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    Turkish army harshly criticizes recent media stories on PKK attacks

    HotNewsTurkey Staff
    15.10.2008 - 11:38 | Son Güncelleme: 15.10.2008 - 17:40

    Turkey’s army chief used a very rare harsh rhetoric as he criticized some media organs over the reports suggesting the PKK attack on Oct. 3 was known to the military ahead of the incident. Media organizations, however, raised their concerns over the rhetoric. (UPDATED)

    "Those, who despite everything show this attack of the terror organization as a success story, share responsibility for the bloodshed. I want everybody to understand this very well," Gen. Ilker Basbug told at a televised press conference held in the western province of Balikesir.

     

    He said the military has filed legal action against those who leaked and used the classified reports on the PKK attack of Oct. 3 that killed 17 soldiers.

     

    "The Turkish Armed Forces have full self-confidence and it is stronger, more determined and resolute today than ever. The systematic attacks that had increased in recent days would do nothing but increase strength, determination and will of the Turkish Armed Forces," he said.

     

    A controversial Turkish daily, Taraf, had published footage recorded and sent by unmanned aircraft to army headquarters showing the PKK terrorists preparing for the attack on a military post in the southeastern region of Aktutun.

     

    The daily also published an alleged report prepared by the gendarmerie regarding the attack which, the paper claimed, contradicted with the official statements made on the incident.

     

    "The response any army would give to such attacks is obvious, and therefore I call on everyone to act with caution and stand in the correct spot," Basbug said, adding an investigation was launched on the attack.

     

    TARAF VOWS TO CONTINUE SIMILAR STORIES

    Although newly established, Taraf, "Side" in English, daily has became one of the most controversial newspapers in Turkey.

     

    The daily was formed by a group of journalists or former leftists who claim their aim is to promote democracy and human rights in the country.

     

    However many observers say Taraf is distorting some stories to hurt the army, while extending support to the Islamist-rooted ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

     

    Yasemin Congar, the deputy editor-in-chief of the daily, rejected Basbug's calls and said the top general did not respond to the real question.

     

    "What’s saddening is that (Basbug's remarks) did not include the answers to the questions that the public ponders," she told Turkish broadcaster, NTV.

     

    Taraf would continue to publish similar documents and news stories as long as they are confirmed to be accurate and worth reporting, she added.

     

    MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS WORRIED

    Opposition politicians extended their support to Basbug's statement, while media organizations expressed their concerns over his rhetoric.

     

    It is normal for Basbug to show his reaction against the campaigns that aim at fretting the Turkish Security Forces (TSK), head of the Association of Press Council, Oktay Eksi, said in a statement.

     

    "But it is not right that he shows this sort of reaction that seems aimed at unsettling the media world," he said.

     

    Murat Yetkin, Ankara bureau chief of Radikal daily, told CNN Turk that Basbug did not deny the reports and instead he showed his reaction to the publications.

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