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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002051

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
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2008

In Today's Papers

A New Step in Turkish-Armenian Relations
Sabah, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Vatan, Yeni Safak,
Hurriyet and others: Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that
Armenian Foreign Minister Nalbandian came to Istanbul yesterday to
attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meeting; after the
meeting Nalbandian held a press conference and called for the
normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations and the opening of the
border crossing between Turkey and Armenia. Mainstream Sabah
reports that the Turkish and Armenian Foreign Ministers held a joint
press conference following a two-and-a half hour meeting. FM
Babacan said "We evaluated our bilateral relations, The Caucasus
Cooperation and Stability Platform and other regional issues at the
meeting. We concluded our meeting in a very positive atmosphere.
Our communication will continue in the political and technical
fields. Our aim is full normalization in ties." FM Nalbandian, in
return, said, "We opened a new page without any pre-conditions."
Sabah adds that Nalbandian repeated his call for the immediate
opening of the Turkey-Armenia border crossing and Babacan asked for
the Baku-Yerevan dialogue to be speed up. Nalbandian also stressed
that Armenian President Sargsyan will come to Turkey in October 2009
to watch the football game between the two countries' national
teams. Islamist-oriented Zaman reports that Nalbandian said that
Yerevan was optimistic about Turkey's proposal to set up a joint
committee of historians regarding the 1915 incidents.

Editorial Commentary on Relations between Turkey and Armenia

Can Dundar wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Approximately 11 years
ago, the Turkish and Armenian Foreign Ministers would not even talk
to each other over the phone. Therefore, yesterday's meeting
between the two FMs attracted attention. In 1991 there were
indirect contacts between the two countries, but even those contacts
were made rather secretly. During those days, delegations from
Yerevan had to wear dark sunglasses in order not to be recognized
while they were in Turkey. During Nalbandyan's visit yesterday, no
one needed to hide behind sunglasses. Officials from both countries
are optimistic regarding efforts toward an improved bilateral
relationship. This is a small step for the world, but a big one for
the region. One should not ignore Washington's role in this
dialogue. The only way to prevent Obama's recognition of the
Armenian Genocide claims is to improve dialogue between Ankara and
Yerevan."

Mustafa Balbay wrote in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "While
Turkey's main target is EU accession, it must not be forgotten that
Turkey's strong influence in Asia and the Black Sea region will have
a direct impact on Brussels. All regional alliances around the
world are built on economic foundations. The European Economic
Community is headed toward becoming The United States of Europe.
Turkey, while trying to overcome a series of problems in the
beginning of the 21st century, is missing lots of opportunities.
Armenian FM Nalbandyan, who visited Turkey to participate in the
Black Sea Economic Cooperation summit talks, drew an optimistic
picture regarding ties between Turkey and Armenia. Without third
countries interfering, Turkey can resolve all problems with its
neighbors, including Armenia."

Turkey to Host a New Summit for Afghan and Pakistani Leaders
Mainstream Sabah and Islamist-oriented Zaman report that the
government is preparing to host Afghan and Pakistani leaders for a
summit in Istanbul on December 6. Zaman quotes Afghan Foreign
Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta as saying, "President Gul will meet
with Afghan President Karzai and Pakistani President Zardari on
December 6 in Istanbul. Sabah reports that Turkish mediation
between Afghanistan and Pakistan will mark an important step in
mending ties between the two nations.

Citibank Rescue Brings Relief

ANKARA 00002051 002 OF 003


Media outlets cover the bailout of Citigroup in a positive manner,
while noting the need for bailout after bailout for American
corporations. Columnist Hadi Uluengin of mainstream Hurriyet writes
"Is Marx Going to Make a Comeback?" Mainstream Sabah reports, "The
Rescues Aren't Stopping," as "Citigroup is the latest member to join
the caravan." Meanwhile, the paper also reports, "The World
Rejoices as Citigroup is Saved." On the same page, Sabah carries
photos of protests by socialist groups in India against rising
prices, while another headline on the same page says "Country for
Sale: Iceland," as "The country is on the brink of bankruptcy" and
last week the Parliament "voted to seek IMF assistance in order to
reduce the prices of tomatoes, eggs and toilet paper." Mainstream
Milliyet carries the front page banner headline, "The Largest
Bailout" as, "The $306 billion Citigroup bailout is the most
government support a company has ever received in history."
Milliyet also reports, "The Rescue Packages Give Hope and the
Markets Quickly Rose." Islamist-oriented Zaman reports, "The World
Sighs a Breath of Relief as Citigroup is Saved."

