Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
DE RUEHAK #2038/01 3291416
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241416Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8104
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 9332
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 5070
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 3423
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6998
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6851
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3425
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002038
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, NOVEMBER 24, 2008
In Today's Papers
Armenian-Turkish Talks Today
Mainstream Sabah reports Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will host
talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan today at the
Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. Mainstream Hurriyet notes Nalbandyan
said, "Armenia is ready to normalize relations with Turkey without
precondition and we are expecting the same from Turkey."
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports, "Diplomatic traffic between Turkey
and Armenia is increasing," as "The Turkish side is prepared to
suggest the establishment of an historical commission in order to
examine the genocide claims." In addition, Zaman reports, "The
talks will also cover the security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and
Turkey's Caucasus Stability Platform proposal." In "An Historical
Meeting in Istanbul Today," leftist Taraf reports, "the two
ministers will discuss a possible future visit by Armenian President
Sargsyan. Liberal Radikal notes "the two leaders' meeting
piggy-backs off of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Meeting in
In a related story, Zaman also reports, "Turkish airlines will begin
unscheduled charter flights between Turkey and Armenia."
"Iraqi Kurds Are Arming Themselves" (Radikal)
Media outlets report on a November 23rd Washington Post story that
claims officials from northern Iraq received a shipment of arms from
Bulgaria in September. Coverage reflects fears the arms will be
used in order to establish an independent Kurdistan. Turkish media
often doubt the true intentions of Kurdish Regional President
Massoud Barzani, so headlines today allude to the possibility that
Barzani may be planning to break with Baghdad. CNN Turk reports,
"The Washington Post reports Kurdish officials imported three C-130
planeloads of weapons from Bulgaria." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak
carries the headline, "(Kurdish Regional Government President)
Barzani's 'Independent' Recklessness." Mainstream Milliyet reports
in "Weapons to Northern Iraq from Bulgaria," that, "Baghdad was out
of the loop regarding the shipment." Mainstream Sabah carries the
headline, "Three Planes Full of Arms to the Peshmerge."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports "Barzani Secretly Buys
Weapons," as "three planes full of weapons and ammunition are
brought from Bulgaria to northern Iraq."
More Inmates Will Be Sent to Imrali Prison, Ending Ocalan's
Saturday's papers covered Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin's
remarks regarding the government's arrangements to transfer more
inmates to Imrali prison, where the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is
serving his prison sentence. Saturday's Milliyet reports that The
European Committee for The Prevention of Torture stated that
Ocalan's isolation at the island prison since 1999 has affected his
mental health. Saturday's Radikal reports that Justice Minister
Sahin said, "We are building new offices for security personnel at
Imrali prison because their current accommodations are not suitable.
At the same time, we are planning additional construction in order
to house up to 5 or 6 more prisoners." Justice Minister Sahin
responded to criticism from opposition parties regarding the prison
plans by saying, "If we decide to send 5 or 6 more prisoners to
Imrali, they are not going to stay in the same cell with Ocalan but
they will have separate cells. There are thousands of officials at
Imrali prison and only one prisoner! Why should all these expenses
be made for a single prisoner?"
Erdogan Visits India
Media outlets reported over the weekend and today Prime Minister
Erdogan paid a "productive" state visit to India, quoting officials
from both sides as saying they were "pleased" with the progress
marked in bilateral relations. The two countries reached agreements
on the transfer of oil from the Ceyhan pipeline to India and on
nuclear cooperation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Erdogan also
agreed to begin negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement in order to
ANKARA 00002038 002 OF 003
encourage investment. Erdogan's announced that Turkey's goal is to
increase Turkish-Indian trade volume to USD 6 billion by 2010.
Meanwhile, in a meeting with Turkish businessmen in India, Prime
Minister Erdogan vowed to "quit the AKP chairmanship" if his party
comes in second in the forthcoming municipality elections, report
NIC's "Global Trends 2025" Report
Media outlets reported over the weekend the U.S. National
Intelligence Council's (NIC) report, "Global Trends 2025: A
Transformed World," envisages a "less secular and a less democratic
Turkey" which will adopt "a more nationalistic and conservative
character in 2025." While the report predicts Turkey's EU accession
will have a positive impact on the political stability around
Europe, the report also warns of growing suspicions that Islamist
and nationalist tendencies are likely to strengthen if Turkey's EU
Editorial Commentary on U.S. NIC Report "Global Trends 2025"
Semih Idiz wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "According to the U.S.
