“As you sow, so shall you reap” is a commonly used proverb in Turkish. And there is a more realistic version of it: “Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.” Expecting to see goodness growing on the lands on which rulers keep sowing evil with all their power would be foolish.
To avoid using the word “fool”, let me call it naivety. All through December, we had been waiting for 2016 to end for we wanted to be done with those nightmarish days. We were fed up by the products of the seeds of evil sowed in 2015. We were naïve; we didn’t think about the seeds of evil sowed in 2016 while we were making our wish. However, the government sowed the seeds of hatred, violence, enmity and state terror all over our country and beyond.
We saw the result with two striking incidents. Pro-government media realized that jihadist groups that they had been supporting for 6 years against the Syrian government, which is still legitimate according to UN, were trapped in Aleppo and made a fuss claiming that a humanitarian crisis was taking place in eastern Aleppo. However, other news sources had been covering the people who were living in the same neighborhood and celebrating the liberation during the same days. As part of this tear-jerking propaganda, some mobilized people staged protests in front of Russian consulates in Ankara and Istanbul. Especially after July 15, AKP gained considerable experience in forming masses consisting of hundreds of people by just mobilizing 25-30 people. Recently, keeping the track of HDP offices that have been attacked by such groups became impossible.
Starting with Gezi Park protests and continuing with the president’s routine meetings with neighborhood representatives, citizens have been encouraged to take action on their own. We saw the result of encouraging pro-government people to take initiative with incidents like the attacker with machete, murder of journalist Nuh Köklü and attacks against women in public places with “improper” outfits. In the end, a young police officers killed Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov in front of the cameras, since he deemed the ambassador responsible for the situation in Aleppo.
Before the New Year’s Eve, pro-government and Islamist media outlets carried a systematic threat campaign against New Year celebrations. Confusing Christmas with New Year on purpose, they argued that those celebrations are Christian traditions. Ministry of Education’s directorates in different cities joined this campaign with the circular letters. In the letters sent to schools, it was demanded all celebrations are cancelled. Worst of all, Directorate of Religious Affairs released a sermon to be read in all mosques. In the sermon dominated by a discriminatory discourse, New Year celebrations were defined as “illegitimate” and the ones who want to celebrate it were labeled as atheists.
Given these circumstances, can we say that what happened on New Year’s Eve was unexpected? Unlike previous years, no municipality organized programs for celebration. Nevertheless, it was claimed that as much as 25,000 police forces were on the alert.
Only the place of attack was surprising, which proves that the trouble called terrorism is a vexed issue. Take all the precautions you want, but it will manage to hit in the most excepted place. And the most meaningless statements possible in the face of such a situation are the ones that say “until the last terrorist is destroyed”.
The real issue is to stop sowing seeds that lead you to reap terror. As the people of Sasun say, “A stone might plunge down on your head, even if you are on the highest peak of Sasun.”