All Alone and Defenceless: Victims of the Ankara Attack

35 people lost their lives after the Ankara attack last night that has sent shockwaves around the entire country. There are dozens of people who were wounded seriously. The official sources reported that the suicide bomber was a young student at Balikesir University and having a trial for having a membership of PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). The attack explicitly targeted the innocent people as the incident happened in front of a bustling centre of bus stations in the heart of city. The story of one of the victims is demonstrative and yet appalling to understand the ravages of this attack.

Ozan Can, a student of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Turkey’s prestigious Middle East Technical University (METU), lost his life tragically. He was graduated from Ankara Science High School, one of the most elite boarding schools of the country. He studied away from his parents and his hometown Gaziantep, a southern town of Turkey. He was giving private lectures in science to the secondary and high school students at the weekends to earn his pocket money. A bright future was ahead of Ozan Can. His family is currently travelling from Gaziantep to take his burned body whereas they were dreaming to come to Ankara one day to participate in their son’s graduate ceremony at the METU’s stadium. Ozan Can had lost one of his best friends, Ali Deniz, about five months ago in a previous Ankara attack in front of the Ankara train station. After he learned the death of Ali Deniz, he wrote: “The tears filling up your eyes cannot clean the blood on your hands. That wise man will always live in our hearts.” Within five months apart, the terror found Ozan Can. The smiling photo of Ozan Can and Ali Deniz is the poignant reminder of the bright future and dreams that were silenced by terror and violence.

The terrorist attacks do not only create a social setting that is memorized through rampant violence, panic or blood. The victims and their families and relatives find themselves with open wounds that will never close during the post-traumatic period throughout their lives. This is the reason that why a life perspective that embraces only non-violent approaches are so important.

Turkey was founded after the traumatic fall of the Ottoman Empire and four-year long independence war in the entire country. Yet Ataturk swiftly started the restoration of the country through his applied philosophy of collaboration and dialogue so Turkey signed peace treaties with all of the neighbouring countries from the Balkan states to Iran and the Soviets. His well-known motto “peace at home, peace in the world” ruled the foreign policy of the country. It is clear that this motto has been thrown into disarray and many citizens feel that they are left alone and defenceless now.