Istanbul attack

Jointly facing up to terror

Murder and hate have again broken out in Istanbul. But the latest attack could be a turning-point as countless countries are lining up alongside Turkey to fight terrorism, writes fvw’s Lutz Schmidt.

Just one month ago I was in Turkey, and transferred twice at Atatürk Airport. Before the trip I asked myself whether I should take my son. It was clear that such a place could be the target of fanatic terrorists. But I didn’t let myself be put off. However, I understand everyone who doesn’t want to take this increased risk. The attack on Tuesday night has confirmed their fears in a terrible way.

So how are governments responding this time to the fourth deadly attack within six months? I’m hopeful that they will not just pay lip-service and there will be a different reaction by many countries to the spreading terror plague. What makes me optimistic is that Turkey doesn’t only have friends in the West but also in lots of Arab states. The Iranian foreign minister said terrorism “has to be fought together”. Government and international organisations are declaring their solidarity with Turkey. UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said: “At times like this we must stick together and not isolate travel destinations that are affected by attacks.”

In 2015, IS declared war on Turkey. The territories under their control have shrunk recently and perhaps the terror group can only find new fanatics to join them with spectacular attacks. Suicide attacks could increase, and not only in Turkey. As the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Everyone should know that the terror organisations make no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago, Antalya and Rome.”

Four attacks in Istanbul within six months give new meaning to Erdogan’s call. “I hope that the attack at Istanbul Airport will be a milestone in the whole world, especially in the West, and will be a turning-point for the common fight against terror organisations.”

Erdogan has now taken steps towards Russia and Israel. These unexpected moves are designed to ensure that there will be more than just symbols against inhumanity, and that trust and cooperation against terror can emerge from lip-service. After all, it hasn’t been about religions or world views for a long time. It’s about civilisation instead of barbarity.

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