, the residents of Istanbul, it is no longer the "coolest" place of entertainment like it was before, since chic new places have been opened over the past few years a little further up the Bosporus strait and in other parts of the city. In that time, Reina has increasingly become an entertainment venue for foreign tourists; while it was once a meeting point for the Western and secular rich segments of Istanbul, it is now a place that appeals to rich tourists who want to enjoy Istanbul.
So, if this space was chosen as a target, it could have two meanings: of the attack is the product of a mind that is not up-to-date with the latest trends, if it assumes that Reina is still the most popular place for "rich secular Turks," and planned to attack the Western and secular aspect of Turkey; but if it is the product of a mind that is aware Turkish night-life trends, and that Reina is a place that appeals to foreigners, then you appear to be looking at an attack directed deliberately on Turkish tourism. Indeed, both assumptions have the same purpose: to isolate, impoverish and destabilize Turkey and make it a country where fear prevails; where people cannot go out; and where tourists do not visit.
I think the most interesting detail about this attack is that Daesh claimed responsibility for it. Daesh previously carried out many attacks, such as the ones at the Istanbul airport and Sultanahmet Square, but claimed none of them. It only claimed responsibility for the car bomb blast on police headquarters in Diyarbakır. Now, there is a very obvious relationship between Turkey's intensification of operations against Daesh in Syria and the organization's explicit targeting of the country.
Turkey is fighting almost all alone against Daesh in al-Bab. Turkish fighter jets are bombing Daesh targets while coalition militaries somehow appear not to be working. Obviously, Daesh would not be as undermined as it is if it were not for Turkey's struggle against it. Yet, even after the Ortaköy attack, The New York Times still suggests Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack despite the complex links between the government and the organization in a news analysis. Obviously, the calumny that the government cooperated with Daesh stemmed from Gülenists aiming to ruin the country's international reputation and they could use this in the international media thanks to their links with certain news outlets. However, Turkey's fight against Daesh is taking place in front of the whole world. And while Turkey is becoming a target because of this struggle, it only serves the terrorists that the same argument still comes to the fore.
Just like the Paris and Brussels attacks, the Ortaköy attack also challenges day to day life for ordinary people. If the whole world was able to stand by the French and Belgian governments after the Paris and Brussels attacks and world leaders could gather there, I do not see why they do not gather in Istanbul? Yes, Western leaders, especially in the U.S., are issuing the strongest condemnation messages against the terror, but why has Turkey been left alone when it comes to action? If Turkey is the country waging the most effective war on terror today, it is necessary to morally support it.