As thousands gathered in Ankara to walk for peace on Saturday, two suicide bomb attacks carved the day as the darkest in the hearts and minds of the Turkish people, Seda Serdar writes. Will politicians learn from it?
Clues released since Saturday's attack show similarities to the July 20 Suruc suicide bombing, which claimed the lives of 34 people. The number of people killed in the Ankara attack is more than 100 and continues to increase as the wounded die in hospitals. Even though the official number of people injured is said to be 186, the Turkish Medical Association, which was also one of the organizers of the demonstration, announced late Saturday evening that 459 people had been wounded. The government seems to fail even at giving accurate information about the number of people affected by this horrific act.
At a press conference following the attack, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu shared one important piece of information. Davutoglu said two suspected potential suicide bombers were caught in Ankara and Istanbul only a few days prior to the attack. In light of this statement, one must question the lack of security at such a huge event.
The government claims that there were security checkpoints at the end destination of the walk but not at the gathering point. If officials catch two people they believe to be potential suicide bombers just a few days ahead of such a huge march, it would seem sensible to beef up security measures. At this point not only the interior minister, but all who failed to carry out their responsibilities, should resign.
One wrong step after the other
Current evidence points to the "Islamic State" (IS), though nothing has been officially confirmed. Though similarities are being drawn to the Suruc attack in summer, it is also relevant to remember that IS hasn't claimed responsibility for that bombing either.
The fight against IS continues to be a growing problem for Turkey. When the war in Syria broke out, the only thing that Turkey did do right was to accept the refugees. Though it created financial problems and social tensions, it was the only humane thing to do. However, every step after that has been wrong.
It was wrong to see the chaos as an opportunity to meddle in Syria's politics. It was wrong to think that President Bashar al-Assad's enemies could be Turkey's friends, and it was wrong to allow them to roam the streets as they pleased. Only three days before the attack in Ankara, Turkish security forces arrested six IS members who were printing money for the terror militia in Gaziantep. This is only one example among many that demonstrate the magnitude of the problem.
As Turkey mourns those killed and injured in Ankara, news of soldiers who have fallen in combat with the Kurdistan Workers' Party continues to come from the country's east. As November's snap elections approach, Turkey finds itself in bloodshed and despair. However, it is time once again to show at the polls that the ruling Justice and Development Party has failed the country and that the people deserve better. They deserve a government that can protect them and allow them to live in peace.
"We politicians are responsible for the murders committed in our country," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said in December when news of the killings of three Muslim students in the US reached him on a state visit to Mexico. "Because the people say, 'You will protect me, you will protect my belongings,' when they vote for you." It is only natural for people to hold those in power accountable, and Turkey hopes to do so in 20 days.
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