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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2009

In Today's Papers

Erdogan: "We Will be Integrated Under The Citizenship of The Turkish
Republic" (Milliyet)
All papers: Speaking at the opening of "D-Marin", a marina in Didim
(Aegean province of Aydin), Erdogan said that some did not want
Turkey to improve and strengthen further, and those people were
trying to divide the country. Erdogan said those people would not
achieve anything. "We will be integrated under the citizenship of
the Turkish Republic. Investments continue in the western and
northern regions of the country and some parts of the south.
Unfortunately, the entrepreneurs cannot invest in the east and the
southeast because of a lack of stability and confidence there. An
atmosphere of confidence, stability, tranquility and peace are among
the fundamental needs of an economy. The democratic move will also
have a positive impact on the economy," Erdogan said.

CHP Says It's Ready to Discuss AKP Government's Kurdish Initiative
Papers report main opposition CHP said it will "evaluate" the AKP
requests for a meeting to discuss the ruling party's 'Kurdish
Initiative.' Earlier, the CHP had turned down calls from Interior
Minister Besir Atalay for talks on the AKP's 'democratic move' for a
settlement regarding Turkey's Kurdish question. CHP deputy chairman
Onur Oymen said they did not rule out talks with the government, but
added that first, the ruling AKP should put forth its demands
clearly, and unveil a "concrete action plan" on its so-called
"democratic initiative."

Meanwhile, liberal Radikal reports CHP leader Deniz Baykal told his
party board meeting that it was a "disgrace" that Turkey still lacks
'Kurdish institutes' at its universities. "It is a total necessity
that Turkey teaches Kurdish language, history and folklore at its
universities. We, however, totally reject the universities to be
used as a mechanism to merely educate teachers of the Kurdish
language," emphasized Baykal.

Editorials on 'Kurdish Initiative'

Oktay Eksi wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "If the government prefers
to call it a 'democratic initiative,' the substance should be
properly filled. A democratic initiative requires a start from
scratch, including a fully independent judiciary system, fair
representation of all views in parliament and a new party law to
allow political freedom. We haven't seen any steps regarding that
but we can only hope at this point."

Ismet Berkan wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "What Turkey
really needs is a full scale democratic republic as opposed to 'half
democracy' as we have today. The implementation of full democratic
rights is the correct approach to discourage people from going to
the mountains and encouraging them work through the political
process instead."

Mehmet Barlas wrote in mainstream Sabah: "At least some in Turkey
are surrounded by an interesting psychology as they live with
conspiracy theories and blame foreigners for everything. Let's not
forget that conspiracies are basically scape goats to avoid reality.
When it comes to the Kurdish initiative it is happening once again
that the U.S. and the EU are the ones to blame. Those who oppose
the Kurdish initiative want to hide every problem underneath the
carpet as they always do and miss the chance to advancing Turkey."

Kurdish Sermons in Mosques
Mainstream Hurriyet reports Interior Minister Besir Atalay, who
coordinates the ruling AKP's government's "democratic opening," will
meet next week with the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head
Professor Ali Bardakoglu to discuss arranging for Kurdish-language
sermons in mosques. Diyanet will stick to the current arrangement
of delivering Turkish-language sermons in key Kurdish provinces such
as Diyarbakir, Mardin and Batman. Kurdish-language sermons are
expected to be introduced in remote provinces where the majority of

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mosque attendants are Kurds, and local imams will be allowed to
choose the sermon language. Diyanet is also preparing to air
Kurdish-language religious broadcasts on the state owned Kurdish
TRT-6 television during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, reports
Hurriyet.

Third Alevi Workshop Held in Ankara
Mainstreams Milliyet and Vatan report the third Alevi Workshop was
held Wednesday with the participation of theologians and officials
from the High Board for Religious Affairs. At the meeting held in
Ankara, Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) board chair Hamza
Aktan voiced objections to the proposals for recognizing the Alevis'
gathering places (Cemevi) as "temple." "Alevis are Muslims, and
Muslims meet in mosques," said Aktan, noting that the recognition of
cemevi as temple would "pave the way for division in Islam."
Milliyet says the stance of Diyanet regarding Cemevis remains
unchanged.

Germany Wants Former Turkish Intelligence Member Arrested
Mainstream Vatan reports Germany has issued an arrest warrant for a
former informant, Mevlut K., who worked for the Turkish intelligence
service MIT in connection with Germany's largest anti-terror
investigation. Mevlut K. is believed to have provided a detonation
device for four al-Qaeda militants captured in 2007 and 2008 in
Germany and Turkey. German police found 400 kilograms of TNT that
they believed would be used by the militants, of whom two of them
were Turkish nationals, in planned attacks on the U.S. military
bases in Germany and at the Frankfurt International Airport. Vatan
claims MIT has "unofficially confirmed" that Mevlut K. had worked
for the organization until 2002.

