Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2008
In Today's Papers
The New Symbol of Resistance in Iraq (Sabah)
Media outlets prominently feature the Iraqi journalist's shoe
protest as the top story of the day. NTV carries footage of public
protests in support of the journalist and reports, "Protesters hit
the streets in support of the Iraqi journalist." Mainstream
Hurriyet carries the front-page banner headline, "World Shoe Day,"
as "The journalist who threw his shoe at President Bush is declared
a hero in Iraq." Mainstream Sabah calls the infamous shoe, "The New
Symbol of Resistance in Iraq." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak carries
the headline, "The Iraqi Journalist Ignites the Fires of Freedom in
Iraq." Islamist-oriented Zaman reports, "This Journalist Is Now a
Public Hero." Liberal Radikal carries the headline, "A New Flag
Greets Bush," and carries a photo of a shoe on a flagpole beside a
sign saying "U.S. Get Out." Mainstream Milliyet reports, "The
Journalist Everyone Is Talking About," is, "The Latest Hero of the
Arab World." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "His Shoes
Left a Footprint," as "Iraqis filled the streets and waved their
shoes in a show of support for the journalist."
Can Atakli writes in mainstream Vatan, "When U.S. troops invaded
Iraq in 2003, some people beat Saddam statues with their slippers.
At first, this looked like a very funny act to all of us. Later, we
learned that this act is a grave insult for Iraqis and thus we
understood and respected their feelings. The Iraqi journalist's
insult against Bush is a symbolic act. Americans may not even care
about this insult, but they should know that this symbolic act will
remain in the minds of all people who are against America's mistaken
Derya Sazak writes in mainstream Milliyet, "The shoe thrown at
President Bush is a well-deserved farewell gift for him. When the
U.S. invaded Iraq five years ago, Iraqis threw their slippers at
statues of Saddam and welcomed U.S. troops with flowers. Five years
later, those slippers are now shoes and they are aimed Bush. In the
name of 'democracy and freedom,' the Bush administration invaded
Iraq and the country has deteriorated so badly that the Iraqi people
miss former dictator Saddam Hussein. Moreover, in the past five
years, one million Iraqi people have lost their lives. After all
the problems he has caused in Iraq, Bush shamelessly says, 'I don't
understand why this man would throw shoes at me!' Allow me to
explain - this man is enraged by your false claims of WMDs in Iraq
five years ago."
President Gul Will Not Travel to Iraq, Russia, or Israel as Planned
Sabah, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Turkiye, Zaman and others: Today's
papers report that President Gul will not engage in several foreign
trips due to an ear infection. Mainstream Sabah reports that
following doctors' recommendation President Gul cancelled his trips
to Baghdat on December 20, to Russia on December 25-28, to Israel
and Palestine on January 6-8. Mainstream Milliyet reports that a
statement from the Presidential Palace said that doctors recommended
President Gul should not travel until mid January.
Ergenekon Suspect Veli Kucuk's Defense
All papers report that Ergenekon suspect Veli Kucuk took the stand
in his defense yesterday and rejected all accusations against him.
He also claimed he was victim of a "state conspiracy plot." Kucuk
said that the Ergenekon indictment targeted the Turkish nation and
the republic founded by Ataturk. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak
reports that during his defense, Kucuk revealed the names of three
secret witnesses of Ergenekon trial. Kucuk's revealing of the names
was a warning for the other secret witnesses, adds the paper.
Reactions to Apology Campaign to Armenians
Papers carry a joint statement issued by a group of retired Turkish
diplomats who slammed the recent internet petition campaign seeking
a public apology to Armenians regarding the 1915 incidents. A group
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of 60 former ambassadors and diplomats, including some current
members of the parliament, said in a joint statement that the
apology campaign is "unfair, wrong and unfavorable for the national
interests." In addition, the statement said, "Such an incorrect and
one-sided attempt would lead to disrespecting our history and
betraying our people who lost their lives in the violent attacks of
the terror organizations in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, as
well as after, during the formation of the Republic."
Ali Bayramoglu says in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak: "The Turkish
identity should not be based on fears and taboos. But at the same
time, the Turkish identity should not be defensive. Once we face
history, we will be liberated."
Several papers like Milliyet, Sabah and Radikal reminded their
readers about the ongoing internet campaign by providing the
address, www.ozurdiliyoruz.com which has received more than 3,000
Sharp Decline in Economic Growth
Papers feature coverage of recent declines in economic indicators.
Business daily Dunya carries the headline, "Economic Stagnation."
Business daily Referans reports, "Turkey almost avoided recession
but now unemployment has reached a peak." The Turkish Statistical
Institute announced that third quarter gross domestic product grew
0.5 percent, which is the slowest pace during the same quarter over
the last six years. The number of unemployed was registered as
2,548,000 which reached to 10.3 percent.
Meanwhile all papers report an announcement by the Turkish Treasury
indicating that an IMF delegation will officially arrive Turkey in
January 2009 for talks regarding the 20th stand-by agreement.
Editorial opinion on Riots in Greece
Yalcin Dogan wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "The Turkish media is
misrepresenting the nature of the riots in Greece. This is not
happening, contrary to common belief, because the police killed a
young man. That killing merely sparked the riots, which are meant
to send messages against corruption in the government, extreme
privatization, and unemployment."
12 people were detained in Hakkari-Cukurca on charges of "aiding PKK
Four suspects were arrested in Trabzon for illegal possession of
A delegation of DTP officials met with Iraqi President Talabani in
Suleymanie, northern Iraq
The riots in Greece continue.
Israel released 230 Palestinian prisoners in a gesture to
Palestinian President Abbas.
The number of British troops in Afghanistan will increase by 300,
said Prime Minister Gordon Brown.