The politics of fear is sweeping the globe. It’s certainly playing a central role in the presidential campaign in the USA right now. It’s engulfing Europe. Those in power and those seeking power have often used it to advance their respective causes.
Marketers call it “The FUD Factor.” Instill enough Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt into a situation and people are more easily manipulated to behave as you would like. Suicide bombers can instill a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Kurdish terrorists, as well as ISIS, have killed more than 200 people in suicide bomb attacks in Turkey since July of last year. The latest occurred this morning on Istiklal Street, a popular shopping area in Istanbul. Think 5th Avenue in New York City and imagine a small bomb exploding on a Saturday morning. Five people were killed and 20 were injured.
Oblivious to the politics of fear playing out on Istiklal Street, John and I, along with our friend Robert, who flew in from England yesterday afternoon, ventured to the Black Sea this morning. We took the 150 bus out of Haçiosman metro station to the last stop and hopped off.
The ruins of a castle could be seen in the distance. We, however, were in search of a marina and after a short walk, we found it, along with a great, little restaurant where we enjoyed a tasty lunch of sea bass.
We were on the 150 bus headed back to the center of Istanbul before we heard the news about the bombing from a group of college students. They warned us that the metro might be closed, but upon arrival at Haçiosman, all the trains were running and we made it easily back to our apartment.
But the FUD Factor continues to take its toll on this magical city which relies on the tourist trade to fuel its economy. Cruise ships aren’t stopping. Planes from all points are virtually empty. Tourists aren’t coming. Sadly, restaurants, shops, museums, and tourist attractions are vacant compared to our visit here last year. Istanbul as a top tourist destination is now just a shadow of its former self.
The politics of fear prevails.