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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001675

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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 19, 2008

In Today's Papers

New Detentions in the 'Ergenekon' Investigation
All media outlets report 19 suspects, including six army lieutenants
and a military academy student, were detained Thursday in police
operations in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, as part of
the Ergenekon investigation. Actress Nurseli Idiz, her manager
Seyhan Soylu and lawyer Levent Temiz were taken into custody in
Istanbul. Papers report Idiz and Soylu were preparing a documentary
about "the women of the republic." Papers recall that Soylu, a
transvestite, is believed to have organized a scheme which sparked a
political scandal ahead of the "February 28" process in 1997, and
led to the collapse of the government of the Islamist Prime Minister
Necmettin Erbakan. Temiz is the former chief of the
ultra-nationalist youth clubs, "Ulku Ocaklari," affiliated with the
far right MHP. Five lieutenants and a military student also have
been detained. The military General Staff (TGS) released a
statement yesterday to announce that the five lieutenants and the
military student were detained in line with the prosecutor's
instructions.

90 suspects have been detained in relation to the Ergenekon
investigation. On October 20, suspects will appear before the court
to face charges that include membership to an armed terrorist group,
attempting to bring down the government, and inciting rebellions
against the Turkish state.

Calls for RTUK Chairman to Resign
All papers refer to the controversial status of Zahid Akman,
Chairman of Turkey's radio and television regulatory board, RTUK.
Since his name was often mentioned during the Deniz Feneri fraud
case in Germany, reports note "there is an increasing pressure from
the opposition as well as from AKP members on Akman to resign from
his position." Taraf carries the headline "It is Time for Akman to
Resign," and mentions that both Parliament Speaker Toptan and the
board members of the ruling AKP have asked Akman to resign.
Milliyet also reports the calls for his resignation and highlight
today's RTUK meeting to discuss the current events "which will
indicate the fate of Akman."

Papers largely cover Parliament Speaker Toptan's statement during a
television interview which he indirectly called Akman to resign by
saying "We have no authority to impeach the chairman of RTUK.
However given the current nature of events, everybody should act
responsibly in order to help things to go smoothly."

Meanwhile the RTUK Board, [an executive body with members appointed
by AKP and CHP] today convenes to discuss allegation against
chairman Akman. RTUK was scheduled to meet on September 9 but
because the AKP -affiliated board members failed to appear for the
meeting, it was postponed until today.

PM Erdogan Calls for Boycott Against Dogan Media
Milliyet, Vatan, Hurriyet, Posta, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak
and others: Today's papers report on the remarks PM Erdogan made at
the AKP Ankara provincial group Iftar dinner at the Bilkent Hotel.
Mainstream Hurriyet says "Erdogan harshly criticized the media for
reporting on developments related to the Deniz Feneri case and urged
his party officials to start a campaign to boycott these papers."
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak says "Erdogan urged his party members
not to buy Dogan Media papers." Mainstream Milliyet's headline
reads "This is the candidate country for full EU membership and the
PM of the country is calling for a boycott against the media."

Meanwhile, mainstream Vatan and liberal Radikal report that PM
Erdogan also criticized NTV's Ankara rep Murat Akgun for asking AKP
Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Firat about allegations that Erdogan's
wealth amounted to billions of dollars.

Editorial Commentary on Deniz Feneri/Turkey

ANKARA 00001675 002 OF 003

Ferai Tinc wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "Following the verdict on
the Deniz Feneri case in Germany, the AKP rulers cannot afford to
treat this issue as an individual crime. The political implications
of the Deniz Feneri case are very closely followed by the public in
Turkey and abroad. The more the government dares to deal directly
with this case, the more it will gain credit for Turkey's influence
in foreign policy issues."

Ergun Babahan wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Turkey is going through a
two-way judicial test regarding the Deniz Feneri and the Ergenekon
cases. On one hand, there is the fraud case that exploits religion
and on the other side there is a violation of laws in the name of
patriotism. These two cases are the biggest obstacles to Turkey's
emergence as a country that values modernity, democracy, secularism,
and the supremacy of law. A new era should start in Turkey in which
those who commit illegal acts are punished. Illegal acts cannot are
not a matter of ideology."

