While in the whole world, your countrymen are ‘with you’ when they take you hostage, here in Turkey is that a different case.
On the 21th of October, 8 Turkish soldiers were taken hostage by the PKK. Earlier this week they were released. And then the problems started.
"No member of the Turkish armed forces should have found themselves in such a situation," the Turkish Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin began. "As a Turkish citizen I cannot accept the fact that they went with the terrorists (...) that night. Our soldier is prepared to die if necessary when he is protecting the country."
Comments left on the web page of Hurriyet, Turkey's most widely-read bourgeois newspaper, suggest precisely the same:
"Shame, shame, what shame! Eight weak soldiers. I wish they had stood and fought and become martyrs," reads one typical entry.
"What were they doing when their comrades were martyred beside them? If I were them I would be unable to look anyone in the face after this," says another.
Does Turkey want more killings? More blood?
Fortunate some read more into the near-silence;
"The reflex of the mainstream press here is to turn a blind eye to anything they see as humiliating to national pride," explains Burak Bekdil, of the Turkish Daily News.
"The military did not want this debated in public, because people had already started asking questions about how the hell it happened," says respected columnist Mehmet Ali Birand.
"Something went dreadfully wrong for the soldiers to be taken by the PKK - and that reflects badly on the Turkish military," he says. "The media played it down on purpose."
Gen. Büyükanıt - as usual the only one who knows what communication means - in his position as the Chief of Staff of the Turkish army says: 'accusations against eight soldiers released by PKK terrorist was inappropriate.' And regarding sensationalist coverage by the Turkish media of the funerals of martyrs, the top general said that showing grieving families repeatedly was making him feel very bad as well and upsetting the psychology of society as a whole inappropriate.
It looks like that the Turkish public wants soldiers dead instead of being taken hostage...
I simply don't understand this whole 'pride' thing. In fact all prisoners of war are traitors, in the mind of some Turkish people...how sad.
It is mission impossible to strenghten Turkey's imago abroad.