The news about terrorist attacks from all over the world have caused a highly bloody and painful beginning for 2015. All of the world was shocked with the terrorist attacks in France. Süleyman Şensoy, Chairman of TASAM is our guest to talk about the attacks made by Al Qaeda of Yemen and radical terror.
When we observe the attacks in Paris, we find the unity of attacks that were planned and were worked very well. And when we observe that unity; how should we evaluate these attacks as a form and planning?
First of all, as for me, the publishing concept of the magazine called “Charlie Hebdo” is not a freedom of expression or freedom of press/media. But, the reponse with such an action is more wrong than the mistake made by the magazine. A mistake has been growing with another mistake. This attack has not only a detective part, but also evaluations which can be strategically analyzed and which can be made both in France and in European countries, both in Europe and in a global scale. Europe has been facing some serious matters especially for a decade. Especially right after the global economical crisis which became obvious in 2008, this fact has become more visible. The point reached by Europe is the point of the “unsucces in success”.
Europe has increased its standards because it couldn’t predict the rise of countries like China and the speed of their share from the economic pie of the world. And it can’t finance these standards economically (at the same time including relatively different countries like Germany). So, political excesses were begun to increase also in Europe, the event of “Charlie Hebdo” is its image. The events in Sweden, in Denmark and in other different countries has showed the rise of political excess. Such as the “Pegida” movement that began recently and has a history only for a few month. So, there is also a serious micro-nationality movement in Europe. Namely, Scotland wanted to leave; but failed. Catalonia wants to leave; Belgium wants to be devided; and such wishes have begun to be obvious in different countries. To prevent all the nationality movements in terms of the future of Europe and the way of management of this attack or this process in terms of canalizing correct; are highly important.
Europe has been trying to provide an unity in itself by turning Muslims and Islam into a target and by using the bad situation in which Islamic world is now and such representation problems that we should make a self-criticism. Actually, it has been trying to orient the accumulated negative energy from the destructive situation in itself to the external threat. Also such social engineering events are risky. They don’t go on as they were planned. But, Europe is one of the regions that includes the safest countries in the world in terms of security risks. Despite of all, it is highly interesting that such an attack could be organized.
There are hundreds of details such as the identity left behind and so the caught of the people, who made attacks, right after the attack. Namely, both a high professionalism and a very high amateurism draw the attention. Both can’t be together in the same time, namely there is a multifaceted process. You can both create some thesis for conspiracy theories – there is a serious return of that – and comment the event as it seems. But, we can not say that the result is well also in both situation for Muslims, Muslims living in Europe and the Islamic world out of Europe.
Now, when we observe the reactions; also the Pope Francis warned about the freedom of expression and the border of the freedom of expression; and he claimed that as “lots of thing can not be explained within the freedom of expression, there should be a border”. Also, the other attractive interview for me was published in the magazine called as “Le Monde”. One of the founders in the team, who released the first issue of Charlie Hebdo in 1970 – at that time it was called as “Hara-kiri Hebdo” -, comments as “Mother Ruse took Sharbonie team to the death.” Namely, there is her explanation which emphasizes that there should be a border. Now, also on the other side Al Qaeda of Yemen took that on after a while such in 8 or 10 days in terms of taking the action on; but Kuaşi brothers shouted as “We are from Al Qaeda of Yemen” while they were doing that action; there was a woman who witnessed all. The informations arrived by French police and intelligence have been appearing slowly, there will be lots of details more, and also that will keep on appearing in the next period. Now, when we analyse the details in our hands till this moment; wherever and whenever these men went, whatever they did, whom they communicated, wherever they found the guns – also the gun “Kolibali” in the supermarket attack was bought from Brussels – were defined. When all is clear, it seems like there is a weakness of intelligence or a weakness of movement capacity. How should we evaluate this chain of lapses of French police. Because there are lots of question marks in this case.
