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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
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RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 002013

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 20, 2008

In Today's Papers

U.S.-Iraq-Turkey Trilateral Meeting in Baghdad
The U.S., Turkey, and Iraq agreed in Baghdad to form a joint
committee to block the activities and cut logistical support lines
for the PKK in northern Iraq. Most media outlets cover the
developments from yesterday's trilateral meeting in Baghdad in a
positive manner, though the nationalist media remains skeptical of
the Kurdish Regional Governments' (KRG) intentions regarding the PKK
and highlight their skepticism by criticizing the inclusion of an
attendee who allegedly had past links to the PKK. Islamist-oriented
Zaman reports in, "A Trilateral Committee Is Established in Order to
Block PKK Activities on the Border," that President Gul welcomed the
news and told journalists, "A withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq
will not affect the steps forward we have taken with Iraq." In
addition, Zaman notes, "Ankara is preparing to host Iraqi FM Hosyar
Zebari in December." Liberal Radikal draws positive attention to
the fact that "the Kurdish Regional Administration has joined
official talks aimed at blocking the activities of the PKK in
northern Iraq." Mainstream Aksam reports, "The committee will hold
monthly meetings," and "this marks a turning point in ties between
northern Iraq and Turkey." Nevertheless, Aksam notes that, despite
the fact there was an official statement from the Iraqi Foreign
Ministry regarding the meetings, "no MOU emerged from this six-hour
meeting" because "towards the end of the meeting, one of the KRG
officials demanded that Turkey withdraw all of its troops from
northern Iraq."

Meanwhile, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet notes that one participant
in the meeting, Karim Sinjari, was once declared persona non grata
in Turkey. Sinjari is KRG President Massoud Barzani's former
intelligence chief, and Turkey objected to Sinjari's alleged former
ties to the PKK. Cumhuriyet's headline reads, "Sinjari, Persona Non
Grata, Attends the Trilateral Meetings," while
conservative-nationalist Turkiye carries the headline, "Shame!
Interior Minister Atalay Sat at the Table with Sinjari."

Turkey's Political and Business Leaders Discuss Global Financial
Crisis
Media outlets report that at a meeting of Foreign Capital
Association (YASED) yesterday, Prime Minister Erdogan warned banks
against early termination of credit deals with clients are having
trouble making their payments. Erdogan stressed that nobody should
be allowed to manipulate the economic crisis in order to make extra
profits. Before the YASED gathering, Prime Minister Erdogan
announced at a meeting of his ruling party board that Turkey and the
IMF were close to sealing an agreement. The PM said he expects the
IMF to lend Turkey between USD 20-40 billion.

Meanwhile, Deputy PM Nazim Ekren, State Minister Mehmet Simsek,
Industry Minister Zafer Caglayan as well as market representatives
from around Turkey came together yesterday at the fifth meeting of
Turkish Trade and Industry Council to discuss remedies in the face
of the global financial crisis. Ekren said his government's program
for 2009 contains all the necessary measures to cope with the
crisis. The Turkish Union of Chambers (TOBB) chairman Rifat
Hisarciklioglu asked the government to inject money to the markets.
"The crisis has turned from the financial sector to real sector, and
from developed countries to developing ones. A storm is looming
step by step," emphasized Hisarciklioglu. He also asked the
government to revise its 2009 budget as well as its midterm economic
program, stressing Turkey needed a new growth strategy. "The crisis
will continue at least for another 1.5 years," Hisarciklioglu said.


On the other hand, business world representatives met yesterday with
Industry Minister Zafer Caglayan in Istanbul. Turkey's leading
business group Koc conglomerate's honorary chairman Rahmi Koc
underlined Turkish markets' need for fresh money, and called on the
government to help by injecting funds. Koc stressed Turkey

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desperately needed foreign capital, and urged the government to do
all it could to lure foreign investors into the country.

Editorial Commentary on Global Economic Crisis Effecting Turkey

Cuneyt Ulsever wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "Turkish politics is
going through a significant change and the formation of new
political alliances is ahead. The prime minister has lost his image
as someone to be trusted. He stumbles through both the economic
crisis and the Kurdish issue. First he criticized the IMF for
imposing its conditions on Turkey's economic policy, but shortly
thereafter he decided to reach an agreement with the IMF. Also, he
does not have any problem getting closer to Iraqi KRG President
Massoud Barzani yet at the same time he acts like a hawk towards the
Kurds in his own country."

Gungor Mengi wrote in mainstream Vatan: "Turkey's biggest problem
during the economic crisis process will definitely be its irritable
Prime Minister. It is obvious that PM Erdogan is not aware the
seriousness of the economic crisis. In his return from the G-20
meeting, everyone expected some concrete explanations from him but
all he said was "this government is not going to fill anyone's empty
coffers." No one is asking the government to fill up their coffers.
The business world is seeking immediate measures, and the business
world is more concerned about the PM's rhetoric rather than the
economic crisis."

