As is known, the European Union is a politico-economic union founded on the values of freedom, equality, respects for human rights, democracy and rule of law. These values are intensely challenged by issues such as increased terrorist attacks all over the world recently.
The EU's stance on terrorism seems contradictory when we see that it is not about rooting out terrorism entirely from the world, but is only a fear of being affected by it. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in some decisions that it cannot be perceived as incitement to violence to participate in demonstrations only in support of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, and the PKK and it cannot be regarded as prosecutable. After the Paris terrorist attacks occurred in Nov. 13, 2015, which left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded, most countries around the world stood up in solidarity against terrorism. Around 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu joined more than 1 million people in a march to honor the victims of the shootings. Our government appreciated that solidarity and cursed terrorism as always. Can you imagine an elected deputy from any party in France attending the funeral ceremony of the terrorists who arranged the attack? But we saw this in Turkey when a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) drew ire by attending the funeral of the perpetrator of the Ankara car bombing that killed 29 people and injured over 60 on Feb. 17, 2016, targeting vehicles carrying military and civil personnel. Another explosion near the bus station in the center of Ankara set vehicles on fire, heavily damaged several buses and killed 37 innocent people in March 13, 2016.
But Europeans and Westerners regard the PKK or PKK-affiliated organizations and people as terrorists when Europeans suffer from terrorist attacks. Members of the EU remained silent or did not go any further than just condemning the terrorist attacks outside Europe. We experienced this double standard between the Paris attacks in November 2015, the Brussels on March 22, 2016, and the several attacks in Istanbul and Ankara within the first three months of 2016. Supporters of the PKK terror organization in Brussels were allowed to erect a PKK tent behind the European Council building despite Turkey's sensitivities on the issue and repeated requests to Belgian authorities to swiftly remove it and prevent the terror organization's activities within its borders. Belgian ministers had made no move to interfere with the tents, although they had pledged to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. This cannot be accepted as the right to assembly, but the Belgian government moved when DAESH hit Brussels with twin terror assaults on the airport and a metro station. The incident took place in spite of the Turkish government's warning and intelligence exchange with Belgium about the attackers. Unfortunately, like in Paris, Brussels witnessed the bloody play of terrorism, resulting in the deaths of more than 30 innocent civilians. We only mentioned the number of deaths, but there were also hundreds of people injured, and thousands of their family members and friends suffered the effects of the attacks around the world. Those who were killed in the attacks were innocent people from all nations, regardless of their nationality, regardless of their religion or the color of their skin. Terrorist are simply terrorists; there is no good terrorist or bad terrorist. It seems that the Europeans are not afraid of terrorism, but afraid of getting affected by it. According to Ankara, terrorism is the same calamity whether in Turkey, Belgium, Paris or wherever. It definitely curses terrorism as a whole. The birthplace of a person cannot define their value, as right to life is universal and belongs to all humanity.
* Senior adviser to the presidency of the Republic of Turkey