Again there are two options in front of us: First, we will create a conspiracy theory, we will comment as overlooking to all by European intelligence agencies or French intelligence agencies in a certain level; or second, we will comment as awkwardness, negligence or weakness as you said. Both are possible, but as for me, the conspiracy theories in this field are more logical. Because they needed such an event for changing the European security parameters and thickening the security parameters both in the eyes of organs of European Union and in the level of national governments. Because, all in a sudden; you can’t restrict such freedoms that you gave to the societies. You should give an reasonable justification. In the result, the security parameters of Europe and some security rights will be restricted with that security justification. Otherwise, there is a message. “We, who are the Christians and Jewishs under the attack, are very well; Muslims and people whose origin is Islam are the ones who distrupt that; and highly important majority of them can be terrorist or -even they are not – they can support it and approach it with a sympathy”. There is also such a message in the subject of providing a serious cooperation. In this case, the lessons that we will get from here are important as countries in the Region, as a country who manage a negotiation of EU membership and as an important country of Islamic world. But, that is a process managed with a highly important state mind. Personally, I don’t like the conspiracy theories, but when you think with a state mind, a strong state mind manages this process in the point reached by Europe, global balances and the world. Here, there isn’t anything like a “total gain” or a “total loss”. People who works with this mind faces up to certain losses. Dead people at Charlie Hebdo is also a part of these losses. As for me, it is faced up to more different losses economically, socially, politically maybe in middle or long term.
One of the losses is Ahmet Mera from the police team that came there for intervention in the moment of the event. Also, he is a Muslim. Police officer, who was 41 years old, was murdered in unflappable way in that attack. Namely, these attacks don’t have a special target as only for Christians, Jewishs or the other different religional group. Also a Muslim is being murdered.
It seems like a “work accident of terror” because he came there with a French police uniform. Terrorist doesn’t have any luxury to look whether he is a Muslim or not, so he executes him there, also. We told lots of times in Turkey that “The eyes of terrorism are blind”. Even if you are in a terrorist action; you can harm or kill the innocent people who isn’t interested in anything that you aimed at (also they are innocent).
The Jewish neighbourhood was specially chosen in the event of Koşar Supermarket in the center of Paris; and that was in front of us as a kind of a parallel action when the Koaşi brothers were compressed in the printing office. 4 people lost their lives in the result of the operation of French police and taking people in the supermarket as hostages by Bumedin and Kolibali after saying “Look, we can kill all in the supermarket if Koaşi brothers are damaged”. Whatever was done in the supermarket hasn’t been clarified yet and the witness statements haven’t been shared with the media; but it is known that a Muslim worker desperately hid some hostages to the cooler and so anywise, they could keep on living. Even, it has been spoken that this person is seemed as a hero and this should be awarded as a kind of sample behavior. And at this point; it is clear that there is a relation among Kolibali, Bumedin and Koaşi brothers and that relation has been continuing for years. Also, that continuing relation is put forth with proofs. The french intelligence is a serious working intelligence and somehow they can follow these events then how can’t they give enough importance to the subject in evaluation process. The proofs are obvious and these people are all related to eachother and they can do everything clearly by trusting themselves as much as they can share their photos in the social media while they were doing brazenly the target practice. It seems like there is also some points that should be locked on about the intelligence weakness and that should be locked on also by especially France and Europe.
There can be a weakness of intelligence but there is not a rule like intelligence agencies can prevent all, hundred percent. There can be some different events even in the countries which have highly strong intelligence system in all around the world. But that attack happened and finished. There may be spoken, discussed or investigated whether there was a weakness of intelligence or not; but the important point is who will be affected by the results just after that attack and how this process can be managed. What does it mean for Europe, what does it mean for America, what does it mean for countries in the Region, for the North Africa, for the Middle East; and what kind of effect will be on the world because of that? As for me, that should be more emphasized economically, both in terms of political security and the meaning of social peace. The West has a basic paradigm; if there has been an event, it has been concentrating on how they can maximize the present situation to their own favor. So, I guess, that’s what we should do.
At the moment, one of the question marks is; how were guns obtained? How could they accomplish an action with Kalashnikovs in the middle of Paris? But, there are some unsuprising details when we analyse the situation. It has been a known fact for years that the weapons trafficking has been done into Marseilles from countries of the North Africa and into different places of Europe over Marseilles. On the other side, there have been details in French media; they bring some guns to the Country by pieces and the weapons trafficking has been also a troublesome issue of Europe as human trafficking. First of all, France should take a precaution, then also European Union should thicken the precautions about it. While these guns are in a free movement; they can be included to terrorist actions by being used in highly various places from Belgium to Germany, from Italy to France and to Spain; and they can cause losses of life. Now, what kind of precaution should be taken and what kind of action should be followed by Europe about the weapons trafficking and other issues?
