The Ataturk Airport Attacks Signal Worse Things to Come

Today, Atatürk International Airport suffered a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 36 people.

Speculation blames the so-called Islamic State for the attack, which featured three assailants armed with bombs and small-arms, but the group so far has not admitted any connection to the attack.

This most recent bombing-cum-shooting comes at a tense time for the Turkey and the international community. Istanbul, in particular, experienced three smaller-scale attacks earlier this year. The first came in January, with an ISIS-inspired attack on tourists in the historic Sultanahmet district (home to the Hagia Sophia). March saw two separate attacks: a leftist group targeted a police van in an Istanbul suburb (when I was visiting the City of Constantine), and an ISIS attack on a major commercial street. The beginning of this June witnessed another bombing (linked to Kurdish separatists) on the police, which killed 11 members of the force. This present attack on Atatürk International marks the fifth attack on Istanbul in 2016.

This effects of this attack will not stop at the borders of Turkey. Its timing comes at a tense moment for the world: The United Kingdom has voted (animated by an xenophobic, anti-migration rhetoric) to exit the EU. The remaining European countries will see more strength added to the anti-EU, right-wing parties on the rise in France, Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

Across the Atlantic the same phenomenon wears different clothes (though comb-over perhaps is the better word).

Donald Trump will use this attack to whip up the passions of his supporters and press his vision of a closed-off, combatant world against the United States.

What is there to be done? The attack will result in the familiar rhetoric of a commitment to fighting terrorism at home and abroad. Leaders undertook this course of action after Paris, after Brussels, after Orlando; there is no doubt that they will do so similarly again.


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