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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
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2008

In Today's Papers

Ankara Prosecutor Takes the First Step toward Examining Deniz Feneri
Case
Mainstream Milliyet reports that the Ankara prosecutor decided to
respond to a legal complaint filed by the Labor Party against the
AKP for irregularities in the Deniz Feneri case. In the complaint,
the Labor Party demands legal action against PM Erdogan, RTUK
President Akman, the managers of the Turkish Deniz Feneri charity,
the administration of Kanal 7 TV and all private Turkish companies
linked to the German-based Deniz Feneri organization. Five
different prosecutors will be asked to probe the different aspects
of the case. If the prosecutors decide to start an official
investigation, they may contact German authorities to request
information about the charges directed to the Deniz Feneri charity
organization in Germany. Milliyet adds that the prosecutors have no
authority to take legal action against PM Erdogan and the PM's
permission is necessary to initiate an investigation against RTUK
president Akman and the other state officials.

Editorial Commentary on Deniz Feneri case

Hasan Cemal wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "PM Erdogan's attitude
towards the "Deniz Feneri" case is very wrong. Instead of losing
his temper, Erdogan should refute the allegations with evidence and
initiate an investigation in Turkey. I hope that Erdogan will stop
fighting with the media soon and will focus on the real agenda in
Turkey. Turkey's development process does not need conflicts and
tensions, but a peaceful and gentle atmosphere. Let everyone
fulfill their own responsibilities without damaging the stability in
the country."

Tufan Turenc wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "It is difficult to
understand PM Erdogan's recent attitude regarding the Deniz Feneri
case. I really wonder why he is acting like a defense lawyer for
the suspects of this case and attacking the media. Does he feel
that he cannot be criticized just because the AKP won 47 percent of
the votes in the last elections? Maybe the reason for his
uncontrollable actions is because of the illegal money transfers to
his party and the realization that if these allegations are proven
to be true, his party will be closed and he will be tried at the
Supreme Court. PM Erdogan already deserves to be tried at the
Supreme Court for all the illegal acts he has performed during his
administration."

Huseyin Gulerce in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Why is the fight
between the PM and Dogan Media Group (DMG) growing? Is it because
Aydin Dogan is trying to distract the public from the 'Ergenekon'
investigation because he may have played a role? Or is it because
the PM is making a preemptive strike in response to rumors DMG will
launch a new assault campaign against the AKP when the
Constitutional Court announces its justification over the closure
case? Do you think there can be a winner in this fight? What would
democracy, press freedoms, and politics win? Will this make the
Ergenekon investigation disappear? The PM, no matter how right he
might be, must think about these questions. There is no way out in
Turkey other than raising the institutions to European Union
standards."

Mehmet Tezkan wrote in mainstream Vatan: "PM Erdogan's recent
efforts to defend the people involved in Deniz Feneri case angered
not only the liberals but conservative Muslims as well.
Conservative Muslims made these donations in the name of God and the
PM's support for the corrupt has hurt these people deeply. Liberal
democrats were also hurt and angry with the PM because they support
EU membership and they know that, as the main rule of democracy, the
press is free in Europe."

Cuneyt Arcayurek in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "Mr Zahit Akman,
who delivers lessons of morals, manners and decency to national

ANKARA 00001640 002 OF 003


broadcasters, is mentioned 34 times in the German indictment
regarding the Deniz Feneri case. Akman, who could be arrested as
soon as he tries to enter Germany, has not considered resigning from
his post at RTUK. Indiscretions and bribery will naturally grow in
a country where those who are in control have facilitated religious
exploitation."

Turkey and Armenia to Release Joint Statement
Mainstream Sabah reports that Turkey and Armenia are working on a
joint declaration to be released in New York or Istanbul.
Reportedly, the declaration will stress a new positive approach to
bilateral ties. Papers add that Foreign Minister Babacan will go to
New York on September 18 and will stay there until the end of the
month. During his stay in New York, Babacan will hold talks with
Armenian FM Nalbandian and if the two Ministers reach an agreement
on the declaration, the document will be released in New York by the
end of this month. Otherwise, the declaration will be released in
October in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, FM Babacan talked with Secretary Rice over the phone
regarding the new dialogue between Turkey and Armenia. Babacan
stressed the importance of resolving problems between Azerbaijan and
Armenia, and Turkey's support for the Minsk Process and added that
settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh dispute would have a positive
impact on Turkey-Armenia ties. Secretary Rice, in turn, praised and
supported Turkish efforts to tackle disputes in the region.