Hillary Clinton: Neither Hawk, Nor Dove
Islamist-oriented Zaman says in a news-commentary if Hillary Clinton
accepts the post of Secretary of State, she would lose her chances
of running against Barack Obama in the next race for president of
the U.S. Obama, by picking Clinton as Secretary of State, will play
"good cop-bad cop" in international arena -- Clinton will pursue a
tough tone which will be moderated in the White House. Obama and
Clinton were known for their support for the Armenian question.
Turkey expects the U.S. will display the necessary sensitivity while
approaching the Armenian problem, so that Washington will not harm
the fresh opening between Ankara and Yerevan, comments Zaman.

Survey on Life Patterns of Women in Slums
Liberal Radikal carries a survey conducted by Konda research company
on lifestyles and attitudes of people living in slums in major
Turkish cities. "The Slums: The Destitute and Deprived of
Metropolitan Cities" survey shows people living in slums continue
their lifestyle habits even after once they move to new
neighborhoods in shantytowns. The survey indicates 49 percent of
women in slums have never worn make up, 71 percent never wore
bathing suit, and 60 percent never put on sleeveless shirts. Social
and cultural activities are rare, as shown by 37 percent who have
never went out dining with friends, 52 percent have never been to
plays or movies, and 51 percent have never celebrated new years.
According to the survey, 20 percent of men pay constant visits to
'coffeehouses.' Forty-four percent never went on vacation, and
those who go on vacation usually go to their hometowns. Of the
people living in slums, 65 percent watch more than three hours of
television every day, mostly soap operas. Those who live in slums
are concerned over the lack of education for their children, behind
that concerns lies the concern over the lack of social security
guarantees and growing poverty. The survey says "slum people" share
the same fears with other segments of people in the society, only on
a much more intense level. The survey's conclusion emphasizes that
living in metropolitan cities does not necessarily lead to
modernization.

Editorial Commentary on Turkish Economy

Erdal Saglam wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "The AKP government
continues to make mistakes regarding guarantees for deposit
accounts. The government could have followed the lead of European
countries two months ago in establishing a full guarantee to all
deposit accounts. Instead of being angry with the banks for
increasing their interest rates, PM Erdogan should evaluate his own
decisions. By not giving full guarantees to deposit accounts at the
right time, he forced the banks to increase rates. The quality of a
country's economic administration reveals itself during hard
times..."

Editorial Commentary on State's Role re Religion

ANKARA 00002051 003 OF 003

Ihsan Dagi in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Society does not and should
not need the state's intervention regarding religious services.
Does Islam need the state? Religious faiths and groups prefer to
exist through their own dynamics and voluntary contributions. If
the obstacles in front of Alevi and Sunni groups, communities and
sects are removed, society will produce services necessitated by its
religious beliefs. Whether the state supports a company, a religion
or a religious group, the state doesn't do so without anything in
return. Thus, the state should not interfere in religion, and
Muslims should not ask for anything from the state except
non-interference."

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement the
Iraqi Council of Ministers decided to open an Iraqi Consulate in
Turkey's southeastern city of Gaziantep.

- The pro-Kurdish DTP MP Osman Ozcelik has submitted to parliament a
draft for opening a Kurdish language and literature department in
Istanbul University.

- The energy ministers of Turkey, India and Israel will meet this
month on building an oil pipeline connecting the three countries.

International News

- Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said his government has
no objection to Kurdish authorities purchasing weapons and
ammunition to arm their security forces, but the Baghdad government
wants to be informed of arms purchases.

- "We have agreed on the principle that oil remains for all Iraqi
people," Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Sharistani said at a joint
news conference with the Kurdish Regional Government PM Nechirvan
Barzani.

- Russia said it has evidence that "mercenaries" from the United
States, Turkey, Ukraine and Chechnya fought for Georgia in the
five-day August 2008 war with Russia.

SILLIMAN

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