Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2008
In Today's Papers
Somali Pirates Hijack Turkish Ship
All papers: Somali pirates carrying heavy weapons attacked the ship
"YA/SA Neslihan" in the Gulf of Aden and captured 20 Turkish crew
members. The ship belongs to Yalcin Sabanci of the Sabanci family
and it was carrying 77,000 tones of iron ore to China. Reportedly,
the pirates snuck up on the ship with speed boats before they
climbed aboard. The captain of the ship only could send a message
saying, "We are being hijacked." Mainstream Vatan reports that the
pirates off the shores of Somalia have hijacked 73 ships this year.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that Turkish Foreign Ministry called on
NATO security forces to help rescue 20 Turkish crew members.
World Economic Forum/IMF
News outlets cover the World Economic Forum by highlighting the
remarks from the participants, including by PM Erdogan. Islamist
Yeni Safak reports Prime Minister Erdogan called for international
cooperation and unity. Liberal Radikal notes Ersin Ozince called on
the government to take steps to improve Turkey's financial
In "Energy Support from America," Yeni Safak also noted Assistant
Secretary of Energy Jeff Kupfer's participation to the conference by
reports, "The U.S. administration is trying to set up a working
mechanism in order to support Turkey's projects on energy."
All papers also highlight Minister of State in charge of economic
affairs Mehmet Simsek's remarks on the possibility of making a
stand-by agreement with the IMF. Reports quote Minister Simsek
during the WEF meetings in Istanbul, who reiterated the good shape
of the Turkish economy and the government's consideration of making
a stand-by agreement with the IMF as a precaution. Turkey and the
IMF will continue their talks during the G-20 meetings, the Minister
added. Milliyet calls those remarks a move "Toward Agreement with
IMF" while Radikal considers the approach "a green light to the
Ergun Babahan wrote in mainstream Sabah: "International interest in
the World Economic Forum in Istanbul this year was rather high.
This year's forum coincided with the global financial crisis.
Turkey is the key country to transfer the natural gas from the
Center Asia to the world markets. Turkey's strong and deep
relationship with the region is a big advantage for Turkey. As a
European diplomat said at the forum, "Facing a strong winter with no
gas will be enough reason for Europe to speed up Turkey's EU
Murat Belge wrote about "The IMF and Style" in leftist Taraf:
"Since the PM warned the IMF that Turkey would only consider an
agreement as long as "they don't tighten their grips on our
throats," I've seen several people caution against such language.
The Bretton Woods Conference that established the IMF is not a
socialist council that deals out an excessive amount of sympathy.
The PM himself and his party is in an historical situation regarding
Turkey's political policy and they say they represent civil society.
They should be objective and it is in the interest of the
government to give a real voice to the people. Some of the things
this party says are not in its own interests or in the interests of
the Turkish people."
Fuller: We Are No Longer an Ally
News outlets are surprised by the comments of former CIA official
Graham Fuller at the Jamestown Association's conference on Turkey
and the Caucasus after the war in Georgia. Mainstream Hurriyet
carries the headline, "From Now On, We Are No Longer an Ally," and
reports, "Fuller said that the bilateral friendship and working
relationship between Turkey and the U.S. will continue," but noted,
"the two countries have different foreign policy goals," as "the
U.S. prefers isolationist policies towards countries like Iran and
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Syria," while Turkey "seeks to expand its influence through improved
relations with its neighbors." Islamist-oriented Zaman reports in
"Turkey is no longer an American Ally," that "For the first time in
a century, Turkey is emerging as a formidable regional power." In
"From Now On, Turkey is a Regional Power," Islamist Yeni Safak
reports, "As one of the CIA's highest ranking officials and a man
who knows Turkey, Fuller says relations between the U.S. and Turkey
are good, but Turkey is no longer an ally." Liberal Radikal carries
the headline "Fuller: Turkey is no longer an American Ally," and
reports, "Fuller also criticized U.S. hegemony after 9/11."
All news outlets feature confident reports on the presidential race
in the U.S. as if Obama is the inevitable winner. Coverage ranges
from shockingly wide margins of victory in national polls to Obama's
plans for his phantom cabinet. Islamist-oriented Zaman reports, "If
Obama Wins, He Will Include Republicans in His Cabinet." In
addition, the paper notes, "Because of the global economic crisis
and the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, it will be necessary for
(Obama to take) initiative early on." Mainstream Milliyet reports,
"With 96 hours remaining until Election Day," Obama is, "in the
final stretch of an election marathon that began in February 2007."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports in "Time is Running Out for
McCain," that "Observers say that, barring some extraordinary event,
Obama is the likely winner." Leftist Taraf quotes former President
Bill Clinton in its headline, "It's Clear that Obama Will Be
President." Liberal Radikal reports in "The Heart of White America
Says Obama Could Take 55% of the Vote," and notes, "At Harvard, the
Ivory Tower, Obama joy is stirring," because "some polls show Obama
to be at least ten points ahead."
