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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 001187

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
MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2008

In Today's Papers

Malaysia's Ibrahim Seeks Refuge in Turkish Embassy
All papers report Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who
was released from prison in 2004 over charges of corruption and
sexual assault, has sought refuge in the Turkish embassy in Kuala
Lumpur. Ibrahim's blog states he went to the Turkish embassy
because of fears for his personal safety. Ibrahim also claimed he
had information from credible sources within the government and
military that there were plots to harm his family and supporters. A
supporter told the press Ibrahim was "not seeking political asylum,
but needs to be in a safe place where he can think of what to do
next." Monday morning television reports noted Ibrahim emphasized
he did not apply for political asylum and he would leave the Turkish
Embassy soon.

CHP Will Not Participate in the Socialist International Meetings in
Athens
All papers report Turkey's main opposition CHP will not participate
in the meeting of Socialist International (SI) in Athens. CHP
deputy chairman Onur Oymen said his party did not have any problem
with SI and its principles. "We, however, differ with several SI
member countries and politicians regarding the independence of the
judiciary and the supremacy of law in Turkey," Oymen said.
Islamist-oriented Zaman writes party leader Deniz Baykal, "will not
attend the Athens meetings because there were no guarantees that SI
chairman Yorgos Papandreou would not warn or expel the CHP from the
organization."

Hersh: A Secret Partnership between the U.S. and PJAK
Today's major international story focuses on Seymour Hersh's claims
that the U.S. and PJAK are working together in secret operations
against the regime in Iran. Coverage is largely straightforward,
but more emphasis is on Hersh's claims of a partnership between PJAK
and the U.S. than emphasis on U.S. attempts to topple the Iranian
regime. In, "Many Secrets Are in Iran," mainstream Hurriyet writes,
"In an effort seeking regime change in Iran, President Bush asked
the U.S. Congress for $400 million dollars to initiate a secret
operation," and, "both Democrats and Republicans approved the
measure." Mainstream Vatan writes, "America and PJAK are Dealing a
Daunting Strike against Iran," but notes, "according to a Gallup
poll, 73% of Americans are opposed to a strike against Iran, while
only 18% support such a strike." In addition, the paper notes,
"PJAK terrorists have increased attacks against the Iranian
military," which has "created tensions between the government of
Turkey and the government of the United States." Mainstream Sabah
writes in, "Washington Will Attack Iran with PJAK," that Hersh is,
"the winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and the man who
uncovered the Abu Ghraib torture scandal." Islamist-oriented Yeni
Safak writes, "The U.S.' Puppet Invasion of Iran Is Found in Secret
Documents." Islamist-oriented Zaman carries the headline, "The U.S.
Speeds up Its Secret Operations against the Iranian Administration."
Leftist Taraf writes, "The US Even Enters Iran." Far right
Ortadogu reports, "The Iranian administration is taking necessary
measures to defend itself," against such an operation. Mainstream
Milliyet writes, "PJAK is working in Iran in the name of the U.S."
and the paper accuses the U.S. of "lying in previous statements
regarding relations between the U.S. and PJAK."

General Staff Statement on Allegations against Turkish Armed Forces
Weekend papers: The Turkish General Staff (TGS) posted a statement
on its web site Saturday that denied allegations of a plan to
manipulate public opinion and allegations that no measures were
taken after an intelligence warning regarding an impending attack in
Daglica last year, in which eight Turkish soldiers were taken
hostage by the PKK.

The statement said "A report was published in the June 20 edition of
a daily newspaper in which it was claimed that there existed an
Information Support plan prepared by the office of the Chief of the

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General Staff. There is no such plan in the Turkish Armed Forces.
The same paper, in its June 25 edition, published a message,
classified "SECRET", from a command organization regarding possible
actions of the PKK/Kongra-Gel terrorist organization, and claimed
that, despite the attack that was to be made against Daglica having
been reported in this message, no measures were taken. The message
published was a genuine document and carried the intent of warning
all units at risk. To assess rumors received and turn them into
intelligence, and to distribute these as warnings of possible
actions, is a standard practice utilized by the Turkish Armed
Forces. Indeed, in accord with the warning in question, security
precautions in units in the region were stepped up, and our elements
deployed at Daglica, by displaying the proper response, prevented
the treacherous attack from attaining its real goal. As the
judicial process involving the matter continues, the display of
provocative approaches of this type is cause for concern. The
leaking of military documents bearing the "SECRET" classification,
and their publication by means of the press, is a wholly illegal
act, and the matter has been placed in the hands of the judiciary.
It has been determined by an investigation conducted within the
institution from where and by whom the message was conveyed to the
outside, and the necessary legal procedures have been instituted
against those responsible. The Turkish Armed Forces are aware that
they are facing an abhorrent attack conducted by certain circles
within an organized framework. The Turkish Armed Forces will take
measures to defend themselves against these attacks, which are
destined to remain unsuccessful. The Turkish Armed Forces' most
important security against attacks of this sort are the legal organs
and the infallible justice of the Turkish judiciary. As always, the
limitless affection and confidence felt towards the Turkish Armed
Forces by our beloved nation are our greatest support."

