Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2008
In Today's Papers
Russia Advances into Georgian Territories
All news outlets report that, despite Georgia's cease-fire offer,
Russian troops continued their advance into Georgian territories.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak writes, "Russian Troops Cross the Line
and Reject Sakashvili's Ceasefire." Liberal Radikal carries the
headline, "Russia's Condition (for withdrawal): Sakashvili Must Go."
Islamist-oriented Zaman notes in a front-page headline, "The West
Pressures for a Ceasefire," but nevertheless, "Russia Begins an
Invasion," into Georgian territory. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
cites the Russian RBK news agency as reporting Turkey closed its air
space to a Ukrainian cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid to
Georgia. Mainstream Sabah writes Georgians fleeing the war travel
from Batumi to Turkey's Black Sea port city of Trabzon, where they
board planes to Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Mainstream Milliyet
reports the Georgian Embassy in Ankara said on Monday that the
Georgian Foreign Ministry call on "all friendly countries and
international organizations" for military assistance.
Erdogan Proposes a 'Caucasus Union'
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan told the press Monday that
Turkey could "join efforts to create a Caucasus Union modeled after
the security agreement in the Balkans." "Peace in the Caucasus can
be achieved if the U.S. and the EU support the idea of a Caucasus
Union," Erdogan said, adding, "The U.S. and the EU could join the
initiative," and, "so could Russia." Murat Yetkin of liberal
Radikal writes, "The establishment of a Caucasus Union is important
now more than ever and once things calm down, Turkey must initiate
efforts toward this initiative." When journalists asked Erdogan
about whether the developments in Georgia indicate Russia has
aspirations regarding the BTC pipeline, Erdogan responded, "I do not
want to think about such a possibility." Erdogan also denied
yesterday's reports that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
refused to return his phone calls. Islamist-oriented Zaman reports,
"Erdogan never tried to contact Putin," but that, "a meeting with
Putin would be vital for finding a peaceful settlement," and that,
"peaceful diplomacy is vital for peace." In addition, mainstream
Sabah reports "Georgian President Sakashvili called Erdogan to ask
for humanitarian assistance."
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's comments are reported in
Islamist-oriented Zaman as a headline, "The First Strong Reaction
from the U.S.: This Will Not Go Unanswered." The paper also quotes
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Matt Bryza's statements to reporters, "this situation looks like a
genocide," and "the time has come for Russia to accept the
Meanwhile, BTC Foreign Relations Director Murat Lecompte told
mainstream Hurriyet the reason for halt in oil flow through the BTC
pipeline is not the conflict in Georgia but the August 5 explosion
that caused a fire on the Turkish stretch of the BTC route.
Lecompte said the pipeline was closed before clashes broke out in
A commentary in the Islamist-oriented Zaman writes, "Georgia,
through which the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline passes, is a
transport route to the Caspian and Central Asian resources for
Turkey as well as for Western countries. It seems Russia seeks to
reclaim its influence over Georgia and control the BTC by playing
the South Ossetia and Abkhazia cards."
Editorial Opinion: Georgia
"With Caution and Attention"
Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist-leaning Yeni Safak (8/12): "By this
military operation, Saakashvili was hoping to end Georgia's problem
with separatism. He most likely did not anticipate an immediate
counter attack from Russia, or at least he hoped for strong NATO
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support to eliminate a potential counter attack. None of these
calculations worked. Meanwhile, Russian PM Vladimir Putin continues
to take a harsh stance. It is not clear if Putin will take this as
an opportunity to rearrange the world system about which he
complains, or if will he accept the American peace proposal at some
point. The world is on the verge of some important developments and
we have to watch them very carefully and cautiously."
