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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001634

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
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2008

In Today's Papers

Gul Visits Baku to Restore Diplomacy in the Caucasus
Media outlets report President Abdullah Gul visited Baku Wednesday
and held a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President Ilham
Aliyev regarding the tensions in the Caucasus. Gul voiced hope that
Azerbaijan and Armenia would manage to resolve the problems in
Nagorno Karabakh, "in the spirit of dialogue and mutual
understanding." Gul said the Armenians seem ready to withdraw from
Nagorno Karabakh. Gul noted that Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia
could hold three-party summit talks. He implied the summit could be
held on the sidelines of a World Cup soccer qualifying match between
the teams of Turkey and Armenia in October next year in Istanbul.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told NTV and Samanyoglu TV last
night that he is planning to hold a three- party meeting with his
counterparts from Azerbaijan and Armenia in New York during the UNGA
meetings later this month. In addition, Babacan noted "the
normalization of ties between Ankara and Yerevan, and also between
Yerevan and Baku, is not a dream, but a realistic target."
Mainstream Vatan and Islamist-oriented Zaman says that yesterday
Babacan had a phone conversation with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister
Elmar Memmedyarov, and adds that the Memmedyarov gave a positive
response to the offer.


Editorial Commentary on Caucasus Crisis

Muharrem Sarikaya wrote in mainstream Sabah: "On the way back from
Baku, President Gul said "The instability in the Caucasus is like a
giant wall between us. If there is stability, peace and trust in
the Caucasus the region will be a key route to Central Asia and
China. The Caucasus looks like a small area on the map but it is
very effective as a focal point for global issues. I witnessed
mutual respect and positive feelings between the Azeri and Armenian
leaders. Moreover, Armenians are willing to withdraw from the Azeri
land they invaded. A new era is starting. I believe that Russia
will approach the Armenia-Azerbaijan issue positively, because
Russia doesn't want to be isolated in the region."

Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal Radikal: "Turkey should keep very
good relationships with Georgia and Azerbaijan. There will be hope
for peace, stability and cooperation in the region if the
negotiations commence between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia
regarding the Upper Karabagh issue. All countries in the region,
including Turkey, will benefit from such a development. That is why
Turkey is also trying to keep a good relationship with Russia."

Ali Sirmen in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "Armenia has made no
change in its attitude against Turkey; all it did was to promise the
launch of 'unconditional' talks. Some Armenian hardliners don't
even favor a diplomatic relationship with Turkey unless Ankara
recognizes the 'genocide' claims. They, however, seem to stand
close to the 'unconditional talks' formula since it's mainly Armenia
that suffers from isolation. We know that the EU and the U.S. are
pressuring Ankara to open the border. Opening the border crossing
before improvement in the conditions that harm ties between Turkey
and Armenia would not bring good results. If Turkey opens the
border without conditions, new demands will inevitably follow."

Mustafa Balbay in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "The opening of
the border crossing with Armenia will benefit Turkey. However, what
would come next? Azerbaijan, for instance, might react to such a
development, and ties between Baku and Ankara might be strained. In
addition, the U.S. seeks an 'Iran success' in order to cover up its
failure in Iraq, and needs Turkey's support. President
Ahmadinejad's Istanbul visit was met with mixed reactions.
Ahmadinejad said his call on Istanbul contained messages to the
Islamic world. Those messages were also meant for the U.S. Turkey
tells the U.S. it will not be able to resolve all disputes via

ANKARA 00001634 002 OF 003


military force. Turkey tells that isolation will not benefit Iran.
It's, however, clear that such words will not mean much when the
situation gets a bit tougher."

AKP's Firat Slams Dogan, Opposition Leaders over Deniz Feneri
Scandal
All media outlets report the ruling AKP deputy chair Dengir Mir
Mehmet Firat held a press briefing Wednesday to respond to the
allegations involving his party in the fraud investigation in
Germany against the Turkish-owned Islamist-oriented Deniz Feneri
("Light House") charity organization. Firat slammed media tycoon
Aydin Dogan and opposition leaders Deniz Baykal (CHP) and Devlet
Bahceli (MHP) for "continuing the circulation of lies" over the
Deniz Feneri incident. Firat claimed a columnist from Vatan, which
is part of the Dogan Media Group, tried to put pressure on the
government regarding a file concerning the Islamist broadcaster
Kanal 7 TV. Firat also denied all alleged links between the Deniz
Feneri organization and the AKP.

CHP Deputy Group Chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu said those responsible for
the Deniz Feneri fraud were actually in Turkey, and therefore Turkey
should investigate the allegations. "Prime Minister Erdogan sees
himself as a dictator, and above the laws in Turkey," said
Kilicdaroglu.

