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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2009

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In Today's Papers

Ambassador Jeffrey Received by Parliament Speaker Sahin
Under the headline, "U.S. Supports Turkish Government's Armenian
Initiative," leftist-nationalist reports Ambassador James Jeffrey
was received Tuesday by Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin. "We
support the Turkey-Armenia process, and hope that it will continue,"
Ambassador Jeffrey told the press after the meeting. Jeffrey said
the process was ongoing between Turkey and Armenia, and that Turkey
would decide about it. On a question whether the U.S. would provide
concrete support to the process, Jeffrey said the U.S. wanted peace
and stability across the entire Caucasus.

Erdogan Continues Meetings Re Kurdish Initiative
Media outlets report that on Tuesday, Prime Minister Erdogan held a
meeting with his cabinet ministers who are also the members of the
Turkish National Security Council (MGK) to discuss the Kurdish
'democratic initiative.' The gathering described the recent PKK
attacks as an attempt to sabotage the Kurdish opening. Mainstream
Sabah notes the gathering also discussed the closure of Makhmur Camp
in northern Iraq. Sabah says the meeting raised the issue of Syrian
and Iranian nationals in the PKK. According to Sabah, intelligence
reports show there are around 12,000 people in Makhmur camp in
Northern Iraq. Around 7,000 of them want to return to Turkey, while
the rest want to stay in the camp or to go to Syria and Iran.

The AKP Government's 'Kurdish Package'
Mainstream Haberturk report the ruling AKP government's Kurdish
'democratic initiative' package comprises the following items: PKK
militants who were not involved in crimes will be released after a
three-month rehabilitation period; the militants involved in crimes
will be held under surveillance for five years; Kurdish will be
elective course in elementary and high schools; new letters of Q, W
and X will be included in the Turkish alphabet; the Turks living in
Makhmur Camp in northern Iraq will be brought to Turkey; place-names
which were changed into Turkish will be given their original Kurdish
names; the state will support publications in Kurdish; Turkey's
state theatres will stage the famous Kurdish play, 'Mem-u Zin,'; the
state will print a translation of the holy Quran in Kurdish; Kurdish
interpreters will be hired in state institutions; the oath which
elementary school children take every morning, in which the virtues
of 'being a Turk' are praised, will be removed; and Kurdish signs
will be set up on state motorways.

Editorial Commentary on Kurdish Initiative

Bejan Matur wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Success for the
initiative requires an opening in the mentalities as well. The
state may be making certain decisions but the actual implementation
comes from bureaucrats. There will be no progress as long as the
old fashioned mentality prevails in bureaucracy. Since bureaucrats
are encouraged by politicians, a courageous political vision will
help bring forth courageous steps."

Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "The Turkish
Intelligence Organization hosted a meeting for the secret service
heads of Syria and Iraq. This shows Ankara is doing its best to
eliminate tension between Baghdad and Damascus not only at the
foreign ministry level but also between the intelligence units. The
more tension between Iraq and Syria is eliminated, the better
opportunities for regional cooperation against the PKK will
increase."

Assad Due in Istanbul on Wednesday
Media outlets report Syrian President Bashar Assad will pay a
one-day working visit to Istanbul on Wednesday to discuss the issues
of Syrian-heritage PKK militants, the ongoing tensions between
Baghdad and Damascus regarding the bombings in the Iraqi capital
earlier this month, talks between Israel and Syria, and Turkey-Syria
ties as well as the water problem between the two countries. Assad,
together with PM Erdogan, will reportedly join a fast-breaking Iftar

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dinner tonight that will be hosted by the AKP's Istanbul provincial
branch.

Iraq-Syria Delegations Meet in Ankara
Mainstream Hurriyet reports Iraqi and Syrian delegations met Tuesday
in Ankara over the recent bomb attacks in Baghdad, of which Iraq
accuses Syria. The sides will continue meetings tomorrow in
Istanbul. Syrian President Assad, due in Istanbul today, will
reportedly join tomorrow's talks between the two delegations,
according to Hurriyet.

The Address for Peace in the Middle East Is Turkey (Sabah)
Following wire reports of Javier Solana's comment that P5+1 talks
with Iran are "likely to be held in Turkey," most media hail
Turkey's role as a host as an indication that the country is
mediating between Iran and The West. Mainstream pro-government
Sabah reports in, "One Year Later Iran Is Sitting at The Table,"
that, "A year after Iran closed the door to dialogue regarding its
nuclear program, Turkey's surprising mediation starts again," as,
"Diplomatic circles in Brussels say that the fact the talks are
taking place in Turkey shows the important role Turkey is playing in
the process," as "The address for peace in the Middle East is
Turkey," and, "Turkey is taking one more step toward being a
regional power." Leftist Taraf headlines, "Iran And The West Will
Meet in Turkey." Islamist-oriented pro-government Yeni Safak
headlines, "The Bridge Between East and West Will Be Established in
Turkey." Islamist-oriented pro-government Zaman headlines, "Iran
and The West Will Sit At The Table in Turkey For Nuclear
Bargaining," and the paper reports, "Ankara wants a diplomatic
solution to the nuclear crisis between Iran and The West," as, "The
sides are preparing to meet in Turkey."

