The new details coming out of the Istanbul Atatürk Airport attack are shocking: Not one or two attackers, as initially reported, but three. Not 10 killed, as initially reported, but at least 42. Bombs went off in departures, arrivals, and outside. The message? You may not be safe either coming or going from Europe's third-busiest airport. That's terrifying. And, yet, the Brussels airport attack received more mainstream attention. This quote about the Istanbul attacks from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan explain why that's a mistake.
The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world. Make no mistake: For terrorist organizations, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago, or Antalya and Rome.
Just because it's not your home airport doesn't mean that it isn't someone else's. I don't say that to instill fear; the odds are pretty good that you'll be shot by a toddler before a terrorist. But the only way to respond to attacks like the one in Istanbul with solidarity.
That's what both Pres. Obama and the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have called for. Clinton, for example, said, "All Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence."
The current solution pushed by Erdoğan, Obama, and Clinton has been based on assuming that the perpetrator is ISIS. Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said nothing is certain, but "all information and evidence" points to ISIS. "Despite paying a heavy price, Turkey has the power, determination and capacity to continue the fight against terrorism until the end," Erdoğan said in his statement. Turkey and the United States have increasingly coordinated in the fight against ISIS in Syria.
While in Ottawa for the North American Leaders' Summit, Obama said that ISIS is already losing:
Beyond killing innocents, they are continuing losing ground, unable to govern those areas that they have taken over. They're going to be defeated in Syria, they're going to be defeated in Iraq. They are going to be on the run wherever they hide. And we will not rest until we have dismantled these networks of hate that have an impact on the entire civilized world.
Clinton also pushed for a strong response:
Terrorists have struck again in the heart of one of our NATO allies. Today's attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism and radical jihadism around the world. And it reminds us that the United States cannot retreat. We must deepen our cooperation with our allies and partners in the Middle East and Europe to take on this threat.
Whether the fight is in Syria, Washington, or Ankara, it's important to provide a united front in the fight against extremism. Even more important than that is that the Turkish people understand they are not alone at a time like this.