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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2008

In Today's Papers

Armenian Apology Debate

Media outlets cover the continuing debate over the Armenian apology
campaign, highlighting reactions to a CHP parliamentarian's approach
as well as the written statement from the presidency on the issue.
Stories also note that Prime Minister Erdogan infuriated
intellectuals by saying that the supporters of the campaign must
have committed genocide themselves. Mainstream Milliyet carries
comments from author Adalet Agaoglu, one of the pioneers in the
campaign, who says the Prime Minister should deal with problems with
article 301 of the penal code instead of bothering about the
campaign. Milliyet also draws attention to Armenian-American
journalist Markar Esayan's article in Taraf daily that interprets
the apology as a symbolic step in the direction of democratic
maturity. MHP leader Bahceli on the other hand has pronounced the
campaign "shameful."

Liberal daily Radikal carries a front page story about CHP deputy
Canan Aritman's efforts to stoke the flames of controversy about the
Armenian apology campaign by implying that President Abdullah Gul's
support for the campaign might be because his grandmother was an
Armenian. Radikal's report says "the racist remarks of Aritman have
prompted harsh reactions, but Aritman refuses to step back. She
defends herself by saying says the president should defend the
rights of Turkish people instead of bothering about ethnic
interests." Meanwhile the presidency released a statement to
express regret about the manipulation of the issue for political
goals, papers note.

Ali Bayramoglu wrote in Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak: "We can talk
about a civilized society only when we are capable of cleaning our
house and manage to face the agonies of the past. The ongoing
campaign represents a point of no return in Turkey's democratic
maturation. With this debate, one big taboo has collapsed."

Cengiz Candar wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "the current
tally for the signature campaign, which has reached to 14,000 and is
growing, is a clear indication of how people have started listening
to the voice of their conscience."

Ergun Babahan wrote in mainstream Sabah: "People criticizing the
intellectuals for their "apology campaign" violate the basic
principle of freedom of thought. This is a racist approach and very
shameful."

Survey Indicates Turkey Becoming More Conservative

Mainstream Milliyet, Vatan and Radikal as well as leftist Taraf
carry the results of a recent survey on conservatism and tolerance
in Turkey. The survey was conducted from December 2007 to July 2008
in Istanbul and 12 Anatolian cities -- Erzurum, Kayseri, Konya,
Malatya, Sivas, Batman, Trabzon, Denizli, Aydin, Eskisehir,
Adapazari and Balikesir -- and is based on interviews with 400
people. Co-sponsored by Bosphorus University and the Open Society
Institute, the study shows that ruling the AKP has created a climate
that isolates secularists in Turkey by giving open support to
Islamic groups, whose economic power and influence is on the rise.
The report also draws attention to the impact of "neighborhood
pressures" in Turkey and describes Sunni Turks as indifferent to the
demands of other religious groups. A survey conducted in 1999 showed
that secularists exerted pressure on religiously devout people.
Today the situation has been reversed. When the AKP swept to power,
the complaints of Islamists gradually declined, while the complaints
of secularists increased. Women wearing headscarves in the big
cities still complain about discrimination, but women not wearing
headscarves in Anatolian towns have similar complaints. It is
difficult not to respect the Ramadan fast particularly in Anatolian
towns and young people have been beaten for wearing low-cut dresses

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or having long hair, the survey says. Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir
calls the results of the survey frightening.

Al-Qaeda was Plotting Attacks on Three Consulates

Mainstream Milliyet reports that al-Qaeda-linked terrorists captured
during operations in Istanbul, Izmir and Manisa were preparing to
stage car bomb attacks against the U.S., British, and Israeli
Consulates. The paper notes that the terrorists reportedly received
training in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

KRG against the PKK

Mainstream Vatan reports that Northern Iraqi security forces
arrested 25 PKK terrorists during a rally in Suleymaniye.

Ahmet Davutoglu: "Bush's Plan has collapsed"

Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that Ahmet Davutoglu, chief
foreign policy advisor for Prime Minister Erdogan, said in an
interview with the French Le Monde newspaper that President Bush's
Greater Middle East Project has collapsed. Davutoglu added "an
inclusive approach that will make all regional actors is required to
resolve problems in the region; and that goes to include Hamas and
Taliban as well."

Editorial opinion on Turkey-EU

Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "From the EU's
perspective, the determining factor for Turkey's membership is not
its strategic importance but Turkey's internal unity and especially
its performance on political reforms. Turkey should realize this
soon."

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- MHP leader Bahceli said he was ashamed of the campaign launched
by some intellectuals to apologize for the 1915 incidents

- MHP releases a declaration condemning the Armenian apology
campaign

- Transsexual singer Bulent Ersoy acquitted in suit for saying "if
she had a son she wouldn't allow him to do his military service"

- The Central Bank cuts its interest rate by 1.25

- Budget deficit for November is reported as 3.4 billion YTL

- Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to visit Ankara on Monday

- FM Babacan will go to Kosovo in mid-January

World

- Hamas officials in Gaza and Beirut say the Islamic militant group
will not extend a six month truce with Israel

- Letters containing white powder have been mailed to 16 U.S.
embassies across Europe

- India successfully tests a supersonic cruise missile from a moving
ship

- The final withdrawal of British troops from Iraq has been
officially announced by PM Gordon Brown

JEFFREY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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