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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
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2008

In Today's Papers

Prime Minister Responds to Business Community's Support for IMF
Agreement

All papers highlight Prime Minister Erdogan's strong remarks against
suggestions from the business community that Turkey seek a credit
agreement with the IMF in order to avoid further repercussions from
the global financial crunch. The prime minister addressed the issue
during a local party branch meeting in Ankara on Sunday. Erdogan
said, "We are not going to act under somebody's instruction," in
response to calls from domestic business circles, including TUSIAD,
to sign an agreement with the IMF. Erdogan continued by saying,
"During a crisis, we will not bury the future in darkness by bowing
to the demands of the IMF. If IMF officials reach an agreement with
us about the budget within a framework of flexibility, then we will
go ahead. But if the IMF adopts an approach of squeezing our neck,
we'll not accept that, no matter what the price will be."

Mainstream Milliyet's front-page banner headline quotes the PM, "Am
I Going to Let Someone Tell Me to make a Deal?" Business daily Dunya
and Islamist-leaning Zaman both note Erdogan's statements in their
banner headlines, which read, "We Will Not Bow to the IMF and Darken
our Future." Zaman also claims on its front page, "The IMF is
strengthened by the Global Crisis." Mainstream Vatan carries the
headline, "Erdogan Sends a Message to the IMF and the Business
World." Liberal Radikal reports, "Erdogan Makes an Interesting
Statement - "We Will Talk with the IMF, but We Will Not Be Pressured
by the IMF."

Widespread Protests Regarding Kurdish Rights Organized by DTP

All papers report on the continuing protest marches organized by
pro-Kurdish DTP all over Turkey. Police are intervening in the
marches and detaining protesters because the protests are being
staged without the permission of the municipalities. Papers report
the theme of this weekend's protests was "Neither Ergenekon, nor the
AKP: A Democratic Republic is the Solution." Papers report clashes
erupted between demonstrators and the police, as the police
attempted to breakup the illegal rallies. Radikal reports "There
were clashes in every city where DTP members organized, including
Istanbul, Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Siirt, Gaziantep, and Sanliurfa."
Many DTP parliamentarians attended the rallies, and DTP leader Ahmet
Turk was quoted in papers as saying "Turkey should look for a
settlement from within Turkey and not with the help of northern Iraq
and the United States."

During his party meeting, PM Erdogan reacted to the ongoing
demonstrations by blaming the DTP for politicizing ethnic identity.
Erdogan said, "The (PKK) terrorist group and its political party
(DTP) are unfortunately politicizing identity instead of thinking
about ways to serve the region's interests. They believe they can
obtain votes through terror and threats, but this approach cannot go
on any longer. People are isolating themselves more and more from
the terrorist organization."

Editorial Opinion on PKK-Kurdish Problem-DTP Closure Case

Oral Calislar wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "The issue of
the southeast cannot only be explained through economic problems and
cannot be resolved through a single focus on development. The
identity issue is more important than development, which means more
democracy is the key. No progress on the Kurdish problem can be
achieved unless serious steps are taken toward enhancing democracy.
After 25 years, have we still failed to learn this lesson?"

Yasin Aktay wrote in Islamist leaning Yeni Safak: "When addressing
the Kurdish problem, it is important to recognize the fact that
Kurdish identity should be treated separately from the problem of
the PKK and terrorism. Certainly, it is important that the

ANKARA 00001871 002 OF 003


government makes economic investments in the region, but attention
to the issue of Kurdish identity will be necessary in order to
finish off the PKK problem."

Hasan Bulent Kahraman wrote in mainstream Sabah: The main issue in
Turkey is not with the Kurds but with Kurdishness. In many
countries with a dominant ethnic group, other ethnic identities are
recognized. However, this identity is not a political identity but
a cultural identity. For example, the U.S. is a federal state, but
America's diverse ethnic groups do not exist in separate autonomous
regions. The U.S. system allows ethnic groups to express their
identities in public without being politicized. Thus, Turks and
Kurds should realize that the issue is not only about the Kurds, but
Kurdishness."

Taha Akyol wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Closing the DTP will
benefit no one. Everywhere in the world, ethnic nationalist
movements have gone through processes where the fanatics and the
moderates had to be separated from one another. In each case, the
moderates were the ones who ultimately sought solutions. The DTP
was established by the political wing of the PKK. If the DTP is
closed, the path of the moderates will be fully blocked. Turkey
should realize by now that it is wrong to ban political parties."


