The morning of October 10th, 2015 did not begin like any other morning for me. While on my way to a friend’s house, I had to take a detour because there was a suspicious package near one side of an apartment compound. The police had to use compressed air to make the package explode, but it was over very quickly, and it was soon forgotten. Looking back, it was truly a sign of what was to come.
I was heading off to a weekend trip with my friend’s family for Columbus Day weekend. As we left the city, everything seemed normal. About thirty minutes later, my mom texted me, saying that there had been some type of bombing. The radio reported nothing of this, and any news of the attack was very slowly making its way to the internet. By the time we reached the resort, two hours outside of Ankara, we understood that there had been a terrible bombing at a rally in the center of Ankara. Our vacation-induced happiness quickly dissipated.
There had been a peace rally outside the train station- the train station I had just traveled through the week before with my mother. Two men, we later found out, blew themselves up in the in the midst of the crowd. As the news broke internationally, we were anxiously trying to make sure all of our friends were safe. Thankfully, they were. Meanwhile, a handful of friends and family members from around the world reached out to us. We were all coming together during this upsetting time.
By the time we returned to the city a few days later, a somber mood filled the air. Most funerals had already taken place, but there were still hundreds of people recovering in hospitals. It was the largest attack in modern Turkish history.
It wasn’t until later that we understood the full extent of what happened that Saturday morning. 109 people were killed by two suicide bombers. They were linked to ISIS, but there was never any confirmation of the organization or the motive behind the attack. Unfortunately, this was only the first attack that occurred while I lived in Ankara.
However, the city and the Turkish people were resilient. Life returned back to normal. As the western image of “Turkey is just another war torn Middle Eastern country" grew, the Turkish people continued to live their lives just as they would in any other city around the world.
It was shocking and sickening to be faced with the reality that people had been killed in the very place I’d stood literally a week before. The senseless reality of terrorism could not be more true for us. Additionally, it was frustrating to see how quickly the international community seemed to forget about the horror of the events happening in Turkey, not to mention the value of human life.
So today, I ask you to remember the people who were killed two years ago in Ankara. I also ask that you support the victims of terror everywhere in the world. Even though some attacks receive far more publicity than others, do not turn a blind eye to the victims of a less famous attack. A human life is a human life, regardless of nationality or ethnicity.