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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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
TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2008

In Today's Papers

Black Sea Tensions Steadily Rise
Media continue to report on increasing tensions in the Black Sea and
pay particular note to the presence of U.S. ships in the sea as
Russia spurs tensions by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkahzia's
independence. Far right Ortadogu reports in "Tension's New Address
- Poti," that the "Russians are now searching cargo ships that
arrive in Poti," as, "additional U.S. ships are bound for Georgian
ports." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports, "The USS Taylor
passed through the straits to join Spanish, Polish, and German
warships who are conducting military exercises in the Black Sea off
the coast of Romania." Can Atakli of mainstream Vatan criticizes
the Turkish government for allowing the U.S. aid ships to pass
through the Bosporus, "The U.S. humanitarian aid could have been
taken to Georgia by the Turkish Navy," instead of by U.S. ships.
Mustafa Balbay of leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet writes, "The new
era in the Caucasus is a new tiff between the U.S. and Russia that
will turn the entire region into another Middle East," as "Turkey is
now dragged into the Caucasus crisis because it allowed the U.S.
ships to pass through the straits." Sami Kohen of mainstream
Milliyet calls Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
"Russia's Kosovo revenge." Liberal Radikal carries the headline,
"The Russian Bear Shows Its Teeth to the West," by recognizing
Abkhazia and South Ossetia's independence. Mainstream Milliyet
calls the Russian vote, "A Call for Division." Islamist-oriented
Zaman warns NATO, "Efforts to integrate Georgia into NATO before
solving the problems in South Ossetia and Abkhazia could lead to a
confrontation with Russia." In addition, Zaman notes, "sanctions
and pressure from the West will not make Russia bow to demands from
the West," as the West is "dependent on Russian energy resources."

Editorial Opinion on Montreux Treaty/Caucasus

Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal Radikal: "A high-level Russian source
from the Russian Embassy in Ankara expressed appreciation for
Turkey's actions in accordance with the Montreux Treaty. The source
told me "Russia does not hold Turkey responsible for the current
situation in the Black Sea. Russia is concerned about the U.S.
efforts to deliver humanitarian aid. We don't understand why war
ships were used instead of planes, which would be the easiest way to
deliver the aid. The Montreux Treaty should not be revised and
everybody should fully respect its terms."

Mustafa Balbay wrote in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "The new era
in the Caucasus is marked by a U.S.-Russia tiff that will turn the
entire region into another Middle East. Given Ankara's recent
poorly coordinated efforts, there seems to be no working harmony
between President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan and the bureaucrats at
the Foreign Ministry. The MFA allowed American warships to pass
through the Straits. While Ankara believes one crisis was
eliminated, in fact the passage of the ships mark the beginning of a
larger crisis and Turkey is right in the middle of it. Turkey hoped
to be a part of a solution to the problem, but Turkey will likely
end up being part of the crisis instead."

Sami Kohen commented in mainstream Milliyet: "The Russian
parliament recognized the independence of the South Ossetia and
Abkhazia. It is obvious that Moscow wants to use this issue as a
trump card against the Western community. Russian support for South
Ossetia and Abkhazia is not a new development. Following the
establishment of a pro-U.S. government in Georgia, Russia increased
its economic and military support in both South Ossetia and
Abkhazia. Moreover, locals were issued Russia-issued passports.
Earlier, Russia warned the western countries during Kosovo's
independence discussions by saying "if Kosovo's independence is
recognized, some day Moscow will recognize South Ossetia and
Abkhazia's independence." Thus, this last step Russia recognition
of these two countries' independence can be seen as Russia's revenge
for Kosovo."

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Can Atakli noted in mainstream Vatan: "There was no need to relax
tonnage requirements under the Montreux treaty to allow the U.S.
ships to pass through the straits. The U.S. humanitarian aid could
have been delivered to Georgia by the Turkish navy. All the goods
could have been transferred to Turkish ships in the Bosporus without
sparking any problems. Actually, U.S. civilian ships could also
take the aid to Georgia without any problems. None of these options
were considered. Instead, the Montreux rules were stretched and
U.S. warships passed through the straits. Whether it was
intentional or not, Turkey is caught between Russia and the U.S. I
really hope that this situation won't cause huge problems for
Turkey."

No Delays in Nuclear Tender
Cumhuriyet, Milliyet, Yeni Safak, Radikal, and others: Today's
papers report that the Energy Ministry arranged a meeting with the
companies participating in the tender process for Turkey's nuclear
power plant. Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said that there will be no
delay on the bidding date for the tender, which is scheduled for
September 24th. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that four
of these companies had requested postponement on the bidding date.


Education Minister Celik Goes to Iran
Mainstream Sabah reports that education Minister Huseyin Celik went
to Iran today to visit his Iranian counterpart Alireza Ali Ahmedi.
Van Mayor Burhan Yenigun and Van AKP deputy Kayhan Turkmenoglu will
accompany Minister Celik. The Ministry of Education issued a
statement saying that Celik will have meetings "to improve the
bilateral relations in the field of education, as well as to boost
cultural cooperation between the Turkish and Iranian people."

Iraqi PM Maliki says U.S. Troops will be out of Iraq by 2011
Mainstream Milliyet cites a written statement from Iraqi Prime
Minister Maliki's office disclosing that during a recent meeting
with tribal leaders in Baghdad's Green Zone, Maliki said "Iraq
reached an agreement with the coalition forces so there will be no
presence of foreign troops in Iraq after 2011." Milliyet notes that
following Maliki's statement the White House issued a statement
saying that a final agreement has not been finalized regarding a
U.S. withdrawal.

Editorial Commentary on AKP/Corruption Allegations:

Oktay Eksi wrote in Hurriyet: "As one of the former AKP supporters
emphasized, the AKP party founders originally suggested the creation
of a system of financial transparency for all party members, but
Erdogan never took a tangible legal step to implement this idea.
Since the AKP came to power, no AKP politician has been investigated
for corruption. Turkey is ranked 64th among 180 countries in
Transparency International's most recent corruption index, in 2006
Turkey ranked four points higher. PM Erdogan's so-called 'strong
stance against corruption' is nothing but empty rhetoric."

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- CHP Bolu Provincial General Assembly member Fahrettin Tanyar was
stabbed to death while sleeping in his bed. His wife, who told
police she was in the shower during the murder, also said she saw
two men leaving the house when she got out of the shower, but before
she realized her husband had been murdered.

- Six people were detained for black-mailing the brother of Istanbul
Governor Muammer Guler.

- The mastermind of the bomb attack in Izmir was captured by

ANKARA 00001541 003 OF 003


security forces.

- Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk's new novel is published in 30
languages.

- Russian Customs officials have in effect halted Turkish exports to
Russia by delaying the import procedures.


International News

- Both houses of the Russian parliament voted unanimously to
recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Israel to
invigorate peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

- Israel released 199 Palestinian prisoners as a good will gesture
to Palestine.

- Sudanese troops attack a camp for displaced people in Darfur,
leaving 18 dead.
SILLIMAN

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