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Commentary

'Such Events Will Only Strengthen Our Resolve'

November 21, 2003|Engin Ansay | Engin Ansay is the consul general of Turkey in Los Angeles.

The terrorism that took place Saturday in my country and again Thursday morning should not be classified as actions against a certain group, a particular people or religion, or political decisions and choices that Turkey has made. Rather, these are acts against all humanity, bearing the apparent signature, once again, of Al Qaeda.

Terrorism is unfortunately not new for Turkey. Like the Americans, Israelis and the British, we have been through this before and we understand well how it feels to be the victim. We know how painful it is when lives are lost senselessly. And we understand how important it is not to give in to the evildoers who commit these crimes.

Each time, for instance, a suicide bomber kills Israelis just because they were sitting at a cafe, going to school in a bus or celebrating a Jewish holiday, Turks understand what it means: the horror of losing loved ones for nothing.

Turkey lost almost 40,000 lives to terrorism during the course of 15 years in the 1980s and 1990s, and finally came out victorious. But at what cost? The fate of all those innocent victims -- children, women, men, teachers, civil servants, young soldiers felled by terrorists -- only strengthened our determination to defy terror.

The cowardly acts of recent days will also receive the appropriate response and the hand of justice. The perpetrators' only achievement is an evil, criminal notoriety and worldwide condemnation of their actions.

Turkey, like Israel, is a democracy in an otherwise extremely volatile and unstable region. Last month, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic by Kemal Ataturk. We take pride in our democracy and in our secular way of life. The Turkish Republic is a living testimony to the idea that a country with a majority Muslim population can be a strong democracy.

We regard the bombings of the synagogues, and Thursday's double bombing in Istanbul, as horrific attacks aimed at undermining our country. Who would be poisoned and naive enough to think that such an act of inhumanity would make a country do or not do something?

How unlucky we are to witness the horror of ignorance that culminates in an act of despair such as this one. But we will not give up. Such events will only strengthen our resolve.

The fight against terrorism must be an international campaign. It is not a problem of one single country or a region; it is the worst problem facing the world.

When all the peace-loving countries unite in cooperation and collaboration to fight collectively against this scourge, irrespective of whether they themselves have experienced terror, only then can international terrorism be eradicated from the face of the globe.

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