The attack on New Year’s Eve in Istanbul was yet another example of how having 1000s of armed police in uniform and under cover through out a Metropolitan area will have no effect on the outcome.
The chances of intercepting an attack in its final phase are mostly based on luck rather than methods.
Much remains to be answered but it these are clear so far , one attacker , armed with assault rifle which from the footage was an AK 47 . Standard magazine size taken into account and initial forensic indicating 120 shots fired shows he changed magazines a number of times .
Witness statements indicate he shot from the hip and directly into people who had taken cover by laying on the ground , he maintained his attack for 7 minutes and then changed his outer clothing in the kitchen and walked off during the chaos after the attack.
Cold , calculated , experienced and motivated is the summery of this attacker one that no security service wants on its turf, but not a suicide attacker he had planned to walk out and he did.
He has been identified by finger prints as being Lakhe Mashrapov from the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. he had been in the country since November with is family.
It’s highly unlikely that this was a random attack, the cell he has been associated with have already been linked to the airport bombing few month earlier.
But these are details that suit an investigator , our concern must be focused on the similar attacks and the likely hood of them happening where we are . We must also assess if basic measures we are being offered will suffice to stop an attack . Armed police are mostly for reassuring the public as any attacker is unlikely to want to have a shoot out with police , they are looking for soft targets and maximum impact ,the least protected the target better and that ,means 99.9% of public spaces .
So far in United kingdom we must accept the security services have done their job and hope that they continue to do so. There has had to be a lot of retuning and learning as the traditional enemies of the state in UK played with different rules compering to the new likely suspects.
Taking into account that Turkey’s geo position at this moment in history could not be more difficult added to this is its own entangled involvement in many fronts with the participants of the civil war in Syria.
It has also seen a complete purge of some of its security apparatus due to the recent bloody coup and its aftermath .
There are many hands in play in Turkey , the state of play is confusing and the players maintain their own positions at any cost.
There has been many recent attacks in Turkey with casualties running into hundreds, with many different motives from dissatisfied Kurds to various militant groups and some even accuse the state in being behind some attacks.
The only plausible defence is good intelligence and the ability to act in timely and desired manner but given the complexities in Turkey that may be a pie in the sky and beyond reach of the man in charge .