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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2009

Media Highlights: US on PKK Pressure; U/S Hormats on Turkish
Economy; Turkey-Armenia Commentary; Armenian Diaspora and Little
Armenia; MHP Opposed to Kurdish Initiative; Erdogan Intolerant of a
Free Press; Afghanistan; Obama's Iran Talks Positive

"US Pressures Northern Iraq to Cut off PKK's Resources."
(Hurriyet.com.tr) Mainstream Hurriyet's online page carries an
exclusive interview with Ambassador Jeffrey. Ambassador Jeffrey
said "The US has urged the Baghdad government and the northern Iraq
administration to put more effort for cutting off equipment and
money transfer to the PKK terrorist organization. " On the
Turkey-Iraq-the US three-party security talks to be held in Erbil
next week, Jeffrey said one of the main topics of the gathering
would be the struggle against the PKK. Jeffrey noted the US had
learned a lot from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, and stressed that
the struggle against terror should be made not only against the
terrorists but also against the reasons that cause terror. Jeffrey
stated that the international community provided huge support for
the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia, adding, "Both
countries have their own approval processes. Sometimes it's
difficult to take such steps, so we will just wait and see." On the
heavy tax fine imposed on the Dogan Media Group, Jeffrey said "We
don't know the details. We will be greatly concerned to see any
sign which aims to suppress or intervene on the free press."

Hormats: We Are Impressed By Turkey's Economic Success.
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports that U/S Robert Hormats praised the
Turkish economy during IMF meetings in Istanbul. Hormats noted that
"We see Turkey not only in the security and strategic sense, but
also from the perspective as a strong economic partner," adding that
because Turkey pursued a "right policy" during the global crisis,
its economy shows strong improvement." Asked to comment on the
Dogan Media Group's tax battle with the Government, Hormats stressed
that he didn't have all the details but "All I can say is the United
States is a strong defender of press freedom."

Turkey is Ready for Protocol Signing with Armenia on 10/10 (Zaman)
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports Turkey was "ready" for the signing
of the protocols with Armenia on October 10. The paper reports
unnamed Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) sources said they were "ready
to jump on a plane to go to Zurich" for the signing. The Foreign
Ministers of the US, Russia and France, and representatives of the
EU and the UN are expected to join the ceremony. Zaman says Ankara
has been "surprised" in the delay of the Swiss announcement about
the venue and time of the meeting, but the sources say the delay was
linked to "logistic problems" due to the high number of
participants.

Editorials on Turkey-Armenia

A Turning Point: Mainstream daily Milliyet's senior columnist Sami
Kohen notes a division between Yerevan and the Armenian Diaspora for
the first time: "President Sarksyan feels trapped because the
Diaspora is forcing the Armenian president not to go ahead with the
normalization process. Thus the upcoming protocol signing between
Turkey and Armenia will be a turning point, not only for bilateral
relations but also for the relationship between Yerevan
administration and the Diaspora."

Successful Diplomacy: In mainstream daily Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok
observes a successful diplomacy on the eve of protocol signing: "The
signing represents an historic step on Turkey-Armenia relations. As
Turkish officials note, the signing ceremony between the Turkish and
Armenian Foreign Ministers will take place on the 10th and
representatives from the US and Russia are expected to attend. All
of this signifies a successful outcome of diplomacy."

"Sarksyan Faces Diaspora Protests Everywhere He Goes" (Sabah)
Today's mainstreams Hurriyet and Sabah focus on the recent protests
by Diaspora against Turkey-Armenia protocol signing. Sabah predicts
that given the protests he faces everywhere he visits, it will be

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very difficult for Armenian President Sarksyan to have Diaspora's
support during the normalization process. Sarksyan will be visiting
Lebanon and Russia as well. There are 140.000 Armenians living in
Beirut and already the signals of protests are coming from there.
Armenians are reacting to the protocol by questioning "How could an
enemy of 100 years become a friend so suddenly?," and emphasizing
that the reconciliation involves all Armenians in the world.
Hurriyet quotes Sarksyan in France as saying "I cannot give any
guarantees on the genocide issue." In order to get Diaspora's
support for the protocol between Turkey and Armenia, Sarksyan held a
critical meeting in France and responded to the Armenians who asked
for guarantee on the genocide issue, saying that "I cannot give any
guarantees; we started the initiative like this. First of all, the
relationship with Turkey should be normalized and the borders should
be opened. We will be very careful and follow Turkey closely to
find out whether they are sincere or not."

