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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2008

In Today's Papers

PM Erdogan and Justice Minister Sahin Address Plans for Imrali
Prison
Mainstreams Milliyet and Sabah report Prime Minister Erdogan
responded to a question from a journalist about recent rumors of a
possible transfer of additional prisoners to the Imrali prison,
where PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is serving out a life sentence in
isolation. Erdogan said, "Our friends are working on it. If we
find it necessary, we will transfer other convicts to Imrali.
Preparations for this are underway." When asked whether Ocalan
would be able to see any other inmates at Imrali, Justice Minister
Sahin said "In these types of prisons, inmates reside in single
rooms. Even if we transfer additional inmates to Imrali, it will be
illegal for Ocalan to meet with them because he has been known to
send messages to the PKK through his lawyers."

German Court Reveals Detailed Ruling of Deniz Feneri Case
Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan, Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet: Today's papers and TV
channels report that the regional court of Frankfurt, Germany
released its detailed decision regarding the Deniz Feneri
("Lighthouse") Case. Mainstream Vatan reports the decision says the
charity was established "in order to cheat philanthropists and
donors out of 12 million Euros, which was transferred to Turkey by
couriers between 2002 and 2007." Hurriyet and Milliyet report that
the German Court's decision claims that the key actors involved in
the charities' irregularities are based in Turkey. Hurriyet
reports that the German court gave code names to the suspects of the
case and Kanal 7 TV was referred as Kanal X in the ruling and said
"the money sent to Turkey by the couriers were delivered to the
Kanal X building."

Armenia will Supply Electricity to Turkey
Islamist-oriented Zaman and mainstream Sabah report that Armenian
Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan told the press that Armenia is
preparing to export electricity to Kars, Turkey by March 1, 2009.
Movsisyan added that the agreement for it was signed in Yerevan in
September 2008. Zaman says this electricity exchange is a de facto
opening of the border between the two countries.

Editorial Commentary on Turkey-Armenia Relationship
Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Creating an opportunity
is always very useful in international relations. After President
Gul's visit to Yerevan in September, the Armenian FM Nalbandian came
to Istanbul Monday and met with FM Babacan. An active dialogue
between Ankara and Yerevan has begun and it is obvious that these
contacts will continue. The Nagorno Karabakh issue and the Armenian
Genocide issue will be resolved during the process of normalization.
Over the last 17 years, Turkey and Armenia have not had any
contacts. Have any problems been resolved during this time? Did
either side benefit from a lack of dialogue? Of course not. The
only way to resolve these issues is through dialogue."

Abdulhamit Bilici in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Yerevan would not
have been able to send warm messages to Ankara if Moscow and Turkey
hadn't taken an active role in the resolution of the Karabakh
problem between Armenia and Azerbaijan. A Kremlin meeting that took
place three years ago between former Russian President Putin and
Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was a milestone in this
process. In that meeting, the Turkish side said unresolved issues,
such as the Karabakh conflict, laid the foundations for external
intervention in the region. The recent developments in Georgia
prove this. Turkey, while forging warmer relationships with its
neighbors, will melt the ice with Armenia as well as long as those
who benefit from the 'genocide industry' allow Turkey to do so."

Mehmet Kamis in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "40 million people were
killed during World War II, but the sides forgot all that had
happened and became allies soon after the war. Our fights, however,
continue to grow. It's not the Armenians who benefit from the

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prevailing hatred and animosity. It's time the Armenians realize
that they have been toys in the hands of big Christian nations over
the past century. Those who provoked the Armenians against the
Ottomans in the 1900s continue to use the fruits of this enmity
against Turkey, but Armenians gain nothing from this."

