Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
DE RUEHAK #1037/01 1561413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041413Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6462
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8929
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 4293
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2973
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6644
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6474
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3052
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001037
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, 2008
In Today's Papers
Wiretapping Mystery Solved by Cell Phone Records
All papers report Turkey's GSM operator Turkcell confirms that there
was a 44-minute call recorded between Vakit daily newspaper and the
mobile phone of CHP Secretary General Onder Sav on May 24th. Last
week, the opposition CHP accused the AKP government of "monitoring"
Sav's conversation with a former governor, and "servicing" the talk
to the Islamist daily Vakit which published it almost verbatim in
their newspaper the next day. Vakit claimed Sav forgot to switch
off his cell phone after he mistakenly answered the call and
proceeded with his talk with the governor.The ruling AKP and
Islamist media had blamed Sav for "falsely accusing" the government
of having bugged the CHP party building and phones. In "Turkcell
Confirms 44-Minute Call Between Sav and Vakit," nationalist Turkiye
and others report Vakit's claim was supported by a Turkcell document
released yesterday. On May 30, CHP filed a criminal complaint
against Vakit, claiming illegal monitoring of Sav's office.
CHP leader Deniz Baykal told his party group meeting yesterday,
"Members of Islamist groups have been bugging almost the entire
country and using the information obtained for blackmail or other
political purposes." In addition, Baykal charged, "No authority in
Turkey should be given such mandates; we'll launch a legal fight
against such practices."
Mainstream Milliyet reports on its front page, "The Country is
uneasy with reports that all personal communication is monitored by
the Security Forces." Cumhuriyet lashes out at the Justice Ministry
for allowing police and the intelligence service MIT to monitor
people, but turned down a similar request from the gendarme.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Parliament adopted a motion on Tuesday to set
up a parliamentary committee to investigate the CHP's allegations of
wiretapping by the police and MIT.
EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq; Turkey's Efforts for Middle East Peace
"Future of Iraq"
Cuneyt Ulsever wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (6/4): "It seems the
upcoming presidential race will take place between Barack Obama and
John McCain. The U.S. election results will shape the future of
Iraq. With that in mind, the year 2009 will certainly be a fateful
year for Iraqis. On the surface, there seems to be a policy
difference between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party as
the former wants to stay in Iraq while the latter prefers an
immediate withdrawal. Given the current failure of the Bush
administration's policy in Iraq, it is politically correct for
Democrats to defend the policy of withdrawal in theory. However in
reality, I do not see a major policy difference between the two
parties. Moreover Democrats do not look as if they have a clear and
solid Iraq policy. Let's take Obama's remarks to the extent that he
will not act hastily to withdraw from Iraq. McCain says the same
thing, so one can conclude that both parties are saying the same
thing. They both know an immediate pull-out will not serve Iraq's
interests. After all it is very important for the U.S., regardless
of which party is in power, not to repeat the same 'Divide and Rule'
mistake that the United Kingdom made by focusing on communities,
instead of a national identity. Using Iraqi tribes and communities,
like Sunnis and Shiites, may appear to be work but in the end it
only paves the way for a divided Iraq. With its tribal-focused
policy on Iraq, unfortunately the U.S. seems to be repeating the
Soner Cagaptay wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (6/4): "For
sometime Turkey has been conducting diplomacy between Israel and
Syria. The efforts for a Syrian-Israeli peace agreement require
some important aspects to keep in mind. First of all, it remains to
be seen whether Israel and Syria are genuinely ready to make
ANKARA 00001037 002 OF 003
compromises or are they just acting like peace advocates for show?
If the efforts produce a peace agreement, the ruling AKP will
undoubtedly gain enormous credit. However there is also a serious
risk here. If the Syrian nuclear connection to North Korea is
proven, Ankara will face a serious blow against its credibility.
Moreover, such a development will harm the AKP's image vis-`-vis
Washington. As far as the peace effort is concerned, a positive
atmosphere for the AKP in Washington can only be achieved if Syria
signs a peace agreement with Israel and if it can distance itself
from Iran and Hezbollah. In other words, Turkey is gambling with
politics as it takes a role in the Syrian-Israeli peace talks. The
gambling table has four actors, Ankara, Washington, Tel Aviv and
Damascus. Let's hope that Ankara acts with good knowledge of the
cards in other players' hands."
Human Rights Court Backs Headscarf Ban in Turkish Schools
All papers report the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR)
rejected yesterday a complaint from two Turkish teachers who were
not allowed to wear the Islamic-style headscarf in the classroom.
