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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
FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2008

In Today's Papers

The Aftermath of the Attack against the US Consulate in Istanbul
All papers: An official funeral ceremony for three Turkish police
officers who died in a terrorist attack on US Consulate in Istanbul
was held in front of the Istanbul police department yesterday.
There was wide participation at the funeral by high-level state and
military officials. US Istanbul Consul General Sharon Wiener also
attended the ceremony. Liberal Radikal's and tabloid Posta's
headlines read "Farewell to Heroes."

Mainstream Milliyet reports that the fourth suspect of the attack,
an unregistered taxi driver Cebrail Kosanarslan, surrendered
yesterday. The terrorists were linked to Islamist groups; in
addition, the father of murdered terrorist Raif Topcil was captured
in 1996 as a suspected member of Hezbollah. Interior Minister Besir
Atalay said after assessing the evidence, the general belief is that
the attack was a suicide attack.

Mainstream Sabah quotes an unnamed high-level Justice Ministry
official who blamed Ergenekon for being behind the bloody attack.
"This was an attempt to take the attention away from the Ergenekon
case," said the official.

Mainstream Hurriyet reports that a separate commemoration ceremony
was held in the garden of the US Consulate General yesterday. The
US flag flew half-staff and Consul General Sharon Wiener paid a
condolence visit to the policemen on duty in front of the Consulate
General building.

Hurriyet quotes Bahcesehir University Strategic Research Center
Director and terrorist expert Ercan Citlioglu saying "US security
acted appropriately. According to the Vienna Conventions,
diplomatic missions are protected by the host country. The mission
security cannot engage in clashes outside of the grounds of its
mission. American officers did not have the authority to use
firearms on Turkish soil."

Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "Terror experts agree the
attack on the Consulate carried out by Al-Qaeda," and "The goal of
the attack was to send a warning to the US and to Turkey regarding
US policies in the Middle East."

Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak and Star say that the Consulate was
chosen in order to draw more international reaction. Yeni Safak
contends, "The terrorists' main target was the visa section of the
Consulate and they would have carried out a massacre if they had
entered the compound."

U.S. Flag flies at Half Staff at Consulate
Several outlets carry positive coverage of yesterday's ceremony at
the U.S. Consulate at which the U.S. flag was flown at half staff in
honor of the policemen who died during the attack on Wednesday.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak and leftist Taraf carry photos of the
flag at half staff while mainstream Milliyet carries the headline,
"She Said, 'I Wish Them Well,' in Turkish," and notes U.S. Consul
General Sharon Wiener thanked the police for protecting the
Consulate. Vahap Munyar of mainstream Hurriyet writes, "Sharon
Wiener loves Turkey and she knows Turkey well," and he notes Wiener
called the day of the attacks, "The worst day."

Criticism against the Consulate for not helping the Police
The front page of today's mainstream Vatan features a picture of
U.S. Marine security guards alongside the headline, "The Johnnys
Just Watched." The story continued, "U.S. officials receive harsh
criticism for not helping the police against the terrorists and not
opening their door to injured police." In addition, the paper
notes, "the injured policeman who is still in the hospital refused
to see Consul General Sharon Wiener because he says the Consulate
failed to help him when he was injured," and, "he would not accept

ANKARA 00001255 002 OF 003


her flowers." Far Right Ortadogu reports in "The Americans Didn't
Open the Door," that injured policeman Osman Dagli told reporters,
"We died and they didn't open the door." Hikmet Bila in
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet writes, "These people (meaning the
Americans) turn into hawks when it comes to their own interests.
But they shut themselves down automatically when any kind of
sacrifice is expected from them. They continue to live in their
castle in peace by shutting their automatic doors without worrying
about the bloody incidents outside their walls." Hakan Celik of
mainstream tabloid Posta writes, "The U.S. Embassy spokesperson
reminded yesterday that the American security personnel are
responsible only for the security of the Embassy and Consulate
staff. Of course, this is a normal procedure; however, after all.
Those policemen were there to protect the people inside the
building! It deeply hurt the Turkish public to see the Americans
abandoning the Turkish police out there. The U.S. popularity in
Turkey might be very low. However, the people of this country never
left the U.S. alone in the fight against terrorism."


