There's a Massive Double Standard in the Global Response to Sunday's Bombing in Ankara
The alleged perpetrators are members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a militant group based in eastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.
James Taylor, an English-speaking Facebook user living in Ankara, wrote a post addressing this double standard soon after the bombing. Here's what he had to say:
"For those who do not know Turkey, or who distance themselves from these attacks, maybe this will open your eyes," Taylor wrote.
"The bombing this evening occurred in ... one of the most crowded parts of the centre of town, next to many bus stops with people waiting to go home, arriving for a night out, and sitting in the park relaxing and drinking tea," Taylor continued.
"Ankara is not a war zone, it is a normal modern bustling city, just like any other European capital, and Kizilay [where the attack occurred] is the absolute heart, the center."
"It is very easy to look at terror attacks that happen in London, in New York, in Paris and feel pain and sadness for those victims, so why is it not the same for Ankara?"
Taylor went on to ask whether the world responded less vocally to the Ankara attack because its victims are mostly Muslim:
"Is it because you think that Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, like Syria, like Iraq, like countries that are in a state of civil war, so therefore it must be the same and because you don't care about those ones, then why should you care about Turkey?" he wrote.
"You were Charlie, you were Paris. Will you be Ankara?"
He has a point: Whereas both of the Paris attacks in 2015 were met with massive shows of solidarity both on social media — in the form of the trending hashtag #JeSuisCharlie and the Paris flag Facebook filter option — and on the ground — in the form of global leaders marching through the French capital in solidarity — Ankara has met with little to compare.
Instead, Ankara finds its closest parallel in what happened to Beirut. The day before terrorists killed more than 120 people in Paris in November, a series of suicide bombings in the Lebanese capital left 43 dead and 239 wounded.
Observers were quick to point out the different degrees of response to each attack:
Taylor's post is clearly designed to elicit European sympathy in particular. It likens the city of Ankara to various public spaces in London, and goes out of its way to insist Turkey "is not the Middle East" — though the implication that this should somehow make it more relatable has problems of its own.
But at its core, the post does the important work of humanizing the bombing victims in ways that much of the world has failed to do yet. "You were Charlie, you were Paris," Taylor wrote in conclusion. "Will you be Ankara?"