Marco Rubio, the junior United States Senator from Florida, made a chilling prediction about the Istanbul airport bombings days before the attack.
Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, the third busiest in Europe, was witness to terror on Tuesday as three attackers wearing suicide belts, reportedly representing the Islamic fundamentalist group ISIS, tore through the airport’s terminal entrance with guns before blowing themselves up, killing 42 people and injuring 230 others, according to the BBC.
It was the worst of the coordinated attacks that have taken place on Turkey’s soil in recent times, and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the attack should serve as a turning point in the global fight against militant groups.
“The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world,” he said in a stern warning to Turkey’s western allies.
While the deadly attack might have taken Turkey — and perhaps even a struggling Europe — by surprise, one senator back in the United States had said that he would not be surprised if Turkey was witness to severe militant attacks three days before the incident.
Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation on Saturday, former Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, predicted a potential terrorist attack in Turkey while discussing the importance of a strong and unified NATO with host John Dickerson.
The two were discussing the political impact Britain’s decision to leave the European Union — dubbed Brexit — would have on the United States, when Rubio conceded that Europe was weaker now than it was five years ago, while Russia, with Vladimir Putin as its head of state, was becoming more powerful in a world no longer dominated by a single power.
When Dickerson asked Rubio if Russia was the biggest threat facing the European members of NATO, the Florida Senator said ISIS was the greatest threat to the area.
“Not only because of the threat from Russia but most certainly because of the threat of radical Islam now coming across the Mediterranean into Europe,” he said, before naming Turkey as the country that would have to face the brunt of militant attacks in weeks to come.
“We’ve seen already the attacks in Belgium. We’ve seen the attacks in France. We’ve seen attempted and thwarted attacks elsewhere, so because of all of that I think NATO takes on a special purpose. One of our NATO allies right now that faces the greatest threat of ISIS is Turkey. I would not be surprised over the next few weeks to see major ISIS operations within Turkey itself.”
And Rubio’s statement turned out to be an ominous prediction as only three days later, on Tuesday, Turkey was the victim of yet another terror attack orchestrated from the across the border. Turkey has found itself increasingly vulnerable to bombings as ISIS continues to strengthen, and while allies have continued to bomb Syria in attempts to incapacitate the group, the Istanbul bombings are latest proof that the allies are struggling in their bid to contain Syria’s civil war from spilling over in Europe.
In such a context, Marco Rubio’s foreboding that Turkey will face more attacks in weeks to come is more a logical response to the developments in the Middle East and Europe over the last year, than it is a prediction which uncannily came to realization on Tuesday.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]