Growing Terror Threat: Explosion at Istanbul International Airport Kills Dozens

On Tuesday, June 28th, 2016, no less than 28 people were killed and 60 injured in an attack orchestrated by three suspected suicide bombers at Istanbul Atuturk, the largest Turkish international airport. Initially, a terrorist suspect opened fire at a police guarding the outside of the airport to gain access to the international terminal before detonating a bomb. As a response, the Turkish police fired back on the suspects believed to be suicide bombers outside the security checkpoint at the entry to the international terminal (NTV News, 28th June, 2016). Despite the efforts, 28 people were killed and 60 injured during three explosions. The explosion hit a control point at the international terminal of Istanbul airport, said a state-run TRT. A witness interviewed by CNN Turk said that there was a picture of what appears to be an AK-47 rifle on the floor. Immediately after the incident, some flights were diverted away from Istanbul and police denied access to the airport while travellers were evacuated to safety. The Governor of Istanbul province, Vasip Sahin, confirmed the incident while responding on NTV.

Earlier this month, there was a terrorists’ attack that killed 11 people while injuring 36 others in Vezneciler district and the Grand Bazaar, near Istanbul University. While the June 7th attack was blamed on Islamic State Jihadis, the culprits behind the latest attack (June 28th) at the Istanbul international airport have not been revealed. However, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag maintained that he had information regarding the terrorist group responsible for the attack and would share it after the information has been confirmed. The Justice Minister condemned those who executed the terrorist attack, including their sponsors. In response to the attacks, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minster, Binali Yildirim and military commanders held an emergency meeting.

Turkey has been on high security alerts in the recent times. Besides the ongoing conflicts in its neighbouring countries Iraq and Syria, there have been fears about possible terrorist attacks because of the frequency with which violence occurs in the Kurdish south-east of the country. Government and international communities should approach terrorism in a more flexible and open manner. A flexible and resolute approach should be sought to disrupt the growing fundamentalism, radicalization and violent extremism that have occurred recently. This approach may include the deconstruction and reconstruction of the Westphalian worldview on counter-terrorism initiatives and interrogating the political and social context of terrorism. It may also involve investigating the power relations that induce tension and pose threats to global security.

Oyewole Oginni
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