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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2008

In Today's Papers

Sudanese President Al-Bashir's Istanbul Visit Draws Strong Reactions

All papers report the first Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit began
Monday in Istanbul with the participation from about 50 African
countries, including Sudan's controversial President Omar Hassan
al-Bashir. Prime Minister Erdogan will attend the official launch
of the summit on Tuesday.

Media coverage widely criticizes Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir's
participation in this week's Turkey-Africa Summit in Istanbul.
Liberal Radikal carries the headline, "The Man Who Instigated a
Genocide is in Istanbul," and notes, "The (Turkish) government was
seriously criticized for al-Bashir's visit to Ankara," earlier this
year. NTV notes this is, "Al-Bashir's second visit to Turkey in the
last eight months." Mainstream Vatan carries the headline,
"Al-Bashir Crisis," as, "Sudan's Al-Bashir Stuns the World by Coming
to Istanbul for the Africa Summit." Erdal Safak of mainstream Sabah
wrote today, "My concern is that this summit will be overshadowed in
the international arena due to the participation of one guest, even
though no arrest warrant has been issued for Al-Bashir and Turkey is
not a signatory to the agreement which established the International
Criminal Court (ICC)." Mainstream Hurriyet notes, "Al-Bashir even
shocked the Western press with his participation in Istanbul's
Africa Summit," as Western reports of the summit "are not about the
summit, but about Al-Bashir." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
criticized the government for receiving Al-Bashir as, "The red
carpet was rolled out to welcome a man accused by the ICC of
genocide," and, "though he is held responsible for the deaths of
hundreds of thousands of people, he is able to come and go
comfortably to and from Turkey." Leftist Taraf carries the
front-page banner headline, "A Genocide Suspect is a Guest of the
State," and inside the headline reads, "The Butcher of Darfur in
Istanbul." Taraf says "Bashir should be arrested if the ICC issues
an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president while he is in Turkey,
citing the 1998 arrest of Chile's Former President Pinochet in
Britain upon an arrest decision by a Spanish court. Taraf quotes
the Ankara-based International Criminal Court Coalition as "slamming
Turkey for violating international law by inviting and hosting a
leader who has committed genocide." Papers recall that in January,
Turkey had come under fire when President Gul hosted Bashir in
Ankara.

Editorial Commentary on Bashir at Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit

Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah (8/19): "The Turkey-Africa
Cooperation Summit is a very good example of the importance the AKP
government gives to Turkish foreign policy. Turkey was declared a
"strategic partner" by the African Union. Because Turkey has no
intensions of looting the resources of the African continent,
Africa's approach towards Turkey is more sympathetic than the other
strategic partners. This summit was created after long and
intensive diplomatic efforts. Our one concern is that such an
important summit will be overshadowed in the international arena
because of one guest: Sudanese President Al-Bashir. Even though the
International Criminal Court charged him with perpetrating genocide,
this court case has not yet been finalized. Moreover, Turkey is not
a signatory to the agreement establishing the International Criminal
Court. Of course, nothing will happen to Al-Bashir in Istanbul but
it will be real shame if such an important summit is overshadowed by
Al-Bashir in the international media.

Musharraf Resigns
Media outlets have little sympathy for Pakistani President Musharraf
as he is seen as coming to power under a military coup and leaving
office before impeachment proceedings by a civil parliament had
nearly commenced. Mainstream Sabah notes, "He forced his way into
office, and he was forced out." Liberal Radikal carries the
headline, "Pakistan Settles Its Accounts with Musharraf."

ANKARA 00001498 002 OF 003


Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak notes, "He came to office via a coup
and he was forced out," as "the public took to the streets to
celebrate Musharraf's resignation." Leftist Taraf headlines with
Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek's words, "Musharraf Has Not Applied
to Live in Turkey," despite the Pakistani leader's strong ties to
Turkey. Islamist-oriented Zaman reports, "There is uncertainty
about where Musharraf will flee," as, "PM Erdogan told Pakistani
Awaz Newspaper that Musharraf would be welcome in Turkey for a short
time," but not as a permanent resident "because that could create
new tensions between Turkey and Pakistan."


