ANKARA: Turkish general criticized for backing students drawing flag

NTV, Turkey
Jan 14 2008

Turkish general criticized for backing students drawing flag with own
blood

"Examination Launched into the ‘Flag Drawn With Blood’"

"The flag that has been drawn by high school students with their own
blood" that Chief of Staff General Buyukanit showed the press the day
before yesterday [10 January] has led to controversy. The specialists
criticized Buyukanit for praising the present.

According to Taraf newspaper, the fact that a group of high school
students in Kirsehir sent the chief of staff a Turkish flag that they
drew with their own blood and the fact that Chief of Staff Yasar
Buyukanit approved this by saying "This is the kind of nation we are"
have led to controversy. The Kirsehir Governor’s Office has launched
an examination into the incident.

Kazim Kaya, Kirsehir Province national education deputy manager, told
Taraf that both their office and the Governor’s Office have begun to
examine the matter, adding: "We have immediately taken up and
examined the incident. Currently we have a report on this issue. The
students have reportedly done this outside the school. We have
listened to the principals of both schools. Both principals were
asked why the high-level administration did not know anything about
the incident. Both principals noted that they did not know anything
about this incident. The honourable governor is in Ankara, but he has
been briefed on the issue and he has spoken on the phone with the
principals of both schools."

Has Anyone Guided Them?

In answer to a question on "whether the testimonies of the students
have been taken" National Education Deputy Manager Kaya answered:
"Not yet. Nonetheless we are not merely talking about these two
schools. Reportedly children from other schools are also involved.
However it is important to know whether these children have acted on
the basis of their own will or whether they have been guided by
anyone. All this will be clarified as of the beginning of the week."

Prof Oran: Grave Incident

Reacting to the flag that has been drawn with blood and especially to
the stand adopted by the chief of staff, Prof Dr Baskin Oran said the
following:

"The fact that these children have done something like this by making
their bodies bleed is irritating. Nonetheless the fact that the chief
of staff views a flag made with blood worthy is even graver. After
all, the blood issue had been repeatedly put on the agenda on every
opportunity and they continue to do so now.

"This incident also brings to mind whether the thing that we define
as the ‘Turkish nation’ is based on blood. You do not stand trial on
the basis of Article 301 when you insult a Kurd, an Armenian, or a
Jew. This most recent incident is the clearest indicator of this.
This grave stand adopted by the chief of staff shows that nationalism
conditioning has spread to primary school children."

They Framed It and They Sent It to Buyukanit

Students from the Anatolia Teacher High School and Haci Fatma Erdemir
Anatolia High School who came together on 28 November drew a Turkish
flag using the blood from their fingers. The students prepared the
flag with the aim of reacting against the terrorist actions in
Turkey. Later the youths framed the Turkish flag that they had drawn
with their own blood and they sent it to Chief of Staff General Yasar
Buyukanit.

In a speech he delivered during the finals of the "Campaign for the
Support of Counterterrorism Heroes" that was organized by a
television channel, Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit mentioned
the Turkish flag that has been drawn by the students with their own
blood. General Buyukanit said the following in order to express his
feelings:

"Look what I will show you now. This is a Turkish flag. It is a
unique flag. It was drawn with the blood of a group of youths. We are
a great nation. And our martyrs have truly become martyrs for a
sacred cause – with the aim of safeguarding the unity and the
solidarity of the country we live in. Their families have been
entrusted with us. We should take care of them because they are our
most valuable assets."

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