After that, such policies will be thickened with the effect of this event (in the context of both customs controls and domestic security precautions). Even so, no matter where you are in the world, if you make the necessary payment; you can find a gun. You can find a thousand guns in America, but you can find ten guns in France; namely only the amount can change.
Additionally, it is a serious crime to have an unlicensed gun in France. There is a risk to stay in jail for years.
They can enter from the borders with various ways. Today, you can find them a bit in countries whose system is very strong; but you can find a lot in countries whose system is flexible. In the result, we can say that it is about whether you could find necessary funding, but after that such precautions especially the security precautions about firearms will be thickened more both for France and European Union. For the rest, the security parameters of Europe will begin to change in its relations with Islamic world and the other rest of the world, even in its own. We should accept that event as a milestone. In addition, that attack was a milestone also in the point of the correct management of political excesses in Europe (in terms of the benefits of Europe).
Since the beginning, Turkey has expressed that; “If you can make an intelligence sharing with us on the right place, at the right time and in a correct way about Suriye crisis, ISID crisis and the other terrorist actions; our system has been already open to help in every condition.”. The same thing is valid also for that event. It was found that Hayat Bumedin entered into Turkey in 2 January. Then he went to Syria in 8 January. The result is obvious because French departments do not share its intelligence with Turkey. Even also there is a fact such that they shared only a part of intelligence in their hands related 500 or 800 people. After the events, there are explanations of France about that intelligence sharing will be more efficient and various precautions will be taken. If Turkey hasn’t any information, it is already impossible to define that person as a terrorist, to make a transaction and after that transaction to finalize it. Approximately 100 million people come Turkey, have a holiday or drop in on any airport or seaport in Turkey and keep on their way for the transit, per year. So, doesn’t the intelligence sharing have a critical importance?
The countries which has a security concern should be more flexible and transparent for the countries or institutions who can decrease their security concern. But, intelligence agencies have a vocational envy about this issue, in general. I think that after all, there will be a stronger cooperation and sharing mutually.
There are some threats from Al Qaeda; even according to the claims, there has been talking a threat about that the next target will be Germany in the source of those threats. If we suppose what is being afraid is experienced –but we don’t even want to think such a possibility-, and if an attack is organized by a different radical terrorist source such as Al Qaeda or ISID to different targets in Europe; what will happen? It has been discussed that the security precautions should be increased with Schengen free movement or such similar things in the decisions unity related with Europe. Also, it has begun to be talked about closing the borders and the application of passenger list. What can be done with such a packet of concrete precautions?
After 11 September, there were terrorist attacks in all important countries which were in a global alliance in those days. Also Turkey was included in them. So, coalition was strengthened there. I express without my own opinions that this process will continue also in Europe, it can happen in Germany, and in other countries; because if Europe would like to have a serious policy change, then it will need also such events. Those may not be as an organization of their own, and it can be existed as a weakness of intelligence. There is more important issue rather than that one; there is the Arab Spring process which has begun just in the South of Europe, namely in the North Africa. A great chaos was developed in the North Africa and the Middle East because the instruments used about the Arab Spring were the biological arms and because it was manifested as provoking and being battled of the differencies. Lots of countries are in the middle of war and unstability. And it is so normal that the side effects of the used biological arms are seen in Europe. It can be even seen in lots of countries in the world, also. As long as that political violence and political excesses are increased, everyone will be affected from that; because people has been trying to build a new world between the East and the West. There is a new political, economical and military cooperation in Trans-atlantic and Trans-pacific and against that, there are countries like Russia and China. In this competition, Russia is on the agenda with its crisis and economical embargos like Ukraine and Georgia.
