Weekend Roundup: A Pattern of Crises Connects Cologne and Istanbul

Even before the “Night of Shame” on New Year’s Eve in Cologne further fueled an already fervent anti-foreigner backlash, German leaders were desperately looking to Turkey to stem the flow of refugees headed to Europe from the war-torn Mideast. Now 10 German tourists have lost their lives at the foot of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. They are the victims of yet another suicide bombing by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in the wake of Turkey’s decision last July to allow U.S. warplanes to fly from its soil to attack militant positions in Syria. Along the old route of the Orient Express, violence and disorder are weaving an interrelated and self-reinforcing pattern of crises that will be hard to unravel.

Writing from Istanbul, Kaya Genc recalls French novelist Gustave Flaubert’s observation on a visit there during another tumultuous period in 1850 that aptly fits events today both in Turkey and Europe: “Everything here is breaking up, as with us.” Also writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan argues that there is plenty of blame to go around for the linked crises of the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, terrorism and refugees: “The U.S. and EU are also to blame, having assisted Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in their destabilization of Syria,” he says. Ömer Taşpınar writes that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fight against the Kurds is inhibiting a serious assault on ISIS.

World Reporter Nick Robins-Early chronicles the political turmoil and violence that have wracked Turkey over recent months while Charlotte Alfred, another world reporter, details efforts by authorities to ban media coverage of terror bombings. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent <a target="_blank" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/turkey-tourism-istanbul-bomb_569520c9e4b086bc1cd53593?utm_hp_ref=world" —> Read More