Terror in Ankara and Berlin

Posted: 20/12/2016 in Opinion

It’s just four days until Christmas Eve, and we’ve woken up this morning to news of two more terror attacks in Europe. I for one have had enough. At a time that should be one of the happiest of the year, this news is depressing, and the sad fact is I can’t see it ending anytime soon.

In Turkey, a nation that straddles both eastern Europe and western Asia, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey, Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov was shot and killed while giving a speech at an exhibition in an Ankara art gallery.

The gunman, identified by Turkish authorities as a twenty-two-year-old off-duty police officer from the Ankara riot police shot Ambassador Karlov several times in the back, before loudly condemning Russia’s involvement in Syria.

The relationship between Turkey and Russia was already at knife’s edge before this incident, with both nations having intervened militarily in Syria on opposite sides of the conflict. The concern now is that the assassination of Ambassador Karlov may become the catalyst for a direct military conflict between Turkey and Russia, a situation that could have the potentially catastrophic effect of pulling NATO, of which Turkey is a member state, into a war with Russia.

We can only hope that cooler heads will prevail and that the Russian government will see this attack for what it is, the work of a lone individual who employed terrorist tactics to thrust his cause into the international spotlight. As the alternative view, being that the assassination was part of a broader campaign by Turkey against Moscow for its support of the Assad regime in Syria is one that could well end in disaster.

terror-in-art-gallery

Meanwhile, in scenes reminiscent of the terrorist attack in Nice in July this year, nine people have been killed and dozens more injured after a truck ploughed through a packed Christmas market in Berlin.

This time two years ago I was in Germany on a Christmas market tour. I was one of the thousands of tourists and locals alike enjoying the markets and soaking in the Christmas spirit (as well as a moderate amount of mulled wine). It is a time that I will always remember as one of the happiest in my life, so to hear this news today, well, it just makes me feel physically sick.

Although it has not yet been confirmed by German authorities, this attack is bound to have been committed by an ISIS supporter, whom, I’ll hazard a guess now was likely one of the million-plus Syrian refugees that poured into Europe and Germany in 2015.

In my opinion German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has a lot to answer for in her role in the foolhardy, and ill-conceived way in which the influx of Syrian refugees into Europe was handled last year. Rather than detaining the refugees in camps as they entered Europe, and processing and security vetting them, hundreds of thousands of people, many without any form of identification, were allowed to flow freely into Europe and on into Germany.

Sure, the economic powerhouse that is Germany was the country best placed to provide the massive amount of humanitarian assistance needed, but they went about it in entirely the wrong manner. Rather than taking the opportunity to work together as a united Europe and supporting the efforts of the countries through whose borders the masses flowed, Merkel threw open the doors to German and said, “Come on in.” Well, this is what you get, a lone wolf terrorist hidden in a sheep’s clothing, let’s just hope it’s the last one we see this Christmas.

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