Turkish press review

April 11, 2012, Wednesday/ 12:19:00

On Wednesday Turkish dailies mostly covered the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks regarding developments in Syria, UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan's visit to the southern province of Hatay in Turkey and Erdoğan's visit to China.

The main topic reported on by Turkish dailies was Erdoğan's remarks regarding incidents along the Turkish-Syrian border. The Sabah daily quoted Erdoğan as saying, “This is a border violation; what is necessary will be done.” According to Sabah, Erdoğan warned Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad about a possible “buffer zone” and said, “Don't test us.” The Zaman daily stated that Turkey reacted harshly to the loss of lives at a refugee camp in the southeastern province of Kilis due to shots fired from Syria by government forces. The paper said Erdoğan stated at a press conference in China that the incident was a clear border violation. According to Zaman, Erdoğan added that Turkey would give Syria the necessary response, and while it was not thinking of entering Syrian territory, it warned Damascus to refrain from steps that would push Turkey to do so.

In a related story, the Türkiye daily quoted Erdoğan as saying Turkey would use its rights under international law. Moreover, the Yeni Şafak daily quoted the premier as saying Turkey was in regular diplomatic contact with surrounding countries and that it would naturally take the required steps after those talks. Yeni Şafak also stated that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had short cut a visit to China and returned to Turkey due to Syrian troops' violation of the border. The paper added that Davutoğlu spoke with the foreign ministers of several countries, from the United States to Russia, and expressed his concern over recent developments. Furthermore, the Syrian National Council has announced that it abiding by the cease-fire conditions.

Another story widely covered by the Turkish press was Annan's visit to Hatay. Sabah reported that Annan visited a refugee camp in Hatay, where Syrians who fled their country were staying, and said the envoy called on Assad to end the massacre by 6 a.m. on Thursday. Yeni Safak's perspective on the topic was slightly different as the paper ran a headline that read “Annan: The only hopeful person.” Yeni Şafak added that Annan asserted that his plan would be successful and gave Assad two extra days. Türkiye quoted Annan as saying before anything else occurs, the massacre must end, arms should be laid aside and soldiers should withdraw, while Zaman said Annan called on the Syrian administration to end the massacre without any preconditions by April 12.

Several papers also reported on Erdoğan's visit to China. Zaman stated that Erdoğan met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and conveyed President Abdullah Gül's invitation to the Chinese official to visit Turkey. The paper quoted Hu as saying Erdoğan's visit would be beneficial and improve Chinese-Turkish strategic cooperation. Sabah's perspective on the same story was slightly different as it focused on investment between the two countries. The paper stated that executives from Turkish companies who are accompanying Erdoğan during his visit to China signed extensive energy agreements with several Chinese companies.