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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 June, 2004, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Nato summit sparks Turkish press debate
Turkish press graphic

Turkish newspapers have greeted the end of the Nato summit in Istanbul with a mixture of relief and satisfaction.

The disruption to people's lives caused by the intense security measures put in place to protect world leaders angers one leading daily.

"The situation is a total disgrace," Cumhuriyet fumes, complaining that security officials made Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, "look like ghost cities for a couple of days, imprisoning the people, emptying the streets and stopping boats from leaving."

People died because emergency services were unable to reach them, it goes on, adding that no other Nato country would tolerate such a situation.

"In those countries, the leaders have consideration for their own people".

Symbolic visit

US President George W Bush's support for Turkey was received enthusiastically by a number of commentators.

A picture of the president standing in front of a mosque and the bridge in Istanbul linking Asia to Europe was on the front page of most newspapers.

Turkey should be crowned with EU membership

Mr Bush's visit to Turkey "had symbolic meaning", says Milliyet, indicating the country's "long-term importance" to the US.

The daily is also gratified that the president "stuck to his guns" in calling for Turkey's acceptance into the European Union, despite an earlier warning not to interfere by French President Jacques Chirac.

Vatan agrees, pleased that Mr Bush had urged that Turkey "should be crowned with European Union membership".

It also feels he sent the country "important messages".

"He said Turkey is on the ascendancy... with its democracy which can serve as an inspiration for the Islamic world."

Pros and cons

The wider issues of Nato's role, especially in the Middle East, generates cynicism in some sectors of the press.

Nato has placed itself like a "sitting bull" in the heart of the Middle East, writes a Cumhuriyet commentator.

"The whole of Nato is striking out roots in the Middle East and the Islamic world in the name of 'training the Iraqi soldiers and police'."

But another newspaper, Radikal, argues that Nato is playing an important role in containing US influence in the region.

"This point should be acknowledged by those who stand against Nato for ideological reasons and in the name of Islamic solidarity."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Country profile: Turkey
18 May 04  |  Country profiles
Nato's happier family?
29 Jun 04  |  Politics
Bush sets out Mid-East vision
29 Jun 04  |  Americas
Turkey edges toward EU goal
18 May 04  |  Europe

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