One of the few commentaries to consider in any depth the implications of Turkey's decision to host the radar facility was by Fehim Taştekin, published 29 December 2011 in the liberal newspaper Radikal. In his article, "Radar, the messenger of a war," Taştekin noted the lack of reaction to the decision despite the deployment being part of a “possible war” against Iran, a country with which Turkey had historically maintained peaceful relations. Although the government refused to publicly acknowledge that the radar was built to defend NATO countries--and controversially for many Turks, possibly Israel--from missiles from Iran, Taştekin warned that Turkey risked hostile relations with its neighbors. To Taştekin, tension with Iran, and Turkey's side-taking in both Syria and in the Shia-Sunni conflict in Iraq were all signs of a “sad autumn” with regard to Middle East and Turkey relations.
Taştekin acknowledged political benefits for the Turkish government, such as improved relations with the U.S., and reduced pressure regarding damaged Turkey-Israel relations. However, he ultimately argued that Turkey was being taken for "a ride." He points to Russia and its preparations around the Black Sea region in response to threats of an Israeli attack on Iran and raises the argument that Azerbaijan might take advantage of any war to try to take back Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia, creating another hot conflict (with likely Russian involvement) near Turkey’s border. The article also notes U.S. “unwillingness” to take up Russia's offer of use of Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan and concludes that the U.S. was exaggerating Iran's threat to NATO nations.
The dearth of debate could be explained in part by coverage being overshadowed by other major stories: The original U.S.-Turkey agreement coincided with the Van earthquake and the deployment of U.S. soldiers may have been overtaken by coverage of the conflict in Syria. Still, since September, commentary on the subject has been extraordinarily rare.
Given widespread evidence of increasingly heavy handed media intervention by the government, another explanation could be media self censorship. As the government silences its opponents in the media, including detention of outspoken critics, most outlets have begun to apply heavy self censorship, and have clearly been less enthusiastic about opposing or criticizing the government on important controversial issues.