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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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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 PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2010

Media Highlights

US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 26, 2010 as
prepared by the Public Affairs Information Office

How the US is Playing

Obama Administration against Armenian Genocide Resolution
(Hurriyet)
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that responding to a question in
Congress yesterday, Secretary Clinton stressed that the government
doesn't support the Armenian resolution. Hurriyet interprets this
as the first announcement from the Obama Administration saying that
they don't support the resolution. Clinton said "Turkey and Armenia
should be given a chance to resolve their own issues and the US
should support both parties without any preconditions." The paper
reports that there is speculation in Washington that Clinton's words
will have an impact on undecided committee members. CNN Turk on
line under the headline "Intimidation from Hillary Clinton for 1915"
reports that Secretary Clinton intimidated Senate Foreign Relations
Committee by saying "The US' priority is for the Turkey-Armenia
issue to be resolved. The process should be accelerated. President
Obama's stance is obvious regarding the honest definition of the
historic incidents. We support all positive developments which will
carry forward the Turkey-Armenia normalization process. And, we are
against the ones which will change the direction of the process."

Syria-Iran Mocked Clinton in Damascus (Cumhuriyet)
Media outlets report Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his
Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met on Thursday in Damascus,
defending their strong ties and dismissing US efforts to break up
their alliance. Assad told a joint press conference with
Ahmadinejad that the US should "not dictate" relationships in the
Middle East and announced removal of visa restrictions between the
countries. Under the headline, "They Mocked Clinton in Damascus,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports Assad, in an ironic tone,
said "We met today to sign a 'separation accord' between Syria and
Iran, but because of a bad translation we ended up signing an accord
on scrapping visas," referring to Secretary Clinton's remarks on
Wednesday that Washington has been pressing Damascus to move away
from Tehran.

Secretary Clinton: "Jeffrey was Not Talking for the US" (HaberTurk,
Sabah)
Mainstreams Sabah and Haber Turk report that during the budget talks
in the US Congress, Secretary Clinton was asked about Ambassador
Jeffrey's remark that "Turkey has security concerns in Cyprus,"
which was quoted in an interview with Sabah. In her response,
Hillary Clinton said "I cannot talk for Ambassador Jeffrey but I
think he was expressing Turkish government's views. Of course, our
understanding is these are the Turkish government's views, not the
US government's." Haber Turk interprets this as "Secretary Clinton
left Ambassador Jeffrey alone for his words 'Turkey doesn't occupy
its neighbors.'"

In the Headlines

The Good Will Table at Presidency (HaberTurk); Trilateral Summit to
Evaluate the Serious Situation (Cumhuriyet)
Media outlets predominantly cover a rare meeting yesterday between
President Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan and Chief of General Staff
Basbug in an effort to reduce tension. Given the released statement
from the presidency afterwards, papers and television consider the
primary message to be "current civil-military tension will be
resolved within the framework of the Constitution." The issued
statement which provided the basis for media reports said: "During
the meeting, the issues that are being discussed by the public were
handled in depth. Our citizens should be confident that these issues
will be solved within the constitutional order and within the
framework of our laws, and in this process everyone should act
responsibly in order to not tarnish our institutions." In

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connection with this report, media also highlight the release of
three senior retired army generals even though the ongoing
investigation will continue.

Op-Eds on Gul-Erdogan-Basbug Meeting
Turkish pundits generally took the presidential effort positively,
as Murat Yetkin in liberal Radikal observes "the crisis is not over
but at least the president prevented it from deepening." Sami Kohen
in mainstream Milliyet has concerns particularly on the possible
impact of internal crisis on foreign affairs: "Turkey is going
through a litmus test on democracy and stability. The US and EU are
closely watching, and we may end up seeing statements from them on
this crisis because it has an impact on foreign affairs." Liberal
Radikal's Cengiz Candar and Islamist/pro-government Yeni Safak's
Tamer Korkmaz have something in common as both believe in
"Washington's finger" in the government-military tension. They
claim that "Neo-cons in Washington along with some think tanks"
provoked anti-AKP sentiment in international scene as well as in
Turkey.

