03 October 2006

But It Was A Peaceful Hijacking

Updates below

A Turkish Airlines flight was hijacked by two men upset with Pope Benedict XVI. Here is part of the story from Fox News via AP.

Two Turks protesting Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Turkey next month hijacked a jet carrying 113 people from Albania to Istanbul on Tuesday, and it landed safely in this southern Italian coastal city [of Brindisi], where they surrendered, officials said.

It was just a protest over Pope Benedict's speech in Germany two weeks ago. No one was hurt, the flight landed safely, and the protesters surrendered (just as they said they would after entering the cockpit shortly after takeoff). I'm surprised that the AP actually put the word "hijacked" in that opening paragraph; one would think that "asked the pilots to redirect the flight" would be so much more fitting to what was otherwise described as basically an unusual protest against the insensitive West.

I expect this to be seen as an opportunity by the mainstream media to revisit the Pontiff's speech, and to delve into how deeply it has affected Muslims around the world. Once they have spun it as two troubled lads driven to this desperate act by the careless words of the Pope, then it will disappear from the news radar.

Hopefully I'm wrong, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Updated 04 October 2006 at 0720 CDT: According to a News Austrailia story, Turkish television has reported that one of the hijackers is a recent convert to Christianity and was attempting to avoid compulsory military service in the Turkish army.

Updated 04 October 2006 at 2000 CDT: From Fox News

The case was marked by confusion from the start. Officials in Turkey initially said the plane had been hijacked by a group protesting the pope's upcoming visit to Turkey, but later retracted that version when it became clear that Ekinci had acted alone.

On Wednesday, Turkey's justice minister claimed that Hakan Ekinci was not the sole hijacker but had an accomplice. However, officials in Italy denied this and Turkey later retracted the claim of a second hijacker.

Bad information from the get-go. I hope that the hijacker isn't returned to Turkey, but I also hope that Italy prosecutes him to the fullest extent of the law. I understand that the man was desperate, but I do not and cannot condone the hijacking of an aircraft.


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