NATO Parliamentary Assembly
HomeNEWSNews 201510 October 2015 - Terror threat to Europe high, NATO deputies told, as blasts hit Ankara rally

Terror threat to Europe high, NATO PA deputies told, as blasts hit Ankara rally

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Stavanger, 10 October 2015 - Europe remains prey to terror attacks and they are changing in nature, parliamentarians from NATO nations were told Saturday, as two blasts at a peace rally in Turkey killed more than 80 people.

“The terror threat to Europe remains on the rise,” Petter Nesser from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment told members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security.

“The scope of the threat has widened geographically,” he said, adding that targets have become more symbolic than in the past, including the military, police, Jewish communities, and even peace rallies.

NATO PA President Hon Michael R. Turner condemned the Ankara bombings and said these strikes “on people marching peacefully will only strengthen the international community’s resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms.”

Turkish deputy Gulsun Bilgehan said the target itself shows that no one is safe. “It’s the evil of the century. Everyone should feel threatened. NATO, the EU, the UN must cooperate to combat this,” said Bilgehan, who is from the Turkish capital.

While these kinds of threats have not disappeared, Nesser also noted that terrorism now often takes the form of smaller scale strikes with firearms.

A report discussed by the deputies, at the NATO PA’s annual session in Stavanger, Norway, underlined the need “to redouble efforts to curb the trafficking of these weapons.”

The report, drawn up by French Senator Joelle Garriaud-Maylam, calls for the Euro-Atlantic community to show resolve in defending values of liberty and democracy, noting that “terrorism gains strength from our weaknesses.”

A central finding of her report is that counter-terrorism should be combined with more efficient deradicalisation methods, like isolating radicals in prisons and working with disaffected youth so they feel more a part of society. Distancing radical leaders from the vulnerable would also help disrupt terror networks. Moderate voices in the religious community must be promoted too.

In a draft resolution, the assembly is due to call for NATO’s role in countering terrorism to be strengthened, a crack down on foreign terrorist fighters, and for intelligence sharing and cooperation between security agencies to be encouraged while ensuring they have sufficient funding. Law enforcement agencies should also be given more effective powers as long as proper democratic oversight mechanisms are in place.