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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
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2008

In Today's Papers

President Gul to Visit Yerevan
Media outlets predict President Gul will decide to accept the
invitation of President Sarkisian for going to Yerevan and report on
it in a very positive manner. Liberal Radikal carries a banner
headline, "Turkish President is going to Yerevan," saying "President
Gul will attend the football match on September 6 between the
Turkish and Armenian national teams." Mainstream Hurriyet notes,
"The Foreign Ministry is worried about anti-Turkey groups because of
strong anti-Turkey slogans during a match between junior national
teams from the two countries in Yerevan two weeks ago."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet speculates that President Gul's trip
will only last three hours, while leftist Taraf supports Gul's trip
"regardless of what opposition figures are saying." Meanwhile
liberal Radikal and other papers highlight criticism from MHP leader
Bahceli that "such an effort will only cause a serious blow to
Turkey's national pride and will be an historic mistake. Given
Armenia's anti-Turkey policy and the Armenia-PKK relationship, a
trip to Yerevan would not be legitimate or politically correct."

Editorial Commentary on Gul to Yerevan

Nuray Mert wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "Turkey must
normalize its relations with Armenia, and should be able to debate
the Armenian issue in a composed way. If the Turkish President goes
to Yerevan it will certainly be an historic event. The
rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia would also benefit US
foreign policy interests. Turkey should not pull away from the
Armenian issue which of international interest whether we like it or
not. Instead of being defensive against international efforts,
Turkey must lead and shape the agenda on the Armenian issue."

Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist leaning Yeni Safak: "If President Gul
goes to Yerevan, understandably he wants to, his visit will have
more impact than a usual soccer match between the two national
teams. There are problems between the two countries, but these
problems should not be an obstacle to recognition of each other. In
addition, Armenia suffers more than Turkey from this
no-official-recognition situation. President Gul should go to
Yerevan, and we should both win the game, and win hearts and
minds."

Erdal Safak questioned in mainstream Sabah: "If President Gul
doesn't go to Yerevan, it will be disappointing for many
intellectuals, academics, businessmen, NGOs, media, the EU countries
and the Bush Administration. The Presidential Palace should be very
careful in its messages about the visit so that Armenians do not
have high expectations ( example: opening the borders, lifting
trade bans, etc.). The Kremlin should not think that this visit is
an effort to isolate Armenia from Russia. Every effort should be
exerted to minimize Azerbaijan's bad feelings about this visit.
More importantly, Yerevan should be told that any positive
developments on Turkey-Armenia and Azerbaijan-Armenia relations,
from now on, will depend on Armenia's stance."

Okay Gonensin wrote in mainstream Vatan: "President Gul should not
listen to the extreme voices in Turkey, and should definitely go to
Yerevan. Of course, Yerevan also has the responsibility to treat
this visit positively, and should not listen to its own radicals
either. The message Gul and Serkisyan will give to the world
through a football game is very important. This first sign of
improvement of Turkish-Armenian relations can have only positive
results."

Government Shelves Trade Retaliation Against Russia
Media outlets report that the proposal made by State Minister Kursad
Tuzmen for Turkey to begin implementing reciprocal measures against
Russian trade in response to blockage by Russian customs of Turkish
exports was not approved by the Council of Ministers. Mainstream

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Hurriyet reports "State Minister and Government Spokesman Cemil
Cicek said the Cabinet did not make a decision to take measures
against Russia," adding "I hope recent trade problems between Turkey
and Russia will be resolved during Russian FM Lavrov's scheduled
visit to Turkey on September 2." Islamist-oriented Zaman reports
"the commercial crisis with Russia, which began after the Russians
blocked the entry of hundreds of Turkish commercial trucks into
Russia, will be handled at the table during Lavrov's visit, not at
customs."
Prime Minister Erdogan at the Victory Day celebrations told
journalists, "Following the developments in Georgia, some powers
have tried to push us to side with the US or Russia. The US is our
closest ally. Russia is a very important energy resource for Turkey
and an important trading partner. I will not allow Turkey to be
pushed to one side only. We will act according to Turkey's national
interests."

Editorial Commentary on Russia-Turkey-Caucasus

Hadi Uluengin wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "Obviously Russia has no
intention to backpedal in the current tension. The difficulty
created in the flow of Turkish trucks to Russia is not an ordinary
incident. Moscow is imposing a de facto embargo on Turkey, and at
the same time issuing threats to the Western community via Turkey.
Turkey is trying to stay calm in the face of Moscow's attitude,
however, if Russia continues to escalate tension with the West,
Ankara will eventually be forced to make its choice. That choice
must be to side with the West."

Erdogan to Join Middle East Summit in Damascus
All papers report that on September 4, the Prime Minister will go to
Damascus for a summit meeting to be attended by EU Term President,
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Gulf Cooperation Organization Term
President, Qatar's Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani, and the Arab
League Term President, Syria's Head of State Bashar al-Asad. The
summit is expected to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Iraq,
and Lebanon, according to papers.

Turkish-Greek Cypriot Leaders to Meet September 3
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Taraf, Radikal, Zaman and
others report Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and
Demetris Christofias will meet September 3 to discuss the procedure
to be followed in direct negotiations for a settlement in Cyprus.
Leftist Taraf reports that on July 25, both sides in Cyprus had
agreed to open the Yesilirmak border gate for civilian visits to
both sides. In the beginning of August, 1,200 Turkish Cypriots
crossed the gate. The Greek Cypriots, however, were blocked by the
Turkish Peace Force from using the gate to join a mass in a church
in northern Cyprus Sunday. Taraf says the move had been a
last-minute blow to Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, ands warns that
the intervention of the military could hamper the direct talks in
the divided island.

Gustav Forces Republicans to Tone Down
Media outlets cover the Republican Convention by focusing on the
fact that Hurricane Gustav forced the Republicans to scale down
their convention and its highly partisan speeches. Mainstream
Hurriyet carries the headline, "Gustav Opposition," as "Republican
Party presidential nominee McCain called off most of the convention
activities saying "we'll act like Americans, not like Republicans.'"
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak writes in "Gustav Hit McCain," that
"following Democrat Party presidential nominee Barack Obama
announcing his nomination officially, the Republican convention was
hit by Hurricane Gustav." Mainstream Milliyet carries the headline,
"McCain Will Fix Image With Gustav," as "Gustav made President Bush
and VP Cheney cancel their programs, Senator McCain turned this to
his favor and escaped the risk of refreshing the memory of the bad
handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005."

TV News:

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CNN Turk

Domestic News

- Having delivered aid to the Georgian port city of Batumi, the
American destroyer USS McFaul passed through the Bosporus on its way
back to the Aegean Sea.

- Four Turkish gendarme soldiers killed by PKK terrorists on Sunday
in the southeastern province of Bingol have been laid to rest in
their hometowns yesterday.

- Energy Minister Hilmi Guler will travel to Turkmenistan on Monday
and Kazakhstan tomorrow to discuss oil and natural gas matters.

International News

- Tens of thousands of protestors staged an anti-Russian rally in
the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

- Iran denies reports it had bought Russia's advanced S-300
anti-aircraft missile system.

- On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will travel to Jeddah to
participate in talks to activate a "senior level strategic dialogue"
mechanism between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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