Paris attack, organized one day after Istanbul attack, might result in unpleasant situations such as further xenophobia, particularly Islamophobia, and strict security measures in Europe
On Jan. 6 at around 5:00 p.m., an 18-year-old women named Diana Ramazanova, who is of Russian origin, was standing opposite the police station in Sultanahmet, one of the main tourist areas of Istanbul. Her dress concealed the bombs she carried. After a while, she walked quickly over to the police station. Speaking Russian, the young woman told the police that she had lost her wallet. The police officers were suspicious of Ramazanova's behavior, and attempted to control her. When the terrorist Ramazanova understood that she was about to be caught, she detonated the bombs she had on her. Besides the suicide bomber, 33-year-old police officer Kenan Kumaş was killed at the attack. It is not yet revealed who organized it. However, the profile of the assailant hints at radical groups outside Turkey which manipulate religion.
The next day, another attack was organized in Paris, France. The attack targeted a supermarket and the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo based in Paris. 17 people were killed during the attack. Again, it is not yet clear which organization orchestrated the attack, which is likely to trigger increased xenophobia in Europe. Let's briefly go over this complex situation: the Kouachi brothers, who attacked the magazine, allegedly told a journalist at a French television station that they were linked to al-Qaida in Yemen. Also, al-Qaida in Yemen issued a statement praising the attack. However, this statement is not acknowledged as sufficient evidence to prove the allegation that al-Qaida organized the attack. Also, Amedy Coulibaly, who took the people in the supermarket hostage in tandem with the Kouachi brothers' attack and was finally shot dead, announced in a video he recorded before the attack that he was linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). It is not clear whether this complex situation stems from the competition or cooperation between al-Qaida and ISIS, or from the transitive nature of the members of the two groups.
A short while before the Paris and Istanbul attacks, the periodical of ISIS, named Dabiq, published a call saying "our European brothers should return to their countries and organize attacks there instead of joining the jihad." This raises further questions as to whether the attacks in Paris and Istanbul were organized in response to this call. It will soon be revealed whether the same organization conducted these two attacks or not.
The Istanbul attack resulted in only limited damage. Therefore, it was not brought to the international agenda. However, the attack organized in Paris had dramatic consequences regarding the future of Europe. Targeting an important capital such as Paris would trigger further xenophobia in Europe, which is already on the rise with the effect of the economic crisis. The spread of xenophobia, and particularly Islamophobia, and the rise of radical right movements across Europe now pose a real threat to European Union ideals. The participation of world leaders, including Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, in the march against the Paris attack shows that they are aware of this fact.
This attack, which brought the instability in the Middle East into the heart of Europe, might also accelerate the possible breakages that might arise in the balance between freedom and security. After the attack, the first topic of discussion was the abolition of Schengen. Even though the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they would not step back from Schengen, this does not mean that the security measures would not be increased. We can predict that harsher security policies undermining civil liberties await European citizens.
Another consequence of this attack might be France making some alterations regarding its Syria policies. Like Turkey, France was arguing that al-Assad should also be targeted while fighting against ISIS. Suffering from terrorism, France might give up that idea now. This possible consequence of the Paris attack would also mean the reinforcement of Assad-Iran-Russia bloc.