There is a serious risk of unstability among approximately hundred of countries which are in a competition field between the East and the West. Ukraine has become a front country, also Syria has become a front country. Almost the combatants there, has transformed a shape of powers which have been supported by major countries instead of Syrians or Ukrainians. There are lots of countries who have a potential to be in this situation. And that has two sides: First, the risk of micro-nationality used in global competition is seen in Europe. So, Europe will tend to change its own domestic unity and its security policies by managing such events well. Then as a second, there will be a side effect of these events in the countries using the arguments and instruments such as micro-nationality and being battled of the differencies. I accept that the attack, which was made to Charlie Hebdo, is one of the side effects. So, this is a situation which can be absorbed for Europe.
There is a trouble called as PEGIDA in Europe, especially in Germany. I don’t even want to mention about its expansion, but here is a group who claims that their aim is to purify Europe from Islam. They began their actions with two – three hundreds of people in November; and at that moment, neither in Germany nor in anywhere in the world, nobody has thought also that this issue would grow up this much, spread bit by bit in such a short time, and rush up a great prejudice and hostility against Islam. The population of Muslims is four thousandths in the Saxony province at Dresden and it is in a highly low amount; and there are Vietnameses, Ukrainians, Poles and Russians when we analyse the immigrants. They are equal also four percent of the population. It is interesting that such a movement has begun in a small city of culture, history and production as Dresden in Germany. PEGIDA rushs up the hostility against Islam. So, how should we evaluate the strengthening of similar movements and what kind of opposite-precaution should be taken?
There are two bases about the existance of such movements. First, as I expressed, there are negativities brought by global competition in the world and financial regressions depending on these negativities; because the point reached by Europe, as I pointed out in the beginning of my sentences, is “unsuccess in success”. At the moment, people who has a normal job in Europe makes barely a living. Those old prosperous days, the height of the purchasing power were ten years ago. As long as the share of the countries, like China and India and the smaller countries in the Region, from the economic pie of the world and the pie of employment has been increasing, the works of Europe have also been getting harder.
Even, I’m interrupting you but it is beneficial to remind the popular discourse of Helmut Kohl, who was chancellor of the West Germany in 90s; after the unification with the East Germany, he said by meaning the Turkish people that; “look, they take your works”. He followed such a path in the direction of gaining the votes and developing a popular discourse. The domestic policy of Germany was the factor which rushs up the discrimination and can not provide of creating that image in the mind of East Germans.
The average population of EU, in which has 28 members, is 450-460 million people. Also the educated people in China is 450 million people. There is a great competence and battle of wealth-poverty in terms of the future. The standards of everyone have been in a regression. And it is quite normal to have political excesses, then. It was the first time that a middle-class has been built in the West with the Soviet leverage, namely with a fear of communism and being spread of left movements. Otherwise it was impossible to build the middle class in the mentality of materialism of the West and to give the rights to the laborer and worker class. To build the middle class both in Europe –especially in the West Europe- and America became possible with the Soviet leverage. Despite that, Soviets kept their existance in two thirds of the world for a long time. Now, this process keeps on in the opposite direction, the middle class are being liquidated with Chinese leverage, namely because of the competitive policies and infrastructure of China; and the standards in labor market have been continuously decreasing. This situation is a serious global matter. The political excesses will happen in everywhere; PEGIDA is one of them, but the important issue is how EU or related countries will manage this process. Can Europe be kept away from its own domestic conflicts by giving them an argument such as the opposition to Islam? It is possible for them to try or it is possible for them to fail on the management of this process. The political excesses can bring the Europe to the point that can break it into the pieces.
In the first years of the crisis, there was an expression of Merkel as; “If it keeps on like that, Europe can not be in peace for a long time”. A concensus was provided with 2nd World War. A unity in Europe was happened with the pressure of America. The conflicts in the East Europe and Balkans kept on till the recent history. Yugoslavia divided into eight countries. The regression in economical prosperity, the liquidation of middle-class and the decrease of the standards in labor market will trigger the political excesses in Europe. “PEGIDA” is one of them. So, we should talk and discuss by focusing into the answers of these questions; how are we affected, how is Islamic world affected, how is Turkey affected from this process as a country managing a full membership negotiation, and how can Turkey give contribution with its experiences.
( Süleyman ŞENSOY, Chairman of TASAM | Interview | TRT Turk Haber Ajandasi Programme | 17.01.2015 )