German Press Review: Terrorists Send Signal to U.S. Allies | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 21.11.2003
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German Press Review: Terrorists Send Signal to U.S. Allies

German editorials on Friday focused on the latest series of bombings in Istanbul which left at least 27 people dead and more than 400 wounded.

Those who sent terrorists into the Istanbul branch of the London-based HSBC bank are sending out a clear message which was further accentuated by the simultaneous attack on the British consulate, wrote the Frankfurter Rundschau. Their target was British imperialism, and it came on a day when the alliance between the United States and Britain was highlighted by President Bush’s visit to the UK. The paper observed that the attacks give an indication of the terrorist’s view of the world: those who get involved with the United States are its accomplices.

The Mannheimer Morgen took a similar view. In a devilish ploy, terror has stolen President Bush’s show, commented the paper. In London, Bush had intended to close ranks with his closest ally. But his state visit turned into a visit of condolence. The attacks are a deadly message that goes out to all American allies: whoever is allied with the United States will feel the consequences, the daily noted.

"The terrorists of the 21st century are conducting a war that knows no rules or conventions," argued the Leipziger Volkszeitung. These terrorists have set their sites on the -- in their view decadent -- enemy everywhere, the paper wrote. The terrorists hate the western-secular lifestyle as well as modern democracy. Their goal is to rule the world. For the attacks, they chose the day U.S. President George Bush met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. All they have achieved, however, according to the paper, is that Blair and Bush are now more determined than ever to continue their war on terror.

The conservative paper Die Welt reflected on why the terrorists have chosen Istanbul. This city is at the junction between Europe and Asia, the paper observed, the meeting-point of different cultures, ideas and religions. Therefore, it embodies all those things the terrorists loathe. The Turkish move towards the European Union, its NATO membership and its solidarity with Israel make it a prime target for militant aggression. With the attacks, the paper concluded, the terrorists hope to bring Turkey back into line with other Islamic states.

While the Stuttgarter Nachrichten offered a similar analysis of why the terrorists have chosen the Turkish capital, it provided a different reading of their aim, arguing that the terrorists’ goal was to destabilize the Turkey.

The Bonner General-Anzeiger commented that Bush and Blair were right in re-affirming their determination to combat international terrorism. And they were right in rejecting allegations by political opponents that they had made themselves prime targets for the attacks. But, the paper admonished, that does not change the fact that the military occupation of Iraq has failed to squelch international terror. On the contrary, the paper argued, it is the reason why terrorist groups have recently gained in popularity.