The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on 28th June 1914 is seen as the catalyst that started the first world war and the continuing conflicts that rocked the world for the rest of the twentieth century. With this in mind it was disturbing to see the Russian Ambassador to Turkey being gunned down by an assassin. The BBC reports:
A Turkish policeman has shot dead Russia's ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, apparently in protest at Russia's involvement in Aleppo.
The killer has been identified as Mevlut Mert Aydintas, 22, a member of the Ankara riot police. It was not clear if he had links to any group.
The incident happened a day after protests in Turkey over Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey's relationship with Moscow has always been strained, especially since the Turks shot down a Russian plane on their border with Syria. A member of NATO, Turkey has become isolated even from it's own formal allies as Erdogan purges his army and establishes an Islamist dictatorship.
Seen as the "ailing man of Europe" in former times history seems to be repeating itself as the country destabilises itself once more.
Meanwhile in further tragic news a lorry has driven through a Christmas market in a Berlin market, the kind of attack that western intelligence had been warning about. Nine people are known to be dead at the time of writing with over 50 injured. One eye witness interviewed by phone on Sky News made it clear this was not an accident.
Whilst it's too early to attribute blame, it appears two men were involved with the alleged driver being arrested and the passenger killed the suspicion of who is behind this latest atrocity is on tthe tip of everyone's lips. Somehow I doubt it's angry Buddhists and the involvement of the usual suspects is expected.
As if that wasn't enough for one evening the BBC also reports an attack in Zurich:
Three people have been hurt in a gun attack near a Muslim prayer centre in the Swiss city of Zurich.
Police confirmed an operation was under way in a street close to the city's main station.
Swiss reports said the three wounded were all adults who had been found in Eisgasse, a small street where an Islamic centre is based.
There was no indication who carried out the shooting but local media said the attacker had fled the scene.
This year has been one in which terror and fear have haunted the streets of Europe as religious extremists and neo fascist movements have risen to threaten our democratic way of life.
We must not these dangerous people get the upper hand. It's time to stand up to their violence and hate.
The men of hate must not win.