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From today’s Turkish press


QUR'AN-BURNING INCIDENT IN SWEDEN: Tamer Korkmaz claims in pro-government Yeni Safak that NATO has prioritized hostility towards Islam after the fall of the Eastern bloc: "NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also interpreted the burning of the Qur'an as an exercise of the 'freedom of thought'. He said the act was not a crime. The NATO concept underwent a change as the Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990s. It prioritized enmity towards Islam. Ned Price, the U.S. State Department's gay spokesperson, did not condemn the act of burning the Qur'an outside the Turkish embassy in Sweden. He said the act sabotaged NATO. Since the Swedish state allowed the despicable act, it is they who sabotaged NATO while looking forward to entering the organization."

Writing in Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, Baskin Oran maintains that the violation of symbols of other peoples' faith is a fascist hate crime: "'Workers of the world, unite,' Marx said. They could not. But the fascists of the world are uniting. Most recently Edwin Wagensveld, the head of anti-Islam group Pegida, tore the Qur'an's pages in The Hague. Freedom of expression does not include violating symbols of faith with the aim of hurting or humiliating those believing in them. This can only count as a hate crime. The imperialists who have pillaged the whole world are now paying the price. They are subjected to large influxes of migration by those fleeing economic hardships and grave anti-democratic pressure in those poor countries. This triggers rightist or rather racist reactions among the Western public."

Writing in pro-Kurdish opposition Arti Gercek, Murad Mihci warns that action against Rasmus Paludan who burnt a copy of the Qur'an in Sweden would help him achieve his racist aims: "It should be stressed that the Swedish and Danish governments have not come up with a sufficiently realistic response to the Qur'an-burning incident. Turkey immediately reacted as expected. Any response to the person who burnt the Qur'an will put his racist attack back on the agenda and render his provocative act successful. Nevertheless, groups from various beliefs have criticized and condemned the act, showing mutual sensitivity. However, racist groups have also emerged in our country. Some ultra-nationalist groups chanted 'Let Sweden be raided and Paludan hanged' while saying 'Allah-u-Akbar' outside the Swedish consulate in Istanbul."


TURKEY/U.S.: Armagan Kuloglu suggests in nationalist opposition Yenicag that Turkey should be more open to Finland's NATO membership bid since it is more moderate than Sweden: "The U.S. is utilizing NATO among other tools to ensure that Turkey acts in line with American interests while putting pressure on Ankara in various ways. The U.S. tries to employ rhetoric that says that 'Turkey is an uncompromising ally.' As a temporary solution, we can create the perception that Finland's membership bid for NATO may be approved, assuming it fulfils Turkey's conditions and expectations, because it is more moderate compared to Sweden. Thus the Swedish prime minister seems to have accepted not obstructing Finland."

Ozay Sendir warns in pro-government Milliyet that the U.S. would force Turkey to take action if it gives Greece a green light to expand its territorial waters: "U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Turkey, Israel and Greece in February. Blinken will force Turkey to take action if he gives a green light to Greece's extension of its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles and acts like U.S. multinational company ExxonMobil's CEO, which wants to complete business in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' exclusive economic zone with a license from the Greek Cypriot administration. Ankara will also focus its attention on Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lately undertaken the task of improving Saudi/U.S. ties. We will see if he becomes an instrument in Athens' propaganda and throws away the recent rapprochement with Turkey."


WESTERN MEDIA COVERAGE OF TURKEY: Hande Firat contends in pro-government Hurriyet that hostility towards President Erdogan in the Western media is in reaction to his policies exposing the West's exploitation of the rest of the world: "Stories in The Economist, Bloomberg and Stern about Turkey share hostility towards Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his foreign policies. These original policies exposed the exploitation system known to those governing the current global system. As a result, Erdogan has been turned into a target. Western countries fuel the fire of enmity towards Erdogan further because of Turkey's role and independent actions concerning Libya, Azerbaijan and particularly the Russia/Ukraine war."


Iran media watch


(Iranian newspapers do not publish on Fridays and Network One (IRTV1) does not air its morning news bulletin.)


ISRAELI 'MASSACRE' IN JENIN: Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian condemned an Israeli raid on a refugee camp in Jenin, describing it as a "barbaric attack" and a "massacre". Israeli forces yesterday killed 10 Palestinians, including a woman in her 60s, and wounded 20 in a large-scale raid that set off armed clashes in the occupied West Bank. Tweeting in Persian and Arabic, Amir-Abdollahian called for an "immediate" international response to Israeli "criminals" and insisted that there would be "no retreat" for Jenin. Separately, the foreign ministry spokesperson called on Muslim nations to launch "coordinated measures" in support of Palestinians.


DESECRATION OF QURAN: State-organized rallies will be held today after Friday prayers to condemn the "desecration" of the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands. A copy of the Quran was burned in a Sweden protest and another was torn up in a gathering outside the Dutch parliament last week. Hojjat-ol-Eslam Seyyed Mohsen Mahmoudi, the head of the Islamic Propagation Coordination Council of Tehran Province, appeared on a live TV program this morning to promote the rallies. He urged Muslims around the world to "force their governments to take action" and criticised Saudi officials for not condemning the incidents.


SOCIAL MEDIA: The parents of a 9-year-old boy killed during recent protests were summoned to the prosecutor's office. Kian Pirfalak was killed in a shooting last November in the south-western city of Izeh. Officials blame "terrorists" for the shooting, but his family maintains that he was killed by security forces. Critics of the court summons turned the young boy's name into a trending hashtag. A Germany-based writer Tweeted: "Apparently things have calmed down, but atrocities continue with the same intensity." An Iran-based political activist pointed out that the authorities have called Pirfalak a "martyr" but his mother lost her teaching job for challenging the official narrative of his death. He wrote: "The Islamic Republic is the regime of liars led by Ali Khamenei, the epitome of insolence and shamelessness." The chief editor of the official news agency of the judiciary, said Pirfalak's parents had been summoned to "lodge a complaint in relation to the murder of their son".