Turkish press review

May 18, 2012, Friday/ 11:25:00

On Friday Turkish dailies mostly covered the death of three soldiers in Hatay province; developments regarding a military operation that killed 34 villagers in Uludere in the southeastern province of Şırnak; the opening of military officers' clubs to the public; and the launch of what has been called the “Positive Agenda” with the European Union.

Most Turkish papers reported on the death of three soldiers in a rural area of the southern province of Hatay. The Sabah daily stated that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) ambushed two lieutenants and a major who were patrolling with their troop, killing the officers and wounding two privates. According to the paper, security forces then killed four PKK members in an operation launched after the attack. The Zaman daily ran a headline for the story that read, “Ambush in Amanos: 3 officers dead.”

The second most widely covered story was the Turkish General Staff's denial of a Wall Street Journal news report on the Uludere incident. Yeni Şafak quoted General Staff officials as saying unmanned air vehicles that belonged to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) first spotted the group of people crossing over the border into Uludere. In addition, the Türkiye daily quoted Parliamentary Human Rights Committee Chairman Ayhan Sefer Üstün as saying four-and-a-half hours of footage of the border crossing in Uludere was provided by

Turkish unmanned air vehicles, not American aircraft.

Another widely reported story was a decision to open officers' clubs to the Turkish public. Yeni Şafak stated that Turkey, which it described as undergoing a process of “normalization,” has relegated another shameful reality to the pages of history. According to the paper, the military has annulled a discriminatory article in the TSK's regulations that banned people wearing headscarves and Islamic-style clothing as well as those with beards from entering officers' clubs. The paper added that the National Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry will monitor implementation of the new regulations.

Several Turkish dailies also reported on a new development in Turkey-EU relations. Zaman reported that Turkey's EU negotiation process was coming back to life after Nicolas Sarkozy, who opposed Turkey's membership, lost the presidential election in France. The paper added that a new “Positive Agenda” aims to overcome the deadlock and was officially launched on Thursday. Zaman stated that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has received European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle, who said the EU's goal was to put negotiations back on track.