FM Davutoglu: Israel must show will for peace, Palestinian Factions
must Unite
Hurriyet web page reports that while emphasizing that the upcoming
four or five months are very critical for the region, Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday that Israel should act
responsibly to ensure the revival of peace negotiations. "It is
time for Israel to show the will for peace," Davutoglu told a joint
press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh. The
foreign minister said Ankara was closely following the efforts of
the U.S. administration's Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, in the
region and warned that negative consequences would be seen if the
opportunity was missed. Also at this press conference, Minister
Davutoglu urged Palestinian factions to act for unity for a prospect
for peace in the Middle East. "Our Palestinian brothers should come
together with a common attitude and find a common ground of
reconciliation in the shortest possible time. Otherwise, peace
process in the Middle East cannot move ahead," he said.

A Nightmare in Baghdad (Yeni Safak)
Media outlets note Iraq experienced its "bloodiest day" yesterday,
soon after U.S. forces transferred security responsibility over to
local Iraqi officials. Liberal Radikal headlines, "Instead of
Turning Normal, The Iraqi Capital Turned Into a Fire Zone." In,
"Terror Strikes In the Heart of Baghdad," mainstream Milliyet
reports, "As U.S. troops withdraw from cities in Iraq," Baghdad,
"experiences its bloodiest day." Mainstream Haberturk reports in
"An Anniversary Bomb in Baghdad," that "on August 20, 2003 a bomb
ripped through the UN headquarters in Baghdad, killing over a
hundred," and "yesterday's bombing came as security is being
transferred from U.S. forces to local forces." Mainstream Hurriyet
calls yesterday, "The Bloodiest Day in Baghdad," as, "After U.S.
troops began to withdraw from cities on June 30th, yesterday was the
country's bloodiest day." Leftist Taraf calls the attack, "The
largest attack on the Green Zone." In "This Time Terror in Iraq
Targeted the Government," Islamist-oriented Zaman notes the attack
occurred "as soon as Iraqi security forces took control of
security."

The Afghan Government Orders A Blackout of Foreign and Domestic
Media on Coverage of Violence During Thursday's Polls (Milliyet)

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Today's media coverage focuses on the possibility that violent
attacks could interrupt today's elections in Afghanistan.
Mainstream Hurriyet headlines, "All preparations for fraud in Afghan
elections are completed" and the paper reports there is "chaos and
fraud" everywhere in Afghanistan, as "Ballots are being sold on the
streets," and, "There is even a ballot in the name of Britney Spears
on the Internet." Meanwhile, Milliyet notes the Taliban have
increased their threats and "the fear of big clashes" has grown
among the people. Milliyet also reports, "The government wants the
day to pass with no news of an attack." Mainstream Sabah headlines,
"The Taliban Claims 20 Suicide Bombers Already Infiltrated Kabul,"
and the paper reports "The violence won't stop in Afghanistan."

Editorials on Afghan Elections

Fikret Ertan wrote in Islamist oriented Zaman: "The Afghan elections
mark a historical turning point in country's political history.
However the recent polls show no candidate is strong enough to go
beyond a 50 percent hurdle in the first phase which means lots of
potential new problems are ahead. Along with security issues, there
are already other serious problems like the Taliban threat and the
actual conditions in election ballots which might be a questioning
point regarding the election's health. Nevertheless, the
realization of an election is an important event and a turning point
by itself."

Yasemin Congar wrote in leftist Taraf: "It looks like if Karzai is
relected, he will focus on ending the violence mutually. Karzai
will invite to talk with the Taliban's Molla Birader and opposition
leader Hikmetyar, in other words he will sit with his enemies to
negotiate. End of violence remains an urgent priority while other
issues like government reform, constitutional changes and withdrawal
of foreign forces will be at the very bottom of the to-do list."


TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Prime Minister Erdogan said the Kurdish opening would lead to a
"boom in Turkey's economy."

- Islamist Saadet Party (SP) said it will release a report on
Turkey's Kurdish question.

- Diyarbakir Governor's Office has opted to not object to a request
for restoring the Kurdish name of a village in the province.

- Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas said the new Bosphorus bridge would
connect the districts of Beykoz and Tarabya.

- NATO Secretary-General Andres Fogh Rasmussen will visit Turkey at
the end of August.

- In October, Turkey and the IMF will hold in Istanbul bi-annual
meetings as uncertainty about talks on a new stand-by deal with the
IMF continues.

- Two British tourists touring the world on their bicycles have been
attacked by the villagers in the Black Sea province of Ordu.

World

- Muslims' holy month of Ramadan begins on Friday.

- Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has asked Jordan to open a
'liaison office' in Turkish Cyprus.

- Taliban fighters attack a state-owned bank in Kabul and exchange
fire with the police on the eve of Afghanistan's presidential
election on Thursday.

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- Bulgaria will send a contingent of 210 troops to Afghanistan to
guard Kabul's international airport.

- South Korea's first rocket launch has been delayed because of
technical failure.

- Markets worldwide drop amid uncertainty about the global economy.


SILLIMAN

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