Gündem Haberleri

    Ertugrul Ozkok: What happens when you cut one flag out of the picture

    Hürriyet Haber
    15.09.2005 - 13:14 | Son Güncelleme:

    Yesterday the whole world saw a photograph of German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder making a speech in front of a Turkish flag. On the eve of the German elections, this visit by the German PM to the Frankfurt offices of the Dogan Media Group was of great interest to everyone. Even in Greece, the To Vima newspaper carried a photograph of this visit on its first page. This is the photograph that was shown to the world. But stepping back and looking at the wide angle frame of the photo, it was really much different than what everyone saw.

    We inspected the site of Schroeder's speech one day before he came. A platform had been set up in the room where he was to speak to the employees of Dogan Media. Behind the platform, decorations. On the left hand side, a long Turkish flag, hanging ceiling to floor. On the right hand side, a German flag of the same size. And in the middle, logos bearing the names of the publications put out by the Dogan Media Group. I noticed that the podium was a bit to the right hand side of the platform, and commented on it, thinking that the two flags would not appear equal like this. So some workers moved the podium to the exact center of the platform. We told the photographers to take wide angled pictures of the event. This, after all, is a company where Turkish rooted citizens of Germany work, and it is technically a German company set up according to German law. Most of the Turkish people who work there are German citizens.
    In the end, the Reuters photographer covering the event took a picture which showed only the Turkish flag behind Schroeder as he talked. And so we see, elections are alike in every country. Every political party uses material that comes it way indiscriminately. So that yesterday, right wing parties and the organizations which support Merkel began to use this photograph to the disadvantage of Schroeder.
    More than the photograph itself, this incident made me think about the 600 thousand Turkish voters in the elections. In the end, these 600 thousand people are German citizens. And just like every German, they have the right to vote. And thus, when a politician reaches out to these citizens, it should not be criticized or judged. In the US, when a presidential candidate speaks in front of an Armenian, Greek, or Jewish lobby, no one judges.
    What's more, as the Hurriyet, we had invited Angela Merkel previously to our headquarters in Frankfurt. We ate and spoke together, and then published conversations from our time with her.
    I admit that the behavior of the German opposition party to Schroeder has really disappointed me. We think of these 600 Turkish rooted people as individual German citizens. There are those among them who are serving in the German armed forces. The number of ethnically Turkish German citizens in the business world, the arts and the sports worlds, and in the work world in general in Germany goes up every day.
    But I guess it's like French philosopher Edgar Morin says: There is a long road to go yet before Europe reaches the democratic understanding that guides the US.


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