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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2009

In Today's Papers

Interior Minister Campaigns for Support for Kurdish Initiative
Papers report today that Interior Minister Besir Atalay continues
his outreach to opposition political parties and to NGOs in support
of the government's Kurdish Initiative. Mainstream Sabah draws
attention to Atalay's meeting yesterday with opposition DTP leader
Ahmet Turk. Sabah reports that after the meeting, Atalay said,
"Turkey is a big country. Let us rely on ourselves. We will solve
all the problems as long as we have self confidence," and he
emphasized, "this is Turkey's brotherhood and peace project."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet notes Turk said he hopes the
government's plan will not be disappointing, noting that a road map
was needed. Liberal Radikal reports that the Democratic Society
Party (DTP) group deputy chairman Selahattin Demirtas said after the
meeting with Atalay that the demands of the party were not brought
up in the meeting, but these demands could be discussed in
parliament at a later date. According to Radikal, the DTP wants a
new democratic and civil constitution which does not include
references to ethnicity or restrictions on the use of Kurdish as a
mother tongue. In addition, the party would like to see measures in
which local administrations are strengthened.

Cumhuriyet also points out Atalay visited the Confederation of
Turkish Labor Unions (Turk-Is), the Union of Bars (TOBB), and
Hak-Is. After the meetings, Turk-Is Chairman Kumlu said "Turkey's
independence and borders should carry priority in all discussions."
TOBB chairman Ozok said, "We want peace in our country."

In a related article, Islamist-oriented Zaman reports that,
"Following the support of opinion leaders in the East and the
Southeast to the 'peace and brotherhood' project initiated by the
government to resolve Kurdish issue," NGOS and businessmen are
saying "The problem will be solved if the government and the
opposition work hand in hand," and "will relieve Turkey of a very
big burden."
Papers also report that the town of Eruh, which is located in the
southeastern province of Siirt, will serve as the location for the
announcement of jailed-PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's 'Roadmap' for a
solution to the Kurdish problem. Ocalan's lawyers and DTP members
have been dispatched to the town for its annual cultural festival,
where Ocalan's plan will be announced tomorrow, August 15th. In
addition, reports indicate up to 2000 police have also been
dispatched to the area as a security precaution.

Diyarbakir Is Hiring Police Who Speak Kurdish
Papers report that the southeastern city of Diyarbakir is recruiting
Kurdish-speakers to apply for positions as police officers.
Mainstream Vatan calls the measure, "The Police's Kurdish Move."
Mainstream Hurriyet and Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak call it "The
Kurdish Initiative from The Police." All papers report Mustafa
Saglam, who is the newly appointed chief of police in Diyarbakir,
said, "I have come here voluntarily. I want to serve well by
improving relations between the citizens and police. In order to
achieve this, we will reinforce the cadre of the department with
police who know the language of the region well." Vatan notes,
"Although the contents of the government's Kurdish move are hidden
as secret, according to the sources close to the government, the
employment of personnel who know Kurdish in state departments is one
of the topics of the move," and thus, "The Diyarbakir police will
undertake a pioneering role in this sense." Yeni Safak also notes
Saglam said, "Our target is zero crime in the province of
Diyarbakir."

Editorial Debates on the Kurdish Initiative
Fikret Bila wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Remarks from DTP
leadership clearly indicate that this party will not commit itself
to the Kurdish initiative process nor it will shape a position until
a plan becomes available from the PKK as well as its imprisoned
leader Ocalan. One wonders how come the stance of opposition
parties is so much under fire by some opinion makers while the DTP

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cannot even go to a point beyond the PKK's clout."

Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak: "Unlike Turkey, it
is a traditional practice for opposition parties to campaign for
thorny issues. The government party is doing something unusual by
taking a determined stance on addressing the Kurdish issue and it is
taking all of the political and other risks. Is it not the time for
opposition parties in Turkey to change themselves?"

Ismet Berkan wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "Apart from the
Kurdish issue, the government should consider to reintroduce the
long-standing administrative system reform package. Turkey's system
needs to be decentralized, and after all, it will also contribute to
the Kurdish initiative process."

Mehmet Yilmaz wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "One of the Turkey
experts in the U.S., Henri Barkey made some interesting comments,
particularly on the role of Constitutional Court in Turkish rule of
law system. He thinks that there will be some efforts for
proceeding by the government but the Constitutional Court may be an
obstacle. It is very hard to understand why and how the Court can
be an obstacle to the reform process as long as it is compatible
with the Constitution of this country. Just watch and see that
Barkey's remarks will be start of a delibarate 'anti court' campaign
within Turkey's pro-government media. The ultimate goal is to
eliminate everything in the checks and balances system so that there
will be no power against PM Erdogan. The end of this road
undoubtedly leads to saying goodbye to democracy."

Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Henri Barkey made a rightful
observation in his article in Wall Street Journal. He was giving a
good example by noting Turkey's worry on human rights violation in
Israel and China while Kurdish is still banned in Turkey. Turkey
cannot be an powerful international actor unless it addresses its
Kurdish problem."

Signs the Economic Crisis Is Coming To An End
In "The Worst Is Behind Us," mainstream Hurriyet reports Turkish
Industrialists' and Businessmen Association (TUSIAD) chairperson
Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag spoke at yesterday's meeting of the Economic
Coordination Council that convened in central Anatolian province of
Konya. During her speech, she said "Considering the latest news,
the world and the Turkish economy have seen the worst," of the
current economic crisis. Meanwhile, Islamist-oriented Zaman reports
Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan also said at the meeting,
"Whatever has been or will be done, unfortunately, 2009 will be
recorded as a lost year for the world's economy history." However,
Babacan also noted, "Turkey will be one of the countries that will
overcome the crisis rapidly."

A Torture Crisis "In The Capital of The EU" (Vatan)
Papers report this morning that Turkey has sent a diplomatic note of
protest to Belgium regarding the death of a Turkish citizen in a
Belgian prison. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports 31-year-old
Mikail Tekin was arrested and jailed for arguing with traffic police
last weekend, and he later died in Jamioulx prison near Charleroi.
Initially prison officials said he died while eating, however,
Belgian authorities said he died due to "physical violence" and
opened an investigation into the death of Tekin after statements by
several eyewitnesses. Three guards were interrogated but later
released, which Yeni Safak says "led to controversies and reaction
in Belgium and in Turkey." Mainstream Sabah reports Turkish Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu spoke to his Belgian counterpart Yves
Leterme over the phone regarding the death of Tekin and asked the
incident to be investigated. In "Scandal in the Capital of The EU,"
mainstream Vatan reports, "Belgium released three prison guards who
killed 31 year-old Mikail Tekin while he was in prison," and "The
autopsy report of Tekin clarified that Tekin died because he was
beaten to death, contrary to prior allegations that he died when he
choked while eating." In addition, Vatan notes, "The prosecutor's
office released the guards saying they would investigate whether the

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guards used excessive force or not." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
reports, "The guards did not get any accusation or disciplinary
penalty."

Holbrooke Announces Visit to Turkey
Anatolian News Agency reported yesterday U.S. Special Envoy for
South Asia Richard Holbrooke announced he will visit Turkey later
this month. During a speech at the Center for American Progress in
Washington earlier this week, Holbrooke announced he will depart
Washington on Friday for an official visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan,
and Turkey. Holbrooke emphasized Turkey's importance to the efforts
in Afghanistan during his speech, and noted that he is going to
Turkey because the country is hosting a meeting of the Friends of a
Democratic Pakistan in Istanbul. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
carried the Anatolian News Agency report in their paper today under
the headline, "Holbrooke Underlined Turkey's Importance."

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

Q German Ambassador Eckard Cuntz says Turkey will be strengthened if
it manages to solve its problems.
Q In a visit to Rize, Prime Minister Erdogan issues messages about
the democratic opening of the government, saying that the goal was
to make 71 million Turkish people love each other.
Q The government will spend more than three billion lira to complete
the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) which covers the mainly
Kurdish regions of the country.
Q Turkey's leading business gathering TUSIAD and the Turkish Union
of Chambers (TOBB) warn the government to take steps against the
budget deficit
Q Nationalist party MHP launches an advertisement campaign against
the government's Kurdish opening.
Q Prime Minister Erdogan says his government wants no tensions while
pressing ahead with the democratic opening.
Q DTP activists rally in Istanbul demanding an end to security
operations in the Southeast, and DTP deputy Pervin Buldan says
Imrali prison island (where PKK leader Abdullah Vcalan is jailed)
was "the address for solution."
Q DTP deputy Selahattin Demirtas says the AKP cannot ignore PKK and
Ocalan while working on settlement in the Kurdish issue.
Q Former Turkish president Kenan Evran, who spearheaded the 1980
military coup, is in good health after undergoing an intestinal
operation at an army hospital in Ankara.

World

Q Two suicide bombers killed at least 20 people and wounded 30
others in northern Iraq's Mosul province.
Q Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza says Azerbaijan
and Armenia are close to ending their long-simmering dispute over
Nagorno-Karabakh.
Q An Israeli soldier is abducted by a Palestinian organization near
the Ben Gurion International Airport.
Q Human Rights Watch calls on Israel to investigate seven incidents
in which it said Israeli troops shot dead Palestinian civilians who
were flying white flags during the war in the Gaza Strip in January.

Q Bulgaria's Constitutional Court will examine the legitimacy of
voting for Bulgarian Parliamentary elections at Turkish polling
stations.
Q Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to pay a state visit to Iran
in the near future, the official IRNA news agency reports.

SILLIMAN

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