Turkish newspapers on Monday heavily covered the overnight secret military operation inside war-torn Syria to relocate Suleyman Shah’s tomb and about 40 Turkish soldiers who guarded the territory.
Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, was buried in Turkey's only exclave – after a 1921 agreement with France that ruled Syria at the time – 30 kilometers from Turkey’s southern border.
Another area in Syria closer to the border with Turkey was secured to serve as a temporary burial place.
“‘Hi, we are friends’,” was HABER TURK’s front-page headline, referring to a slogan used by the Turkish army in Arabic and Kurdish to warn local civilians during the operation which started late on Saturday and ended early on Sunday.
Almost all newspapers featured a picture of Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu along with Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz and Chief of Staff General Necdet Ozel at the General Staff’s headquarters in Ankara.
VATAN ran the headline “7 hours in the headquarters,” featuring the same picture and adding that the operation was monitored live and video screens by the assembled leaders.
HURRIYET said: “Shah passing from Kobani,” referring to the town where heavy fighting between Kurdish forces and the Islamic State and the Levant militants had raged for months. The Turkish forces swept through the ruined town on their way to the tomb.
The daily added that the Turkish military used 56 armored vehicles, 39 tanks and 572 personnel for the operation.
“The flag was raised without falling,” said STAR featuring a large picture of three Turkish soldiers raising the national flag in the new exclave in Syria.
HURRIYET said Turkish soldiers raised the flag in the north of Syria Esmesi village close to the Turkish border before they downed Turkish flag at the Suleyman Shah’s tomb.
Referring to the same photograph VATAN said: “Same scene after 70 years,” adding that the picture released by the Turkish army evoked another image of U.S. soldiers’ when they raised an American flag on Japan’s Iwo Jima island in 1945.
Most Turkish newspapers also reported the accidental death of a Turkish soldier who worked as a photographer during the operation.
SABAH said that Master Sergeant Halit Avci lost his life after a tank hatch fell on him. According to the newspaper Avci was going to be a father in 15 days.
In economic news, DUNYA says: “Suitcase trading decreased by half,” in a story about citizens of former Soviet countries who travel to Turkey to purchase consumer goods and pack their suitcases with items to sell at street markets back home.
The trade has been a significant source of revenue for Turkey since the fall of the Soviet Union, when people from Russia, Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia began to come here in the 1990s.
The trade is primarily centered on Istanbul's Laleli district and in the back alleys of nearby Aksaray, close to the city’s historical and touristic heart as well as Zeytinburnu and Unkapani.
The newspaper reported that tradesman in Istanbul called for the government to take measures to support the trade.