It has taken me a week to even begin to reach a point where I feel comfortable writing about the New Year’s Eve attack at Reina.
Over the past year Turkey has experienced numerous terrorist attacks, each has had it’s fair share of civilian and police causalities. Each has ended lives before they should have ended. Each has meant that some lost a love..a child, a parent, a sister, a brother, a friend…
But for some reason this most recent attack feels especially painful. It may because I personally had such high hopes for 2017.
2016, and even the end of 2015, were trying times for me personally, both physically and emotionally. Trying to keep myself centered and maintain my health throughout the year was often a struggle, and the added uncertainty and turmoil in Turkey (and the world) frequently made daily life feel truly overwhelming. The notion that a new year was upon us became an uplifting way to search for the positive and believe that things could change, and would, hopefully soon. The hope with which I had prepared to welcome 2017 was for me, a much-needed emotional boost.
The Reina attack shortly after midnight on January 1st seemed to wipe away that feeling of hope entirely. Each time I think about all the young people killed, all those injured, and all those for whom New Year’s Eve will forever be a reminder of devastation and trauma, I am filled with a deep feeling of sorrow.
The aftermath of the attack has only served to heighten my sadness and anxiety.
How will Turkey move forward from here? For me, over the past week numerous political and social issues that have always been pushed to somewhere on the edge of my horizon have now entered squarely into my field of vision…and they feel insurmountable. Enumerating these issues in an online forum has become dangerous and will have to wait for another day; one that I fear will not come soon.
Eighteen years ago, I made the conscious decision to make Turkey my home. And for better or worse, Turkey took me in wholeheartedly. Turks are extremely kind, hospitable people who consistently go out of their way for others. Although Turkey has always been in a state of development, it has always shown a great deal of potential and economic developments had always seemed to be helping to foster increasingly open-minded liberal worldviews.
Following the Reina attack, I have begun to feel not only as part of an unwanted minority, but also an unprotected one. I’m afraid that things will only get worse before they get better, and as they do, who will stand up for my rights, and those of my children? Is it possible for us to survive, let alone thrive, in this environment? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we continue to live in a state of caution as we wait for the seemingly inevitable next attack.