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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001922

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
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2008

In Today's Papers

The American Public Has Never Been This Happy (Yeni Safak)
Media report on the election of Barack Obama with excitement, hope,
and compassion for the tough job ahead of the President-elect.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports, "In the 1940s, Rosa Parks was
arrested for sitting in a bus seat that was designated for whites
(note: referring to the 1955 incident in Montgomery, Alabama), but
today a black American holds the top seat in the U.S." Conservative
Bugun carries the headline, "An American Dream," as "Obama's victory
shows that America really is the land of opportunity." Extreme
right Tercuman carries the headline, "From Slavery to the Presidency
- Barack Obama Becomes the First Black U.S. President." Mainstream
Vatan carries the headline, "143 Years after the End of Slavery, (an
African-American) is now President." Economic daily Referans'
headline reads, "Obama's Victory - The First Step for Ending the
Financial Crisis." Mainstream Sabah reports, "Democracy is a
Beautiful Thing," as "This election shows the importance of
democracy and the strength of the voters." Mainstream Milliyet
writes in "Global Hope," that "People all over the world are tired
of the eight-year Bush era of war and crisis," and the world
"salutes the election of Barack Obama as U.S. President." In
addition, the paper says, "The world takes a breath of relief."
Islamist-oriented Zaman surveys a number of Turkish specialists and
retired diplomats who agree, "It's expected that Obama will adopt a
new approach to U.S. policy in Iraq," and "give more priority to
diplomacy," which "will have a significant impact on Turkey."
Meanwhile, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "The Armenian
controversy is likely to stir tensions between Turkey and Obama."


Cartoon from today's mainstream Sabah newspaper reads, "Blacks used
to sit in the back of the bus," and "now" Barack Obama is pictured
sitting in the back of the presidential limousine.'


PM Erdogan and President Gul Remarks Regarding Obama's Victory
Mainstream Hurriyet reports President Gul sent a letter to Obama to
congratulate him for his election victory. In his letter, President
Gul drew attention to the partnership between Turkey and the U.S.
He noted this partnership "has a special importance for peace and
security in Middle East, Caucasus, Balkans and Central Asia." He
stressed Turkey's determination for the two countries to continue to
"advance our strategic partnership and cooperation in every field,
including the war on terror." Liberal Radikal quotes President Gul
as saying "May peace, stability and security come to the world with
Obama." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak writes Prime Minister Erdogan
commented on the U.S. presidential elections saying "Obama's victory
marked the end of problems between whites and blacks." Mainstream
Hurriyet adds Erdogan noted the ties between Turkey and the U.S.
were shaped by strategic factors and were not going to change. The
paper says Erdogan will go to the U.S. for the G-20 summit on
November 13th and he would like to meet the President-elect.

Columns: President-elect Barack Obama

Cuneyt Ulsever observes in mainstream Hurriyet: "The most important
aspect regarding the U.S. elections is that the white majority has
overcome their prejudices and thus changed the course of history.
By choosing Barack Obama, the American people have taken a giant
step for global democracy. Our lesson from the American people is
this: despite some of the shortcomings of democracy, mistakes can be
corrected eventually."

Tamer Korkmaz writes in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak: "Barack Obama
was only two years old when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his
famous 'I Have a Dream' speech. Forty years after MLK's
assassination, the day has come, times have changed. Barack Obama
is America's first African-American President. And, this man was
chosen to be President by both blacks and whites. Obama is taking

ANKARA 00001922 002 OF 003


over a fundamentally wrecked system, at home and abroad. Until he
is able to change things, we can all agree: the African-American
leader has some hard days ahead."

Yavuz Donat writes in mainstream Sabah: "Americans sought change
and voted for Obama. With Obama's election, the Bush era of
unilateral decisions has come to an end. Bush, with his know-it-all
attitude, refused to consider the views of NATO or the UNSC.
Meanwhile, Obama's stance is completely different and he says that
he will listen to all sides. From Turkey's perspective, Obama's
policies will ease tensions for Turkey regarding Iraq, Iran and the
Caucasus. The change in the U.S. will be significant because the
Democratic party holds majorities in the White House, the Senate,
and the House of Representatives. A new era is starting in the U.S.
as well as in bilateral relations between Turkey and the US.

