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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 001985

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
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2008

In Today's Papers

Erdogan: Turkey Determined to Continue Ties with New U.S.
Administration
All media outlets report Prime Minister Erdogan addressed the UN
General Assembly Thursday and called for cooperation against
terrorism. Afterwards, the PM attended a conference entitled, "The
Role of Turkey in Shaping the Future" at Columbia University in New
York. Erdogan said Turkey was "determined to preserve close ties"
with the U.S. under the new administration of president-elect Barack
Obama. He also urged the new American administration to take into
account Ankara's sensitivities regarding northern Iraq and relations
with Armenia.

Editorial Commentary on New U.S. Administration

Mehmet Farac in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "Joe Biden said in
Seattle just before the elections that terrorists would soon do
something to test Obama. A similar concern was voiced by Zbigniew
Brzezinski, who is expected to be given a seat in Obama's cabinet.
Brzezinski shared Biden's concerns by saying, 'In one way or
another, all American presidents are tested by new threats and
conditions.' It's a fact that the ongoing global threat bides its
time in order to test the U.S. at its weakest moment."

Mehmet Yilmaz in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Susan Elizabeth Rice is
among the ones who are being considered for the position of U.S.
Secretary of State. Rice is known as a straightforward person who
can relay her thoughts easily. When asked how she makes her
frankness and diplomacy meet, Rice says, "I can act as a diplomat
when I want to. But I'm not a patient person in that regard." Rice
may play important roles regarding U.S. security, foreign policy and
Africa strategies."

Rescue Operations Are Expected in order to Save Hijacked Turkish
Ships
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that following the hijacking of a second
Turkish ship by Somali pirates, the Turkish Gokova frigate, which is
under NATO command, has been given to the command of the Turkish
Navy. Hurriyet expects the Turkish Navy to launch an operation to
rescue the 14 crew members kept hostage on the Turkish-flagged ship,
Karagol. In a phone conversation permitted by the pirates, the
captain of the ship said their hijackers consisted of 40 pirates who
were all armed with Kalashnikov rifles. The captain said they were
not being mistreated.

A Tough Call for the PM
Mainstream Milliyet carries a front-page feature story entitled, "A
Tough Decision for Prime Minister Erdogan" on the Hrant Dink murder
case investigation report prepared by Prime Ministry Inspectors.
Referring to the report's content, Milliyet highlights that
inspectors have concluded serious negligence by government officials
prevented them from preventing the assassination of Hrant Dink. The
report will be in the Prime Minister's office soon, and it is
subject to Prime Minister Erdogan's approval to go further ahead
which will lead to investigations against some official figures,
including former Chief of Police in Trabzon province who is
currently Director General for Police Intelligence, and the Istanbul
Chief of Police. Commenting on the report, senior Law Professor
Mithat Sancar said to NTV that the report makes some very important
conclusions and it calls for opening a public case by prosecutors
and it does not have to be a subject of PM approval.

Court Cases and Debate Over Justice
Liberal Radikal carries in a front page story "Heavy Penalty for
Children" while Sabah and Vatan also do the similar reporting about
six children, all primary school students are subject to 25 years of
imprisonment. A local court in southeast Diyarbakir prepared
indictment against six kids who were arrested for throwing stones to
police and burning tires during Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to

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the city. The indictment asked for total 25 years of sentence for
"acting under PKK's instruction and help toward independent
Kurdistan goal of the terrorist organization." The trial will soon
start at Diyarbakir Court.

Meanwhile all papers highlight a ruling by European Court of Human
Rights in favor of a former Turkish prosecutor. Prosecutor Sacit
Akarsu during his term in Adana prepared an indictment against
Turkish generals who held the September 12, 1980 military coup. The
indictment in 2000 argued that the generals including the coup
leader General Kenan Evren should be tried for constitutional
violation. Prosecutor Akarsu was fired from public service for
misusing authority. The ECHR ruling says Akarsu did nothing wrong
and fined Turkey to pay 41,000 Euroes to compensate.

Optimism Fades to Worry over the G20's Ability to Deliver
Hope that the G20 can deliver relief to world markets is fading fast
in the Turkish media. Headlines are almost entirely focused on the
dismal economic news out of Europe and the U.S. Mainstream Milliyet
carries the headline, "The Climate of Pessimism Deepens," as "the
OECD, the U.S., 15 EU Member Countries, and Japan are expecting
negative growth." Mainstream Hurriyet carries the headline, "In
2009, The Global Economy Will Shrink and Even the Giants Can't
Escape," from the continuing effects of the crisis. Liberal Radikal
reports, "Germany Officially Enters a Recession and Britain Sees Its
Worst Times in Thirty Years," as "The Crisis Continues," and leading
Turkish economists accuse the government of Turkey with "delaying
preparations for a rescue package for Turkey." Islamist-oriented
Zaman reports, "The Three Largest Economies are entering a Recession
One Step at a Time," and the G20's efforts to revive economies are
characterized as "the doping up of Wall Street." Leftist Taraf
carries the banner headline, "Germany is officially in a Recession"
and notes "England is shocked," as the global economic crisis "is
expected to continue into 2009." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak
reports "OECD countries are expected to enter recessions," and
"unemployment numbers will climb," as "unemployment in the U.S.
alone reached a seven-year high." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
reports, "The OECD predicts that no one will be able to escape from
recession," as "The Giants are devoured by Recession."

