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That violence and terror not only target individuals but also groups of people or nations, made the world a less secure place for our children. It is our responsibility, particularly the ones who govern the world to form a common ground of mutual understanding, settlement/reconciliation and respect for differences, as mothers we carry a big responsibility.


It is unfortunate that today, there is no commonly agreed description and definition of terrorism, even at the United Nations. Which actions are seen as terrorism and which are not; who is a terrorist and who is not? Every one of us defines these terms individually. A person who may be a terrorist for one, may be a freedom fighter for another, an idealist fighter for some, could be accepted as a terrorist by others. If terrorism is to be confronted on the international arena, first a definition must be reached which is approved by the United Nations. If this could be achieved, an acceptable fight against terrorism will become legitimate without anyone putting blame on anyone else and that may be the most important first step in prevention of terrorism.


Nowadays, terrorism ceased to be a problem of one nation or one region. Today it has become a reality that is encountered at different rates in almost all nations of the world. According to data from 2010, there are 196 countries fighting against terrorism. Turkey is one of the major countries that, besides other types of terrorism, she struggles seriously against ethnic based terrorism.


The aim of terror and violence may remain the same; however its form changes in parallel to technologic developments. The most important source of power in the 21st century is undoubtedly “knowledge”. The power of knowledge and the technologic advances affect our lives positively. Internet, computers, satellites, mobile phones... These are only some of the technologic products which have entered our daily lives. But then again, the same tools could be turned into weapons through the power of knowledge and we are faced with such concepts as cyber war and cyber terror. Cyber terror will show itself as the new face of terrorism in the new century. Terrorists will be able to carry out an electronic attack by opening the floodgates of a dam, disrupt the communications of the army by falsifying information, the traffic lights of a whole city could be cut off, telephone lines could be paralyzed, electrics and natural gas lines could be closed, computer systems, transport and water systems, banking and finance sectors, emergency, police, hospitals and fire departments, government institutions could be disrupted and the whole system could be stopped.


I wonder what science and technology serve for nowadays? To form healthy bonds between individuals and society, and society and government; or deceit, manipulation, slander, search on others’ faults, violation of confidentiality and intervening in private lives? Showing respect, good intentions and mutual understanding for protection of everyone’s faith, life, private property, reproduction, health of mind and body; in relations between governments and nations, rights, justice, allocation/sharing, avoiding exploitation, respect of basic human rights and freedom? or dominance of capital and assault? Presently, half of the world population earn $2 a day, one billion people try to survive with even less earnings, one fourth deprived of healthy drinking water, contagious diseases spread very fast and pose a threat to humanity; the most important need for humankind, health has become a very expensive industrial branch, global pollution and warming, high number of populations living deprived of democratic rights, as long as deprivation of human rights continue to be a life-style in different parts of the world, violence and terror continues to be a nightmare for the humankind.


If we look at the reasons of the Middle East based terror we will find these facts. The artificial borders of the region had been formed in accordance with the imperialist states’ “divide and rule” policies for their own interests caused increasing reactions of western powers. With the claim of bringing stability and democracy, U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq. Today, Iraq and the region looks far away from this target. Now, Iraq is going through a civil war.


In the 90s through the United States’ intervention a power vacuum was created in northern Iraq, from where PKK and PJAK (Kurdish terrorist organizations) have launched their attacks against Turkey and Iran. It is meaningful that the weapons used by these terrorists originate from Western countries.


U.S. and its allies entered the region to fight against terrorism after September 11 attacks. However, the matter to be questioned here is, why the supply of arms to terrorist organizations?

If one thinks of how al-Qaeda was created to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan, or how Hamas emerged as an alternative to Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), one could also argue that in the formation of these organizations, the role of Western powers, including the US and Israel, are not to be taken to granted. In this case, it will not be wrong to argue that, the US and other Western imperialistic powers while supporting ethnic based terror, always  been against religious terror and continue to see it that way.


This process shows us openly that, if double standards in policies are not abandoned, terror will continue to be the hottest subject of the agenda of Middle East and the world.


Terror problem was discussed in the past; it is being discussed today and will be discussed tomorrow if no realistic measures are taken. Ethnic, religious, socio-economic and political reasons made life difficult in the world. If the sources of violence and terror are not eliminated, all efforts are doomed to remain without solutions.



Nİlüfer BULUT- OSCE ODIHR Expert Roundtable 12 and 13 March 2012

Hofburg Congress Centre, Vienna


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