<ı>To the right of that, 22 more children dispatched to jail for rock-throwing. Below that, bodies found in Diyarbakır. The latest on the looming threat of a swine flu pandemic is below. And across the bottom of the page, our summary of the frustration of the military’s chief of staff with, among other things, our profession and the infamous Ergenekon case.
In the days ahead, we will share our assessment of the nearly three-hour press conference held by Gen. İlker Başbuğ. On some points we will agree; on others we will differ. But one comment particularly caught our attention: "There is no place for indecisiveness in the struggle against terror.
" We also share in the general’s condolences to the families of the nine soldiers, mostly conscripts in their early 20s.
Yes, as we put together our newspaper yesterday, all of us paused at just how grim things appear. Not just on the subject of terror. We all share in the frequent question in coffee houses, around dining room tables, on the bus: "Where is Turkey going?"
Tomorrow will reinforce the reflex to ask that question. Part of the answer will be found in what transpires in the traditional standoff between unions and police at Taksim Square. We have our doubts that the declaration of May Day as a national holiday will lessen the mood of confrontation among sides of the debate about holding a rally at the symbolic square. For some, it is the only place suitable for a meeting to honor the memory of the tragedy on that day in 1977 that killed 34. For others, a ban on May Day at Taksim is the only way to avoid a repeat of the violence.
That is not our topic today. It is the wearing away of hope, a spreading fear in the country amid growing economic and politic woes and ever-fractious politics. We believe decisiveness and a spirit of optimism, however difficult that may be to summon, are the essentials of our age.
We do not believe that living beneath the specter of terror is our destiny. In some cases, the only response can be a military one. In many cases, education, economic development and rehabilitation are what are needed. And Turkey has resources aplenty to mount this response. The evidence of crimes in Diyarbakir recalls the need to strengthen the rule of law and civil society. A decisive Turkey can do so. As we have said before, the jailing of children is ugly.
But the will exists throughout Turkey to provide a real childhood to our children. The threat of a flu epidemic is frightening. But vigilance and awareness are the surest antidote. We live in times of extraordinary challenge. These are times that demand decisiveness on all fronts. ı>