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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 14:48 GMT
Bird flu outrage in Turkish press
Turkish press

Turkey's leading newspapers express disgust at what they see as their government's incompetent handling of the country's bird flu crisis, in which at least two people have died.

Many blame the authorities for not providing the public with enough information about the virus and therefore, they argue, contributing to its spread in the country.

"It's not bird flu, but ignorance that kills," says a commentary in the secular Cumhuriyet.

"As migration routes cannot be blocked by a government decision, vigorous measures must be taken," it says, adding that the current administration has not been up to the task.

The result, it continues, is "an atmosphere like panic after an earthquake".

Disorder

An article in the top-circulation daily, Hurriyet, says more should have been done as soon as the virus first appeared, in the eastern Van province.

"It has been revealed that no measures were taken when it appeared in Van and rapidly spread to other provinces," it says.

"Why was it not considered that migratory birds could carry the same virus to other regions as well?"

The government and the state bureaucracy around it reflect the disorder of a raided and defeated army
Vatan

For a writer in the centrist Vatan, the deaths from bird flu reflect not only a lack of education among the people but a "power vacuum" at the heart of the country.

"The government and the state bureaucracy around it reflect the disorder of a raided and defeated army," he says.

Not even an earlier apology from Justice Minister Cemil Cicek for his handling of the crisis is enough to calm the tone of a commentary in the popular Milliyet daily.

"Cemil Cicek said that, if necessary, he will apologise for the bird flu," it fumes.

"It seems that the number of deaths is not sufficient. It is incomprehensible how they continue to sit at their desks and talk in such a brazen manner.

"This is the way that trust in politics, politicians and the state erodes."

A piece in Hurriyet pours yet more scorn on the authorities.

"You can see to what extent the bureaucrats, experts and officials are ignorant and incompetent," it says.

Mosques' message

Under the headline "Fighting bird flu with sermons", a Cumhuriyet commentary mocks Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his reported suggestion on how to tackle bird flu.

The commentary pokes fun at "our imam prime minister, who said: This is an issue of awareness, and bird flu will be taken up in Friday sermons".

The same point is taken up in a Hurriyet column.

It will be imams in the courtyards of mosques and not medical experts who will appear on our television screens
Milliyet

"The prime minister says that sermons will be read in mosques," it says.

"You can see to what extent the ministries of health, agriculture, and environment are full of ignorant people."

A Milliyet commentary entitled "Bird flu/Friday sermon" expresses amazement that sermons are being used to fight bird flu in the 21st century, when the world is going through a communications revolution.

"It will be imams in the courtyards of mosques and not medical experts who will appear on our television screens," it says.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Turkey
15 Jan 01 |  Country profiles


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