Mustafa Balbay in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "The 2001 economic
crisis struck the public sector and the public banks; today the
private sector is affected the most. This economic crisis could
bring irreversible losses, such as Vestel. Vestel, a Turkish
television and computer technologies producer, has shut down its
laptop production unit. Vestel was the only Turkish laptop
producer. The last crisis led to panic among Vestel's stockholders,
leaving Vestel with no option other than to shrink its operations.
Today, creating a brand value has become more important than
creating industrial facilities. France has launched an aid package
to protect its brands whereas our government cannot even stand to
hear complaints from anyone."

U.S. Expected to Transfer Troops from Iraq to Afghanistan
Mainstream Hurriyet and Milliyet report the U.S. army will initiate
a withdrawal from Iraq after the Obama administration takes charge.
Forces that are withdrawn from Iraq are expected to be moved to
Afghanistan. In, "The Pentagon's Plan via Turkey" by Hurriyet and
"U.S. Forces May Be Moved to Afghanistan" by Milliyet, both papers
indicate Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen
said Turkey and Jordan will be used as transit routes for the
withdrawal of U.S. troops, and based on instructions from President
Bush and plans by President-elect Obama, the Pentagon has made
preparations to proceed with the plan. Hurriyet also noted that
Admiral Mullen earlier criticized Barack Obama's plans to withdraw
from Iraq.

A Major and Two Soldiers Killed in Clashes with the PKK
All papers: A gendarmerie major is killed and five soldiers injured
in a clash between security forces and PKK terrorists in the eastern
province of Agri yesterday. Two more soldiers lost their lives in a
separate clash at the Lice district of Diyarbakir and four others
were injured.

Guler: Iran Energy Deal Will Not Create Tensions with the U.S.
Conservative-nationalist Turkiye quotes the Turkish Energy Minister
Guler in the front page headline, "Our Energy Deal with Iran Will
Not Trigger Fresh Tensions with the U.S." Mainstream Sabah reports
Guler told journalists, "Turkish officials are explaining our needs
for natural gas to American officials," while liberal Radikal notes,
"MOE officials are also highlighting the fact that this cooperation
will provide Europe with much-needed natural gas," and "there are
hopes that the Obama administration will understand." Guler also

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noted Iran was speeding up the construction of a separate natural
gas pipeline along its border with Turkey.

Meanwhile, papers report that on Wednesday, Turkish Petroleum Corp.
(TPAO) signed a "Joint Operations Agreement" with ExxonMobil for the
exploration and development of oil and natural gas in Black Sea.
TPAO thinks the Black Sea may hold 10 billion barrels of oil, which
would make Turkey energy independent for fifty years. Production is
expected to begin by 2015.

Editorial Commentary on Turkish Democracy-Political Parties

Mumtazer Turkone in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "The MHP's 'Alevi
opening' is important, and the Alevis must respond to Devlet
Bahceli's remarks that the MHP is ready to contribute to a
resolution of the problems of Alevi citizens. Also, the MHP must
give its grassroots the message that Kurds must be approached with
empathy. It's inevitable that the leader of the ruling AKP will
also be part of this approach. The CHP must convince its voters
that the headscarf is not a threat against the regime. In Turkey,
democracy is mobilizing the political parties towards pulling
together and resolving problems."

Editorial Commentary on President Elect Obama/Africa; Iran's nuclear
power

Akif Emre wrote in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak: "It is quite
possible that the U.S. is going to open a new front in the war on
terror in Africa, which will eventually make Obama like Bush. Given
the region's oil reserves, Africa has become a center for global
competition, particularly between China and America, and the new
Obama administration seems ready to move forward toward gaining full
control of Africa. It is not just a coincidence to see an armed
insurgency in oil-rich areas of Sudan. Sudan was made for military
intervention."

Kadri Gursel wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "When I criticize the
PM's support of Iran, the Islamist media angrily questions me
saying, "If Iran's nuclear weapons are considered a threat, why
aren't Israel's nuclear weapons considered a threat?" My answer is
"If Iran owns nuclear weapons within 3-5 years, it will become a
super power and will push Turkey into a marginal and ineffective
position in the region. Despite its nuclear power, Israel never had
such affects on Turkey. Moreover, following Iran's nuclear power,
if Turkey starts seeking the same kind of power then Turkey will be
considered as a threat in the region and our relationship with the
West will be damaged tragically. Your ideological obsessions
definitely blinded you and that is why you are getting ready to
welcome the first Islamic nuclear power without thinking of the
negative impact it will have on Turkey. And that is why I am
calling you all 'the Iranians among us.'"

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- Opposition MHP lawmaker and former ambassador Gunduz Aktan died of
cancer in Ankara.

- The Education Ministry recruits imams to give compulsory religious
education to elementary school students in Izmir.

- On November 23, the pro-Kurdish DTP will launch a tour of
provinces in eastern Turkey.

International News

- The Turkey-EU joint consultative committee meetings in Paris has
called on EU term president France to open new negotiating chapters

ANKARA 00002013 004 OF 004


with Turkey without delay.

- A French parliamentary committee unanimously agrees not to endorse
parliament's prior recognition of genocide claims.

- Al-Qaeda's number two in command Ayman Zawahiri warns Barack
Obama, calling the U.S. President-elect a "house negro," against
sending more troops to Afghanistan.

SILLIMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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