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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001719

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
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2008

In Today's Papers

A Gentlemen's Showdown in Parliament
Media outlets give prominent and extensive coverage to yesterday's
live televised debate in parliament between ruling party AKP Deputy
Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat and main opposition CHP Deputy Kemal
Kilicdaroglu. Noted television anchorman Ugur Dundar moderated the
debate, which was carried live by 20 television stations. The event,
the first of its kind in parliament's history, commenced after a
series of public accusations flew between the two MPs for a week.
During the debate, Kilicdaroglu accused Firat of irregularities
regarding the MENAS exports company. Firat has owned up to 30% of
MENAS and Kilicdaroglu presented documents which he claims implicate
Firat in various court cases, audits and inspection reports
regarding irregularities at the company. The discussion ended with
no solid conclusion, although Firat demanded Kilicdaroglu's apology
for repeatedly calling on Firat to resign.

According to Hurriyet's web survey, 58.8 percent thought
Kilicdaroglu won the debate, while 41.2 percent thought Firat won.
Vatan's survey indicated 87.3 percent favored Kilicdaroglu, while
25.3 percent favored Firat. Zaman's survey showed 53.26 percent
favored Firat and 46.74 percent favored Kilicdaroglu. Haber7's
survey indicated 85.2 favored Firat over 14.9 percent for
Kilicdaroglu.

Editorial Commentary on TV Debate: CHP v AKP

Fikret Bila wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Kilicdaroglu was able to
present concrete evidence that Firat's company MENAS was involved in
fictitious exports. However, he was not able to prove Firat was
involved in drug smuggling. On the other hand, Firat's denials
weren't very satisfactory. In short, yesterday's debate showed us
businessmen who are elected as deputies should immediately transfer
their business to a trustee in order to put a concrete distance
between politics and trade."

Mustafa Mutlu wrote in mainstream Vatan: "Was Kilicdaroglu able to
overcome his rival Firat during yesterday's debate? Kilicdaroglu
injured Firat, but was not able to take him out altogether. While
Kilicdaroglu presented concrete evidence regarding allegations
against Firat's company MENAS, Firat failed to satisfy Kilicdaroglu
with his answers on these issues. I am sure all pro-government
media will praise Firat's answers. However, mending the injuries he
received from yesterday's debate will take time. As I said,
yesterday's debate did not destroy Firat, but seriously damaged his
credibility."

Mustafa Unal in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Both Firat and
Kilicdaroglu were careful to refrain from insults during yesterday's
debate. We don't have a clear score to show the winner of
yesterday's showdown between the two politicians. Neither side
accepted defeat. We must thank Firat and Kilicdaroglu for
maintaining their professional character. This debate sets the
standard for possible future debates."

Sener, Baykal on Deniz Feneri Fraud Case
Media outlets report former deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener
said "Prime Minister Erdogan and other key government officials are
linked to the Turks responsible for the fraud in the Germany-based
Islamist-oriented Deniz Feneri charity." Sener cited German court
officials' claims that those responsible for the embezzlement of
money donated to Deniz Feneri were hiding in Turkey. Sener stressed
those that were responsible for the fraud were being protected by
the AKP government. He accused the PM of blocking investigations
into the fraud. Sener, who resigned from the AKP earlier this year,
was preparing to launch a new political party.

Meanwhile, papers report opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal visited
Parliamentary Speaker Koksal Toptan on Thursday. Baykal told Toptan

ANKARA 00001719 002 OF 003


that Zahid Akman, the head of Turkey's media watchdog RTUK, should
step down from his post due to the fraud charges against him.
Baykal reportedly asked Toptan what would happen if the German court
asked Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for Akman for fraud
charges connected to the Deniz Feneri investigation.

Papers also report the Turkish Union of Notaries filed a legal
complaint against notary Ismet Buyukkilic, who falsely notarized an
authorization on behalf of Mehmet Gurhan, the ringleader of the
German-based Deniz Feneri fraud scandal. Gurhan was in prison in
Germany at the time notary Buyukkilic issued the authorization in
Istanbul on behalf of Gurhan. The authorization in question granted
Zekeriya Karaman, the president of Islamist-oriented Kanal 7 TV, to
handle Gurhan's assets in Turkey.

Secretary Rice's Op-Ed on Russia in Milliyet
Secretary Rice's Op-Ed on Russia was carried today in mainstream
Milliyet. Under the front-page banner headline, "Rice Writes to
Milliyet," in order to send "Clear Messages to Russian Leaders," the
paper features the entire Op-Ed in the international news section
under the headline, "We Will Not Submit to Russia's Swaggering
Toughness."

Journalist Punished for interviewing PKK Terrorists
Mainstream Milliyet and Islamist-oriented Zaman report that Hurriyet
editors Necdet Tatlican and Hasan Kilic, along with correspondent
Sebati Karakurt, were fined 40,000 YTL each by the Istanbul 10th
Heavy Penalty Court. The charges against the media professionals
were for "spreading propaganda for the PKK terrorist organization
through press and publication." In 2004, correspondent Sebati
Karakurt interviewed some members of the PKK terrorist organization
on Kandil Mountain and this interview was published in Hurriyet's
Sunday supplement on October 10, 2004.

Editorial Commentary on Global Economic Meltdown, UNGA, Terrorism

Ferai Tinc wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "Nothing will ever be the
same again after this current economic crisis. Some call it
America's 'fiscal 9/11.' For example, the U.S. Congress now seeks
more detailed accounting of the Pentagon's expenditures. There is a
consensus about the post-Bush period - no matter who wins the
presidential elections, Iraq and Afghanistan will be a burden for
the country."

Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist-leaning Yeni Safak: "Turkey is lobbying
heavily for membership to the UN Security Council. Rival candidates
Iceland and Austria rely on the potential support from specific
blocs; Iceland is relying on the Scandinavian bloc while Austria is
relying on the EU bloc. Unlike these two, Turkey is lobbying with
all of the UN members across the board. Turkish diplomats are
optimistic Turkey will win, although they don't take it for
granted."

Mustafa Balbay in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "The PKK terror
organization lures young people, especially those aged 14-18. Every
reasonable person, including terror experts, sees a need to prevent
young people from joining the organization. The government enacted
seven laws aimed at convincing organization members not involved in
armed violence to return home. Turkey, on the one hand, tries to
keep its people from becoming PKK terrorists, while on the other,
breeds a brand new terrorist organization [i.e. Ergenekon] into all
segments of the society."

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- On Friday, the military General Staff (TGS) will hold its first
regular press briefing for journalists at TGS HQ in Ankara.

ANKARA 00001719 003 OF 003

- Yasar Ozturk, MP from the central Anatolian province of Yozgat,
resigned from the ruling AKP on Thursday.

- Tevfik Bilgin, the head of banking watchdog BDDK, says Turkish
banks were stronger in capital and liquidity than banks in many
European countries.

International News

- On Friday, Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers
will meet in New York to discuss problems between the three
countries.

- Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Talat and Christofias will
address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
in Strasbourg next week.

- Greek daily Elefterotipia reports Athens is concerned over
Russia's sale of 80 Kornet-E laser-guided anti-tank missile systems
to Turkey.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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