Editorial Commentary on New U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, DTP Closure
Case

Ozgen Acar writes in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "U.S. Centcom's
mandate extends along oil-rich countries from Iraq to Afghanistan
and the Horn of Africa. This means General Petraeus, as the head of
Centcom, is now the 'oil commander' of the Middle East and Central
Asia, while James Jeffrey is to be the new U.S. Ambassador to
Ankara. Jeffrey, a former soldier, once worked at Incirlik Airbase.
Following his assignment to Iraq, he became Secretary Rice's most
efficient assistant. One year ago, he was made a National Security
Advisor to President Bush. Jeffrey's assignment to Ankara does not
only make him the new U.S. Ambassador in Turkey. If you put one leg
of a compass on Ankara, and use the other to draw an arc from Tehran
to Damascus -- Jeffrey will become an 'indirect ambassador' for the
'terror crescent' of Iran, Iraq and Syria. In other words, Jeffrey
is being assigned to Ankara as a 'regional ambassador,' because
Ankara will be the 'capital of capitals.' If the arc is extended as
far as the Caucasus, Petraeus will begin his new job as the 'oil
chief commander' and Jeffrey as the 'chief diplomat.'"

Mumtazer Turkone says in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "The closure of
the pro-Kurdish political party DTP will only silence those who
oppose terror. We have two DTPs -- one glorifies terror and backs
the PKK, while the other denounces terror and calls for a political
solution. Southeast Turkey is ready for local elections. The
outcome is not important. What matters is Turkey should be able to
hold just and non-partisan elections in this region. The closure of
the DTP will make those who seek political solutions go bankrupt.
The DTP must not be closed."

Turkey-Armenia Talks
Hurriyet and Bugun report a second round of talks between Turkey and
Armenia was held in Switzerland early this week between officials
from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on both sides. The upcoming
meetings between Turkish and Armenian presidents at UNGA and efforts
for arranging a trilateral mechanism between Turkey-Azerbaijan and
Armenia were discussed, reports say.

Rice's Harsh Warnings for Moscow
Islamist-oriented Zaman calls U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice's speech at the German Marshall Fund "harsh words of
criticism." Liberal Radikal reports, "Rice says to Moscow: You Are
Isolating Yourselves, while Medvedev says to Rice 'You are
Short-Sighted.'" Mainstream Sabah writes, "Rice Warns Russia Not to
Return to Darkness."

Sabah, Radikal and Zaman mention that Secretary Rice made a
reference to Turkey and praised cooperation for Caucasus stability
"by working with our allies, like Turkey."


ANKARA 00001675 003 OF 003


"Russia began paying for isolating itself from the world through its
actions. We are deepening cooperation with the Caucasus countries
and Turkey for energy independence from Russia, and we also try to
resolve regional conflicts such as Upper Karabakh," stated Rice.

Editorial Commentary on Global Economic Meltdown, Israel-Livni

Haluk Sahin wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "Everybody says
nothing will ever be the same again, but there is no clarity about
what is next either. The primary reasons for the collapse of the
global economic system are overly ambitious economic policies and
rising debt. The United States in particular preferred an excessive
way of amassing debt which led to the current economic crisis. There
will certainly be social and political consequences, and not only
for Americans, but for all of us."

Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Will there be peace in
the Middle East with Livni as Israel's Prime Minister? Livni
supports peace with Palestine. Just like Olmert, she supports the
"two-state" solution. In contrast to her rival Netanyahu, she also
supports bilateral talks with Syria. It is very important for Livni
to become Prime Minister, not only for her country but for the peace
and calm in the region as well."

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- A court in Diyarbakir has sentenced former pro-Kurdish lawmaker
Leyla Zana to 60 years in prison for supporting the PKK in nine
different speeches.

- Heavy rains damaged many houses and work places, and claimed one
life in Istanbul.

- Turkish Energy Regulatory Board announced a 9 percent increase in
electricity prices.

International News

- Russia threatens to block NATO from using its air space for
operations in Afghanistan if member states did not stop their
"hostile" policies.

- Cyprus leaders Talat and Christofias held Thursday a new meeting
to discuss the reunification of the divided island. On October 8,
the two leaders will meet again to continue debating the topics of
"administration" and "power sharing."

- Iran completes exercises staged to test its air defenses.

WILSON

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