There's a Massive Double Standard in the Global Response to Sunday's Bombing in Ankara

There's a Massive Double Standard in the Global Response to Sunday's Bombing in Ankara
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A car bomb exploded in Turkey's capital city of Ankara on Sunday, killing 32 people and injuring more than 100, according to the Turkish health ministry.

The wreckage after the attack.
Source: 
Uncredited/AP

The alleged perpetrators are members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a militant group based in eastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mourners at the coffin of a loved one after the attack.
Source: 
Gokhan Tan/Getty Images

In contrast to the outpouring of support that followed terrorist violence in Paris in November and January 2015, the global reaction to the Ankara attack has been relatively quiet.

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.

Mourners, after the attack.
Source: 
Gokhan Tan/Getty Images

"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.

The wreckage of a car after the bombing.
Source: 
Elif Sogut/Getty Images

"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."

Mourners at a funeral for victims of the attack.
Source: 
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

"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?"

People go about their business in Ankara the day after Sunday's attack.
Source: 
ADEM ALTAN/Getty Images

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?"

h/t Independent

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Zak Cheney Rice

Zak is a Senior Staff Writer at Mic.

MORE FROM

Yes, Donald Trump can fire Robert Mueller. Here’s how he can do it.

It's a complicated process, and it could get messy, but he can do it.

Charlie Gard’s parents say they want to take their son home to die

The parents are returning to court to fight for their right to take their son home.

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.

The last baby orca to be born at SeaWorld dies after serious health issues

Kyara was the last baby orca to be born into SeaWorld's controversial breeding program.

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers

Yes, Donald Trump can fire Robert Mueller. Here’s how he can do it.

It's a complicated process, and it could get messy, but he can do it.

Charlie Gard’s parents say they want to take their son home to die

The parents are returning to court to fight for their right to take their son home.

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.

The last baby orca to be born at SeaWorld dies after serious health issues

Kyara was the last baby orca to be born into SeaWorld's controversial breeding program.

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers