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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 001211

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2009

In Today's Papers

Atalay Meets Kurtulmus and Journalists Regarding The 'Kurdish
Initiative'
Media outlets report that within the framework of his ruling AKP's
'Kurdish Initiative,' Interior Minister Besir Atalay met yesterday
with the Islamist Saadet Party (SP) leader Numan Kurtulmus.
Kurtulmus said he submitted to Atalay a project for the resolution
of Turkey's Kurdish question. He said the state should cease
routine security operations against the PKK, and the PKK should lay
down its weapons. After meeting Kurtulmus, Atalay went to Istanbul
to hold a meeting with writers, academics, and journalists. Atalay
said after the meeting that the government's opening was based on
"thorough research" about the situation in the region. Atalay later
told the press he expected to wrap up his meetings by the end of the
week. Papers report Atalay will meet Tuesday with the
representatives of Turkey's leading business grouping TUSIAD and the
leftist labor union DISK to discuss his government's 'democratic
move.'

The Barzanis 'Closely Follow' the 'Kurdish Initiative' in Turkey
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports Kurdish Regional Government
(KRG) leader Massoud Barzani was "closely following" the AKP
government's 'Kurdish Initiative.' Barzani wants a formula to be
found for the PKK defectors who earlier took shelter with the KRG.
Barzani estimates there are around 5,000 "refugee terrorists" living
in northern Iraq. The KRG wants some 11,000 Turkish citizens
staying at Camp Makhmur to return to Turkey, according to
Cumhuriyet.

Meanwhile, Islamist-oriented Zaman reports the KRG Prime Minister
Nechirvan Barzani called on "all to back the Kurdish initiative in
Turkey." "We support President Gul and PM Erdogan's statements on
the matter. We hope the other political parties in Turkey will also
support this initiative," said Barzani. He added the initiative
would contribute to the stability in Iraq and the Middle East,
saying "A peaceful solution in Turkey will help other peaceful
solutions in the region."

Editorial Debate on Kurdish Initiative

Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah: "When DTP sent its views to
PKK's imprisoned leader Ocalan, the list of ideas covered a
constitutional guarantee for ethnic differences and the PKK to be a
part of political process. In the end, Ocalan's revised version
contained even stronger demands, including a federal structure which
no government can even dare to think about. At this point,
everybody should act reasonably and in a sensible manner for a
successful outcome of this process."

Ismet Berkan wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "Even though
Ocalan is someone who should be listened to, his recent ideas go
beyond the acceptable limits. What he is envisioning is an
ethnic-based republic which is impossible. Kurds and their leaders
should better focus on freedom and equality for everyone formula
which can serve as common ground for all."

Yasemin Congar wrote in leftist Taraf: "Ocalan is expected to put
forward his road map officially through his lawyers. Worried about
opposition parties reaction, the government is thinking of
preventing its dissemination. That is a very wrong approach. The
government and state institutions are not supposed to shape the
policy line based on Ocalan's ideas, however the value of creating a
climate for lively debate among Kurds along with these ideas should
not be underestimated."

Tamer Korkmaz wrote in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak: "Unlike
previous attempts, this time there is a proper ground to address the
Kurdish issue. The state has a strategy as well as power to
implement a project. This time it is going to happen through
internal dynamics as opposed to foreigners imposing their terms,

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such as America. The U.S. has lost the war in Iraq and Turkey has
emerged as regional power in due course. Thus Turkey has the power,
energy and influence to go ahead through its own dynamics."

Martyrs' Families Give Message by Laying A Black Wreath at the AKP
Headquarters
Hurriyet, Sabah, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Vatan, Radikal, Posta and
others: Today's papers extensively cover the protests by the
martyrs' families to the government's Kurdish initiative.
Mainstream papers Vatan and Milliyet report that the families of the
martyrs laid a black wreath at the AKP headquarters in Ankara to
protest the government's Kurdish initiative and then visited the
opposition parties CHP and MHP for support. The families wanted to
talk to Prime Minister Erdogan, but reports indicate AK party
officials told the families that Erdogan was not at the headquarters
but one of his deputies could listen to the families' problems.
However, the families rejected the offer and said they will not talk
to anyone but Erdogan. Following a protesting speech and laying a
black wreath in front of the AKP headquarters, the families went to
visit their sons' cemeteries. Hurriyet says a group of families of
the martyrs' visited opposition party MHP headquarters yesterday and
conveyed their reaction to the AKP's Kurdish initiative to the MHP
officials. After listening to the families, MHP deputy chair Oktay
Vural told the journalists "It is a shame for this nation to accept
a terrorist organization's suggestions. Shame on the government and
the Prime Minister for taking a copy of the road map prepared by the
jailed terrorist leader, and acting accordingly." Meanwhile,
another group of the families visited the main opposition CHP
headquarters and conveyed their request for the opposition parties
to talk on their behalf. CHP deputy Secretary General Algan
Hacaloglu received the families and said "the CHP is against all
kinds of initiatives which take the PKK terror organization as
interlocutor."

In an interview to Cumhuriyet daily, main opposition CHP's Deputy
Chairman Onur Oymen criticized the AKP government for "making
reconciliation talks with terrorists." Reminding the government's
earlier records, Oymen said "There are already enough faults in the
AKP's history. They are branded by the Constitutional Court as a
center for anti-secular acts. And now they are in efforts to destroy
fundamental values of Turkey, such as national unity, national
identity as well as nation-state model." Oymen added that CHP will
not talk with the government on Kurdish initiative unless a concrete
plan or project has been put forward.