Cypriot Leaders Begin 'Substantive' Peace Talks
Media outlets report that on Thursday, Turkish and Greek Cypriot
leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and Demetris Christofias came together in
the buffer zone in Nicosia (Lefkosa) for "substantive negotiations"
regarding a settlement to end the division of the island. No
statement was released following the meeting. UN Special Cyprus
Envoy Alexander Downer, who joined the meeting, said the
negotiations focused on "governance" and "power sharing." Downer
added the same topics would be on the agenda when the leaders meet
again on September 18. Islamist-oriented Zaman points to the
differing approaches of the two sides, saying Turkish Cypriots want
a "presidential council" like in Bosnia-Herzegovina or Switzerland
while the Greek Cypriots ask for a "rotating presidential system."


Anti-Terror Board Convenes
Media outlets report the Counter-Terrorism Board convened Thursday
to discuss cross-border operations against terrorists and other
plans for combating terror. Prime Minister Erdogan chaired the
meeting, which was attended by the Chief of the General Staff (TGS)
Ilker Basbug and the Land Forces and Gendarme commanders as well as
some cabinet ministers. The participants concluded that economic,
social and psychological measures for combating terror should be
enhanced. The meeting also discussed the security operations at
home and in northern Iraq. Erdogan said his government was ready to
renew the decree authorizing the military to carry out cross-border
operations against terrorists.

Meanwhile, tabloid Aksam says the ruling AKP was hesitant regarding
the extension of the parliamentary decree authorizing cross-border
operations against the PKK in northern Iraq. The decree ends on
October 17. The paper comments the AKP leaders fear that the
extension of the decree could undermine support for the ruling party
in the mainly Kurdish southeast on the eve of the forthcoming
municipality elections in March.
Opposition CHP deputy chairman Onur Oymen said the decree was vital
in combating terrorism, and warned that the government would have a
hard time in the fight against the PKK if it can't renew the
authorization of the parliament. Opposition far right MHP deputy
group chief Oktay Vural said his party would support the extension
of the decree.

Editorial Commentary on Terrorism

ANKARA 00001640 003 OF 003

Hikmet Bila writes in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "After 9-11,
the Bush administration has turned Turkey, an ally of the US for 60
years, into chaos. The U.S. established a Kurdish state in northern
Iraq, and gave a green light to Turkey's Kurds toward the same end.
Under the protection of the state it has helped established in
northern Iraq, the U.S. has aided the PKK terror organization. On
the other hand, the U.S. forced Turkey into wearing a 'moderate
Islam' shirt. This is the meaning of 'The Crusades' Bush has
declared seven years ago. This is the reason for the intense
distress Turkey is going through today."

U.S. Denies Israel Access to Iraqi Airspace
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports in "Israel Wants an Air Corridor
from the U.S. In Order to Strike Iran," that the U.S. is "concerned
Israel will carry out a nuclear strike against Iran," after "months
of controversy regarding the Israeli request." Zaman notes Israel
"was unable to get the green light from the U.S. for an attack
against Iran."

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- The Turkish military has intensified operations against the PKK
along the border with Iraq as well as in the provinces of Tunceli,
Bingol, Diyarbakir and Siirt before winter sets in the region.

- The Justice Ministry is expected to make a statement Friday
concerning the results of an investigation of legal complaints filed
against the Ergenekon prosecutor Zekeriya Oz.

- The Council of State (Danistay) has suspended aid extended by the
AKP-run Ankara Municipality to private Koran courses and
non-commercial, Islamist-leaning student dormitories.

International News

- South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said press reports quoting
him as saying the Georgian breakaway region intended to become part
of Russia were a 'misinterpretation' of his statement.

- Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S. missile defense
shield to be deployed in Poland poses a direct threat to Russia's
security.

- President Hamid Karzai says Afghanistan has seen progress since
the ouster of the Taliban regime, but it has also suffered much
"pain" in civilian casualties.
WILSON

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