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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
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2008

In Today's Papers

Turkey Seeks Files from Germany regarding Deniz Feneri Fraud
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Vatan, Radikal and Cumhuriyet report Ismail
Buyukkilic, the Turkish notary public who notarized fake
documentation for the Germany-based Turkish charity Deniz Feneri
official Mehmet Gurhan, was linked to the ruling AKP. The fake
document authorizes the Islamist Kanal 7 TV president Zekeriya
Karaman to deal with Gurhan's assets in Turkey. It was issued on
behalf of Gurhan while he was still in prison in Germany for the
embezzlement of donations collected by Deniz Feneri. Buyukkilic
tried to run for parliament on the AKP ticket in Istanbul during the
July 22 general elections last year. His brother is the AKP mayor
of Melikgazi town in Kayseri. Papers report the Justice Ministry
and the Turkish Union of Notaries were investigating the
authorization in question. Papers also report the Ankara
prosecutor's office was preparing to ask the German court in
Frankfurt for more information about the Deniz Feneri fraud case.
The German court announced during the verdict that those responsible
for the scandal were hiding in Turkey.

On the other hand, AKP deputy chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat and
CHP deputy group chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu will fire accusations at
each other in a face-to-face debate under the roof of the parliament
today. The debate, to be televised, will be moderated by a
prominent journalist, Star TV anchorman Ugur Dundar. Firat and
Kilicdaroglu are planning to debate after a duel of words last week
regarding allegations of the AKP's involvement in Deniz Feneri
scandal in Germany. On Wednesday, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan
urged the two politicians to not hold their debates on television,
but to settle disagreements at court.

Warning against Corruption from MUSIAD
Hurriyet, Vatan, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman and others: Mainstream
Hurriyet reports that The Independent Industrialists and
Businessmen Association (MUSIAD), known for its close relationship
to the AKP government, visited PM Erdogan yesterday and presented
him with a report advising Erdogan on the Turkish Economy during the
global economic crisis. Mainstream Vatan says the report, "asked
Erdogan to re-shuffle the cabinet, find more effective ways to deal
with corruption, stop fighting with the media and focus on the EU
reforms."

Survey: 47.8 Percent Believe Erdogan Linked to Deniz Feneri Fraud
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet carries the results of a public
opinion survey conducted in September by the Political Research
Strategy Development Center. According to the survey, 78.3 percent
of Turkish people believe there were indiscretions in the
Germany-based Islamist-oriented charity Deniz Feneri, while only
10.1 percent think there were no irregularities. Of those surveyed,
47.8 percent believe Prime Minister Erdogan was linked to the
irregularities while 34.4 percent disagree. Another 64.9 percent
say they do not believe that the AKP was investigating corruption
cases. The survey carried results of interviews with 4,868 people
in 16 cities.

'Ergenekon' Investigation
Media outlets report retired General Hursit Tolon, a suspect
detained in the Ergenekon investigation, was taken to the hospital
Wednesday and then returned to prison following medical checks.
Tolon's lawyer asked for Tolon's release due to blood pressure and
immune system problems. Islamist-oriented Zaman, carries the front
page headline, "Ergenekon Suspects Seek Release from Prison through
Hospital Transfers."

In a related story, the latest detentions in the Ergenekon case
include former police officer Adil Serdar Sacan, former mayor of
Istanbul's Esenler neighborhood Gurbuz Capan, retired Colonel Tanju
Guvendi, and leftist-nationalist journalist Tuncay Ozkan. Ozkan's
lawyer told the press yesterday Ozkan was charged with membership to

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an illegal organization.

Editorial Commentary on Democracy-Political Debates/Ergenekon Case

Turker Alkan wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "Recent events
show that Turkish democracy is unique and one of a kind. This is a
country where the PM launches war against the media. Here in
Turkey, intellectuals, writers and artists are detained without
being told the charges against them. There are 850 web sites that
are banned in Turkey, which indicates that we have the freedom to
live under the government's bans. Turkey's level of internet
freedom is akin to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. I wonder
whether we will realize the fact that freedom is a comprehensive
concept. Freedom is not only about the freedom to wear the
headscarf."

Ali Bayramoglu wrote in Islamist-leaning Yeni Safak: "Turkey's
intellectuals, opinion makers, bureaucrats and politicians have
always sought to preserve institutional honor. Especially where
crimes related to public or official institutions are concerned,
certain red lines are not crossed. For the first time, a prosecutor
[i.e. the Ergenekon prosecutor] has dared to fight the ongoing
unspoken rule of silence. But this is not enough unless the media,
military and politicans clean their own houses. I think the
Ergenekon case will pave the way for this process to start."

Yavuz Donat wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Ancient Romans enjoyed
watching fights between two gladiators. Witnessing the blood of
human killings increased the cheers and pleased the audiences
immensely. While centuries have passed by, unfortunately, in some
countries people still witness fights similar to those among
gladiators in ancient Rome. There will be a verbal struggle between
the AKP's Firat and the CHP's Kilicdaroglu today, very much like a
verbal gladiator battle. I hope the public will boycott this
debate. Unfortunately, vicious arguments are a vital part of our
political culture and politicians in Turkey gain many supporters
through fighting."

