You probably didn’t hear about it from any mainstream news outlet—CNN has been plastered top to bottom with news about the horse-race election and today, Brussels—but Turkey also just suffered a brutal attack from ISIS.
On Saturday, a suicide bomber hit Istiklal Caddesi, one of the largest streets in one of Turkey’s largest cities, Istanbul. Five people died, while 36 were injured. As Molly Crabapple wrote for the Guardian, “Istiklal [is]a body part: it is a heart, a backbone, a nerve. On Saturday Istiklal was an artery. ISIS wanted it cut.”
This attack comes after numerous attacks on Turkey; in February, bombings in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, left 28 dead and 60 injured. Before that, “in January, two attacks left 18 dead and 53 injured. In 2015 a swathe of attacks left a gasping 141 dead and 910 injured.”
These are horrific numbers. Yet while Europeans were quick to express solidarity with Belgium (the Eiffel Tower in Paris will be illuminated using the colors of Belgium’s flag), and with Paris in November, this level of support has never been extended to countries such as Turkey.
There is only silence—both from the media and from western European leaders.
This gap between coverage of Western Europe and countries in the Middle East or predominantly Muslim countries in Eastern Europe is disturbing and reveals where our inherent biases lie.
Yasmin Ahmed of the Independent argues that continuing this disparity of empathy “is fueling terrorist organisations [sic.] like ISIS.”
“The motivations behind the attacks in Turkey are different to those behind the Brussels bombings. Some are carried out in the name of a century-long Kurdish independence movement against the Turkish state; some are carried out by the same Islamic fundamentalists -ISIS—who carried out the Brussels attacks. But their tactics are the same: terror. And so should be our collective response: sympathy and solidarity.”
The Brussels bombings were terrible and demonstrates the fight the world must continue to wage against ISIS. The Turkey bombings demonstrate the exact same thing—it’s a shame that the response (or lack thereof) from the media suggests otherwise.
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