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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, 2009

In Today's Papers

Erdogan Receives Martyrs' Families
Media outlets report that Prime Minister Erdogan, who met Wednesday
with family members of martyrs and veterans in Ankara, said no
speculation would be allowed over Turkey's unitary structure.
Erdogan noted the "democratic initiative" was a project of unity
with the aim of solving the terrorism problem. He added that Turkey
has to abandon emotionally based approaches and take the next step
together as a nation. Erdogan also stressed that if some steps had
been taken 24 years ago, Turkey would perhaps would not have been in
its present situation. After the meeting, the martyrs' families
told the media that PM Erdogan informed them that a declaration of a
general amnesty was "out of the question."

Basbug, Erdogan Call On PKK Militants To Surrender
Papers report that military General Staff (TGS) Chief General Ilker
Basbug has said that PKK terrorists who recently surrendered to
security forces were "all released" and called on them to trust the
Turkish judiciary. "On July 14, terrorists surrendered to security
forces, and ten of them were released immediately by the courts.
Two were arrested, while the remaining two will be tried without
detention," said Basbug. On the other hand, Prime Minister Erdogan
followed suit and said that there was "nothing to be afraid of".

Bahceli: The AKP Sets The Scene For Ethnic Separatism
Papers report MHP leader Devlet Bahceli has said Turkey was going
through difficult times regarding the Kurdish question and called on
everyone to "take a position on the issue." Bahceli claimed that in
recent months, the ruling AKP government has been setting the scene
for ethnic separatism under the name of "resolution and
opportunity." He accused the government of carrying out a level of
"destruction equal to that of an outside invader."

Meanwhile, papers report the MHP will hold a conference on August
29, at which chairman Devlet Bahceli will evaluate the "Kurdish
initiative" process. Papers said that the party administration
reportedly ordered mandatory participation at the conference
entitled "The Dissolving of Both Our Country, Turkey, and Our
Ideals."

Editorial Commentary on the Kurdish Initiative/TGS Statement

Yalcin Dogan commented in mainstream Hurriyet: "The Kurdish
operation and the PKK separated themselves from Abdullah Ocalan
(Apo) between 1999-2005. It was Turkey's biggest mistake not to
take any action regarding the Kurdish issue during that period.
Because, now Apo and the PKK, the PKK and the Kurdish operation are
re-joining again. Apo has became the most popular person among the
Kurds again. Now, there is a huge test in front of the AKP
government: To stop Apo's progress and to break it at some point,
and to reveal their own program. It seems that the AKP is failing
to explain what kind of solution they are working toward. The AKP
is unable to explain itself and is heading toward being isolated."

Semih Idiz wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Opposing the AKP
government's Kurdish initiative strongly, the MHP insists that the
military has the last word on this issue. Main opposition CHP also
is hiding behind the military. I was talking with a foreign
diplomat yesterday and he said "you need a civilian initiative
before the Kurdish initiative." It is only natural for the military
to talk on issues related to Turkey. However, it is so odd that
each time the military speaks, the civilian wing gets electrified
and believes that the last word has been said on the issue. That is
why we definitely need a civilian initiative. If we continue to
accept everything the military says as 'law', Turkey will have a
real hard time ahead of it."

Kadri Gursel wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "What I understand from
the TGS statement is that the military doesn't want a peaceful and
democratic solution to the Kurdish issue. And, as long as the AKP

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government fails to admit that they don't agree with this statement,
we have no reason to believe that the government is sincere in
searching for a solution."

Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak: "Democracy is not
a system where civilians hold the drum and the military holds the
knocker. In democracies, the same hand holds the drum and the
knocker which are the elected civilian office holders. Other than
the military's remarks, the position of the two opposition parties
affects the process (Kurdish initiative) negatively. Now AKP has to
pursue a policy to make everyone feel that the civilians are in
control. The cost of ending an initiative, which was
enthusiastically received by everyone, will be very difficult. The
government should work toward advancing and successfully finalizing
this process while making the opposition parties to pay a heavy
price."

Four Soldiers Killed Due to Punishment, Not Accident
Media outlets cite a report by Taraf daily yesterday that on August
17, four soldiers were killed in the eastern province of Elazig
after a lieutenant gave one of the privates, Ibrahim Ozturk, a hand
grenade whose pin he had pulled out to punish him for sleeping
during his night watch. It had previously been claimed that four
soldiers were killed when a hand grenade exploded accidentally as
they were patrolling the area against the outlawed PKK.
Tumer reportedly told the other officers that he had given Ozturk a
live hand grenade to teach him a good lesson. Tumer also said he
punished the private in line with the military's training
procedures, according to papers.

Holbrooke Blames Gulf Countries Over Money Flow To Taliban
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports the U.S. Special Representative for
Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told CNN in Istanbul
that it was "oil money" coming from the Gulf countries that helped
Taliban stand. Holbrooke said Taliban received donations from the
Gulf countries in amounts of more than billions of dollars the
organization gets from poppy production and heroin trade. Holbrooke
also blamed, without giving names, some foundations for supporting
Taliban, and stressed that cutting the money flow to the terrorist
organization was an important part of the war, reports Zaman.

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Financial Times draws attention to the statement issued by Turkish
military chief General Ilker Basbug and says the Turkish military
backs the ruling government's Kurd move.

- Higher Education Board (YOK) will hold a meeting Thursday during
which they will discuss a request for the establishment of 'Kurdish
Language and Literature Department' in Mardin's Artuklu University.


- Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey was working on its
own economic stabilization program, adding they were ready to accept
the IMF's proposal for supporting this program.

- TGS Chief General Ilker Basbug will host an iftar dinner for 800
martyrs' families on September 2.

- The sixth round of collective bargaining talks between the
government and labor unions has been completed. The government
offers to give civil servants 2-percent wage hike in the first half
of 2010.

- Nobel prize holder novelist Orhan Pamuk, before his visit to
Moscow on Thursday, told Russian magazine Timeout Moscow that
freedom of expression does not exist in Turkey yet and that
Ataturk's and Turkish military's present understandings of
secularism are completely different.

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World

- Iraqi President Talabani has described Turkey's Kurdish opening as
an "important step," and adds that Turkey should not miss the
opportunity for solving the Kurdish question.

- The Council of Europe Local and Regional Administrations
Convention issued a written statement expressing pleasure over the
"Kurdish initiative" of the Turkish government.

- Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's top Shiite leaders, has died of
lung cancer.

- Bosnian forensic experts find the remains of at least 60 people
killed by Bosnian Serb forces early in the 1992-95 war.

- Syria reports its first death related to swine flu.
SILLIMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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