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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0078
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RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 7591
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RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
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RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001464

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
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2009

Media Highlights: Armenian Diaspora and Turkey-Armenia
Normalization; Israel and Anatolian Eagle Exercise: Cancelled
or Postponed?; President Gul on the EU; Iran and P5+1; Afghanistan;
Banned Internet Sites Reach 1,209

Armenian Diaspora: "Sarksian will either postpone the signing of the
protocols or reject it"
All media outlets continue to give prominent coverage on
Turkey-Armenia normalization process and issues related to it.
Mainstream Hurriyet draws attention to the claims of Armenian
Diaspora regarding the protocol signing between Turkey and Armenia.
Holding a press conference in Yerevan, Yerevan representative of the
"US Armenian Assembly" Arpi Vartanyan claimed that following the
conclusion of his meetings with Diaspora, President Sarksian will
either postpone the date to sign the protocol with Turkey or will
reject the full text. Mainstream Sabah notes that visiting Lebanon
to calm concerns among members of Armenian Diaspora over
Turkish-Armenian efforts to normalize relations, President Sargsyan
faced a hostile reception in Beirut as well. Addressing the
Armenian community in Beirut, Sargsyan said "continuation of the
status quo will have negative impact on Turkey and Armenia.
Following the improved diplomatic ties with Turkey, a positive
atmosphere will be established at our bilateral meetings. I believe
that the Diaspora's concerns are very objective, however, they
should not prevent improved relations with Turkey. Diaspora had
given similar reactions when Armenia had declared independence. Our
belief is full that we will reach a solution." Meanwhile, speaking
to Wall Street Journal, PM Erdogan urged Sargsyan government to
stand strong against Diaspora's reactions and not to allow Diaspora
to determine Armenian policies instead of Armenian government."
Erdogan added that Turkey is ready to sign the protocol in its
current form.

"The Diaspora Does not Have a Single Voice." In mainstream Milliyet,
Semih Idiz observes two groups within the Diaspora; hardliners and
relatively moderate ones and expects a positive phase regardless of
the protests that Sarksian has been facing: "Despite all types of
opposition, those who support normalization with Turkey are strong
enough to proceed. In the end, protocols are expected to be passed
by the Armenian parliament." A similar positive expectation comes
from Taha Akyol in the same paper: "Even though no official
announcement is available, there will be a protocol signing in
Zurich on October 10. It may be kept as a low profile event in
order not to provoke the Diaspora." The writer adds however "what
is more important is whether or not Sarksian will come for the
match."

In mainstream Sabah, Erdal Safak observes a major difference between
state-to-state and people-to-people rapprochement in an article
"States and Peoples": "When the two states make up, it does not mean
their people will automatically do the same. The Turkish and
Armenian administrations should work on a comprehensive public
education and awareness strategy otherwise Turkish-Armenia
normalization does not go beyond the Egypt-Israel peace."

'Anatolian Eagle' military exercises cancelled or postponed
Papers report the international part of the Anatolian Eagle military
exercises scheduled to take place this month in Konya was either
"canceled" or "postponed." First reported on mainstream Hurriyet's
website on October 7, today's mainstream Milliyet says the annulment
came as an expression of Turkish reactions to the Israeli attacks on
Gaza and in deference to its neighbors. The paper points out also
that Prime Minister Erdogan was expected to visit Iran this month
and that Turkey and Syria were working on an agreement for lifting
mutual visa requirements for visitors. The annulment of the
exercises has been perceived as a Turkish message for the two
countries, comments Milliyet. Mainstream Aksam, however, says the
cancellation came as a "surprise." The paper claims that Israel who
told Turkey that it would not participate in the exercises this
year. The other countries followed suit, and said they would not
participate either, says Aksam.

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Meanwhile Turkish General Staff posted an official announcement in
its web site at 6:00 am saying that international participation is
postponed: "International participation being postponed as a result
of the contacts between related countries through the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs."

President Gul to EU: "Perhaps we will not want EU as Norway did"
Today's papers highlighted the message of President Gul to the EU,
prior to his departure for France. Milliyet quotes Gul as saying
"some countries preparing to hold referendum on Turkey's EU
accession. Turkey is ready to show respect for the outcome of the
referendum. Perhaps when that day comes, Turkey and Turkish people
will not prefer full membership and follow Norway's decision
regarding the EU membership." Responding to a question whether
Sargsyan would attend the football game in Bursa on October 14, Gul
said "You all know that I went to the game in Armenia without any
conditions, I hope that Sargsyan will do the same thing. I invited
him and want to show him our hospitality, as he kindly hosted us
there," notes Sabah.

"Iran Plays a Game"
Turkish pundit Kadri Gursel observes "Negotiation Game in Geneva" by
Iran. In mainstream Milliyet, he worries: "The Geneva negotiation
process received appreciation but the fact of the matter is the two
negotiating sides have entirely different game plans as if they
speak on two different languages. The ultimate goal for the P5+1 is
to have Iran stop its nuclear program while Iran is using this
platform as a time-gainer until it finalizes the nuclear strategy."

Afghanistan's Destiny Tied To Two Books. (Hurriyet)
Mainstream Hurriyet says, "the two bestsellers, 'Lessons in
Disaster' and 'A Better War', play a significant role on the debate
on the US strategy in Afghanistan. The paper reports, "the two
books cite Vietnamese War and takes different lessons from the war."
According to the paper, President Obama's favorite 'Lessons in
Disaster' tells how army drags politicians to a war 'that can't be
won' and how the White House can't see this danger. Whereas, in
McCain's favorite 'A Better War', army finds a way to win and the
final is different than the reality.

1,209 websites banned in Turkey (Milliyet)
According to the Turkish Telecommunications Board, the state entity
for providing the internet, access to 1,209 websites were banned in
Turkey during the November 2007-January 2009 period. Some 317
websites were banned over sexual exploitation of children, 77 over
gambling, 54 over placement of bets, 553 over obscenity, 28 over
offenses that had been committed against Ataturk, and 164 over
"catalogue crimes," reports Milliyet.

"If You Don't Like It, Just Close It Down": In mainstream HaberTurk,
columnist Dogan Satmis criticized the ongoing internet bans and
noted they are mostly administrative actions instead of a court
ruling: "Closing down a web site due to court decision has a logic
in it because at least the site owner can try every judicial step to
reverse the decision. However in Turkey's case, 5 out of 6 banned
internet sites are administrative action which means, you can only
defend yourself against the bureaucracy if you dare. It seems
Turkey, at the end of day, will neither be a member of EU nor be a
full democratic country."


Upcoming events:

Q October 9: French President Sarkozy will host a working lunch for
Visiting Turkish President Gul.
Q October 10-11: The 12th International Balkan Conference, attended
by 40 Balkan leaders, will be held in Istanbul to discuss Turkey-EU
relations.
Q October 14: The EU will release its "progress report" on Turkey.
Some Turkish papers predict that the report will extensively cover

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the current tax challenges to the Dogan Media Group and its
implications for a free press in Turkey.

JEFFREY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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