Turkish Airlines Begins Flights to Baghdad
Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan, Radikal, Yeni Safak, Hurriyet, Zaman, and
others: Turkish Airlines, which stopped its Istanbul-Baghdad
flights during Gulf war in 1991, has resumed flights between the two
cities. The flights are scheduled to operate three times a week on
Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, reports mainstream Sabah. Tickets
are expected to run between 2,000 YTL and 4,000 YTL due to high
insurance costs.

Four More People Detained in Ergenekon
All papers: One person in Ankara and three in Istanbul were taken
into custody yesterday within the scope of Ergenekon probe.
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports that Merdan Yanardag, who was
detained in Ankara and transferred to Istanbul, is known as former
Kanal Turk owner Tuncay Ozkan's aide. Yanardag, who who used to
host a TV program on Kanal Turk, also served as the editor-in-chief
of the pro-PKK Ozgur Gundem newspaper. Tuncay Ozkan's driver and
secretary are also among the suspects who were taken into custody.
Mainstream Milliyet reports that the chairman of the
Baden-Wurttemberg Turkish Society Gokay Sofuoglu claimed that
Yanardag was detained in order to prevent his participation at a
conference in Stuttgart this week about Fethullah Gulen.

General Odierno Visited Turkey
Weekend papers: Sunday's mainstream Vatan and Hurriyet reported
that the Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq General Odierno came to
Ankara to meet Turkish Deputy Chief of General Staff Hasan Igsiz to
discuss the fight against terrorism. Mainstream Sabah cites the
U.S. Army statement which said General Odierno came to Turkey to
meet with Turkish General Igsiz. According to the statement,
Odierno promised to give Turkey technical support and continue the
intelligence-sharing mechanism in order to prevent new PKK attacks

Massoud Barzani Headed to the U.S.
News outlets note that Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government President
Massoud Barzani is headed to Washington for meetings following his
trip to Tehran last week. Leftist Taraf reports, "After completing
his meetings in Tehran, Kurdish Regional Government President
Massout Barzani will go to Washington to meet with President Bush
and watch the elections." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports
"Barzani's meetings in Washington are sending an important message
to Ankara," as "first he will meet with Secretary Rice, then
President Bush, and then he is expected to meet with the foreign
affairs advisors for both Presidential candidates Barack Obama and
John McCain." Mainstream Milliyet notes, "Barzani will meet

ANKARA 00001871 003 OF 003


officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government."

U.S. Strikes Syria.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports, "The U.S., For the First Time, Strikes
Syria," and connects the incident to a cross-border strike in
Pakistan, where "20 people were killed," as "the tension with
Pakistan grows." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports, "Syria's El
Dunya television station reports a U.S. helicopter struck a building
under construction in the Ebu Kemal region of Syria, close to the
border with Iraq." Yeni Safak says those who were killed "were
workers constructing the building," and they were "all civilians."
Liberal Radikal reports, "Two U.S. helicopters reportedly bombed a
building 17 km into Syrian territory," but "the U.S. command has not
made any comment about the incident." Islamist-oriented Zaman
reports "State-owned official news agency SANA reports that four
U.S. helicopters bombed the Ebu Kemal region and killed two
construction workers, one father and his four sons." Zaman also
reports, "The U.S. accuses Damascus of failing to acknowledge that
money and weapons are being supplied to militant groups in Iraq from
this border region with Syria." Mainstream Milliyet reports, "Eight
civilians were killed by four U.S. helicopters," as "all of those
who were killed were construction workers."


TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

The Council of Ministers will be briefed by the General Staff today
regarding terrorism.

Salih Uzun was elected chairman of the ANAVATAN party yesterday.

Numan Kurtulmus replaced Recai Kutan as chairman of the Saadet
Party.

FM Babacan visits Afghanistan.

Despite heavy rains in Istanbul this weekend, the Istanbul Marathon
was a great success.


International News

Massoud Barzani will meet with U.S. President Bush and other U.S.
officials in Washington on Wednesday.

50 people are reported dead in floods in Yemen.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad says he is suffering from simple
exhaustion.

Israel heads toward early elections after ruling party leader Livni
drops efforts to form a government.


WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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