"US ship comes to hold Turkey captive"
“Down with your ships!”
That’s how nationalist Victory Party Chair Dogu Perincek welcomed the news of a US Carrier moved from the Mediterranean Sea toward Turkey, to help the survivors of two massive earthquakes that killed thousands of Turkey and left hundreds of thousands more homeless.
"You don't come to help, you come to take prisoners! You cannot go to Anatolia with your bloody boots," he tweeted, sharing an agency news story about the ship.
Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said the aircraft carrier George HW Bush is moving toward Turkey in the Mediterranean to be in position in case Turkey requests additional help.
"We're trying to do everything we can to lean forward to respond to their request and help them as they try to save lives," he told reporters at a news conference.
He said U.S. troops stationed at Turkey's Incirlik Air Base had begun transporting first responders to areas affected by the quake.
Adding that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had dispatched search-and-rescue teams to Turkey on a C-17 aircraft, he said: "These teams arrived Feb. 8 and will soon resume supporting relief efforts on the ground."
The aircraft carrier’s presence on Turkey’s waters caused anxious reactions to proliferate among some other Turkish people.
Former rear admiral and author Cihat Yayci advised that people remain vigilant about foreign nations conducting intelligence operations in Turkey under the guise of humanitarian aid, as he claims that this was the case in the 1999 Marmara earthquake.
Others, such as pro-AKP journalist Turker Akinci, pointed to the US Armed Forces’ 2002 war game exercise, the Millennium Challenge. Akinci said that in the exercise, the target country, which was invaded, was described as one that has straits and is surrounded on three sides by seas. Akinci alleges that this country was clearly Turkey, and that the 2002 exercise is an indication that the US might target Turkey for invasion.
On both YouTube livestreams and Twitter, nervous speculations and anti-American sentiment surge. Some note that Turkey does not need American aid, as it does not have friendly or genuine intentions while others question the need for an aircraft carrier. Aydinlik Gazetesi journalist Tevfik Kafadan asks, “What is a US aircraft carrier doing in Turkey? What aid can it offer to earthquake victims? Let’s not allow the enemy into our territorial waters.”