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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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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 25, 2009

In Today's Papers

Political Turmoil in Ankara Over Kurdish Initiative
All papers and TV Channels: Today's papers report that the AKP
government's Kurdish initiative created heated debates between the
government and the opposition parties. Mainstream Sabah reports
that last week the NSC released a supporting statement to
government's efforts to solve the Kurdish issue. The opposition
party MHP leader Devlet Bahceli strongly denounced the NSC
statement. Conservative-nationalist Turkiye reports that AKP deputy
Bekir Bozdag responded to Bahceli's criticism, who had described
the democratic move as disloyalty, and said "Desiring to put an end
to the ongoing bloodshed cannot be called disloyalty." Bozdag also
said the signatures of Bulent Ecevit, Devlet Bahceli and Mesud
Yilmaz, leaders of three party coalition government then, had saved
PKK leader Ocalan from execution. Bozdag also noted that the MHP
was betraying Turkish interests by supporting fighting which would
lead to more deaths of Turkish soldiers. MHP officials responded to
AKP criticism by saying that Bozdag was nobody, not worth answering
since he did not have the capacity to understand MHP. Liberal
Radikal reports that at a press conference in his party
headquarters, CHP leader Deniz Baykal said that the Kurdish move of
the government was a dangerous project and Turkey would be like
Lebanon, Yugoslavia or Iraq, at the end of this process. Baykal
added that the claims to the effect that the Kurdish initiative is a
US project are accurate and the Prime Minister has been trying to
put an end to these claims by scolding the opposition. NTV reported
that speaking to Roj TV, DTP chairman Ahmet Turk said that he
believes in the sincerity of PM Erdogan regarding the Kurdish
initiative. He said that the issue is not the problem of the Kurd
but the problem of the whole of Turkey and criticized the attitude
of MHP and CHP.

Phillips: Kurdish Initiative Erdogan's Own Idea (Hurriyet)
Mainstream Hurriyet says David L. Phillips, the author of reports
cited by MHP's Oktay Vural to prove that the AKP government's
Kurdish initiative was "an American project," has sent a letter to
daily Hurriyet, saying the initiative was PM Erdogan's own idea.
Phillips acknowledged he penned two reports for the National
Committee for American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) and the Atlantic
Council (ACUS) on the PKK, Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds, but stressed
that neither Americans, nor the Turkish officials tried to influence
the reports. Phillips stressed that the Kurdish initiative was
Erdogan's own idea. "He wouldn't take my advice -- Erdogan's idea
is built totally on Turkey's national interests. The AKP's Kurdish
initiative is a change of system which will render Turkey secure,
free and integrated with Western institutions. Erdogan, with his
vision and leadership, deserves credit," emphasized Phillips.

U.S. Embassy: The Kurdish Issue Is Turkey's Internal Issue
Papers report that when the U.S. Embassy was asked by ANKA news
agency about claims the Kurdish opening launched by the AKP
government was an "American project," the Embassy responded by
saying, "We support the democratization of Turkey, but this plan is
a Turkish plan," and, "The Kurdish issue is an internal issue for
Turkey to resolve." Two weeks ago, Ambassador Jeffrey told Utku
Cakirozer of Aksam, "This is clearly a Turkish plan. We have our own
views as I said. We have over the years provided these views to
Turkey, but this is not something that is made in the United States,
this is something that is made in Turkey. It's the Turkish
Government that is in charge of this, I have no idea what the
details are just like you. I'm waiting for the specifics to come
out."

Editorial Debate on Kurdish Initiative

Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "It is an absolute
disrespect to Turkey's self confidence as well as to its internal
dynamics to say that foreign hands have devised this important
effort. Turkey should have been overcome this complex by now. There
are plenty of factors which have led the government to work on an

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action plan for the Kurdish initiative. It is interesting to see,
on the other hand, there are some in Turkey who still prefer to
explain this initiative as only the result of foreign pressure. "

Ali Bayramoglu wrote in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak: "For the first
time in this country's history the settlement process for an
important problem, i.e. the Kurdish issue, has moved to a democratic
platform. This initiative is an effort to embrace differences in a
unified democracy by using dialogue, consensus and reconciliation.
All of this will lead to a more free Turkey."

