“The country is at a critical juncture — or perhaps beyond it. Because of the sad loss of democracy within its borders and the repeated mistakes of [Turkey's] AKP [Justice and Development Party] government in Syria, because of the turbulence of the Middle East and the changing world scene, our big cities have become a new front for terrorists. Once we thought Turkey would be a shining role model for the Muslim world; now we are worried that our country may in fact be following some of its worst examples.”
These are the concluding remarks of renowned Turkish novelist Elif Shafak in a Jan. 3 piece in the British daily The Guardian. Within the first hour of the first day of 2017, terror had struck once again in Istanbul, taking 39 lives, heralding another gloomy year ahead for the Turks and leading to Shafak’s anguished lines.