Editorial Commentary on G-20

Guven Sak wrote in business daily Referans: "It is unrealistic to
expect miracles out of the G-20 summit. In fact the summit's
composition, which includes Turkey, is a success story in and of
itself. Normally it would be the G-8 plus 5, but this time the
composition was extended to include others into the system. Many
countries will be able to inject liquidity into their markets from
IMF funds, which is an important opportunity in a short run. The
G-20 could also be a platform that can be used by countries like
Turkey to better govern the global economic system in the long
term."

Ibrahim Karagul wrote in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak: "The upcoming
G-20 summit is very bad news for the entire world because it is
basically the implementation of a secret strategy designed by the
United States and the United Kingdom. The layout of this plan gives
a dictator-like role to the IMF as it will the have final say on
world economies; i.e. the IMF will now be the Global Central Bank
and will be able to impose its policies and take care of American
and British interests. This is the very time to stand strongly
against the American-British monopoly in a global economic and
political scheme."

Metin Munir wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "In the eyes of the
Turkish public, the IMF is like Satan. Erdogan does not want to be
branded by an IMF stamp as the local elections approach. Of course,
if Erdogan takes a loan from the IMF, the IMF will want public
spending to be reduced. With every passing day, Turkey's economy is
being drained and eventually it will be completely drained. One of

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Turkey's greatest exports is iron and steel. Prices dropped in
August for these commodities by two-thirds; what used to be worth
$1,500 is now only worth $500. Developing countries are divided
into two - those with foreign currency on hand, like China, and
those without. Turkey's reserves are low. And only one man cannot
make the preference to not do anything to save the Turkish
economy."

Prime Ministry Bans Reporters, Renews Press Card of Deniz Feneri
Convict
Milliyet, Aksam and Taraf continue criticism of a Prime Ministry ban
placed on seven reporters by not renewing their accreditation.
Tabloid Aksam reports on its front page the Prime
Ministry-affiliated Press Cards Committee renewed the press card of
Mehmet Gurhan, the main suspect in the Deniz Feneri scandal in
Germany. Gurhan was sentenced to five years and ten months in
prison for embezzlement of millions of Euro in donations made to the
Islamist charity organization Deniz Feneri. Aksam criticized the
fact that the Prime Ministry recently barred seven reporters from
doing their job while it renewed indefinitely the press card of
Gurhan who was convicted of fraud.

Editorial Commentary on 'Ergenekon' Case, Turkish Democracy Debate

Mustafa Mutlu wrote in mainstream Vatan: An Ergenekon Raid That is
like A Comedy Film! On October 26th, according to the Istanbul
Prosecutor's office, there was a police raid on a depot in Atasehir
neighborhood in Kadikoy municipality, where the prosecutor claims
jailed journalist Tuncay Ozkan hid "secret documents." It's
approximately fifteen days later and no one else was taken into
custody, and nothing has come out of the raid. And after I
criticize this raid as an example of the ridiculousness of this
case, some idiots are likely to accuse me of waterdowning the
Ergenekon case..."

Mumtazer Turkone in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "The first four
provisions of our constitution, which Constitutional Court head
Hasim Kilic suggested should be opened to debate, serve an elitist
republican understanding. It's true that the republic is a regime
of virtues. What we are asking after 85 years is this: why are
these virtues monopolized by an elite minority? Why can't the
public take its share from these virtues? Why don't we try to find
an answer to this by debating the four provisions, and thus
rendering the Republic a more anonymous character? For example, the
third provision stipulates that the national language is Turkish.
Whose language is Turkish? Are they referring to the state or the
people? Don't we need an answer and isn't this answer important?"

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- On Thursday, the parliament hosted a funeral ceremony for bidding
farewell to Mustafa Sekip Birgol, Turkey's last Independence War
veteran. All state and military top brass attended the funeral.

- The pro-Kurdish DTP drafts a bill for exempting conscientious
objectors from compulsory military service.

- Ankara prosecutor initiates investigation into DTP's "project for
democratic settlement in the Kurdish issue."

World

- Germany's media watchdog ZAK has revoked the broadcast licenses
of Frankfurt-based Kanal 7 Int and tvt in the country. The two
channels had ties with the Islamic charity organization Deniz
Feneri.

- Bulgaria will withdraw its 155-strong military contingent from

ANKARA 00001985 004 OF 004


Iraq when its mandate expires at the end of this year.

- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urges US President-elect Barack
Obama to reconsider plans to deploy a missile-defense shield in
Europe.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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