Authorities in Turkey have made numerous arrests in connection with the suicide bombings November 15th and November 20th in Istanbul. Together, these acts of terror killed about sixty people and wounded more than seven hundred. The Turkish investigation continues.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said, "Clearly, al-Qaida is trying to go after civilized nations which value human lives and human rights, and Turkey is a leading nation in that regard." In many ways, Turkey represents everything that al-Qaida and other terrorists hate and fear. Turkey enjoys a multi-party, democratic form of government. The terrorists seek to impose dictatorship. Turkey is a predominately Muslim nation that protects freedom of religion for people of all faiths. Al-Qaida and its collaborators seek to impose by violence their extremist brand of Islam. Turkey stands for the rule of law. Terrorists respect no law. President George W. Bush said terrorists are known by their actions:
"We see their contempt, their utter contempt, for innocent life. They hate freedom. They hate free nations. . . . They particularly want to intimidate and demoralize free nations."
Turkey is also known by its actions. A member of NATO since 1952, Turkey stood with the U.S. and other United Nations members in repelling North Korean aggression against South Korea in the 1950s. It has stood up resolutely against terrorist groups like the self-styled Kurdistan Workers Party, or P-K-K/Kadek, and has made many important contributions in the fight against international terrorism.
Most importantly, the Turkish government has committed itself to continuing the internal reforms designed to increase freedom for Turkish citizens and meet the criteria to begin membership talks with the European Union. The U.S. supports Turkey's aspirations for full European Union membership. Turkey shares the democratic values of the European Union, and the U.S. believes that Turkish membership in the E-U is in the strategic interest of the European Union, Turkey, and the U.S.
For many years, in many ways, Turkey has been a model to Muslim countries. By standing up to terrorism, it is a model to all nations.