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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2008

In Today's Papers

Harsh Messages from the Military
All papers give extensive front page coverage to Chief of General
Staff General Ilker Basbug's press statement following a military
ceremony in Balikesir. Basbug responded harshly to news reports
indicating the military had prior knowledge of a potential PKK
attack against the Aktutun military outpost, but did nothing to
prevent the attack. General Basbug said "we have launched legal
action against those who leaked classified information and used it
in their reports. The attack in Bayraktepe was a suicide attack for
the terrorist organization but an epic of heroism for the Turkish
soldiers who fought there. Those who praise the terrorist
organization are responsible for the blood that has been and will be
shed. I want all to understand this. The Armed Forces are
stronger, more determined and resolute than ever. Therefore, my
final say on the matter is: I am warning everyone to be careful know
their place." Leftist Taraf says the warnings issued by Basbug were
"incompatible with democracy." Liberal Radikal notes that that the
hard-line attitude of Basbug was "not fitting with his position as
Chief of the General Staff." Islamist oriented Yeni Safak says
"Basbug should respond the allegations for neglect in Aktutun
outpost instead of criticizing the media." Milliyet editor Sedat
Ergin says "Basbug can use such an approach in army headquarters but
not with the public."

Meanwhile, CNN Turk, Radikal, Milliyet and Sabah report that the
Military Court declared a news blackout for the reports regarding
Aktutun attack until the military has completed their internal
investigation. The news blackout will be valid until the military
completes its investigation on the issue.

Editorial Commentary on Basbug's Response to Criticism of the
Military

Ergun Babahan wrote in mainstream Sabah: "It is a very serious
issue that reports on the Aktutun attack were leaked from TGS
headquarters to the press. It might look like an example of
successful journalism, but it is very troubling information can leak
from TGS headquarters this often. It is understandable for General
Basbug to defend his institution, however, I believe that he must
respect press freedom."

Dogan Heper wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "General Basbug used a
very harsh tone in his statement yesterday and everyone found this
harshness to be rather strange. Of course, It was his duty to
respond to the allegations about the Aktutun attack but couldn't he
explain the facts in a different tone?"

Gungor Mengi wrote in mainstream Vatan: "While we were expecting
clarification from General Basbug (regarding Taraf's claims of
negligence), instead Basbug responded with an extreme reaction and
the press received this as some sort of warning or threat. The
Chief of General Staff should understand that the media will report
news. I respect the commander's sensitivities on this issue however
I object to the tone and his style in his statement."

19 Policemen Could Be Sentenced to Life in Prison for Ceber Torture
Case
Media outlets report 19 police officers charged with causing the
death of leftist activist Engin Ceber said they used "proportionate
force" against Ceber. Engin Ceber died after a brain hemorrhage
sustained as a result of torture he experienced during police
custody and later in prison. Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said
the inspectors' report about the death of an inmate in jail will be
submitted to the prosecutor. Sahin is quoted as saying article 94
of the penal code envisages life sentence for officials responsible
for the death of a citizen as a result of torture.

Poll: Ruling AKP's Popularity on Decline

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Mainstream Vatan carries the results of a survey conducted by
Metropol polling company, known to be close to the ruling AKP. The
survey shows the AKP's popularity dove from 50.9 percent in
September to 35 percent in October, marking a 31 percent decline in
the number of voters baking the party. Support for CHP has risen
by 6 points, and for MHP by 2 points. The distribution public
support for the political parties in October is as follows: AKP 35.0
percent, CHP 15.5, MHP 8.6, DTP 3.4, others 3.8, and indecisive
13.9.

Turkish Warship on its way to Somalia to Fight Pirates
Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet and Zaman report NATO European Command
(SHAPE) sent a seven-vessel NATO alliance fleet, including Turkish
warship Gokova, to the Indian Ocean to protect shipping from the
growing threat of pirates along offshore Somalia. According to
NATO's 2004 Istanbul Summit, the "deterrent" fleet will also visit
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and UAE.

Editorial Commentary on Barzani-Turkey, PKK

Mustafa Balbay writes in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "Massoud
Barzani says Turkey should look within for a resolution to the
Kurdish problem, and makes a genial suggestion such to lower the
election threshold. Barzani has already begun political operations
against Turkey while we're talking about operations into northern
Iraq. Erdogan's disregard of this fact and his statement that
Turkey has been late in talking to Barzani and Talabani prove that
the PM is not looking at the struggle against terror through the
eyes of Ankara. The AKP has already set up a buffer zone between
the opposition and state institutions in Ankara."

Mumtazer Turkone opines in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "You cannot
reach perfection without criticism. A military that is not
criticized will lose credibility in the eyes of the public. But, an
army must not be alienated from the people it seeks to protect. The
PM asked during his party group address earlier this week whether
the PKK was an enemy or merely criminals. If the PKK is an enemy,
it must be destroyed. If the PKK are only guilty criminals, they
must be apprehended and tried in line with judicial procedures."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- A 51-year old man, identified later as Yasa Rashidov of
Uzbekistan, aboard a Turkish airliner en route to St Petersburg,
tried to hijack the plane. Rashidov, obviously drunk, was captured
and restrained by passengers.

- Turkey's state-owned oil company TPAO said after meetings in
London it was close to an agreement with Shell for joint natural gas
operations in Iraq.

- Renowned Turkish poet Fazil Husnu Daglarca dies at 94.

International News

- Greece pledges up to 28 billion Euro to help its banking sector
weather the financial crisis.

- Georgia's President Saakashvili said Russia has walked out of
negotiations in Geneva on two breakaway Georgian regions, South
Ossetia and Abkhazia.

- Nobel laureate Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk joins the opening of
the annual International Frankfurt Book Fair.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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