Turkey will not be Europe's firefighter

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published

Turkey is once again the victim of a bloody terrorist attack. According to the latest confirmed figures, a suspected 12/14-year-old DAESH suicide bomber on Saturday night killed 51 civilians and injured another 69 in Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.

The attack took place during wedding celebrations on the street in a poor neighborhood largely inhabited by Kurdish citizens from Siirt's Pervari region. The terrorist group DAESH purposefully targeted a wedding crowd of mostly women and children hours into the celebration at 10:40 p.m. The bomb exploded as the traditional henna ceremony was taking place and this is the main reason why most of the victims are innocent women and children.

This is the 10th DAESH assault on Turkish targets in the last two years.

1. March 20, 2014: DAESH members clash with security forces. One police officer and a noncommissioned officer dead, four soldiers injured.

2. June 11, 2014: DAESH captures Turkey's Mosul consulate, abducts 49 citizens.

3. Jan. 6, 2015: A bomb explosion in Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square. One police officer dead and another injured.

4. June 5, 2015: A bomb attack at a pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) rally in Diyarbakır. Four killed and dozens injured.

5. July 20, 2015: Terrorist attack in Suruç, Şanlıurfa on the Syrian border kills 34 people and injures more than 100.

6. Oct. 10, 2015: A bomb attack at a peace rally by NGOs in Ankara kills 107 people and injures more than 500.

7. Jan. 12, 2016: A suicide attack in Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square kills 11 and injures 16.

8. March 19, 2016: An attack at Istanbul's main thoroughfare İstiklal Avenue kills five people and injures 36.

9. June 28, 2016: An attack by several DAESH members kills 45 and injures 236.

Turkey is faced with the highest number of DAESH attacks among European countries. Hours after the latest attack, former Swedish prime minister, Carl Bildt, took to Twitter and wrote, "New deadly attack. DAESH likely. No European country is as affected by terrorism as Turkey. It needs our support." This Tweet alone summarized what Turkey is faced with when it comes to terrorism. Turkey has never received the counterterrorism support it deserved or expected from its allies.

DAESH has expanded its focus in Turkey, which has been the main victim of the terrorist group outside its home base, from security forces to civilian targets. Saturday's bombing was just the latest terrorist attack targeting Turkey's stability, aiming at fear and chaos. The reason why it has switched to civilian targets is its objective of stirring ethnic division. DAESH wants to set off hatred and schism in an effort to increase its influence, as do most other terrorist groups Turkey is fighting against. Terrorist groups trying to exploit the post-July 15 atmosphere was not an unexpected development.

There is a clear effort to harm the political and societal unity and stability in Turkey on display since the failed coup attempt on July 15. Unity of purpose in politics has never been as apparent as it has been since July 15. Terrorist groups are trying to exploit Turkey's religious and ethnic richness to create chaos by targeting innocent civilians. We, as Daily Sabah, do not believe DAESH alone is responsible for what happened in Gaziantep. No one should look at this violation without considering the chaos that is spreading all across the region. With two failed states to the south of its border, Turkey is aware that intelligence agencies of many countries are active in the region. Saturday's attack coming at a time when Turkey is considering conducting an anti-DAESH offensive against Jarablous in Syria is especially curious. No one can convincingly argue that intelligence agencies of several countries present to the south of the border were not at least culpable in Saturday's attack.

Europe is shooting itself in the foot by turning a blind eye on DAESH attacks in Turkey. Europe's blatant disregard toward what is happening in Turkey is a betrayal of European nations because nowhere is safe unless Turkey is. Daily Sabah expects the EU to alter its stance and start demonstrating that it is fully on Turkey's side against terrorism. Turkey, with its government and its people, will certainly defeat all terrorists and ensure the failure of all the deadly chaos scenarios dreamed up by various groups. However, it will also be closely observing the actions of the "Free World" to decide the future trajectory of relations.

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