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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2008

In Today's Papers

Five More Soldiers Killed in Clashes with PKK
All papers: Four soldiers were killed in clashes with the PKK in
Kavakli, which is located in the southeast province of Hakkari.
Helicopters with reinforcements were sent to the region, but one of
the helicopters, which was carrying soldiers and Kayseri 1st
Commando brigade commander General Omer Faruk Kucuk, crashed due to
a technical failure. A soldier died in the crash, bringing the
Thursday's military death toll to five. General Kucuk and 15
soldiers were injured slightly in the crash. Mainstream Hurriyet
reports that the pro-Kurdish Firat News Agency first reported
yesterday that three soldiers were killed in the clashes. However,
following the TGS statement on the crashed helicopter and the
martyrs, Firat News Agency changed its report and said that the
helicopter was "downed by PKK militants." Tabloid Posta reports
that 18 PKK terrorists were killed during the operations.
Mainstream Sabah notes that the 2nd Army Commander General Necdet
Ozel went to Van by a private military plane yesterday and from
there, together with Gendarmerie Commander General Yurdaer Olcan,
traveled to Hakkari.

Meanwhile, Tercuman and Cumhuriyet report that the military
prosecutor's office gave Taraf newspaper a three-day deadline to
hand over all their documents related to the Aktutun attack and
warned Taraf that if they do not hand over the documents, the
relevant documents will be taken by force.

PM Erdogan Extends Support to General Basbug
Sabah, Hurriyet, Aksam, Tercuman, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Turkiye and
others: Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed support to Chief of
General Staff General Ilker Basbug who harshly criticized the media
for their reports that the military had prior knowledge of the
October 3rd terrorist attack on the Aktutun military outpost.
Mainstream Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as saying "No one has the right
to pull the military down. No one should encourage terror. We are
standing on the right side and the rest is the others' concern."
Mainstream Milliyet says that PM Erdogan "spoke just like General
Basbug" and said "everyone, including the press, should act
carefully." Cumhuriyet quotes Erdogan saying "The media has the
right to criticize, but there is also the right to respond to
criticism. There are ethical rules by which the independent media
must abide."

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

Nazli Ilicak wrote in mainstream Sabah: "General Basbug did not
respond to Taraf's allegations of negligence in Aktutun. Instead of
giving harsh statements and lining up all his force commanders
behind him, he should have met with the PM and explained the
military's sensitivity to such news. And PM Erdogan, instead of
supporting the General's harsh statement, should have talked to the
media with his Defense Minister and of course, used milder language
that that of Basbug. Yesterday, Taraf presented more documents in
relation to the Aktutun attack. There are still many unanswered
questions. But this time, the Prime Minister, not the TGS Chief,
should speak to the press at a press conference, right after the
investigation is completed on the case."

Ihsan Dagi observed in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "The military is not
being criticized. Questions about how the military does its job are
very healthy. Armies in other democratic countries will respond to
such questions. It seems that the military doesn't think this
country is run by a democratic regime. The principle of
accountability is a requirement in modern administrative structures,
particularly in democracies. It will be impossible for the media to
speak out at all if those who ask questions about the Aktutun attack
are treated as pro-PKK. A strong military is one that excels in its
job, and not one that intimidates the people, journalists and

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politicians. An institution that sees criticism as treason is
dysfunctional. It must not be forgotten that General Basbug's
statement this week reminds us of the protective value of a
democratic regime."

Fikret Bila questioned in mainstream Milliyet: "Why did General
Basbug, who is known for his calm attitude, use such a strong tone
in his statement to the media yesterday? General Basbug always
keeps in close contact with the families of the martyrs. As the
military's chief commander, he considers every single soldier as his
own child and reiterates at every opportunity that 'the commanders
are the ones who suffer deeply from each martyr's death. Their pain
is almost as acute as that of the martyrs' families." General
Basbug used a controlled tone in his statement to show everyone that
the fight against terrorism is not a game. He also showed the
Turkish military's determination to win this fight. He used such a
tone to give the right message to certain media organizations in
order to show that their slander campaign did not intimidate the
military. And finally, using this tone wasn't a tactic to 'black
out' the facts of Aktutun. General Basbug promised that he will
share the facts with the public when the necessary investigation is
completed. People who know General Basbug well know that Basbug
will fulfill this promise too."

Justice Minister on Detainee's Death by Torture
Media outlets report Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin told the
press yesterday the ruling AKP government maintains its policy of
"zero tolerance" regarding the torture of detainees at the hands of
security officials. Detainee Engin Ceber died from a brain
hemorrhage he sustained after being beaten and tortured by policemen
and prison guards. Ceber, a leftist activist, was sentenced to
serve time in Metris prison in Istanbul for distributing a leftist
publication. Professor Gencay Gursoy, head of the Turkish Union of
Physicians, said Ceber died from wounds sustained during "a beating
with sticks wrapped in fabric." Gursoy said "it seemed the
policemen were specially trained on torture methods." Ceber's two
friends taken into custody on September 28 along with the activist
said they went through the same torture Ceber was subjected to.
They said the torturers even took their photos, with policemen
sitting on them on the ground "like in Abu Ghraib prison."

Meanwhile, papers report parliament's commission for human rights
will set up four sub-committees to inspect prisons and police
stations.

Court Blocks Access to Vatan Website over Islamist Writer's
Application
Mainstream Vatan reports a court in Silivri, Istanbul blocked access
to its website at the request of Islamist community leader and
writer Adnan Oktar due to readers' comments about his community.
Oktar, a controversial community leader and strong critic of
Darwin's evolution theory, had so far managed to block access to 61
websites through court orders, saying they had defamed him. Oktar
is the author of "Atlas of Creation," in which he advocates
creationism in the book which had been distributed for free to
renowned academics, politicians and institutions around the world
earlier this year. Last month a Turkish court barred access to the
website of "evolutionist" Oxford professor Richard Dawkins after
Oktar complained it had defamed him. Turkish courts have blocked
access to more than 800 websites, including YouTube, this year for
insulting "Turkishness" or the founder of modern Turkey, Ataturk.


TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- Ergenekon suspect retired general Sener Eruygur, who is being
treated in Kocaeli University Hospital for a brain hemorrhage, was

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transferred to a military hospital in Istanbul.

- An IMF delegation headed by IMF's Turkey desk chief Lorenzo
Giorgiani is in Istanbul for talks.

- Prime Minister Erdogan will kick off a tour the eastern and
southeastern provinces over the weekend.

International News

- Iran launches military exercises to "demonstrate the might and
combat readiness of Iran's Air Force."

- Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says the "hegemonic"
nature of the US economy affected other economies, triggering global
financial meltdown.

- Italy begins charter flights to northern Cyprus.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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