Little Armenia in Turkey
A translated AFP story in mainstream Vatan explains the life of the
Armenians in Istanbul. The report talks about "20,000 illegal
Armenian workers living in Istanbul. There are five to six bus
loads coming in every week from Yerevan, usually arrive in Istanbul
after a grueling 35-hour journey via Georgia. They apply for one
month's visa and start working illegally. Their existence is no
secret for Turkish authorities: in April, President Abdullah Gul
said there were more than 70,000 Armenian citizens working in
Turkey. These immigrants established a school for their children in
the basement of an apartment and educating them through Armenian
textbooks. In a major breakthrough, Turkey and Yerevan announced in
August a deal to establish diplomatic ties for the first time and
open their border, sealed since 1993. The two countries are
expected to ink the deal on Saturday in Switzerland before
submitting it to their respective parliaments for ratification. If
the process succeeds, it would change the picture for the immigrants
and they will start to deal with trade between the two countries."

Bahceli Fears Government's Kurdish Initiative Will Lead to the South
and North War
Papers report opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli slammed the
ruling AK Party government's Kurdish "democratic initiative," saying
it was a "project of destruction." Bahceli said the government's
so-called efforts for a solution had "empowered" the "killer in
Imrali," Abdullah Ocalan, making the PKK's imprisoned leader and PM
Erdogan "twins." Bahceli said that in this "process," the
initiative was taken by "external forces," and Turkey was beginning
to "kneel down" as the side defeated in war.

Erdogan Intolerant of a Free Press - Consequences Loom (Radikal)
Emphasizing the potential threat to a free press in Turkey caused by
the government's tax feud with the Dogan Media Group, Murat Yetkin
writes in liberal Radikal: "The Prime Minister's Al Capone rhetoric
is related to his intolerance about the free press. His depiction
is a demonstration of government's intimidation against freedom of
expression. When you talk to Europeans and Americans, they are all
aware of it as well as concerned about the press freedom but they
prefer to remain silent. This choice might bring very serious
consequences in the end."

Mainstream Sabah's popular columnist Hincal Uluc thinks PM Erdogan's
rhetoric will backfire to himself: "It is very unfortuante that
country's prime minister puts a murderer and a media owner in the
same category. This approach will only backfire and harm himself,
not the accused."

Gates Says 'US Won't Leave Afghanistan'. Media emphasize today the
Obama administration is having an internal debate on the US strategy
in Afghanistan. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports on the CNN
interview with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at Georgetown
University and says "as the internal debate rises inside the Obama
administration, Secretary Gates told the US will stay in Afghanistan
and stay in cooperation with Pakistan whatever President Obama's

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decision is." The paper also writes, "Reaction to Afghanistan's
General." Business daily Referans carries the headline,
"Afghanistan Report Splits the Administration," and says "US General
Mc Chrystal's insistency to send more troops to Afghanistan split
the US administration."

Iran's Nuclear. In "Is There any Reconciliation?" mainstream daily
Sabah Columnist Bulent Aras finds the first phase of talks as
encouraging for the future and advises Iran to cooperate: "If Iran
cooperates, President Obama will have a strong hand both inside and
outside. If Iran does not cooperate in the following phase of
Geneva process, problems will be folded and at the same time it will
take really long to achieve a proper climate for international
action."

Upcoming events:

Q October 7-9: President Gul travels to France on an
official visit.
Q October 7: Foreign Minister Davutoglu goes to the
Netherlands for a working visit as the guest of his Dutch
counterpart Maxime Verhagen.
Q October 10-11: 12th International Balkan Conference,
attended by 40 Balkan leaders, will be held in Istanbul to discuss
Turkey-EU relations.
Q October 13: Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu and his
Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moualem will sign an agreement on visa
exemption for visitors.


JEFFREY

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