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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 001824

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
MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2008

In Today's Papers

Turkey Elected for Non-Permanent Member to UNSC for 2009-2010
All weekend papers and TVs reported that Turkey was elected to the
United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member for
2009-2010. Saturday's mainstream Sabah headline reads "Diplomatic
Victory" and reported that PM Erdogan will go to New York in the
upcoming days to thank the UN General Assembly. Saturday's
mainstream Hurriyet quoted PM Erdogan as saying "Turkey's UNSC
status is an important success and something every citizen should be
proud of." President Gul also thanked all UN members in a written
statement and said "This support to Turkey is a reflection of
confidence and friendship from the international community. We will
mobilize for the security, tranquility and welfare of the nations of
the world." Evaluating Turkey's membership to journalists PM
Erdogan said "I believe that diplomatic efforts carried out in the
past five years and Turkey's contributions to peace and stability
have an influence on this decision. Now we have an opportunity to
undertake a more influential, and active global role." Today's
Sabah reports that FM Babacan on his return to Turkey said that
"This is Turkey's success. We will carry our knowledge, experience
and analytical ability to the Council."

Editorial Commentary on Turkey's Membership to the UNSC
Ferai Tinc commented in mainstream Hurriyet: ''Turkey is now a
non-permanent member to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
for two years. Turkey does not have the authority to veto, but
nevertheless such status is a prestigious thing. When the United
States looks at candidates for the UNSC, it takes into consideration
previous votes at the UN General Assembly. In 2007, Turkey and the
U.S. voted along the same line 45.5 percent of the time on 13 issues
that interested the U.S. directly, including resolutions relating to
Cuba, the Israeli-Palestinian problem, North Korea and Iran. Thus,
this seat is a result of Turkey's balanced foreign policy line.
This seat will increase Turkey's influence regarding important
decisions over the next two years.''
Semih Idiz wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Turkey was elected as a
non-permanent member to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
This is a great success for Turkey and we owe a great thanks to
Foreign Minister Babacan. Turkey's global lobbying efforts and its
constructive approach in the Middle East and the Caucasus
contributed immensely to Turkey's success in this bid. It is very
pleasing to see that Turkey received support from the EU as well.
Recently, PM Erdogan said, 'Turkey is a country that is running
after its targets and not its fears.' We should continue such
efforts."

Nazli Ilicak wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Turkey's election to the
UNSC membership is a great success. This success strengthens
Turkey's influence, even with the isolated, small countries in the
world. Congratulations to the President, the PM, and the FM, along
with the architect of Turkey's foreign policy Prof. Davutoglu.


Ergenekon: The Trial of the Century Begins. (Zaman)
Media outlets are almost completely focused on the start of the
Ergenekon trial in a sensationalist manner, with focus on
Ergenekon's links to Turkey's most notorious assassinations and
terrorist attacks. After Prime Minister Erdogan's statement of
public support for the new Chief of the Turkish General Staff,
General Basbug, media are not reporting on the Ergenekon case as
evidence of tensions between the military and the government.
Islamist-oriented Zaman carries four full pages of reports
connecting Ergenekon to the July 2008 attack against the U.S.
Consulate in Istanbul, the Hrant Dink assassination, the shooting at
the Danistay Court in 2006, as well as to the terrorist
organizations, PKK and DHKP-C. Headlines from Zaman include, "The
PKK is under Ergenekon's Control," and "(Ergenekon's) Leaves Their
Signature on DHKP-C's Assassination of Sabanci," and "Ergenekon's
Fingerprints are All Over the Danistay Assassinations," and "The

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Order for the Attack Against the (U.S.) Consulate Came from the
Prison," where the chief Ergenekon suspects are being held.
The suspects include the senior columnist of Cumhuriyet daily, Ilhan
Selcuk, lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, Turkish Labor Party chairman Dogu
Perincek and the former Istanbul University Rector Kemal
Alemdaroglu. They are accused of being members of an armed
terrorist organization, supporting the terrorist organization,
attempting to overthrow the Turkish Republic by using violence, and
provoking the public toward an armed rebellion against the Turkish
Republic's government. Mainstream Milliyet notes that even the
reading of the 2455-page indictment during the hearing may take up
to one month. Some of the suspects, including Kemal Kerincsiz and
Dogu Perincek, will reportedly present 1000 and 1600-page written
statements in their own defense. Mainstream Hurriyet notes that
"there are three different points of view that are dividing the
public on the Ergenekon case. AK Party circles take the case very
seriously The CHP claims the case is an effort to annihilate the
opposition. Many unions call the Ergenekon arrests 'attempts to
oppress people and spread fear.' Many judicial experts draw the
attention to the possibility of this case ending in a fiasco. They
claim that dubious evidence based on private meetings and irrelevant
telephone conversations has cast a shadow on the accuracy of the
claims." Islamist-oriented Zaman thinks that "the case of the
century begins" on its headline. ." Liberal Radikal notes, "Sixteen
months ago it started with gangs and bombs found in Umraniye (a
neighborhood in Istanbul) and now the Ergenekon probe includes
retired generals, politicians, and underworld leaders". Radikal
predicts "the first court proceedings will last for at least two
months."

Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet calls the Ergenekon investigation
"part of the AKP's democratization program" and calls the trial
"political" in nature. Cumhuriyet reminds readers of "The Greater
Middle East Project" and the AKP's "moderate Islamist" aspirations
and connects the AKP's pursuit of the Ergenekon case to those
political aspirations. Oddly, mainstream Vatan focuses on the
impending profits of the street venders in Silivri, an Istanbul
suburb, due to the Ergenekon case, which Vatan says "could last for
one year." Radically Islamist Vakit carries the headline, "they
will be held accountable."

Protests against the AKP/Pro-Ocalan Protests
Sunday's leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that the NGOs,
Unions and some political parties arranged a meeting in Ankara on
Saturday to protest the AKP government's irregularities and policies
in ruling the country. Thousands attended the meeting in Ankara and
carried banners saying "We don't want the AKP" and "The AKP will pay
for its wrong policies."

Sunday's Islamist-oriented Zaman and mainstream Hurriyet reported
that PKK supporters staged protests in Diyarbakir, Adana and Mersin
in connection with allegations that jailed PKK leader Ocalan became
target of physical assaults in jail. Hurriyet notes that around
2,000 people attended the meeting organized by the DTP and some NGOs
in Diyarbakir. The demonstrators attacked the police during the
rally and the police had to use water cannons and teargas to
disperse the crowd. There were clashes at the Adana and Mersin
rallies as well. Very young children were used at the front line of
the rallies. Today's mainstream Milliyet reports that there were
more DTP arranged rallies in Istanbul, Sanliurfa and Antalya
yesterday which all turned to pro-PKK/Ocalan meetings and children
were used on the front line once again. DTP Igdir deputy Pervin
Buldan addressed to 3,000 people in Kadikoy-Istanbul and called for
a general amnesty. At the rally in Mersin DTP deputy chair Emine
Ayna quoted as saying "the majority of the Kurds consider Ocalan as
their leader. If there is a physical assault against Ocalan, they
will consider this assault against themselves." Sabah reports that
Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin denied allegations that jailed PKK
leader Ocalan was maltreated.


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Meanwhile, Hurriyet internet site reported this morning that in
Istanbul's Kadikoy neighborhood, early this morning, 34 cars were
burned in arson attacks. No one claimed the attack so far.

Taraf's Interview with Author and Columnist Avni Ozgurel
Over the weekend leftist Taraf insisted that their reporting on the
Aktutun raid by the PKK which caused 17 Turkish soldiers to die was
accurate. The Turkish Chief of General Staff had claimed that the
footage taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle and printed by Taraf
indicated to a location within northern Iraq, and not Aktutun. Taraf
on Sunday claimed that they had not indicated to the site as
Aktutun, and that they also had described the location as the other
side of the border in northern Iraq. Taraf insisted in their claims
that the Turkish military was aware of this approaching attack and
some military members watched it live during the actual attack and
no measures were taken despite prior intelligence reports. Monday's
Taraf has an interview with liberal-intellectual Radikal columnist
and author on Turkish political history, Kurdish problem and
terrorism Avni Ozgurel as their headline story. Ozgurel notes,
"Those commanders responsible for the Aktutun raid must be tried at
the military court. If the investigation, which the military says is
being conducted, does not bring those responsible for this raid to
court, it means that the situation is very hopeless in Turkey. The
PKK is said to have been preparing for this attack for one month.
Right after the attack the military said, 'The intelligence we get
from the U.S. is excellent.' Yet, you don't get intelligence to
write your memories! You get it to assess the incoming information.
There is also the 'What if this terrorism finishes?' side of things.
The PKK terrorism in Turkey today provides justification for many
things for security officials. Terrorism is such a thing that it
gives you the chance to control politics. There are arms dealers,
politicans, military, security units, associations involved in the
PKK terrorism. There's also drugs business involved. Terrorism is
such a high-income thing that it is impossible to be finished for
all sides. The Kurdish problem is not a security matter; it has to
do with Turkey's democratization. If you democratize Turkey, you
will neither have the headscarf nor the Kurdish problem. If the EU's
democracy standards prevail in Turkey, the military cannot be in
this position of not being accountable. All articles disturbing
Kurds in judicial statements including the constitution should be
rewritten. In addition, they should talk to Ocalan. No power in
Turkey except for Ocalan can solve this matter..."
Editorial commentary on Taraf Accusations of the TAF
Oray Egin commented in mainstream Aksam: ''Taraf daily has had only
one objective since its first day of publication - to cause a coup
in Turkey by making sure that their paper is raided. Even when there
was no possibility or danger for a coup in Turkey, Taraf created the
fears of a coup. The photographs that Taraf printed about the
Aktutun incident were proven to be lies. The paper aimed to damage
the Turkish Armed Forces. When their news was refuted, they resorted
to additional manipulation. Now they are trying to create fears that
their paper is in danger. However, nobody is planning to raid or
close Taraf. If someone does raid Taraf, the paper will seize the
opportunity to blame the army."

