Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Turks' patriotism raises flags as EU talks near

"Anyone visiting Turkey in recent weeks might be forgiven for thinking the country had just gone to war or at the very least won a major soccer tournament.

Public buildings, homes, buses, taxis and private cars have been festooned with the national flag, which bears a white Islamic crescent moon and star on a red background."

"This outpouring of patriotic fervor was sparked by an incident last month in which youths tried unsuccessfully to set fire to a Turkish flag during a pro-Kurdish demonstration in the port city of Mersin.

An overreaction? Turkey's military General Staff did not think so. It issued a statement vowing to defend the nation to its "last drop of blood." Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan announced sternly that the flag was a sacred symbol for Turks.

Security officers detained the 13- and 14-year-old boys accused of setting fire to the flag, along with nine others."
HoustonChronicle.com - Turks' patriotism raises flags as EU talks near

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