Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Ankara Bombing

Once again, there has been a bombing in Turkey. Once again, it has been relegated in the ten o'clock news bulletins.

As I write this, the death toll stands at 28, with some 61 injured, but those figures are expected to rise. If this had happened in Paris, or London, or Berlin, there seems little doubt that it would be leading the news, but it isn't at all. Does this mean that these awful deaths are somehow a lesser thing?

If so, then why is the Turkish media also muting it? Reportage is (where people can get the word out) t a relative minimum: The mainstream TV channels are putting very little out, apart from the PM and President denouncing the 'latest act of terrorism', and vowing that they will protect the nation more than ever, i.e. continue with the campaign in the South East and cross-border.

Turks have always been canny at using the world wide web, never more so than in the past few years, when the AKP has frequently resorted to censoring internet traffic. All that happens is everyone swithes to using a VPN to get the news or disseminate it. From what is emerging on Twitter, the mood is a mix of despair at another bombing, disgust at the government's latest media blackout kneejerk reaction, sadness for those affected, and a very firm idea of who is really to blame for the attack.

Addressing who is responsible, that probably won't become clear, especially if the answer doesn't suit Ankara's political narrative. The technique  - a bus packed with explosives that was detonated as a convoy of military vehocles passed - has been used by many groups in many places. I am sure the government would prefer it to have been committed by the PKK. However, the bombing of a peace rally, also in Ankara, and the bomb attack in Suruc all suggest that ISIS are more likely.

Returning to my first question, it's not that some lives matter than others. I know that there will be many angry that media in the UK, the US, France and so on isn't focusing on this event, that there are no hashtags saying #prayforankara or #ankarakliyim, or that people aren't changing their facebook profiles to show the Turkish flag. It is the simple, but brutal, fact that distance confers a lack of interest. It doesn't mean we don't care per se: it's just very human to be more concerned with that which affects us most directly. That's not to condone or condemn - I'm merely stating what is. If that weren't the case, we wouldn't be able to move for the misery of knowing how many people die each day all around the world from war, want and disease.

However, I for one am affected. I couldn't hardly be so - I wouldn't have this blog otherwise. I care very much for Turkey and, right now, not for the first time, I can only say Basiniz Sagolsun.

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