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    Ertugrul Ozkok:The Zapsu case, Erdogan, and the media

    Hürriyet Haber
    27 Ocak 2006 - 09:33Son Güncelleme : 27 Ocak 2006 - 09:33

    When Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan flew off to Davos yesterday, there was someone missing from the airplane. Cuneyd Zapsu's wife, Beyza Zapsu, was not on board. I had heard from certain sources that the Prime Minister had especially wanted to invite her for the journey. And so, if that is the case, why was she not on the plane?

    *****
     
    So, here are the reasons that come to mind. Could Erdogan not actually have wanted her to come? Since we all know the Prime Minister's character well by now, I cannot put any credence in this idea. After all, following the brouhaha that erupted over the photographs of the Transportation Minister's wife eating alone in a road side restaurant while her husband ate a crowded table, the Prime Minister's first act was to make sure that the minister and his wife were invited on the New Zealand trip with him.
     
    Then is it possible that Cuneyd Zapsu might not have wanted her to come? I know Zapsu, and I don't believe this is it either.
     
    From sources close to him, here is what I have learned: It was Beyza Zapsu herself who didn't want to go to Davos. With as many things being written about her as there are, she didn't want the Davos trip to fall under the shadow of all the argument. This is a very understandable decision.
     
    Let's take a look at some of Prime Minister Erdogan's statements before he got on the plane yesterday. A typical Erdogan attitude...

    He displayed public support for Cuneyd Zapsu, his advisor. Which was in keeping with what he apparently said two days ago to Zapsu, which was "don't worry, don't be saddened."

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    I think this is one of the best aspects of the Prime Minister's character. But for some reason, this attitude is not displayed towards members of the media, who the Prime Minister seems to hold responsible for everything. He does not examine from whence events take place, and who brings them to light. He speaks as though the media has invented something out of nothing. He behaves as though no one in his party is discussing these things, as though the media is the only organ holding up these ideas to be considered.

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    As I read the papers, there is no one left who has not weighed in with an opinion.
    In the West, churches are in the news and opinions sections almost every day.
    And so, there is something I'd like to ask Prime Minister Erdogan, who is so annoyed by this argument:
     
    Who is it that actually started the religious arguments in Turkey?
     
    Is it the people who formed the republic, with an accord based on a secular government?
     
    Or is it those who want religious high schools implemented everywhere possible, who want to have Kuran courses offered in every neighborhood, who turn every issue into a "turban matter"?
     
    Yes, who was it who began these arguments?

    Newspaper archives are there for everyone to investigate.
     
    They show clearly that religion was not an issue for generations who founded the republic. Their take on the matter was reflected in the wide accord reflected in our Constitution.

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    When it comes down to the arguments themselves in this case.....
     
    All ideas can be expressed freely in our newspapers. There are those who support giving permission for the wearing of the turban in our universities (like me), and those who are violently opposed to it. And, speaking specifically about the Zapsu case, there are those who feel that it doesn't matter if women pray alongside men in mosques, and those who say that it is absolutely not possible.

    All these views can be found on the pages of our newspapers.
     
    I wonder if, rather than criticizing the media, it wouldn't be better if the AKP let it turn into a platform where these important matters could be discussed?

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