Criticism of Turkish authorities in Turkish papers

ISTANBUL – Pride in the pilots of the crashed airplane and appreciation for the Dutch rescue workers in the Turkish morning newspapers, but there is also criticism: authorities in Ankara were too ready to declare that there were no fatalities to be mourned. As well, there is quite a lot of speculation over the cause of the crash. 

Most critical is Taraf, a paper known for its critical views: their headline says ‘Ankara crashes’, aiming at authorities in the Turkish capital who issued positive news reports too soon. By doing so, the public is made confused. Taraf, like many other newspapers, published a map of the surroundings of Schiphol airport, and portraits of the three pilots who lost their lives.

Posta, one of the country’s biggest newspapers, freely speculates about the cause of the accident on a black and red front page filled mainly with photos. The landing of the plane was rumoured to be left to an inexperienced pilot, but the paper only quotes anonymous sources. Posta also tells on the front page how the three pilots were trapped in the cockpit for hours.

Less speculation about the cause in Milliyet, which asks what happened in the last few seconds. ‘Two dark seconds’ is the biggest headline, speaking about the fact that up until the very last moment there didn’t seem to be any emergency situation. Besides this, there are some words of appreciation for the Dutch rescue workers , who, according to the paper, where on the spot very quickly and prevented more deaths by doing their work efficiently.

Pro-government newspaper Zaman seldom turns the news into something spectacular, and this time too it just sticks to the facts: not fat headlines, but the facts mentioned and a report about the security check the plane got less then three months ago. 

The black box, all papers agree, will surely give all the answers in the end.

(I wrote this ‘press scan’ for news agency ANP the day after the crash of a Turkish Airlines plane close to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, wednesday 25 February 2009. The day of the crash and over the days since then, I have written several short news stories from Istanbul and contributed to ANP’s bigger reports)

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