Hasan Cemal writes in mainstream Milliyet: "American voters made
history yesterday by electing a black president. Now it is Obama's
turn to make history and fulfill all his promises of change. A
headline from yesterday's New York Times read "The Obstacle of
Racism Has Collapsed" and noted that this is only the beginning. It
is true, the American people initiated this beginning and now it is
Obama's turn to continue it. We hope that Obama will not disappoint
his own people and the rest of the world."

Omer Taspinar of mainstream Sabah writes, "Turkey should not focus
on the Armenian issue in its relations with Obama, but instead take
a look at the bigger picture in ties with the U.S. Obama has the
vision that is necessary to repair the tensions between the U.S. and
Europe, which will have a positive impact on Turkey."

Semih Idiz of mainstream Milliyet writes, "Obama may enrage Ankara
regarding the Armenian genocide issue," but "in the long term, Obama
will be a better partner for Turkey regarding regional stability."

In liberal-intellectual daily Radikal, Ismet Berkan writes: "Obama's
victory is a victory of hope and a victory for the real America,
which we have not seen during the last 8 years. This is a triumph
of democracy."

A Reform Warning from the EU
Sabah, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Zaman, Vatan and others: The EU made
public its annual report on Turkey's progress regarding its
EU-related reforms. The report calls on Turkey to speed up its
reform process during 2009. The 85-page report criticized the
pressure placed on the press by the military and the government,
note mainstream Sabah and Islamist-oriented Zaman.

Chief Prosecutor's Office Initiates Investigation against AKP in
Deniz Feneri Case
Milliyet, Vatan, Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman:
Papers report that the Yargitay Chief Prosecutor's office initiated
an investigation yesterday into possible links between the ruling
party AKP and the Deniz Feneri charity fraud case in Germany.
Mainstream Milliyet reports that Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman
Yalcinkaya, who authored the party closure case against the AKP,
requested a copy of the Deniz Feneri file once it is received from
the German Court. The Frankfurt Court ruled the Deniz Feneri
("Lighthouse") charity received a total of 41 million Euros in
donations, of which 17 million Euros was sent to Turkey, adds
Milliyet.

Panic in the PKK (Milliyet)
Mainstream Milliyet reports that, following the Turkish Military's
air operations in northern Iraq, panic has erupted in the terrorist
organization. Groups of terrorists have started to leave PKK camps
in the recent months. The most recent report indicates that eight
PKK members, including two high-level leaders, recently escaped from
the mountain camps in northern Iraq.


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Rape Trial against Islamist Writer Continues
Zaman, Hurriyet, Milliyet, and others: Huseyin Uzmez, a columnist
for the extreme Islamist Vakit daily and who is charged with raping
a 14-year old minor, was warned by the Diyanet Director for
Religious Affairs Ali Bardakoglu not to use the Islamic religion as
an excuse for his actions. Anatolian News Agency reports Bardakoglu
told them, "The abuse of minors is never acceptable in Islam," and
"Someone who commits a crime like this is going against nature,
against humanity, no matter if they are religious or not. Nobody
should either defend or support such figures. On the contrary, those
abusing minors should be harshly condemned, and we should all do
something for those children. I sincerely support the common
reaction in public opinion against the sexual abuse of minors, and I
have seen a significant step forward in the level of public
consciousness that has been raised about this issue."
Uzmez was taken into custody in April on charges of repeatedly
sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, whose age was recently
confirmed through bone density testing. He was arrested and
incarcerated pending trial until his surprise release from jail last
week, which was based on a forensics report indicating that the
victim's physical and mental health was stable. The Justice Ministry
then launched an investigation into the doctors who filed the report
at the Council of Forensic Medicine.

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

The CHP Istanbul Women's Branch protested outside the extreme
Islamist Vakit newspaper's Istanbul office in order to object to the
paper's refusal to criticize its columnist Huseyin Uzmez, who is
charged with raping a minor. Police had to break up a fistfight
that broke out between the protesters and Vakit employees.

In response to the hike in natural gas prices, opposition party MHP
filed a censure motion against Energy Minister Guler and asked the
government to reverse the increase in natural gas prices.

State Minister Nimet Cubukcu said Turkey was trying to block the
broadcast of a British television program about Turkish orphanages.

International News

Azerbaijani President Aliyev discussed peace in the Caucasus with
President Gul yesterday in Ankara.

An unarmed Minuteman Intercontinental ballistic missile was
test-launched from a U.S. military base Wednesday.

US Ambassador Ross Wilson says Obama's victory was "a miracle of
American democracy."

WILSON

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