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After Carnage in Turkey, I Am Neither Feeling Safe Nor Free

Turkey

After the gunman stormed the art show in Ankara to kill Russian Ambassador Karlov and earlier this month the bomb went off in Istanbul, Turkish people are neither feeling free nor safe anymore.

If you are an individual who tries to keep up with what’s happening around the world, you have already read about the latest attacks in Istanbul. As of now, it is confirmed that Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been assassinated in Ankara. The attack was carried out at the opening of an art gallery by an off-duty police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, a government employee who was supposedly aligned with the Güllenist group that is believed to be behind the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Before he was shot dead, dressed in a black suit and tie, Altintas shouted in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” Turkish and Russian leaders came out strongly to condemn the attack while the evacuation of civilians in Aleppo is taking place. At this point, Russia is not over reacting to what is considered to be a direct provocation of Turkish and Russian relations.

If you were in Istanbul on Saturday night, December 10, 2016, it is very likely that you actually heard the explosion as it was in the city center, or you immediately understood that something was wrong by the people asking if you were safe.

The explosion took place at 10:30 PM local time just next to the Vodafone Arena, the iconic stadium for one of the most famous football teams of the nation, Beşiktaş. To give you an idea, picture an attack just next to Yankee Stadium in New York.

The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber right after the game between Beşiktaş and Bursaspor, and it mainly targeted police officers. At this point, the death toll is 36 policemen and 8 civilians. Just a week later, another attack was carried out in Kayseri killing 9 military personnel.  Both attacks were claimed by TAK (Kurdistan Freedom Falcons), a Kurdish militant group and an offshoot of the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party), which is also a strong ally for the US in the war against ISIS in Syria.

Violence in Turkey is surely becoming a usual state of affairs.

Turkey as nation once again sorrowed the losses. Government officials gave their usual statements to condemn terrorism. The calls for unity took over the mainstream media. Sadly, all of these have come to be a ritual for Turkey. In a span of a year and a half, over 450 people lost their lives in such attacks. If these attacks gave a message, it was that you could die even in the city center, and the government can do nothing to keep you safe.

In addition to the security problems, it is obvious that Turkey’s social, political, and economic turmoil is at its peak as well. Even the Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Şimşek, named these days as the darkest since Turkey’s foundation after the World War I.

What is main issue and whom to blame?

The questions such as what is main issue and whom to blame are hard to answer. Even if you could answer, you would immediately realize those answers actually divide the nation more than unite. People choose to discuss their political objectives over the security and existence of the nation.

Personally, this social problem seems to be the greatest one for Turkey even more than the Syrian crisis that is happening just next door as it makes that unity impossible. Your stance as a common citizen could make you named a national hero, a patriot, or simply a spy and a traitor.

The most common belief that is embraced by the public is that these dark days are designed by the foreign superpowers to stop Turkey from thriving to become a global force. Thus, a patriot shall see the bigger picture and stop this game by simply standing beside Eroğan. According to this view, the latest attacks were also just an attempt to stop Turkey from adopting the presidential system and becoming more powerful than ever. As you can see, this is the current government’s main propaganda.

The other side is harshly criticizing the government for their countless wrongdoings and claiming that whatever we are facing today is caused by Erdoğan’s incompetence and his ideals that clearly contradict with the fundamentals of nation as he tries to establish his dictate. He clearly gets rid of responsibility and just blames an unclear force, not to mention his discriminatory attitude towards political and religious minorities.

We are divided, more than I have ever seen or read in Turkey’s history. We are neither willing nor we want to understand each other. We hate anyone who is not aligned with our ideologies.

If you want to know what view I am aligned with, I am just trying to be as skeptical and objective as I can. Yet, I know something as a fact and that is I don’t like the life in Turkey. I do not like the current condition of this country. I am neither feeling safe nor free. I cannot keep people near me neither safe nor free. I do not like what Turkey offers me and asks from me in return. I do not like anyone who is in charge and responsible for this as well as anyone who is content with this situation.

I cannot see a future for myself  here. The time for the youth to make hard decisions is coming sooner than expected. We will either stay here to give fight and most likely die along the way for nothing or go somewhere where we and our loved ones can be free and safe.

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Read more: Message To The Ohio State Attacker: Enough! I Am Not Here To Apologize On Your Behalf

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About the author

Dogukan Gunaydin

Dogukan Gunaydin

Doğukan Günaydın was born in Istanbul, Turkey. Since an early age he was exposed to a competitive education system where he was determined to succeed, leading him to complete his primary school as a valedictorian. Later on, he enrolled in Üsküdar American Academy which he left in sophomore year in the pursuit of more well-rounded education. He accepted a generous scholarship by United World College Maastricht. There, he completed the International Baccalaureate as well as became an active member of a diverse international community that strives for peace, understanding and a sustainable future. He developed a keen interest in economics and politics that encouraged him to take part in organizing the inaugural International Peace Conference which explores the theme of peace and the challenges of making peace a reality in the world we live in. During summer 2015, Doğukan attended the Politics, Philosophy and Economics session as part of the Yale Young Global Scholars program, with full scholarship. He recently graduated as a Davis-Mahindra Scholar, a recognition of his leadership and involvement in the community. Doğukan has decided to take a gap before continuing his education in university. Doğukan keeps himself informed of the economic progresses, enjoys cooking and is fond of both watching and playing basketball.