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    Ertugrul Ozkok: What lies behind those headlines

    Hürriyet Haber
    08 Ekim 2005 - 12:20Son Güncelleme : 08 Ekim 2005 - 12:20

    In his column yesterday, Emin Colasan made some interesting categorizations. He wrote about how some newspaper headlines had greeted the start to the talks with the EU as a "victory," and and then went on to criticize them. He also gave some examples of headlines which treated the event more "realistically." Colasan gave us lots of headline examples, but made no mention of which newspapers were carrying these headlines. I did a little research, and found out on my own which newspapers were behind which headlines.

    Here are some of the headlines which Colasan said he didn't like:
    "A Viennese waltz" (Hurriyet)
    "We held out, and we won" (Vatan-Bugun)
    "Europe's crescent and star. The civilizations hugged." (Sabah)
    "We stood up straight and won" (Aksam)
    "Turkey's march towards the EU continues" (Zaman)
    "October 3 birth of a new era: We won" (Turkey)
    "That's it: Vienna gives up" (New Safak)
    "Sleep soundly Ataurk!" (Posta)
    "EU OK, road is clear" (Star)
    "Happy ending: The journey has begun" (Radikal)
    Colasan criticized these headlines. Here are some of the headlines he supported: 
    "Such shamefulness has never been seen. The new stipulations are waiting on the table." (Yenicag)
    "Let's stop enslaving ourselves to the West. Let's return to our roots." (Milli)
    "The difficult journey has begun" (Birgun)
    "EU journey has entered a difficult and unclear stage" (Cumhurriyet)
    Looking at the sources he used, here is the picture that emerges: the "Yenicag" is a newspaper which supports the nationalistic MHP Party. The "Milli" newspaper is the official newspaper of the Saadet Party. "Birgun" is a socialist, left-leaning newspaper more in tune with the times before the breaking down of the Berlin Wall. In short, with the exception of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, all of these newspapers reflect what we can characterize as "marginal" thinking within the framework of Turkey. 
    When you take the total distribution figures for the newspapers on the two different lists, you also get an interesting picture. On a daily basis in Turkey, around 4.5 million newpapers are sold. The newspapers on the list of headlines that Colasan admired don't even account for 100,000 copies per day in terms of sales. If we figure according to this, around 4 million 400 thousand people buy the newspapers which hailed the start of the talks as a success. So, what can we determine from this? Do 99% of Turkish people see the decision made on October 3 to go ahead with the talks as a "success"? Or are the newspapers publishing headlines that go in complete opposition to the general view of the people? Well, it's neither one nor the other actually.....
    These pictures reflect the reality of the press in Turkey. The newspapers at the center of the press body in Turkey give space to people who voice views from across the spectrum. Emin Colasan after all wrote the columning criticizing positive headlines in the Hurriyet. So did Bekir Coskun and Ozdemir Ince. On the other hand, Mehmet Yilmaz, Hadi Uluengin, Ahmet Hakan and I all wrote in favor. This is called "the culture of living together in democracy."




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