Mainstream Milliyet headlines, "Turkey Will Host Critical Talks,"
but columnist Sami Kohen notes in "A New Dialogue With Iran," that,
"It's good news that a year after the group of six and Iran reached
a stalemate in nuclear discussions that they are all coming to the
table for talks," and, "It is seen as a very positive development
that Istanbul is likely to be chosen as the location for the talks,"
but "while Turkey is contributing to these efforts, Turkey is not
acting as a mediator but instead is acting as a facilitator in this
situation."

Editorials on Iran and The P5+1 Talks

Yasemin Congar wrote in leftist Taraf: "FM Davutoglu is pursuing a
multi-faceted diplomacy in protection of Ankara's interests, which
is the normalization of ties between Washington and Tehran. It is
not in Ankara's interest either to be in the middle of this tension
or to be forced into being a part of the sanctions regime against
Iran. At this point the announcement of the October 1 meeting is
important progress by itself which gives a dim hope for nuclear
dialogue on the eve of the UNGA meetings. The more Iran stays away
from the negotiation table the more suspicion arises about its
hidden intentions to develop atomic bombs. That suspicion is a
source of constant tension between the West and Israel and Iran. "

Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "It's good news that a year
after the group of six and Iran reached a stalemate in nuclear
discussions that they are all coming to the table for talks. It is
seen as a very positive development that Istanbul is likely to be
chosen as the location for the talks. While Turkey is contributing
to these efforts, Turkey is not acting as a mediator but instead is
acting as a facilitator in this situation."

VOA Voices Concern Over Press Freedoms in Turkey (Hurriyet)
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that a commentary broadcast by the Voice
of America (VOA) Radio said the USD 2.5 billion of tax fine levied
on Turkey's leading media conglomerate, Dogan Media Group, had risen
concerns over the future of press freedoms in the country. 'Signed'
by Dorian Jones, the commentary warned the fine could jeopardize
Turkey's drive to become a full member of the EU. It also noted the

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fine came after the DG published accusations regarding alleged ties
between a 'fraudulent' Germany-based Turkish charity, Deniz Feneri,
and the governing party in Turkey.

The UN Weighs In On War Crimes Allegations in Gaza
Liberal Radikal notes in "The UN: Israel Committed War Crimes in
Gaza," that "Following Amnesty International, the UN has released a
report stating that Israel committed war crimes and crimes against
humanity during its 22-day operation in Gaza." Meanwhile,
mainstream Hurriyet headlines "The UN: Both Sides Were Guilty in
Gaza." Mainstream Milliyet reports "The UN report indicates that
both Israel and Palestinian forces were guilty of committing war
crimes in Gaza."

Editorial Commentary on Turkey's Potential Patriot Missile Purchase

Lale (Sariibrahimoglu) Kemal wrote in leftist Taraf: "Does Turkey
need Patriot missiles? It is hard to understand why Turkey's
purchase of new arms is not scrutinized through a democratic
civilian filtering process while the country itself goes through a
deepening economic crisis. In democracies, the political authority
makes the threat assessment and parliamentary commissions make the
final decision. Turkey is too dependent on purchasing arms
technologies from foreign sources, which brings into question the
strength of Turkey's military."

TV News (CNN Turk) Domestic

-Diyarbakir prosecutor demands 138 years in prison for six children
who participated in illegal protests and threw stones at the police.

-On September 17-18, Turkish and Iraqi officials will come together
in Istanbul to discuss preparations for a high-level meeting of the
Strategic Cooperation Council set up by Turkey and Iraq. Turkish
and Iraqi Foreign Ministers will join the meeting.
-President Gul will visit Saudi Arabia from September 20-24.
-On September 17, Prime Minister Erdogan will host an Iftar dinner
for chief editors of newspapers and TV channels in Istanbul.
-AK Party has hosted a Ramadan Iftar dinner in Diyarbakir in which
prayers were made in Kurdish.

World

-Missile attack on Baghdad's Green Zone during Vice President
Biden's surprise visit to Iraq.
-EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the October 1 meeting
between the 5 members of the UNSC plus Germany and Iran was likely
to take place in Turkey.
-UN Special Representative Alexander Downer said both parties in
Cyprus must be ready to make concessions to resolve the conflict on
the divided island.
-Children and Armed Conflict says about 250,000 children were
recruited as soldiers by armed forces and insurgents worldwide.

JEFFREY

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