When US Vice President Joe Biden visited Ankara Aug. 25 to repair Turkish-US relations, which have been strained since Turkey's failed July 15 coup attempt, he offered an interesting analogy. After examining the ruins at the Turkish parliament bombed by the putschists, he compared Turkey's trauma to America's experience after 9/11, urging reporters to "imagine if the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, had made it to the US Capitol." He added, "Imagine the psychological impact on the American people."
Some Americans disliked this analogy, blaming Biden for "using 9/11 victims for political points." Yet in fact, Biden was right; 9/11 is actually a good analogy to understand the impact of the failed coup on Turkish society. The death toll in these attacks, admittedly, were unequal: There were 10 times more victims on 9/11 than during Turkey's coup. Still, just like 9/11, the coup attempt was the greatest attack the Turkish nation has faced in decades. Moreover, just like after 9/11, the Turkish state now has a right to defend itself and eliminate an immediate threat.