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Friday, July 03, 2009

Media Misinterprets Minister

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Tarkan by the Tigris River
Tarkan by the Tigris River
After Turkish left-wing newspaper Radikal published the Turkish minister of environment's response to those protesting government's plans to flood the Tigris River and build the controversial Ilisu Dam, entertainment reports picked up the story to report it with a spin of their own - with headlines claiming that the minister accused "Tarkan of not loving Turkey" (Medyatava, 2 July 2009).

The articles claim that Tarkan was indirectly criticised by Environment Minister Veysel Eroğlu, although a full reading of the minister's speech in paper Radikal gives a different interpretation - with the minister formally inviting the star to a meeting on the project and clearly stating he didn't believe Tarkan's campaign was politically motivated.

However surprisingly, reputable news sites have not been immune to misrepresenting the minister's comments, either, with NTVMSNBC quoting the environment minister as saying that he extended an invitation to Tarkan to meet, but the artist had refused - and even editing the filmed footage to read that way.

Environment Minister "Warns" Tarkan (© NTV)

What the minister had said in between was that "his door is open" to Tarkan on the issue, and it is not clear who the minister means when he speaks of a person being invited, but not coming to see him.

Moreover, liberal paper Taraf reports that Minister Eroğlu came out publicly in response to the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau Online's report about the dam last month to diminish the project's reputation.

Quoting Eroğlu, Taraf writes the minister is said to have denied claims that the people in the region would be made homeless, but rather that in place of their old homes they would be transferred to newly built villas with a lakeside view, and that they would be in their new homes by the end of the year.

Explaining that the ancient city in the region would not be completely immersed under water, the minister went on to reassure conscientious protesters that the national treasures in the lower part to be flooded would be protected.

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