By Alakbar Raufoglu
As the news of terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki’s death reached Turkey, many voiced optimism that this could be the beginning of a serious downfall for Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organisations.
Although the US has managed to prevent most major terrorist attacks on its territory over the past decade, Turkey hasn’t been so lucky — al-Qaeda was responsible for several high-profile attacks in Istanbul.
The elimination of terrorist leaders is a major blow to al-Qaeda’s most active operational affiliate — and this will influence terrorists’ morale. “But this is not the end of the war. The international community needs to stand together against the reasons of the terrorism,” former Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin told SETimes.
“We hope those who launch terrorist attacks in Turkey and throughout the world, will take their lesson from Awlaki’s fate,” he added.
Justice and Development Party MP Burhan Kayaturk says that, as a nation that has lost tens of thousands to terrorism, Turkey is pleased that one more dangerous public al-Qaeda leader is dead.
“We always stood against terrorism, but other governments should take their responsibility as well,” he said, noting the Middle Eastern conflicts that might create a greater danger for the region.
However, he adds, the West, especially the US, could garner more support from the Muslim world against terrorism “if there weren’t any disagreements between them over their Israel policy”.
Serdar Erdurmaz, an Ankara-based security analyst from the Turkish Centre for Strategic Analysis, says Turkish politicians are being cautious, since previous al-Qaida leaders’ deaths have heightened domestic terrorism threats.
“The fact that the number of PKK attacks is increasing proves Turkey is more sensitive to such matters,” he told SETimes.
Tayyar Arı, the head of the Department of International Relations at Uludag University, agrees that almost everyone in Turkey is pleased to hear about the successes of the international war against terrorists.
“All of the newspapers and TV channels headlined today’s news as number one news,” he told SETimes. He notes that Awlaki’s death closely follows the new joint initiative by the US and Turkey to combat terrorism, dubbed the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
“During the last meeting between [US President Barak Obama] and [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan], they agreed for join co-operation in this sphere. Terror is still a threat for Turkey as well,” he said.