Editorial Commentary on Musharraf's Resignation

Rusen Cakir wrote in Vatan: Musarraf could choose not to resign but
under these conditions it wouldn't be possible for him to rule for
any longer. If he is sent to exile, Western countries will not be
too willing to accept him. Between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, I am
sure Musharraf will choose to settle in Turkey. But there are many
serious problems in Pakistan which will not be resolved immediately
after Musharraf leaves the country.

U.S. and Turkish Officials Negotiate Delivery of Aid to Georgia
Sabah and Cumhuriyet: Papers note Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman
told reporters yesterday, "The State Department is looking at other
options for sustaining the humanitarian relief operations and is
looking at some naval vessels." In addition, Whitman noted, "The
State Department is working at the necessary agreements to achieve
some passage in the straits of Turkey and things like that."

Editorial Commentary on Georgian President Saakashvili

Husnu Mahalli writes in tabloid Aksam: "The U.S., NATO, and Israel
sell Georgia USD 200 million of weapons every year. Saakashvili was
used by the U.S., NATO, Israel, and George Soros."

Turkish Energy, Foreign Ministers to Tehran for Natural Gas Deal
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said Monday that Turkey and Iran
were working on technical details to finalize an energy deal between
the two countries within a month. "I will probably go to Iran in 15
days together with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. We want to
finalize the deal within a month," Hilmi Guler told reporters. On
whether the deal was cancelled due to U.S. pressure on Turkey, Guler
said, "Turkey is an independent country, and Turkey's interests are
in question here. When making investments, we must consider
Turkey's energy security," he said.

Editorial Commentary on Iran, Ahmadinejad's Turkey Visit

Fikret Bila commented in mainstream Milliyet (8/19): "Everyone is
aware that Iran is a U.S. target because of its nuclear program.
Washington should really calculate the possible results of such an
attack very carefully. Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the Middle East is already on fire. The U.S. should not open a
third front in the Middle East by attacking Iran. Naturally, Turkey
is not very warm towards the idea of a nuclear-armed Iran. Such a
development will have negative impact on Turkey as well. Ankara
will not object Iran's nuclear technology for peaceful means but
Ankara should warn the U.S. that it will not contribute in an
offensive against Iran."

Mustafa Balbay in Cumhuriyet: "Ahmadinejad made it clear his most
important 'political message' was delivered by attending Friday
prayers in a Sunni mosque in Istanbul. During Ahmadinejad's visit
to Turkey, no energy deal was signed. What was the aim of this
visit? What of Turkey's interests were met by the visit? It seems
that Turkey's traditional foreign policy and the AKP's foreign
policy are moving along separate paths again."


ANKARA 00001498 003 OF 003


Turkey's Draft National Program for EU Ready
All papers report Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek told the press on
Monday a draft for Turkey's third national program regarding
European Union (EU) reforms is complete.
Cicek said the national program will be finalized after the Foreign
Minister and chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan explains it to the
representatives of political parties and NGOs. "Turkey continues
working on the 400-page national document that will be submitted to
the EU. The program consists of four parts over the next four
years. The program requires 131 law changes for EU harmonization,"
Cicek said.

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal said AKP vice-chairman Saban
Disli's parliamentary immunity should be removed so he can be tried
in connection with the corruption charges against him.

- On Monday, the residents of the Black Sea town of Rize staged
protests against government plans to build 62 hydroelectric power
plants in the region.

- A draft bill approved by the parliament's planning committee
replaces three separate state institutions for natural disasters by
a single agency named the Department for Natural Disasters and
Emergencies.

International News

- A U.S. defense official said Russia has deployed several tactical
missile launchers to South Ossetia, putting the Georgian capital,
Tbilisi, within their striking range.

- NATO foreign ministers are to meet on Tuesday to discuss the
Georgian crisis.

- In order to enable Georgians to leave the country via air and
facilitate humanitarian aid, Turkey relaxed its flight quotas over
its air space to and from Yerevan.

- Turkish trucks carrying goods for Georgia and Azerbaijan have to
use mountain roads as Russian troops block the road from Gori to
Tbilisi.
SILLIMAN

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