President Gul's Interview with Der-Spiegel
Hurriyet, Milliyet: In an interview with German Der Spiegel,
President Gul said "many Kurds suffered from discrimination in the
past because of their origin and they were not allowed to speak and
write in Kurdish. Today, there is a significant change. Kurds'
cultural rights have been strengthened." Regarding the headscarf
issue, President Gul said "Headscarf is related with Turkey's
democratization process. It is the personal preference of a woman
whether or not to wear a headscarf. Families do not create a
problem. Problem emerges when the politicians try to make it a
cultural matter."

Editorial commentary on the Kurdish Issue
Ali Bulac wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: ''I think that the
present Kurdish problem may be solved by doing the following. 1)

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Kurdish identity must be recognized at every level. 2) Turkish must
remain Turkey's official language, but education can be provided in
native language such as Kurdish. 3) A Kurdish channel on TRT should
begin functioning and allowing private TV broadcasts. 4) Respect for
human rights must be obeyed fully. 5) A comprehensive amnesty should
be implemented for those who have gone up the mountains but have not
shed any blood. 6) Solid, permanent and real solutions must be found
to solve the region's economic problems. 7) Civilian pressure must
increase on media that seeks to provoke tensions between Turkish and
Kurdish people. 8) Local and historic names should be returned to
the Kurdish people. A system can be implemented that uses both
Turkish and Kurdish names for villages, mountains, regions, streams,
plains and individual's names. 9) Relations should be improved
regarding tourism, trade, culture and commercial interests in
Kurdish regions in other countries like Syria, Iraq, and Iran. 10)
Local administrations should be strengthened. 11) The spirit of
friendship and cooperation between all ethnic groups must be
enhanced."
Iraqi Chief of General Staff's Exclusive with Hurriyet
Metehan Demir of mainstream Hurriyet interviewed the Iraqi Chief of
General Staff Babakir Zibari. "The Iraqi Chief of General Staff
said, 'Barzani would say yes to anything that Turkey says yes to, if
only Ankara started talking to the Kurdish regional government. This
change in stance could change everything, even the border.' General
Babakir Zibari, who is of Kurdish origin, and who was appointed to
his position as the Iraqi Chief of General Staff through the
influence of Mesud Barzani, defended the idea that Turkey's solving
the PKK problem depends first on its regarding the Kurdish regional
adminstration warmly. General Zibari stated that even Barzani could
approach warmly to the debated proposals in Turkey for moving the
border or forming a buffer zone if Turkey discussed this with him
because this could be beneficial for Barzani as well. Zibari noted,
'The PKK is continiously attacking like an animal squeezed in the
corner at the moment. Turkey gave heavy blows to the PKK. In my
opinion, a step must be taken for a political solution just at this
point. The Turkish government must declare an amnesty for those up
on the mountains.'''


TV News:
NTV Turk

Domestic News

- A Molotov cocktail attack was launched against Turkish Consulate
in Austria. Minor material damage was reported.

- DSP Leader Zeki Sezer said they could support Murat Karayalcin if
he decides to run for Ankara Mayor as an independent candidate.

- Responding to a question whether a new stand-by agreement will be
signed with the IMF, Finance Minister Unakitan said "we never turn
our back on the IMF. If the country's interests require a new
agreement, then we will do what is necessary."

- The AKP Branch Office in Semdinli was damaged in bomb blast.


International News

- Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama raises more than
$150 million for his campaign against McCain.

- Taliban insurgents pulled some 50 passengers off a bus in southern
Afghanistan and killed as many as 30 of them.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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