Gerhard Günther Höppner, Steffen Höppner, Rudolf Krollman, Hiltrud Krollman, Karin Erika Franke-Dütz, Rüdiger Karl Faber, Marianne Faber, Gernot Eike Mildner, Adolf Jurgen Glorius and Rüdiger Becker.
This is a list of the names of the victims of the terrorist attack in Sultanahmet Square in İstanbul. The lives, loves, sorrows and dreams of these people are unknown to us. Their journey that started in İstanbul and was destined for Dubai or other locations ended in Sultanahmet Square. May God bless them and give patience to their relatives.
The attack on 11 people, 10 of them German citizens, was no coincidence. The place wasn’t, either. With my close friends Hannes and Christine, I visited this square a couple of days ago. It was under snow, then. It is a unique meeting place of Egyptian, Roman, Ottoman and German history. In the photos released after the terrorist attack, you can see the German Fountain next to the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) and the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia). The fountain symbolizes friendship. This place is a popular attraction for thousands of tourists at any time of day. Germans were the most likely targets. It is eyebrow-raising that the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière is visiting İstanbul; maybe he has information confirming this possibility. The fact that the attack was conducted in Sultanahmet Square implies that Turkey’s tourism was the target. The attack seeks to hit Germany and Europe in İstanbul.
This attack indirectly seeks to undermine Turkey’s tourism. Hotel operators in İstanbul now rightly consider the 2016 season to be over. Many companies in Germany and other parts of Europe have announced that their customers can cancel their travels to İstanbul or other parts of Turkey. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that many people will cancel their travels to İstanbul or other Turkish destinations after this attack.
If Turkish tourism is targeted, both the target and timing were well chosen. January and February are the months when summer holiday bookings are made in Germany and Europe. It is certain that hundreds of thousands of people will revise their plans about Turkey. By targeting Germans, the attack may be seeking to sabotage the tourism sector. Germans have constituted one of the largest groups of visitors to Turkey for years. It may not be coincidental that this attack came weeks after Russia’s boycott. The target, place and timing were all well-thought.
From the information disclosed by the authorities, we have learned that the suicide bomber was a Syrian citizen born in 1988 and living in Saudi Arabia. We don’t know if this information, released with unexpected speed, is reliable. The Turkish Prime Minister and the government’s spokesperson have announced that the attack was carried out by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This information could be confirmed in the coming days. The parallels between the Suruç and Ankara attacks imply this source as well. Nevertheless, the investigation must consider all the possibilities. ISIL is not the only fundamentalist terrorist organization and there are other sources that use such groups as well.
In the Syrian crisis, it is unclear who is linked to whom, but there are certain facts. The implicit cooperation between the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIL and al-Nusra has continued for years. For the last five years, Assad has been dropping barrel bombs on Aleppo, Homs and Hama but has carefully avoided ISIL or al-Nusra controlled locations. He apparently seeks to force the world to choose the lesser of two evils.
Iran and Russia are targeting the opposition forces, not ISIL or al-Nusra. It is no coincidence that the Russian warplane was downed at least 100 kilometers west of the ISIL front.
Common sense prevailed in the news reports and commentaries on German TV channels a few hours after the incident. There was no panic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent out a solidarity message in a speech. German youths in İstanbul seem to be shocked by the incident, but they say they aren’t afraid. Understandably, the German media outlets focus not only on İstanbul but also on Diyarbakır. They note that peace dominated the region until a few months ago. “Enough with this sorrow,” they seem to say.
I hope this attack has served as an eye-opener for those who think with the categories of friend and enemy, helping them to show that İstanbul and Berlin are actually very close to each other.