The terrible terrorist attack that hit the heart of Istanbul on the night of Dec. 10 has devastated us all. Again. It is of paramount importance to find out who carried out this heinous attack, who was behind it and why it happened at this particular time against this particular target. However, it was definitely not appropriate to talk about those aspects publicly right after the attack, before having respected a period of mourning.
It is also important to observe and analyze who condemned the attack and how, because demonstrations of international solidarity help us foresee what the terrorist attack's political outcome may be.As one may recall, international bodies such as the United Nations, NATO and the European Union have been severely criticized in Turkey in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, because Turkish authorities thought that they were too slow to show solidarity with Turkey's elected government. Some of Turkey's partners did not even have the reflex to affirm that they were sorry for the loss of life. Ankara felt that it was left alone and this negative climate had only exacerbated the present mistrust toward the West.
Nevertheless, the condolence messages conveyed after the attack on Saturday night had a different tone. And it is worth underscoring.International organizations and a number of countries promptly condemned the attack, saying that all kinds of terrorism are equally unacceptable. It is important to see international players clearly admit that there is no such thing as "good terrorism" and "bad terrorism."
The U.S., as well, condemned the attack, saying that Washington condemns the "cowardly" attack, before saluting the courage of the Turkish people as they stand with them against terror.
It is also interesting that, even though the condolence messages were being conveyed to the Turkish government through official means, most countries emphasized that they share the "Turkish people's grief." So these are not only diplomatic messages sent from a government to another government, there is also the will to show that these countries' peoples stand with the Turkish people. It is important to remember that it is the ordinary people who suffer most from these attacks. Terrorism is a crime, not only against states, but also against humanity.
Some of Turkey's partners did not omit to say, this time, that an attack against Turkey is also an attack against Turkey's allies within NATO and the EU. The Hungarian Foreign Ministry, for example, declared that an attack on Turkey equals an attack on the EU.
This kind of statement is a great help in emphasizing that terrorism cannot have any legitimacy no matter who carries it out, and no matter who has been attacked. It is a good thing that the West is beginning to realize that these terrorist activities are damaging Turkey's ties with the West. To declare that they stand with Turkey and with the Turkish people is a warning to the terrorists and to those behind them.
It is common knowledge that violence provokes more violence and terrorism is harming social peace. Terrorism also prevents the resolution of political problems by political means. So the terrorists want Turkey to become a country where no one talks and discusses domestic and foreign policy matters.
One may of course claim that the condolence messages were not sincere and they are just diplomatic gibberish. Maybe there are crocodile tears. No matter what, it is equally possible that they are sincere and it is way better to hold on to that possibility and build constructive policy accordingly.