Meanwhile, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports the Court of
Appeals (Yargitay) chief prosecutor was examining press reports over
charges that donations raised by the Islamist-oriented Deniz Feneri
charity in Germany had been transferred to Turkey's ruling AKP as
well as several Islamist-leaning media outlets. According to
Cumhuriyet, if the prosecutor decides the suspicions are serious
regarding the involvement of the AKP in the Deniz Feneri scandal, an
investigation might be launched and if necessary, information might
be asked from German authorities. Article 69 of the Turkish
Constitution says "political parties which accept financial
assistance from foreign corporate bodies shall be dissolved
permanently." Far right Ortadogu reports, "The AKP could be
closed," if the charges in the case implicate the AKP. Opposition
DSP Secretary General Masum Turkar told the press yesterday if the
AKP had taken money from Deniz Feneri, the case would "end up at the
Constitutional Court" for closure.

Cartoons in September 11 Cumhuriyet and Zaman:


PM Erdogan's nose grows into a "Lighthouse" (Deniz Feneri,) says: "I
am the best philanthropist!" (Cumhuriyet)

Cartoon commenting on the Turkish press in today's edition of
Islamist-oriented Zaman.

Editorial Commentary on AKP-Media Fight over Deniz Feneri Scandal

Semih Idiz commented in mainstream Milliyet: "The EU is concerned
about PM Erdogan's harsh reactions to the media and the ongoing
corruption cases related to the ruling party. PM Erdogan reiterates
at every opportunity that he abides by the EU standards. He should
keep this perspective lively and try to improve it. Freedom of the
press is among the basic criteria of the EU. Both Erdogan's
violation of press freedom and his refusal to investigate corruption
charges in his own party create serious concerns in the EU."

Alcohol Consumers Anger PM Erdogan
Mainstreams Milliyet and Vatan drew attention to the messages issued
by PM Erdogan after a Ramadan dinner yesterday arranged by the AKP's
Kadikoy branch in Istanbul. Erdogan said "some people are
complaining about neighborhood pressure against drinking alcohol.
On the contrary, only those who do not drink alcohol in this country

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are under pressure. I can tolerate people who consume alcohol but I
cannot be forced to share a toast with them." Erdogan was referring
to the protests by the residents of Istanbul's Moda neighborhood who
began drinking alcohol every night in front of a restaurant operated
by the municipality, which stopped serving alcohol last week.

Meanwhile, German green Party co-chair Claudia Roth criticized PM
Erdogan's recent reaction to the news about "Deniz Feneri" case and
said "This is not the first time PM Erdogan is going beyond the
limits. Earlier, he had tried to intimidate the cartoonists for
drawing his cartoons. A PM is not God. He is not immune of
criticism."

9/11 - 'The U.S. Is Afraid of Turkish Terrorists'
Media outlets pick up on a report from the internet news website
World News Daily, in which the FBI Counterterrorism Director told
the press a group of young Turks who were trained by Al-Qaeda in
Pakistan are planning attacks in the U.S. on the seventh anniversary
the September 11, 2001 attacks. Mainstream Hurriyet writes in, "A
Turkish Bomb Alarm in the U.S.," that "The U.S. Department of
Homeland Security will investigate Turkish citizens with stamps in
their passports indicating they entered Pakistan." Mainstream Sabah
reports in, "Turkish Al-Qaeda Will Attack the U.S.," that "There are
Turkish suspects among the 20,000 suspects U.S. intelligence
agencies has flagged."

Editorial Commentary on 9-11

Akif Emre writes in Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak: "In the post 9/11
world, the U.S. is surprised to see the world order being polarized
into the U.S. and Russia/China. The U.S. expected economic
competition from China, but Russia's assertion back on the world
stage was a surprise to the U.S. In 'The War on Terror'- the key
thing is it involves Islam. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all
terrorists are Muslim. Western societies are increasingly paranoid
of the Muslim world, which creates a bizarre situation for societies
in the West. Since Sept 11th, the War on Terror has terrorized the
Muslim World."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- On Wednesday, UN Special Cyprus Envoy Alexander Downer met
President Gul, PM Erdogan and FM Babacan in Ankara before moving on
to Cyprus on Thursday to join 'comprehensive' talks between the
Cypriot leaders Talat and Christofias.

- 17 Glock handguns were seized Wednesday in a truck entering Turkey
through the Habur border crossing, on the border with Iraq.

- Opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli paid a courtesy visit to the
new military General Staff chief General Ilker Basbug on Wednesday.

International News

- Georgia claims Russia will establish military bases in Abkhazia
and South Ossetia.

- The Georgian government says an official report shows 295 people
were confirmed dead during the conflict with Russia.

- A Dutch court said the Netherlands was not liable for the deaths
in Srebrenica as its troops operated under a UN mandate.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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