"Russia and the Caucasus"
Mustafa Balbay wrote in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet (8/12): "The
war in the Caucasus is, in fact, a conflict between the United
States and Russia. In the aftermath of the Soviet Era, the new
world order has not worked properly so far. Because this new world
order was nothing but the imposition of American unilateralism, at
some point someone had to challenge this. The U.S. has demonstrated
its supremacy over Russia and China by controlling the region as
well as its energy resources, and now Russia has stood up to claim
its turf via the Georgia conflict. Given the current picture, there
is only one way to interpret it: The unilateral world system is no
"Being a Game Planner"
Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah (8/12): "Following his crazy
gambles, it remains to be seen whether Saakashvili can keep his
seat. Nevertheless, Georgia has lost South Ossetia and Abkhazia for
good, which redistributes the cards in the Caucasus game. These
recent developments also complicate the possibility of reaching a
solution to the Karabakh issue. All of these indicate how serious
instability is in the Caucasus and how this instability puts energy
corridors at stake. At this point, the only way to avoid further
conflict in the future is by uniting the Caucasus countries toward a
joint goal for the future. The Caucasus is urgently in need of a
stability pact like the one in the Balkans. Turkey first suggested
this in 1999 and PM Erdogan reiterated the idea 2006 and yesterday
to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. If Turkey initiates this
effort, it is certain to be a wonderful and historic mission."
CHP Charges Leading AKP Figure with Corruption
All papers report opposition CHP deputy chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu
held a press conference Monday in which he accused the ruling AKP
deputy chairman Saban Disli of requesting USD 1 million in bribes in
order to change the zoning plans of a property in the Silivri
neighborhood in Istanbul. Kilicdaroglu revealed a "protocol
agreement" Disli signed, according to which Disli would be paid USD
1 million for changing the zoning plan on land owned by Disli and
his partners before it was sold to the Tesco-Kipa company. The
value of the property soared following the zoning change. Disli
reportedly said the protocol was an "internal" document to record
his share of money after the land sale was completed.
PKK Ambush in Erzincan
All papers: A military vehicle carrying 11 soldiers was ambushed by
the PKK in the eastern province of Erzincan's Kemah town.
Mainstream Milliyet reports that soldiers went to Sariyazi village
of Kemah after receiving information that PKK members took food and
supplies from the village the night before. The military unit was
attacked while returning from the village. A land mine was
detonated with a remote control while the military vehicle was
passing by. A lieutenant colonel and eight privates were killed in
the blast. One captain and one private were seriously injured.
Following the incident, security forces started an operation in the
region to capture the terrorists.
Meanwhile, Sabah and Cumhuriyet report that in southern province of
Hatay, a policeman saw a person leaving his bag on the rear wall of
the Special Forces Police building. When the person was warned to
stop by the police officer he tried to run away and opened fire on
the police. He was killed during the clash. Cumhuriyet says 12 kg
and Sabah says 15 kg. of C4 plastic explosives were found in his
bag. The explosives were placed in a "Samavar" (a gadget used in
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Massacre in Tuzla
All papers: Milliyet's headline reads "Massacre in Tuzla" and
reports that a life boat constructed at Gisan shipyard in Tuzla was
thrown into the sea with 19 workers aboard to test for weight
control. Part of the boat was made of glass, which shattered and
caused the boat to capsize. Three workers drowned while 16 others
injured. Limter-Is Union leader Cem Dinc criticized the incident
and said that "the workers were used as sand bags for testing."
Zapsu and Bagis Sues Michael Rubin
Mainstream Sabah reports that PM Erdogan's political advisor Cuneyt
Zapsu and AKP Deputy Chairman Egemen Bagis sued Michael Rubin for
calling them "bribe takers" and "liars" in the U.S. Bagis and Zapsu
demand 20,000 YTL in compensation from Rubin.
- Dursun Karatas, the leader of the terrorist far left DHKP-C
organization, died of cancer in Brussels.
- A fire on the Turkish stretch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
pipeline,which began on August 5, was extinguished yesterday.
- Collective bargaining talks between the AKP government and labor
unions will begin August 15.
- Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the U.S. and Iraqi
negotiators are "very close" to reaching a long-term security pact
that will decide the fate of American troops in Iraq.
- The Russian currency drops after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
said "war has started" in the breakaway Georgian region of South
- Israeli security forces have started to use a foul-smelling liquid
to disperse Palestinian protests in the occupied West Bank.