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From the November 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48, No. 11)


Turkey: Lowered Flags Curse Evil


Mehmet Y. Yilmaz, Milliyet (liberal), Istanbul, Sept. 14, 2001.

Yesterday, we lowered our flags. Yesterday, a reader of mine asked why we had not lowered our flags even after the earthquake that had demolished most of the Marmara region and killed many of our fellow citizens. Following the earthquake, some had proposed declaring Aug. 18 a national day of mourning.

Immediately after the earthquake, we were showered with help from all regions of the world; rescue teams immediately came to our aid. In the affected region now stand houses and schools, monuments erected thanks to people thousands of kilometers away who barely even knew us. Is it at all possible to forget this assistance, those people striving to be of help?

Yesterday I skimmed through the pictures sent by the news agencies. Pictures showing that, even in Russia, the flags were lowered....Parliament buildings were wrapped in black flags of mourning….Mourning could be detected on almost all the flagpoles in the world.

I guess it is so because we may be facing an undeclared Third World War. Attacks in New York City and Washington created similar reactions all over the world. Governments were not content with mere declarations in uttering this shared reaction. They felt the need to condemn the terror with a common gesture. Everybody understood that it would not be possible to talk about sovereignty of any government in a world ruled by terror. This must be the reason why flags throughout the world have been lowered. To put it differently, our people are not of less value than American citizens.



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