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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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SIPDIS

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
THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2008

In Today's Papers

Top U.S. Official Comments on the AKP Closure Case
Sabah, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Zaman, Vatan,Radikal, Star, Bugun:
Today's papers report that U.S. Deputy Assistant of State for
European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza commented on the AKP
closure case during a speech at a conference organized by the
Washington Institute. Coverage includes Bryza's statements that,
"The closure of the party would be an unfortunate development. This
is Turkey's business to resolve. It would not be appropriate for
the U.S. to issue an ultimatum or threaten Turkey." Liberal Radikal
and Islamist-oriented Zaman call Bryza's statements "an open warning
from the U.S." Bryza also commented on Turkey's EU process when he
said, "If the EU halts negotiations with Turkey because of the
closure case, U.S. national interests would suffer. If full EU
membership is not on the horizon, it will be difficult for Turkish
leaders to pass reforms." Mainstream Hurriyet notes Bryza said,
"The Turkish democratic system is strong enough to solve the
problem." Nationalist Ortadogu headline reads "The U.S. takes the
AKP under its Protection," and criticizes Bryza's comments by saying
"PM Erdogan fulfills every request from President Bush. And the
U.S., in return, supports the AKP. With his comments, Bryza went
overboard by sending a message to our judiciary regarding the AKP
closure case."

EDITORIAL OPINION: Turkish Political Trends and Analyses

"Trapped Between Trauma and an Action Plan"
Cuneyt Ulsever wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (6/26): "Turkey's
problem stems from the fact that people are forced to choose between
limited political approaches. One option is to support the military
for the sake of protecting the Turkish Republic. The other option
is to embrace conservatism in the name of the fight against
unfairness. The former choice will do its best to make gloomy plans
for the country's future while the latter will do everything it can
to avenge the history of the Turkish Republic. This is a game, yet
we call it democracy. None of these debates have anything to do
with democracy and freedoms. These tensions are all about political
turf. The AKP's Firat said some parts of society were traumatized
by Ataturk's reforms. There is some truth to this. However,
Firat's tone makes me wonder why he and his supporters fight only
for their own concerns. Freedom is for everybody with absolutely no
exception. Our history is based on two fundamental ideologies -
secularism and Islamism. Neither ideology stands on democratic
grounds; what we see today is the fight between the two ideologies
for their share of the political pie. The fight will only end when
the two sides agree to share. Until then, Islamists will continue
to discuss their trauma while the Turkish military will make secret
plans to influence public opinion."

"Trauma"
Taha Akyol wrote in mainstream Milliyet (6/26): "The very essence
and nature of revolutions are traumatic; a revolution is radical in
and of itself. The ruling AKP's number two in charge expressed his
opinion that society was traumatized by Ataturk's reforms.
Expressing an opinion on the subject is not a bad thing. The
tragedy lies in the outcome of his statement. This politician, from
the ruling party, has now created more trauma and more polarization
in society. Such historical debates should be held among
intellectuals instead of governing politicians. The fault lies on
both sides of society. One side fears Islamic fundamentalism, but
the AKP is unable to eliminate concerns regarding an underlying
Islamist agenda. Now is the time for the ruling AKP to return to
its prior focus on the economy, democracy and EU integration."


General Basbug Criticizes the Media
All papers report that Land Forces Commander General Ilker Basbug
commented on his meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan. Basbug stated
that it was the PM who requested the meeting, which focused on the

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subject of terrorism, and the Chief of the General Staff was aware
of the meeting. Basbug criticized the media and urged them to make
thorough investigations before preparing their news reports.

If I Return, I will Return as Fethullah Gulen
Hurriyet, Sabah, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, and others: The Court
of Appeals upheld Fethullah Gulen's acquittal by a lower court, so
the media is speculating on Gulen's return to Turkey. In an
interview with www.herkul.org internet site, Gulen said he would
like to keep a low profile in the event his return could create
problems. Mainstream Hurriyet reports that Gulen reacted to the
rumors that his return would be like Khomeini's return to Iran and
said "If I return, I will return as I am." Gulen's close associate
Huseyin Gulerce stressed that Gulen wants to have a quiet return and
he doesn't want any of his supporters to demonstrate. Hurriyet adds
that Gulen pushed the button for his return to Turkey and
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet, in contrast, says that Gulen "will
exert every effort to extend his stay in the U.S." In addition, the
paper reports, Gulen has applied for a U.S. permanent residence
card. Hurriyet published the full list of those who wrote letters
in support of Gulen's green card application, including former CIA
chief Graham Fuller and former Ambassador to Turkey Morton
Abramowitz.

3 PKK Killed in Tendurek Mountain of Agri
Sabah, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet and others: During clashes
with the PKK, Turkish security forces killed three terrorists on
Tendurek Mountain in Agri. During the clashes, one soldier and a
first lieutenant were injured. Security forces confiscated a
U.S.-made M-16 rifle from one of the dead.

Turkey Friendship Group to be Established in the European
Parliament
Zaman, Cumhuriyet, Star: Turkish-German socialist deputy Vural Oger
and six other members of the European Parliament have established a
"Turkey Friendship Group" within the parliament in order to support
Turkey's bid to join the EU. The group will work on visa issues,
transporters' quota problems, and efforts to eliminate mutual
prejudges between Turkey and the EU.

U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Blocked
Media outlets are uniformly criticizing the Armenian lobby for
delaying Maria Yovanovitch's confirmation as ambassador to Armenia.
Islamist-oriented Zaman writes in, "A New Obstacle for the Candidate
for U.S. Ambassador to Yerevan," that "Barbara Boxer, who belongs to
the Armenian lobby, has halted the approval process for Marie
Yovanovitch for one month." In "The Armenian Lobby Puts the Brakes
on Bush's Nominee for Ambassador," leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
writes, "Barbara Boxer has blocked the nomination because she is
close to the Armenian lobby, who opposes Yovanovitch's nomination
due to her statements against the use of the term 'genocide' in
reference to the events of 1915." In addition, the paper reports,
"Yovanovitch met with New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, who is
known to be close to the Armenian lobby, last week and told him she
characterized the events of 1915 as 'ethnic cleansing.'" Liberal
Radikal writes, "The Armenian lobby trips up another ambassador," as
former nominee Richard Hoagland's nomination, "was vetoed by New
Jersey Senator Robert Menendez because Hoagland rejected the term
'genocide,'" in describing the events of 1915. Mainstream Milliyet
calls Barbara Boxer's action, "an obstacle from a senator who is
close to the Armenian lobby," as, "even only one senator can block
the entire confirmation process." Mainstream Hurriyet writes, "The
Armenian lobby blocks an ambassadorial appointment," because,
"during a speech in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee she did
not used the word 'genocide,' but instead used the word 'ethnic
cleansing,' to describe the events of 1915." Leftist Taraf writes,
"An Ambassador against 'Genocide' Is Delayed."

TV Highlights
CNN Turk

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Domestic News

- President Gul approves a bill authorizing Kurdish-language
broadcasting on state-owned TRT television.

- The Interior Ministry released a circular to prevent violent
soccer celebrations.

- The Ankara municipality plans to buy 500 new commuter buses.

- Farming Minister Mehdi Eker said that tensions with Russia
regarding tomato exports are now resolved.

International News

- Tropical storm Fengshen left 329 people dead and 1000 others
missing in the Philippines.

- Saudi Arabia detained 520 Al-Qaeda suspects for involvement in
terrorism.

- According to the "World Public Opinion" poll, 51 percent of
Turkish people support the use of torture on terrorists if it could
save innocent lives.

- Iran plans to withdraw assets from the EU in response to the
tightening of sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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