National Intelligence Council's (NIC) "Global Tendencies 2025"
report, over the next 15-20 years, Turkey will emerge as a model for
the Islamic world, not only because of the effects of Islamic and
national dynamics but also because of its inclination for modernity.
However, in this report, Turkey's sociological dynamics are not
taken into consideration. While the report mentions the rise of the
middle class, it does not mention that the rise of the middle class
could increase secularism and democracy, as was the case for Europe.
In 2025, Turkey could be a country like any Western country where
all different religious and ethnic groups enjoy democratic rights."
"Clinton Anxiety in the Arab World" (Sabah)
Mainstream Sabah reports, "The Arab world is hopeful regarding
Obama's foreign policy vision, but Hillary Clinton's preparation to
become U.S. Secretary of State is making Arabs nervous," because,
"because Hillary Clinton's foreign policy vision regarding the Arab
world is different than that of Barack Obama." Sabah notes,
"Clinton was a supporter of Bush's war in Iraq," and "Clinton said
she would 'obliterate' Iran." Liberal Radikal reports in "Obama's
Clintonization," that, "The real winner of the election is Clinton,"
as "Obama's cabinet is almost completely comprised of people from
the Clinton administration."
Editorial Commentary on Turkey-U.S. Relationship,
Omer Taspinar wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Barack Obama will face
many unresolved issues when he takes charge of the presidency in
January. The first four months of his presidency will be focused on
issues of the highest priority. Approximately four months after he
takes charge, on April 24, 2009, Obama will have to make a sensitive
decision regarding Armenian genocide claims. This sensitive issue
will test the bilateral relationship between Turkey and the U.S.
early in Obama's presidency. If Ankara doesn't want any problems
with Obama on April 24, Ankara should take immediate steps to get on
Mehmet Yilmaz in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Russian President
Medvedev recently approved a 'strategic' decision in which Germany
will send weapons and military equipment to German forces in
Afghanistan via Russian railroads. Dispatching one ton of equipment
by airplanes to Afghanistan from Europe costs $14,000 whereas
sending it by railroad through Russia costs $500. Moscow, by this
effort, is trying to repair Russia-NATO ties, which were seriously
damaged by the war in Georgia. Moscow also wants to show its good
intentions by helping the U.S., which Russia fought against from
1979-89 in Afghanistan. Moscow will allow the use its railroads,
and in return, Russia will urge the West to not take Georgia and
ANKARA 00002038 003 OF 003
Ukraine into NATO."
Editorial Commentary on AKP-PKK-Southeast Turkey
Serdar Akinan in tabloid Aksam: "The ruling AKP, in agreement with
the military, is expected to take measures to prevent new recruits
from joining the PKK in the mountains. The AKP will probably allow
minor cultural openings before the municipality elections, and
further measures against the PKK will drain resources designated for
PKK recruitment. We expect serious investments in the mainly
Kurdish southeast, through which the AKP will seek integration into
the Gulf region. If Turkey plays its cards right, it will become a
peaceful country with the most effective economy in the region."
- The Ergenekon trial continues Monday in the Silivri prison complex
- The main opposition CHP continued over the weekend to transfer new
party members who wear Islamic-style headscarves.
- Prime Minister Erdogan warned that state-owned banks might
intervene to stabilize markets if the Turkish banking sector does
not take measures to ease borrowers' financial strains. Erdogan
earlier criticized the banking sector for not helping the real
sector in the global financial crisis.
- The Iraqi parliament will vote Wednesday on a pact on the
withdrawal of American troops from Iraq over the course of the next
- Hamas slams Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' declaration that
he would call for early elections early next year if the dialogue
between rival movements fails.
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said President-elect Barack
Obama has promised to increase U.S. assistance to Afghanistan.