Davutoglu Meets Sargsian: We're Committed to the Protocols (Zaman)
Media outlets report Foreign Minister Davutoglu and Armenian
President Sargsian met Thursday in Kiev and discussed the
Turkish-Armenian normalization process and the developments in the
Caucasus. "We reviewed the Turkish-Armenian normalization
relationship in its entirety with open hearts today including our
anxieties and the obstacles we face," said Davutoglu. Papers also
note that on Thursday, the Armenian parliament made it easy for
Yerevan to scrap the protocols signed with Turkey by passing
amendments that will allow President Sargsian to suspend
ratification and withdraw from previously signed international
agreements. Islamist-oriented Zaman says Davutoglu and Sargsian
reconfirmed their allegiance to the normalization process.

Meanwhile, the private Armenian news agency Mediamax reported
Sargsian told Davutoglu that he believes Ankara cannot be involved
in the Karabakh conflict settlement process because of the Turkish
side's openly biased stance. Sargsian told Davutoglu that the
ratification of the protocols should be completed as soon as
possible, otherwise Armenia would recall its signature under the
documents. "If Azerbaijan's pressure does not allow the Turkish
parliament to ratify the protocols, nothing prevents Turkey's
executive authorities from opening the border they had closed prior
to the ratification of the protocols," said Sargsian.

Abiyev: Karabakh will Trigger Third World War (Aksam)
Mainstreams Aksam, Hurriyet Online and leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet report Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev warned
Thursday that the threat of conflict with Armenia was rising fast
and that a "great war" was inevitable if Armenian forces fail to
pull out of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region. "For 15 years
diplomacy has not achieved any concrete results and Azerbaijan
cannot wait another 15 years," Abiyev said. "If Armenia does not end
its occupation of Azerbaijan's territory, the beginning of a great
war in the South Caucasus is inevitable."

Afghanistan Flag Hoisted over Marjah (Cumhuriyet)
Media outlets report NATO forces and the Afghan government took full
control of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah on Thursday, installing
an administrator and raising the Afghanistan flag. General Larry
Nicholson, commander of the US Marines in Marjah, said it was a
"historic day," and a "new beginning." Islamist-oriented Zaman
reports Marjah was taken back from the Taliban, but that "sporadic
clashes" continued.

The Netherlands Arrest Alleged PKK Leader at Turkey's Request
(Hurriyet online)
Mainstream Hurriyet website reports the Netherlands' state
broadcaster NOS reported Thursday authorities have arrested Hasan
Adir, a leader in the outlawed PKK, after crossing the border from
Germany, where he has lived since fleeing Turkey in 1995.

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The Dutch Justice Ministry could not immediately confirm that Adir
has been arrested at Turkey's request. An extradition hearing is
set for March 18, says the report.

Germany Lifts the Ban on Roj TV (Sabah)
Germany lifts the ban on the PKK-affiliated ROJ TV broadcasts which
was implemented in 2008, saying that the TV channel got its license
from Denmark, and therefore, it's control is in Denmark's hands.

TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

Professor Ihsan Dogramaci, the founding president of Turkey's Higher
Education Board (YOK) and Hacettepe and Bilkent Universities has
died in Ankara on Thursday at the age of 94.

The ruling AK Party has decided to send two of its deputies, Avni
Dogan and Ahmet Aydogmus, to the party disciplinary board. Dogan
has commented last week on 'Ergenekon,' saying, "They blacklisted us
for 40 years, now it is our turn to blacklist them." Aydogmus has
described all who are against the AK Party as "evil by nature."

Kurdish BDP MP Sirri Sakik said before the general elections in
1999, Deniz Baykal has offered to run "20 Kurdish militants" on the
CHP card in the polls in an effort to overcome the election
threshold.

On Friday, former Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi will visit Ankara to meet
President Gul and PM Erdogan.

Turkey's leading business gathering TUSIAD will soon unveil a
package for democratization which will include constitutional
changes.

Turkey's leading conglomerate Sabanci Holding plans to increase its
personnel by 5 percent in 2010, hiring 2,800 people.

German prosecutors have arrested Alaattin A. and Unalkaplan D., two
alleged senior members of a banned Turkish leftist group, DHKP-C,
violating immigration laws and extortion.

Libyan leader Gaddafi calls for a "jihad" against Switzerland over
the ban of minarets in the country, saying it was an infidel state
that was destroying mosques.

Viktor Yanukovych has been sworn in as Ukraine's president.
JEFFREY

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