EDITORIAL OPINION: The Military, the Press, and Politics

"A Bridge from Daglica to Karabuk"
Ferai Tinc wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (6/30): "The AKP mayor of
Karabuk, a town on the Black Sea, rushed to insult Turkey's
prominent writer Latife Tekin when she criticized the government's
nuclear energy policy. If instead Tekin praised nuclear power
plants, I am sure she would be deemed a great novelist. This is
where modernity draws its limit in Turkey. Compliments and positive
remarks are always welcomed, but there is no tolerance for
criticism. Because Turkey lacks a culture of democracy, criticism
is interpreted in a special way. For instance, the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) issued a statement on recent stories in newspapers
regarding a plan to manipulate public opinion and an intelligence
report that warned of a PKK attack against the Daglica station last
year. The language in the TGS statement is interesting because it
charges the media with "deliberate efforts that seek to harm
military." Unfortunately this statement does not address the
concerns at hand. In a democracy, institutions answer to the public
and the public is likely to ask questions. When someone is
criticized in Turkey, the media is accused of making mistakes or
making deliberate plans. This weekend, the TGS asked the media to
verify documents and sources before printing. Nevertheless, the
question remains: Do certain journalists have easy access to Turkish
military sources? Has the military established a working
relationship with all members of the media? Before accusing the
media's approach as a deliberate effort to discredit the military,
the military should establish a non-discriminatory communication
mechanism with the press."

"Thoughts about the TGS Statement"
Samil Tayyar wrote in mainstream Star (6/30): "Following the reports
regarding the military's alleged plan to manipulate public opinion,
TGS denied the high command had any information about such a plan.
This weekend, the military issued a strongly-worded statement to
deny the existence of 'an action plan to manipulate public opinion.'
However, this statement does not clear up the confusion in public
opinion. Because the military instituted a plan to manipulate

ANKARA 00001187 003 OF 004


public opinion by using writers, politicians and academics during
the February 28 process, I am afraid such denials from the military
have little credibility."

State Minister Kursad Tuzmen in Baghdad
Sunday's Hurriyet reports that State Minister Kursad Tuzmen went to
Baghdad to make preparations for PM Erdogan's upcoming visit there.
Today's Sabah reports that Tuzmen met with Iraqi Oil and Trade
Ministers and signaled that Turkey could make investments in the
Kurdish region of Iraq. Anadolu Agency reports that Tuzmen spoke to
the inauguration of the Turkish-Iraqi Business Forum in Baghdad and
said, "I believe that we can create a joint economic zone at the
Turkish-Iraqi border. Such a zone would be a good role model to
other countries. We are making plans for the free movement of goods
and services between Turkey and Iraq. Within this framework, we may
be able to sign a free trade agreement with Iraq." Sabah reports
that around 40 Turkish businessmen accompanied Tuzmen to Iraq.

Tourism Diplomacy between Yerevan-Ankara
Saturday's Hurriyet reported that "diplomacy through tourism"
between Yerevan and Ankara has improved recently. Turkey is
expected to have 50,000 Armenian tourists this year. Today's
liberal Radikal reports that Yerevan-Antalya flights have started,
in addition to twice weekly Istanbul-Yerevan flights. Despite
obstacles from initiatives by Armenian lobbies in the US, Turkey is
trying to improve humanitarian relations with Armenia. Within this
framework, the Turkish labor ministry is stretching its rules and
regulations regarding illegal Armenian workers in Turkey. Radikal
reports that there are around 70,000 Armenians living and working in
Turkey.

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- The Turkish Constitutional Court will listen to the verbal
statements of Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals
Abdurrahman Yalcnkaya on July 1st, 2008 in the closure case filed
against ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party. The top court will
also listen to the verbal defense of AK Party executives on July
3rd. Following this process, the Constitutional Court rapporteur
will prepare a report on the merits of the case. In this phase, the
chief prosecutor can submit further evidence and AK Party can submit
additional material to the rapporteur. Then, the report will be
distributed to court members for consideration. At a later stage,
Constitutional Court chief justice Hasim Kilic will set a date and
the court will examine the case on its merits. According to the
Constitution, at least 7 of the 11 members of the court have to vote
for closure in order to shut down a political party.

- Former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener said Turkey's
economic indicators were deteriorating, warning the administration
needs to mobilize all its powers for stability.

- Some 2,500 people went to the hospitals in the central Anatolian
province of Kayseri with diarrhea complaints over the last two days.


International News

- Israel's cabinet approves a deal with Hezbollah for the release of
Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the return of two
Israeli soldiers.

- Spain's equality minister, Bibiana Aido, angers Muslims by
alleging the Islamic headscarf undermines women's rights.

- Pope Benedict XVI joins Orthodox leader Bartolomew I to launch a
year dedicated to St. Paul.

ANKARA 00001187 004 OF 004

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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