Turkish nationalism or Islamism?

Does this sound like an excess of nationalistic fervor, or something else?

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Assailants tied up three people at a publishing house that distributes Bibles in Turkey and then slit their throats Wednesday, adding to a string of attacks apparently targeting the country’s tiny Christian minority.

The killings occurred in Malatya, a city in central Turkey known as a hotbed of Turkish nationalism and is the hometown of Mehmet Ali Agca, the gunman who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981…

The publishing house had been targeted previously in protests by nationalists who accused it of proselytizing in this overwhelmingly Muslim but officially secular country, Dogan news agency reported…

In February 2006, a teenager fatally shot a Catholic priest as he prayed in his church, and two more Catholic priests were attacked later in the year. A November visit by

Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by nonviolent protests, and early this year a gunman killed Armenian Christian editor Hrant Dink. [my emphasis] — Benjamin Harvey, AP (Yahoo)

I’m not sure why this particular item refers to the murderers as ‘nationalists’. I suspect that a more correct term would be ‘Islamists’.

A similar substitution occurred in news reports of the Hrant Dink assassination. Although several witnesses reported hearing the killer say “I shot the infidel”, this was left out of most news reports, and nationalistic motives emphasized.

And shooting the Pope is probably the paradigm case of a crime motivated by religious intolerance!

I wonder if the Turkish government, which very much wants to join the EU, is applying pressure to news organizations to minimize the extent of radical islamic activity in Turkey? Or maybe Mr. Harvey is exercising self-censorship?

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