Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2008
In Today's Papers
Prime Minister Erdgoan's Visit to Hakkari Greeted with Protests
All papers: Protests by DTP members during PM Erdogan's visit to
Hakkari on Sunday turned into clashes with police. Demonstrators
chanted pro-PKK slogans, fought with the police and stoned
journalists. During his speech in Hakkari, PM Erdogan said "One
state, one flag, and one nation. Those, who are against these
values have no place in Turkey. They can go anywhere they want."
PM Erdogan harshly rejected allegations that the PKK's jailed leader
Abdullah Ocalan was tortured in prison on Imrali Island.
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports the PM said, "These torture
allegations were deliberately made in order to confuse voters on the
eve of the municipal elections. Mainstream Sabah and others report
that a large quantity of arms and munitions were captured in an
operation in the Yuksekova district of Hakkari. The captured
materials include 20 kg of TNT, 20 hand grenades and a rocket
launcher. During the same time of the protests in Hakkari, a
demonstration was also staged in Istanbul. Demonstrations occurred
in Taksim, Tarlabasi, and Dolapdere. In Istanbul's Taksim Square,
police stopped DTP members from making a press statement in support
of the DTP's sit-in protests in Diyarbakir. Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet reports that 27 people were detained during the
demonstrations and two people were injured during the clashes.
Meanwhile, thousands of DTP supporters staged a sit-in in Diyarbakir
on Saturday to denounce government policies in the region and the
alleged mistreatment of jailed PKK leader Ocalan.
Editorial opinion on PKK/DTP and Kurdish Issue
Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist leaning Yeni Safak: "While the Kurdish
problem has become an accepted reality, we need political actors who
will contribute to the solution process. However, the DTP is
choosing to play outside the rules by engaging in and organizing
chaos in the southeast. The DTP must act with civility if they are
really sincere about finding a solution to the Kurdish issue."
Okay Gonensin wrote in mainstream Vatan: "The DTP's recent
pro-Ocalan protests crossed the line regarding the freedom of
expression. In the past, from time to time, DTP leaders have called
for a cease fire. However, recently they are acting as if they are
trying to escalate domestic tensions, and they have not tried to
keep their actions within the boundaries of democracy. The more the
democratic process retreats, the more the PKK advances. There are
people who are trying to block the democratic process. The DTP's
recent incidents place the DTP right in the middle of this bloody
equation. From the angle of the DTP, this approach is political
suicide, because the DTP is not acting like a democratic political
party. Instead, they are acting like the administrators of PKK
strategies, which means the party is committing suicide."
Ambassador Wilson's Interviews with Milliyet and Radikal.
Murat Yetkin of Radikal carried an interview with Ambassador Wilson
in the Sunday edition. His interview was carried on the front page
under the headline, "The Turning Point was November 5, 2007."
Yetkin's interview highlighted Wilson's take on the meeting between
Erdogan and Bush, "To my observation, President Bush felt convinced
the PKK was an obstacle to the role Iraq's neighbors could play in
contributing to success in Iraq. Afterwards we, along with our
Turkish government and military colleagues, worked on the details
for intelligence sharing mechanism between the two militaries, which
put the bilateral military relations back on track again." In
addition, Yetkin notes, "The U.S. feared Turkey may decline to
contribute to the security in Iraq as long as terror attacks were
launched against Turkey from northern Iraq." Meanwhile, Semih
Idiz's interview in Milliyet was entitled, "After September 11th, We
Gained a Better Understanding of Turkey," and highlighted Wilson's
comment that, "Turkey is a democratic, stable, strong and
self-reliant country where the majority of the population are
Muslims. We realized this better after the Cold War and especially
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after the September 11 attack."
Turkish Press Predicts an Obama Victory
Most media outlets continue to report an Obama victory as
inevitable, but several note the potential for a "Bradley Effect"
and some note how an Obama victory will impact Turkey.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports, "Obama continues to lead the
polls, but the racism factor still creates fears." Liberal
Radikal's front-page banner headline reads, "The Polls Declare a
President - Obama!" In, "The Struggle between the Old and the New,"
mainstream Milliyet reports, "This election brings to the stage the
struggle between the traditional politics McCain represents and
Obama's innovative new message." In "The Advocate of Change,"
mainstream Hurriyet reports, "Obama does not just promise new
political policies, but brings the promise of his life story and his
Huseyin Bas of leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet writes, "It looks like
the Democrats will win the election and if Barack Obama can succeed
in placing some limits on the reckless capitalist system that Bush
created, he will be on the right path. Ali Aslan of
Islamist-oriented Zaman writes, "Obama and Erdogan can work together
to promote strategic cooperation and strengthen bilateral ties
between Turkey and the U.S., unless either side wastes time with
less important issues like the Armenian genocide claims." Far Right
Ortadogu reports in "The Ace up His Sleeve is The Armenians," that
"Obama promised to recognize Armenian Genocide Claims," with
"complete support." Ortadogu notes "it is important that he renewed
this promise on October 31st after meetings with Professor
Davutoglu," who met with the Obama campaign last week and warned the
campaign about the damage a recognition of Armenian Genocide Claims
could cause to relations with Turkey.
