by Erin Wright
Tuesday’s murderous attack on Ataturk International Airport by three suicide bombers with suspected links to the Islamic State was but the latest in a steady stream that has exposed secular Turkey — lauded by many in the West as a model for Islam’s potential engagement with modernity — as particularly vulnerable to terroristic violence.
Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Syria, incubators of the I.S. insurgency, ensures easy transit for would-be jihadists and provides a seemingly irresistible target for anyone wishing to exploit the region’s growing instability.
That plus the ongoing war with the separatist Kurdish Workers Party, which is thought to be as responsible as the I.S. for many of the attacks, has Turkish forces fighting simultaneously on multiple fronts without making much headway in any of them.
While the impetus for the airport bombing may well have been the recent restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel, the lengthy history of assaults inside Turkey and the government’s veritable laundry list of enemies would appear to render officials incapable of preventing attacks such as the one that just killed more than 40 people and wounded hundreds at one of the world’s busiest international hubs.
“Our long summer of discontent has just begun,” a U.S. senior intelligence official said in the aftermath of the latest mayhem. Much of the rest of the world can only hope his words turn out not to be prescient.