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Cablegate: Turkish Media: Request to Tape a Prime-Time

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ANKARA 002010

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL PGOV TU
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA: REQUEST TO TAPE A PRIME-TIME
INTERVIEW WITH SECRETARY POWELL


1. Post strongly supports the request of prominent Turkish
national security strategist Faruk Demir and centrist daily
"Aksam"'s Ankara bureau chief Nuray Basaran to tape an
interview with Secretary Powell to feature as the
inauguration, or one of the first broadcasts, of their new,
prime-time TV interview/current affairs program. The
program, "Nasil Yani?" (equivalent to "What do you mean?") is
to debut mid- to late-April on the privately-owned national
channel Show TV. Demir and Basaran propose to tape an
interview in Washington on a date in April convenient for the
Secretary.

SIPDIS


2. Show TV is part of the Cukurova Group, which also owns
"Aksam" and has a significant stake in Turkcell, Turkey's
leading mobile phone network. In the past, Show TV has had a
populist cast. However, we are assured by Nuray Basaran --
confirmed by the CEO of Turkcell, which has agreed to sponsor
the program -- that she will have complete editorial freedom
to run the kind of sober, balanced current affairs program
she and Demir envisage.


3. Post's reasons for supporting this request:


(1) This interview would give a strong kick-off to our public
diplomacy in the run-up to President Bush's visit to Ankara
and Istanbul in the context of the end-June NATO Summit in
Istanbul.


(2) The interview would also be timely opportunity to
underscore the Secretary's and USG's key efforts to reach a
Cyprus settlement which meets the core needs of the Turkish
Cypriots and Turkey.


(3) On a more topical note, in the wake of much of the
Turkish media's misinterpretation of the Secretary's
statements about Turkey's Muslim population and secular
system in his March 31 ZDF interview, he would have an
excellent opportunity to clarify American understanding of
the unique combination of Turkey's overwhelmingly Muslim
population and secular, democratic system.


(4) CEO of the Advanced Strategy Center (YSM) Faruk Demir,
whom we sent on an individual International Visitor program
in November 2003, has set an exemplary standard among the
press, think tanks and academic circles for consistently
dispassionate, balanced analyses of the GME initiative in
particular and U.S. foreign policy in general. He was the
most sought-after commentator on Turkish television in 2003,
especially in the run-up to, and period succeeding, OIF. We
have seen that his analyses have a keen audience across the
board, from the Prime Ministry to the Turkish General Staff
and other elements of the Turkish State. His questions for
the interview with former President Demirel which Nuray
Basaran published in "Aksam" March 27 demonstrate a mature,
balanced approach to journalism. We are thus most confident
that the questions he would submit to the Secretary would
allow maximum scope for delivering a clear message.


(5) Nuray Basaran has an impeccable reputation. For this
reason, aside from her demonstrated journalistic acumen, she
has the best access among all Turkish journalists to both
Erdogan and his Cabinet and, on the other side, the Turkish
General Staff leadership. Highly unusual in a press world
which is relentlessly suspicious of or hostile to the U.S.,
her columns on U.S. policy have invariably taken a balanced,
constructive analytic stance.


4. Embassy Ankara points of contact: PAO Jim Moore
(moorejr@state.gov) and IO Joe Pennington
(penningtonjs@state.gov).


EDELMAN

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