Editorial opinion on U.S. Elections
Ceyda Karan wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "Those who are
looking at the American elections through the lens of Turkish
foreign policy prefer a Republican administration in the White
House. However, given Ankara's current concerns, including Armenian
genocide claims, stability in Iraq and the Caucasus, there is no
strong indication of a smooth relationship with Washington under
McCain. Turkey must not adopt exaggerated expectations or view the
elections in only black and white. After all, Washington's policies
will be shaped by the changing political landscape, as well as by
new political actors."
Omer Taspinar commented in mainstream Sabah: "Obama is running
towards victory because Americans seek a radical change and Obama is
the choice for change. During his election campaign, Obama called a
McCain presidency "a continuation of the Bush administration."
McCain strengthened this allegation by pledging that U.S. forces
will remain in Iraq for a hundred years if necessary. As the global
economic crisis deepens, Obama's calls for change have resonated
with the American public. Obama is a better choice for Turkey as
well, as long as we look at the issue from a wider angle instead of
only from the angle of the Armenian issue. If we continue
diplomatic and political dialogue with Yerevan, that issue will
resolve itself. Let's be brave enough to wait for Obama by looking
at these developments from a broader perspective."
U.S. Pledges Support for Turkey's Nuclear Program
Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey Kupfer led a U.S.
delegation to Istanbul in order to meet with Prime Minister Erdogan
and his top officials in energy, treasury and foreign affairs, along
with other business officials from the banking and energy sectors.
Mainstream Hurriyet quotes the Kupfer in the headline, "We are ready
to contribute to Nuclear and Renewable Energy Projects" in Turkey.
Islamist leaning Yeni Safak quotes Kupfer in the headline, "We
support Turkey's Energy Policy." Regarding Turkey's nuclear energy
bids, Kupfer was quoted as saying "the government sees the need to
improve the bidding process and appears open to cooperation." Kupfer
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said his contacts with government officials were "very constructive,
useful and encouraging."
Turkey Launches Unmanned Plane Project
Liberal Radikal reports that a Turkey-manufactured unmanned plane
project is about to be finalized. Radikal reports this development
means, "Turkey will be independent in gathering intelligence"
against the PKK. Three planes are expected to do test runs in early
2010, and the program is expected to be fully operational in
September 2011. Meanwhile, in order to meet the current need,
Radikal also reports that the Turkish Army ordered 10 unmanned
"Heron" planes from Israel, and the acquisition of two Herons will
be finalized before the end of this month.
The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson Reveals the Horror in Orphanages
Sabah, Milliyet and Vatan report that the Duchess of York, under
disguise, entered the Saray orphanage in Ankara and took photographs
in order to document the orphans' living conditions. Upon her
return to the UK, she wrote an article in "The Daily Mail" that
detailed how badly the children were treated there. She noted, "The
corridors of the orphanage were terribly smelly. I saw many
children who were tied to their beds or whose hands were tied to the
walls. Is this the Turkey the UK is supporting in its bid for EU
A Karabakh Agreement.
Media outlets report with a tinge of resentment toward Russia that a
peace agreement in principle has been reached in the Karabakh
crisis. Turkey had initiated itself as the regional mediator of the
Caucasus through the Caucasus Platform proposal, so Russia is seen
as usurping Turkey's role as a mediator, and thinly-veiled criticism
notes that one peace agreement 'by the hand of Russia' is not enough
to solve the problem. In "The Caucasus Spring," mainstream Hurriyet
reports, "President Gul's soccer diplomacy set the stage for
positive developments in the Caucasus," as "Russia has followed
Erdogan's and Gul's lead to address problems in the Caucasus."
However, "Medvedev's efforts are undertaken on the part of countries
in the Caucasus Pact," which "Turkey created in order to cool
tensions in the region after the crisis between Russia and Georgia."
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak's headline reads, "An Azeri-Armenian
Agreement by the Hand of Russia." Leftist-oriented Cumhuriyet
reports, "A Karabakh Declaration from Above." Liberal Radikal
writes in, "A Moscow Proclamation for Peace in the Mountains of
Karabakh," that "Russia, by bringing Aliyev and Sargsyan together
for a peaceful solution, gave the message 'The Power of the Caucasus
is Mine.'" Mainstream Milliyet reports in "The First Signing for
Karabakh," that "for the first time in 14 years, a document has been
signed with the goal of finding a peaceful solution to one of the
most complex ethnic misunderstandings."
- DSP leader Zeki Sezer says that candidates of the DSP and the CHP
should not run against each other in the upcoming municipality
- Three cars were burned by arsonists in Istanbul, while a
municipality bus was damaged by a Molotov cocktail.
- Public opinion polls show Barack Obama 7 points ahead in the
- The Iraqi government will sell former Dictator Saddam Hussein's
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- Washington rejects the allegations of Bolivian President Morales
that a U.S. government agency was backing criminal groups trying to
undermine his leftist government.