A number of sad events have occurred in Turkey recently: in Elaziğ: three police officers were killed and 146 injured on 18 August. In Van, three were killed and 73 injured on19 August. In Gazientep, 53 were killed and over 90 injured on 20 August.
The events listed above, and the numbers who died or were injured are horrifying. For just over a year there have been a number of terrorist attacks in Turkey. These attacks have been carried out by both the PKK and by DAESH.
The above list does not include the night of 15 July; indeed, many news outlets leave this "failed coup" off their list of recent terrorist activities in Turkey. But the "failed coup", i.e. the Gulenist terror attack, must be included.
Over 250 lives were lost, thousands were injured. It is for this reason that what happened that night is seen by Turks as being no different from any of the other heinous terror attacks that have taken place.
Perhaps it was so-called soldiers who were aiming their rifles at innocent civilians, perhaps a hijacked F-16 rained down bombs on the parliament, but the result was the same. Lives were taken in the name of political ends, i.e. terrorism.
Of the above attacks, the one in Gaziantep is thought to have been carried out by Daesh. The death toll here was great, and it was a terrible tragedy, especially if one takes into consideration that the suicide bomber targeted a wedding. People were literally dancing in the streets when they were killed.
One attack was carried out by the Gulenists. This attack, the thwarted coup, took the greatest casualties. The other two attacks were carried out by the PKK.
Turkey is facing three terrorist groups. The PKK is recognized by both the US and the EU as a terrorist group, Daesh is recognised by everybody as a terrorist group, and the Gulenists are recognised by Turks and many people outside Turkey as a terrorist group.
Who is detonating the bombs makes little difference. Whether or not these groups are working in concert, as some voices are suggesting, is not of much significance. Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. It makes little difference if the person wielding the gun is wearing camouflage, a red, yellow and green head band or a black head band. The result is the same. Loss of innocent life for some political end.
Yet throughout all this a different message is emerging from Turkey. Despite the terror, mostly located in the south-east, despite the horror of a thwarted coup d'etat, life continues as normal. It is business as usual in Istanbul, Kayseri, İzmir and Ankara. People are returning from their summer holidays and the traffic is slowly increasing; the shopping centres are filling up. Business life is still humming. Indeed, the credit rating companies that Turkey has agreements with have not changed Turkey's status.
The Turkish army is as strong as ever. The Turkish army and the Turkish intelligence services are working overtime to maintain security.
There is a good reason for this. The terror is not systemic in Turkey. The PKK and Daesh are both taking advantage of the power vacuum to the south of the border, in Syria. And not only the PKK and Daesh.
The PYD, a group that is supported by other countries in the hope that they will fight against Daesh, is taking advantage of the same vacuum, and increasing its support for its sister organisation, the PKK. The PKK's sudden surge in attacks is evidence of this.
A worry often expressed is that the reorganisation of the army will harm Turkey's fight against terrorism. However, it is a sad fact that the Gulenists who had infiltrated the army and the intelligence service have now been implicated in the increase of attacks since June 2015. The Gulenists had declared war on the Turkish state long before July 15, and such actions were part of their warfare tactics.
Does the fact that there have been three major attacks since July 2016 mean that removing the Gulenists from the army has made Turkey unable to defend herself?
The answer to this is simply no. The Turkish army is as strong as ever. Former members who were removed by the Gulenists have been reinstated. But any army that is facing three separate terrorist threats must be seriously stretched. The Turkish army and the Turkish intelligence services are working overtime to maintain security.
As Europe is well aware, as they learned in Brussels and Nice, it is almost impossible to prevent a suicide bomber who is determined to die. Indeed, the attack on Atatürk Airport clearly demonstrated that a determined suicide bomber will create mayhem, no matter what. At one of the most secure airports in the world, the terrorists were only able to inflict damage by charging the security desks and detonating themselves outside the airport.
If a terrorist is intent on blowing themselves up, they will kill themselves and others. The only way to ensure security and safety in any country, be it France, the UK or Turkey, is by finding the terrorist organisations and shutting them down. For good. Be they Daesh, PKK or Gulenists.
In addition to military options, another important way of shutting down terrorist organisations is by taking away their manpower. People in the south-east have had enough of the PKK (as witnessed during the protests in Van and Elazig). They want jobs and a steady income. Prime Minister Yildirim is encouraging Turkish businesses to invest in the south-east, with the government providing matching funds. This is the best prevention for terrorism.
Despite the sad deaths, despite celebrations being turned into mourning, Turkey is continuing to function. The army is cracking down on the PKK and on Daesh; their acts are acts of desperation before the final curtain. And the business world in Turkey is looking ahead to a united Turkey that is stronger and better together.
Jane Louise Kandur is a journalist with Daily Sabah and a member of AK Party.