Huseyin Gulerce wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "TGS did not
object to retired generals and lieutenants taken into custody under
the Ergenekon investigation. The military is cleansing itself and
has discouraged those who might attempt to take a path outside the
law. It has, in a way, announced that unlawfulness would not be
tolerated. The public wholly supports this attitude. However, we
are concerned the military will try to redefine 'politics' and
continue intervening in the will of the people."

Cartoon in today's mainstream Milliyet:

PM Erdogan is depicted shouting "Here comes Ergenekon," while he is
on top of a Lighthouse ("Deniz Feneri" in Turkish) that is labeled
with a Kanal 7 TV sign. The lighthouse is next to AKP office, and
piles of "aid money" sacks are seen stuffed in the windows of the
lighthouse. Meanwhile, the public incredulously watches the scene
unfold.

Organizations' Declaration for Free Press
Hurriyet, Aksam, Sabah, Zaman, Milliyet and Cumhuriyet highlight a
joint declaration issued by Turkey's main and leading professional
press institutions. A total of 11 press bodies convened to address
Prime Minister Erdogan's recent call to boycott media outlets who
report on the irregularities in the Deniz Feneri case. Orhan Erinc,
Chairman of the Turkish Journalists' Association (TGC), called for
freedom of expression across the board and emphasized the importance
of a free press as well as union rights at media outlets. The joint
declaration was signed by 11 domestic press-related institutions,
including the Press Senate, the Press Institute Association, the
Contemporary Journalists Association and the European Journalists'

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Union.

Only One Bidder for Turkey's Fourth Nuclear Tender
Hurriyet, Radikal, Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan: Today's papers report
that only one company offered a bid in the fourth tender opened for
the construction and operation of Turkey's first nuclear power plant
in Mersin-Akkuyu. The lone bidder consortium included Russia's
Atomstroy Export and Inter Rao, along with Turkish company Park
Teknik. Mainstream Milliyet describes the bidding as "a fiasco"
while Sabah notes that the tender was held despite requests for
postponement.

Iran and Russia Stir the Pot at the UN
Coverage of the UN General Assembly Meetings focuses on Iranian
President Ahmadinejad's antics and Russia's refusal to join the Iran
meetings. Mainstream Milliyet quotes from the Iranian President's
speech in its banner headline, "The End of the American Empire is
Getting Close." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "The
American Empire is crumbling," as the Iranian President "targets the
U.S. and Israel during his speech at the UN General Assembly." In a
related article, Cumhuriyet reports, "Russia Boycotted the Iran
Meeting," and notes, "this strikes another blow to tensions that
have increased between the U.S. and Russia over Georgia." Liberal
Radikal reports, "Traditional Quarrels at the U.N. Podium," as
"Moscow boycotts the Iran nuclear meeting because of criticism from
Bush and Sarkozy regarding Georgia," while "Ahmadinejad blasts
Obama, Peres, and the Jewish lobby." Islamist-oriented Zaman
carries one of Ahmadinejad's quotes from his television interview
with CNN's Larry King as a headline, "Why Didn't Europe Give Alaska
to the Jews?" The article notes Ahmadinejad criticized Europe for
"resettling Jews in Palestine" after World War II by saying, "Why
were the Palestinians victimized? Why couldn't Europe give the Jews
some other land, like Alaska?"

Bryza: Russia is too weak for a New Cold War
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for
European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza spoke to Azerbaijan's ANS
television station and said, "Russia violated international law when
they invaded Georgia," but "Russia is too weak to start a new Cold
War."

DHS Uses Mind-Reading Technology to Counter Terrorism
Mainstream Hurriyet reports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
is testing new technology that seeks to detect terrorist intentions
among travelers in the U.S. The paper reports, "The U.S. will read
the minds of terrorists," by using "The Detector of Bad Intentions."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet carries the headline, "They Will Read
Human Minds," and calls the development "a move towards an Orwellian
society."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- In an address to the European Parliament on Wednesday, the Greek
Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew said, "I have criticized EU countries
for their hesitations about Turkey's EU membership, despite the fact
that there are already many Muslims living in Europe."

- The latest annual world investment report from the UN Conference
on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says Turkey is the 23rd most
preferred global location for direct foreign investment.

- Transsexual singer Bulent Ersoy appeared before court Wednesday on
charges she "attempted to turn the public against compulsory
military service."

International News


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- According to sources from the presidency who are attending UNGA
meetings, Turkey will bring together the leaders of Pakistan and
Afghanistan for talks in Istanbul in the next few months.

- The Iraqi Parliament approves legislation to hold local elections
throughout Iraq, except in Kirkuk, Erbil, Dohuk, and Suleymaniye
provinces.

- North Korea threatens to reactivate its nuclear reactor at
Yongbyon.
WILSON

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