Columnist Ferai Tinc of mainstream Hurriyet notes, "The winner will
have to deal with a colossal economic crisis and foreign policy will
remain an important priority. No matter who wins, Turkey will be
asked to settle its Kurdish problem because the United States
considers this problem as a contributor to instability in northern
Iraq. It looks like the level of support from the new American
administration toward the AKP government will depend on the steps
taken by Ankara in this regard."
Anti-U.S. Demonstrations in Syria
All news outlets focus coverage of the protests in Damascus and
highlight the chilling slogans chanted against the U.S. Mainstream
Hurriyet reports, "In Syria, A Protest of Curses against the U.S."
Islamist oriented Yeni Safak carries the headline, "Syria's Rage
Grows," as "tens of thousands of Syrians fill the streets to condemn
the U.S. attack on Syrian soil." Mainstream Milliyet notes that
protestors shouted slogans such as "Where is the U.N.?" and "The
U.S. is the Face of Zionism," as "the crowds were a cross-section of
society, including students, workers, and religious leaders."
Mainstream Sabah reports, "due to security reasons, the U.S. Embassy
in Damascus was closed." Leftist Taraf reports, "Syria's Rage Fills
the Streets," as protesters shouted "No to American Terror.'
Liberal Radikal reports, "Syria is overflowing with Rage at the
Editorial opinion on PKK and Kurdish Issue
Rusen Cakir wrote in mainstream Vatan: "Since General Basbug took
charge of TGS, some great changes in the state's stance against
terrorism are evident. Nevertheless, there are still a few missing
details like a refusal to acknowledge the "Kurdish issue," a lack of
understanding regarding the structure of the PKK and its ability to
recruit youth, and concerns regarding the relationship with the
Iraqi Kurds. However, it is still not very clear what will be asked
from Barzani and Talabani, what they will they say, what will they
do, and what will happen if they don't keep their promises."
Mehmet Yilmaz wrote in Islamist leaning Zaman: "I am of the opinion
that contacts with KRG President Massoud Barzani are positive, but I
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do not think that these contacts will result in anything concrete.
The Kurdish leaders in Iraq, i.e. Barzani and Talabani, seek an
independent Kurdish state. Both of these leaders are playing with
time in order to reach this ultimate goal. Despite Talabani-Barzani
promises of "active" support to Turkey, they are not putting an end
to PKK presence in northern Iraq. At the same time, will contacts
with Barzani lead to an end to the PKK? But, what have past
leaders, like 10th President Sezer, actually gained from not
inviting Talabani to Ankara?"
Ismet Berkan wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "The military's
and the AKP's suggestion to establish an Undersecretary for
terrorism is not a solution to the Kurdish problem. What must the
administration do? After tens of thousands of our citizens have
lost their lives, the least we can do is find a modern legal
solution to the issue. The struggle with 'terror' and 'terrorists'
is not the duty of the military, but of the government."
DTP leader Ahmet Turk rejects reports that his party sought the
establishment of Kurdish federation in Turkey.
The reading of Ergenekon indictment continues in the court.
The head of DTP branch in Midyat, Aziz Bilgin, was arrested for
The police officer responsible for the death of a young person in
Antalya says that the killing was an "accident."
Prime Minister Erdogan brings together Afghanistan's President
Karzai and Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Istanbul
to discuss cooperation for stability and development in the region.
Three students were taken into custody in Ankara for staging
protests against President Abdullah Gul.
The suit filed against Osman Hayal for membership in a terror
organization is combined with the suit against the murderers of
Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
Bursa Directorate for Social Services prepares to object to a
forensics report saying that the 14-year old girl raped by Islamist
writer Huseyin Uzmez suffered no emotional or physical damage.
Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, paying a visit to Israel, says Israeli
drones will be delivered to Turkey in the beginning of 2009.
Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, during a visit to Washington, sends
a message of friendship to Turkey.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Egypt, Jordan,
Israel and Palestine next week.
Bill Clinton, America's 42nd president told a rally in Florida,
"Barack Obama represents America's future, and this man should be
65 people are killed and about 300 injured in 12 bombings across the
eastern Indian state of Assam.