Image Credits: USA Today

Terrorist attacks are unfortunately becoming more prominent in today’s culture and yesterday, we were reminded yet again, that terrorism is very real. Ataturk Airport, located in Istanbul, is the third largest airport in Europe, and by far the most central airport for Turkey. On June 28, 2016 three suicide bombers opened fire in the Ataturk Airport before detonating their bombs, killing themselves and 41 others. The number of fatalities connected with this tragedy is expected to rise as there were at least 239 people injured in the attack. While it has been confirmed that there were foreigners present during the attack, it is not clear whether or not Americans were involved. Two of the bombers ran toward the security checkpoints, all while shooting at those around them. It appears that they did not detonate their explosives until the bombers were shot by airport security. One bomber was hit and fell to the ground and his gun slid away from him. A bystander rushed to assist but then fled when they saw the vest containing the bomb. The third bomber detonated in the parking lot, outside the airport.

While ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the attack in Istanbul, many authorities believe that ISIS is behind it. Turkey has been a growing target for ISIS as well as the Kurdish nationalist group (PKK), and the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK). This is the sixth large scale attack on Turkey this year. ISIS is known to utilized suicide bombers to carry out their missions, causing many to speculate on their level of involvement. Furthermore, ISIS often targets locations on the international stage, such as this airport; whereas, the PKK is known to aim at other targets such as law enforcement and military structures. Additionally, ISIS promised an increase in attacks during the holy month of Ramadan which is coming to a close. Many have speculated that this attack is very similar to the March ISIS attack in Brussels, further confirming that ISIS is likely behind it.

These recent attacks have sparked fear in countries around the world. The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded all departures and arrivals between the United States and Istanbul for several hours on Tuesday night. All flights going through the Ataturk Airport were also temporarily delayed but resumed early Wednesday morning. As an extra precaution, additional security has been deployed to New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, as well as Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Turkey is a staunch ally of the United States, and a NATO member working to fight the Islamic State. The White House did release a statement late last night saying “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s heinous terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport in Turkey,” but so far there has been no press conference from the President himself. The press release went on to stand by Turkey saying “We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO Ally and partner,” reasserting that we remain committed to fighting terrorism.  

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were both quick to share their thoughts on the terrorist attack in Istanbul, condemning terrorism and this act of violence. At a rally in Ohio, Trump addressed the attack saying “Alright, it’s bad. And we better get smart. And we better get tough. Or we are not going to have much of a country left.” Hillary released a statement saying “Today’s attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.” The hashtag #PrayForTurkey began trending soon after the attack, signaling widespread support for the targeted country.

This morning, Turkey works to resume normal activity, bringing in workers to clear the debris and resuming flights. At this time, experts believe that there is no indication that another attack will follow any time soon. Instead, authorities are focused on recovering. While around 33 percent of flights were cancelled and others delayed extensively, Prime Minister Binali Yildirimdid did say in a statement this morning that “our airport has been opened to flights and departures from 2:20 on.” It is clear that terrorism is not a trend that will soon fade, we must work to fight this form of terror if we hope to avoid future large scale attacks, such as the one in Turkey

Lauren N
Lauren is one of our managing editors here at Future Female Leaders. When she is not editing FFL articles, you can find her color coding her whole life in her Lilly Pulitzer agenda. She's a southern girl who loves Hokie football and isn't afraid to be politically incorrect, so consider this your trigger warning.

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