Editorial Commentary:
"The Martyred Policemen"
Derya Sazak writes in mainstream Milliyet (7/11): "It has been
reported that, during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul,
Consulate staff went inside the building, leaving the Turkish
policemen alone with the assailants. Americans must not have done
so with the aim of leaving Turkish security members to stand alone
against al-Qaeda attackers. They must have done what they were
required them to do. Years ago, I joined a night patrol with the
Cleveland, Ohio police. Unlike the courageous 'sheriffs' we see in
the movies, I noticed that when American policemen get to the scene
of a crime, they don't move an inch before first securing
themselves. Our young policemen lost their lives in the clash with
assailants on the street while their nearby bulletproof cabins
withstood the attack. A traffic cop who began working only 15 days
ago lost his life together with two of his colleagues. The Istanbul
Administration, which loves to use proportionate force, could have
provided 'proportionate' security outside the Consulate."

"The Target was not the U.S., but Turkey"
Yusuf Kaplan writes in the Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak (7/11):
"The target of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul was not
the Americans but the police, thus the target was Turkey. It is
significant to note that this attack took place while the
'Ergenekon' investigation against a nationalist/fascist gang
continues. The U.S. Ambassador immediately announced the attack had
targeted the U.S. and was conducted by al-Qaeda, and the secularist
media immediately accepted this explanation. However, news reports
that the attack was by al-Qaeda and targeted the U.S. Consulate aims
to divert from the true target. The actual target was the Turkish
security, thus Turkey run by the AKP."

Ergenekon Indictment
Hurriyet reports that the indictment of Ergenekon investigation
written by three public prosecutors might be submitted to Chief
Public Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin today. Engin said "I am
expecting the indictment to be submitted to me today. When it is
submitted, I will announce it to the public in front of the TV
cameras." The indictment has been prepared by the Public
prosecutors Zekeriya Oz, Mehmet Ali Pekguzel and Nihat Taskin, adds
Hurriyet.

NTV 12 o'clock news just announced that deputy chief prosecutor told
the journalists that the indictment will be announced on Monday at
11.

Prime Minister Visits Iraq
All paper: Prime Minister Erdogan went to Iraq yesterday on a one
day visit. He met with President Talabani, PM Maliki, Parliament
Speaker Meshadani, Vice Presidents Abdulmehdi and Hasimi.

ANKARA 00001255 003 OF 003


Cumhuriyet says the "Strategic Relations High Council Agreement" was
signed with Iraq during the visit. Under the agreement, the prime
ministers of Turkey and Iraq will meet once a year, and relevant
ministers of both countries will meet three times a year. At the
Press Conference after the meeting with Iraqi PM Maliki, PM Erdogan
said that they discussed several issues including water, Kirkuk,
fight against terrorism and thanked the Iraqi central government and
the regional administration in northern Iraq for their support in
the fight against the PKK.

Media outlets report on the positive outcomes of Prime Minister
Erdogan's official visit to Baghdad. Mainstream dailies Sabah and
Milliyet report, "The main goal of the two countries is to end the
PKK." Mainstream Hurriyet carries the headline, "A Thank You to
northern Iraq," and notes, "Erdogan was welcomed by Iraqi ministers
who rolled out the red carpet for him at the airport," and later,
"Erdogan thanked northern Iraq for its cooperation in the fight
against terror." Islamist Zaman reports Erdogan, "Sent important
messages of regional peace and support for Iraq's stability."
Liberal Radikal points out, "The Strategic Agreement does not
outline concrete plans, but rather establishes a mechanism to
facilitate future projects such as officer and teacher trainings."
Economic daily Referans writes, "Cooperation between Turkey and Iraq
will improve the outlook of the region."

President Gul Meets Retired General Ozkok
Sabah, Milliyet, Radikal, Turkiye and others: President Gul
received former Chief of General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok at the
Presidential Palace yesterday. The meeting lasted for two and a
half hours. After the meeting, Ozkok told reporters that he had
explained his views about the current situation of the country.
Ozkok said that in an interview with Milliyet's Fikret Bila he had
listed his proposals and that he had elaborated on them at the
meeting with the President.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- A 4.9 Magnitude quake is reported in Balikesir.

- NTV, CNN Turk, and Kanal D all report that the Gendarme of the
Agri region
have closed off Mr. Ararat and launched operations on Mt. Ararat in
order to rescue the German mountaineers from the PKK. In addition,
CNN Turk notes, "Ankara rejects speculations that the German
government was in touch with the PKK who kidnapped the Germans."

- Eight soldiers and a village guard were wounded when the PKK
detonated a remote control mine in Semdinli town of Hakkari

- A Turkish driver was killed in attack on a Turkish convoy in
Mosul.

International News

- Armenia formally invites Turkish President Gul to watch a soccer
match in Yerevan.

- Disarmament talks with North Korea resume in Beijing after a
nine-month pause due to the isolated regime's refusal to provide a
complete list of its nuclear facilities
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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