10 Years of Earthquake Funds Unaccounted For (Vatan)
Mainstream Vatan reports that following the Marmara earthquake in
1999, a total of $16 billion and surtaxes have been collected from
the people. Nearly $3.5 billion came as the foreign aid. But still
thousands of hospital and school buildings await to be restored.
Now people ask where have all the money gone? Four governments have
come to power in ten years but they never explained how they used
these taxes. There are speculations that billions of dollars were
used to patch budget gaps. Recently, the main opposition party CHP
gave a questionnaire motion to the parliament for the whereabouts of
the earthquake taxes.

Eight Inmates to be sent to Imrali Prison
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports the government decided to
transfer eight prisoners to Imrali prison where the PKK's head
Abdullah Ocalan is serving his sentence. Justice Minister Sadullah
Ergin said they would decide, according to the laws, which convicts
would be transferred, adding that only the convicts who received
life sentences without parole would be sent to Imrali.

Turkey's EU Secretariat to Employ Armenian Turks (Hurriyet)
Mainstream Hurriyet reports Turkey's 'Secretariat-General for EU
Affairs' will employ researchers and translators of Armenian
heritage, who will be "pre-selected" by the Armenian Patriarchate
in Istanbul. "We are seeking young people from the Armenian
community who are willing to work at the Secretariat-General for EU

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Affairs," says an announcement on the webpage of the patriarchate.
Burak Erdemir, Deputy Secretary-General for EU Affairs, said, "We
have no employees coming from the minority groups; we need people
from all segments of our social structure."

Terror Has Struck the Caucasus (Hurriyet)
Media carry straightforward reports indicating a suicide bomber set
off an explosion that killed at least 20 at a police building in
Russia's Ingushetia province yesterday. Leftist Taraf calls the
attack, "A Bomb Attack Against the Ingush Police." Mainstream
Milliyet notes the Ingush leader accused Islamist militants of
bearing responsibility for the attacks. In "The New Address for
Tension: Ingushetia," Islamist-oriented Zaman emphasizes the rising
tide of violence in Ingushetia constitutes, "the most important
security problem for Moscow to resolve," and the situation, "weakens
Russia's policy for the Caucasus region."

Operation Reliant Mermaid Angers Iran
In "Military Exercises Anger Iran," mainstream Milliyet reports
Iranian President Ahmadinejad has expressed outrage at Operation
Reliant Mermaid, a search and rescue exercise initiated yesterday by
Turkey, the U.S. and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean. In a
speech in Tehran on Sunday, Ahmadinejad made a reference to Turkey
when he said, "Some of our neighbors have adopted policies which
serve the interests of the Zionists." In addition, Milliyet reports
he said, "We are sorry for those countries around us and those
neighbors who are at the service of the Zionists and are providing
means for Israel's hegemony over the world. They don't understand
that they are facilitating the Zionists. We hope they will one day
wake up." The exercises started yesterday and will continue until
Friday. A total of eight ships, four helicopters and three search
and rescue planes from all three countries are participating in the
exercises.

A New Incirlik Base in Northern Iraq (Aksam)
Media outlets report the commander of American Forces in Iraq,
General Ray Odierno, said American troops could be deployed in the
"problematic areas" in the northern parts of Iraq in order to work
with the Iraqi government and local forces to secure the safety of
the villages on the border areas between the Arabs and Kurds as "a
confidence building measure." In "A New Incirlik Base In Northern
Iraq," mainstream Aksam reports the U.S. is considering troop
deployment around the Mosul-Kirkuk region. Under the headline, "The
U.S. Seeks Troop Deployment in Northern Iraq," Islamist-oriented
Zaman reports General Odierno stated American soldiers would work as
"peacekeeping forces" between the "Arab and Kurd rivals in the
region." In "We Want to Stay in Northern Iraq," leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet reports General Odierno said the U.S. plan for deployment
would be discussed at a three-party meeting with the central Iraqi
government and the Kurdish Regional Government in Baghdad to be held
in September. Mainstream Hurriyet headlines, "The Johnnies (Are
Going) To Kerkuk," and the paper reports "Disagreements over
petrol," and other issues are "creating fears of new ethnic tensions
between Kurds and Arabs in northern Iraq."

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Four soldiers were killed when a hand grenade exploded
accidentally on one of them in the eastern province of Elazig.

- One person is killed and 37 others are injured in explosion in a
fireworks factory in the province of Sakarya.

- Turkish unemployment rate has been declining over the past three
months. Turkey drops from the third to the fifth place in the
international unemployment ranking.

- 15 academics in Mardin's Artuklu University participate in Kurdish
language courses opened by the university while awaiting the

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response of the Higher Education Board (YOK) for opening a Kurdish
language and literature department in the university.

- Turkey's National Security Council (MGK) will hold a meeting on
August 20.

- Turkey is to introduce big penalties for downloading of music and
films on the Internet, acts that violate copyright laws.

- The number of civil servants in Turkey increases by 25,000 over
the April-June period and reaches 2.9 million.

- On Wednesday, PM Erdogan will inaugurate Turkey's biggest marina
in the Mediterranean tourist town of Didim.

World

- Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's special representative for
Pakistan and Afghanistan, will join the meeting of the "Friends of
Democratic Pakistan" to be held in Istanbul on August 24-25.

- An accident during repair work at Russia's largest hydroelectric
plant kills at least 10 workers, while as many as 65 others are
injured.

- Militiamen are torturing and killing gay Iraqi men in a systematic
campaign that has spread from Baghdad to several other cities, the
New York based Human Rights Watch said in a report.

- Employees at Dimona nuclear reactor in Israel reportedly have been
forced to drink uranium as part of an experiment.

- Turks in Belgium stage protests to denounce the killing of a
Turkish inmate in Jamioulx Prison.

SILLIMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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