Fatma Karaduman and Sevil Tandogan from Theology High School
(Imam-Hatip) in the city of Sakarya, complained that headscarf
restrictions amounted to a violation of freedom of religious
expression. Tuesday's ruling was the ECHR's second rejection of a
headscarf-related complaint, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says.
Mainstream Hurriyet says the ECHR approved, once again, the
headscarf ban in Turkey.
Papers noted the ECHR ruling came hours before the Constitutional
Court takes up the CHP's objection to controversial AKP-MHP
sponsored headscarf reforms, which were passed by the Turkish
parliament earlier this year. The Constitutional Court is scheduled
to consider the case against the reforms on Thursday.
KRG Changes Stance Regarding Kirkuk
Milliyet, Sabah, Zaman, Vatan, Bugun and others: Papers report
that, speaking to Reuters News Agency, Kurdish Regional Government
(KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said "Regarding Kirkuk, as
Kurds, we are ready for sharing power. We are seeking a solution,
not a referendum. We have asked the UN to be technically involved
because the situation is complicated." The regional Kurdish
Parliament voted in December for a six month delay in a proposed
referendum, mainly to give the UN time to come up with solutions for
U.S.-Turkey Nuclear Cooperation
All papers report the nuclear energy production agreement (123
Agreement) between the U.S. and Turkey is covered in a
straightforward manner, but also reflects a sense of relief that the
discussions have finally concluded with an agreement after eight
years of discussions. In "A Peaceful Nuclear Agreement with the
U.S.," mainstream Milliyet writes, "this agreement will make it
easier for U.S. companies such as GE to proceed with plans to invest
in Turkey's nuclear development program." Mainstream Hurriyet
points out, "This agreement is very important," as "Turkey's
neighbor Iran experiences serious problems with the international
community because of its nuclear efforts." Leftist Taraf calls the
agreement, "Praise from the U.S. for Turkey's Peace Efforts,"
because, "soon after Sean McCormack praised Turkey for its mediation
efforts between Israel and Syria, the nuclear cooperation agreement
was signed." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet writes in "On the March
Toward Nuclear Cooperation," that "Bill Clinton was President when
the agreement negotiations were first initiated in 2000," and "the
agreement targets cooperation to exchange nuclear technology,
material, and reactor equipment."
Matt Bryza Emphasizes Close Ties
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet carried an interview with U.S. Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt
Bryza under the headline, "Our Close Cooperation Will Continue."
The article notes Bryza emphasized, "The U.S. has always appreciated
ANKARA 00001037 003 OF 003
Turkey's secular values," and, "The AKP closure case will not damage
relations with the U.S." He said the U.S. attributed significant
importance to Turkey's secularism and democratic principles since
the time of Ataturk, and "see it as the basis of our partnership
with Turkey." In addition, Bryza noted, "While it is necessary to
fight against PKK terrorism, Turkey's cooperation with Iran on this
topic is not perceived warmly by the U.S."
NGOs against Gay Rights Group 'LambdaIstanbul's Closure
Hurriyet, Radikal, Taraf, and Cumhuriyet report some 150 domestic
NGOs backed by international organizations held a press conference
in Istanbul on Tuesday to express support to Turkey's gay and
lesbian rights organization, LambdaIstanbul, which was closed by the
Governor's Office last week. Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty
International (AI) representatives told the press the closure was
indicative of the official intolerance against diverse groups and
minorities in Turkey. "With this decision, the authorities have
approved the prejudice in the Turkish public against marginalized
groups," HRW representative Emma Sinclair-Webb told the
Obama Reaches Necessary Delegate Count for Democratic Party's
All papers cite the Associated Press (AP) report that U.S.
Democratic Party Presidential candidate Barack Obama has reached the
requisite delegate count for the Democratic Party's nomination.
According to mainstream Sabah, Obama's rival, former first lady and
New York Senator Hillary Clinton said "If it will help the Democrats
win the elections, I am open to taking the vice-president
TV - Morning News:
- Four suspects accused of spying at the Turkish border for the
northern Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) will face up to
20-year prison sentences.
- Opposition far right MHP leader Devlet Bahceli told his party
group Tuesday preparations for Kurdish language broadcasts on
state-owned TRT television were "a good-will gesture for the PKK."
- "Turkey's growth performance over the last 20 years had been
mediocre," said the elite business group TUSIAD member Ali Kibar.
- Greek Cyprus has withdrawn some of its objections to EU financial
support for Turkish Cyprus.
- The European Court of Human Rights has called on Turkey to
demonstrate "positive attitudes" in dealing with the Greeks living
on Gokceada and Bozcaada islands.
- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced to the world press,
"Israel must be prepared to return all Syrian lands occupied in the
1967 War as part of any peace deal between the two sides."