CHP Continues Party Registration of Women Wearing Headscarves
Media outlets continue the coverage of the membership of women
wearing black chadors and headscarves in the opposition CHP, which
has drawn strong reactions from secular groups and party supporters.
Several circles see the move as part of the CHP's campaign to
attract voters for the upcoming municipality elections in March.
CHP leader Deniz Baykal said veiled women's membership to the party
was not a "political show," and added, "The CHP will embrace all of
those who reconcile with modern Turkey's founder Ataturk and his
principles." Baykal stressed that enrolling women in headscarves
was "not a violation of the principle of secularism, but an
expression of respect for secularism," as Baykal noted, "Almost 70
percent of women cover their heads in this country," and that the
headscarf was "a part of daily life in Turkey." Prime Minister
Erdogan said Tuesday he welcomed the move by the main opposition CHP
to accept new members who wear headscarves. "There will be negative
reactions, but Mr Baykal should stand strong and retreat," said
Erdogan.

Meanwhile, papers report that on Tuesday, 100 new members, including
women wearing headscarves and veils, joined the CHP in the
southeastern province of Adiyaman.

EU's LagendijkVisits Ankara, Criticizes PM's Cancellation of Press
Accreditation
Media outlets report Joost Lagendijk, co-chairman of Turkey-EU joint
parliamentary commission, met Tuesday with Prime Minister Erdogan,
President Gul, and political party leaders in Ankara. Opposition
CHP leader Deniz Baykal declined to meet with Lagendijk.
Islamist-oriented Zaman recalls Lagendijk stated earlier this year
that as a "social democrat," he was "ashamed" of the CHP's conduct
which he called "nationalistic and pro-military." In his meeting
with the pro-Kurdish DTP officials, Lagendijk said closure of the
DTP would block Turkey's EU accession drive, stressing a ban would
strengthen the position of adversaries of Turkey in Europe. Meeting
with MHP leader Devlet Bahceli later in the day, Lagendijk applauded
the MHP for backing constitutional reforms, papers report.

Kurdish Oil to be Transported via Kirkuk-Yumurtalik Pipeline
Liberal Radikal reports that on Monday, officials from the Iraqi Oil
Ministry and the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) agreed to
transport oil produced by the Norwegian company DNO from northern
Iraq through an oil pipeline between Kirkuk and the Yumurtalik port
on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Radikal reports, "Ankara is
uncomfortable with the shifting attitude of the Baghdad
administration, which earlier declared energy deals the KRG made
with foreign companies illegal." Turkey opposes the control of
Iraq's oil reserves by regional provinces in the country. Turkey is
also concerned that the Iraqi Kurds may use oil revenues for
armament, says Radikal.

Graham Fuller Brings Up The Greater Middle East Project to BBC
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet quotes former CIA official Graham
Fuller in an interview with BBC Turkish Service in the front page
headline, "The Greater Middle East Project is a Death Sentence for
Turkey." Mainstream Vatan reports Fuller spoke to the BBC Turkish
Service and emphasized, "Turkey's and America's interests in the
Middle East are not compatible, and Turkey needs to stick to
policies that are not guided by Washington's trajectory because
being included in America's plans is equivalent to signing a death
warrant."

Editorial Commentary on Domestic Politics
Ergun Babahan wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Today, Turkey has three

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main issues to resolve - the Kurdish issue, the Alevi issue and the
headscarf issue. Despite the expectations of the general public,
the main opposition party CHP can only contribute to the resolution
of the Alevi issue. Alevis have historically supported the CHP.
If the CHP is planning to steal a role from the AKP, then,
definitely they should bring the Alevis' demands to the agenda. In
addition, as the main opposition party, the CHP can corner the
government with the Alevi issue as their trump card.

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- On Wednesday, a delegation of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of
the European Parliament will hold talks in Ankara.

- A teacher in Denizli is suspended for saying he longed for the
restoration of monarchy in Turkey.

- Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan announced the "special consumption
tax" on Internet usage will be reduced from 15 to 5 percent.

International News

- Turkish company YDC Denizcilik said it was close to making a deal
with the pirates who hijacked a ship belonging to the company on
November 12. The ship carries 14 crew and was intercepted by the
Somali pirates off the coast of Yemen.

- Two Turkish citizens, who were kidnapped in Afghanistan on October
22, were released, the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) said on
Tuesday.

- Lebanon has ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,
becoming the 148th nation to do so.
SILLIMAN

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