Rusen Cakir wrote in mainstream Vatan: "Given the current harsh tone
on debates between political parties, there is a potential danger to
face with a deadlock in the Kurdish initiative process. The
government should be very careful not to mount the already high
tension and do its best to include CHP as well as MHP in this
process. Any mismanagement of this crisis will ruin the entire
effort otherwise."

PKK Leader Duran Kalkan Demands an End to Turkish Military
Operations
Mainstream dailies Milliyet and Sabah report that one of the PKK
leaders Duran Kalkan reminded Turkey that the PKK's unilateral
ceasefire expires on September 1. Kalkan said, "If Turkey's
military operations do not end, the PKK will launch new attacks
after this date."

'Friends of Pakistan' Gather in Istanbul
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports the "Friends of Democratic
Pakistan" meeting started in Istanbul on August 24. Richard
Holbrooke, the U.S. Special Representative for Pakistan and
Afghanistan, will join the meeting which is hosted by Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Islamist-oriented Zaman says the meeting
focuses on the fight against terror, moves for stability, and steps
for assisting Pakistan in education, health, energy, economy and
local administration. Cumhuriyet says the Istanbul meeting will
also prepare for another Pakistan gathering to be held in New York
on September 24, with the participation of President Obama.

"The U.S. Tested A Ballistic Missile" (Cumhuriyet )
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports the U.S. Air Force tested a
ballistic intercontinental missile "after North Korea and Russia
performed similar missile tests." The paper also notes, "The U.S.
Air Force announced the successful launch of 'Minuteman 3' missile
from a base in California. Russia did a similar test yet
unsuccessfully. North Korea meanwhile was criticized by the UN and
many countries for causing security threats due to such ballistic
missile tests."

Admiral Mullen: "Al-Qaeda still have the Power to Attack U.S."
(Milliyet)
Mainstream dailies Milliyet and Sabah report that in an interview
with CNN International, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Mike Mullen expressed deep concern over the ongoing war in
Afghanistan. Sabah headlines, "The Situation in Afghanistan is
Deteriorating" and reports that Admiral Mullen voiced deep concern
regarding Taliban activities in Afghanistan. Mullen said "The
Taliban insurgency has become more sophisticated and their biggest
aim is to kill more U.S. troops." Milliyet notes that Mullen was
concerned that even eight years after the September 11 attacks, the
Al-Qaeda terrorist organization still has enough power to attack the
U.S. and he added that this is Al-Qaeda's biggest aim.

Obama Limits the Power of the CIA (Sabah)
Papers carry a Washington Post (WP) report which says President
Obama has approved a new elite team to question key terror suspects,
and signed off last week on the unit, named the High-Value Detainee
Interrogation Group (HIG). The HIG will be overseen by the National
Security Council, giving the White House direct oversight. Under
new guidelines, interrogators will abide by the Army Field Manual
when questioning suspects, which means certain techniques such as

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playing loud music or depriving prisoners of sleep, will not be
allowed. Members of the new interrogation unit will have the
authority to travel around the world to talk to suspects and will be
trained to handle certain high-interest people, such as al-Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden, Turkish papers cite WP.

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Nine PKK defectors who surrendered to Turkish officials at Habur
border crossing were released by the prosecutor in Diyarbakir,
benefiting from the 'Repentance Law.'

- The Council of Ministers has discussed Monday a judicial reform
bill, which is a critical part of the EU process.

- On Tuesday evening, President Abdullah Gul will host a Ramadan
fast-breaking dinner for the relatives of martyred soldiers.

- Chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis and minority representatives will
come together tonight at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul.


- Experts say cuts in interest rates for housing loans continue, and
add that it was the right time to buy a new house.

World

- Thousands flee their homes as blazes sweep through forests and
burn down houses near Athens. PM Erdogan phoned Greek PM
Karamanlis, and told him that Turkey was ready to extend any kind of
assistance to fight against ongoing wildfires.

- Hamid Karzai is reelected President in Afghanistan, winning 68
percent of the vote in last week's elections, says Afghan Finance
Minister.

- Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Chistofias says they will have to
say "no" to Turkey's EU entry if Turkey doesn't change its Cyprus
stance.

- Twenty people are killed and 10 wounded in two roadside bombs in
Iraq.

- Russia says Ukrainian troops and volunteers fought for Georgia in
its war with Russia last year.

- The Gaza government has decided to impose Islamic clothing on
female students at Gaza Strip governmental schools.


JEFFREY

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