Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2009
Media Highlights: Afghanistan Elections; US Kingpin Act and PKK;
Debate Over PKK Returnees; PM Erdogan to US;
Turkish Businessman Having Hard Time for Producing Fake Parts;
"Second Round of Vote in Afghanistan" (Milliyet)
Media emphasize that President Hamid Karzai agreed to face a second
round of voting in Afghanistan's disputed election after a UN-led
fraud inquiry. In "Afghanistan will Go for the Second Round on Nov
7," Islamist-oriented Zaman notes the role of Senator Kerry and says
"Karzai, who was rejecting a second round vote, is now convinced."
Liberal Radikal headline reads, "Second Tour in Severe Winter," and
opines, "US pressure, particularly the efforts by Sen John Kerry and
the UN, played a role in Afghan President Karzai's reversal on the
issue of a runoff election." Mainstream Aksam writes in, "Karzai
Accepts Second Round,"that "US Senator Kerry convinced Karzai to
drop his objections to a run-off."
In a related story, papers highlight the details of yesterday's
Turkish National Security Council meeting. In "Decree Highlighted
at NSC, " mainstream Sabah reports that the NSC confirmed in a
statement following the meeting that Turkish troops in Afghanistan
would not be involved in combating terrorists or participate in
drug and mine searches - even after Turkey takes over the ISAF
command in Kabul on November 1. Mainstream Hurriyet headlines that
"Turkey Will Not be a Combatant Force" and claims that this message
was delivered to the US after the meeting.
"The US Report that Dissolves the PKK" (Aksam)
Under the headline, "The Report that Dissolves the PKK," mainstream
Aksam says on its front page that the US Treasury Department's
"Kingpin" sanctions against three leading PKK members warns the
group that "criminal activities cannot be covered by political
rhetoric." The report, of which a copy was submitted to Turkish
authorities, accuses PKK leaders Murat Karayilan, Ali Riza Altun and
Zubeyir Aydar of narcotics trafficking to help fund the PKK. The
report warns that the money the PKK gained through drug smuggling
was "not safe." The report notes the PKK extorts money from the
drug traffickers in Europe, and says the PKK's leaders take active
role in the delivery of drugs to the Netherlands. "The PKK is
engaged in an effort to legalize its organization around Europe, and
began gaining millions of Euros through 'taxation' of the drugs that
come over Turkey," says the report.
Mainstream Star quotes State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly from his
Oct. 20 briefing. Star reports that Kelly stressed the support the
US gives to Turkey's territorial integrity, and said, "We support
the efforts of our Turkish ally to overcome the PKK problem." The
paper also quotes the deputy commander of the coalition forces in
northern Iraq, General Robert Brown, as saying, "We do not see the
PKK as a problem in the north of Iraq."
All PKK Returnees are Free
Today's papers gave extensive coverage to the release of all 34 PKK
members who came from Qandil and Makhmour camp to Turkey.
Mainstream Vatan quotes Interior Minister Besir Atalay saying that
"the PKK terrorists returning home was a part of the plan of the
government. The north of Iraq is not going to be a safe haven for
them, they all know this. Initially, we expect that 100-150 more
people to return." Liberal Radikal quotes PM Erdogan as saying "Is
it possible not to be hopeful after the picture we saw yesterday at
the Habur gate? Something is happening in Turkey, which gives us
hope." Meanwhile , harsh reaction came from the opposition parties
to the initiative. MHP Chairman Devlet Bahceli said during his
party meeting: "Those who were met with applause were not pilgrims
returning from Mecca. Nor were they Turkish expatriates who returned
to their homeland after long years of hard work in foreign
countries. They were not Turkish soldiers who represented their
nation in other places with pride. They were treacherous terrorists
who carry the blood of thousands of innocents babies, mothers, women
and martyrs on their hands and weapons... with this initiative APK
surrendered to PKK, not PKK to Turkey." Main opposition party CHP
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leader said "We have started to understand what has been talked
about recently. They keep talking about an initiative and a process.
We have seen what is behind it. We understand why the process is
being carried out secretly. We understand the reason why the DTP
pointed to Ocalan as an interlocutor. We have seen that Ocalan's
roadmap has been implemented. This is a project by the AKP, PKK and
Editorials on the return of the PKK groups
"Returnees and the Latest Picture" (Yeni Safak) Turkish pundits
continue to make supportive comments on the returnees and aftermath.
Some writers express concern about DTP's language and attitude,
like Ali Bayramoglu in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak who writes today
that: "Each time DTP members make a reference to Ocalan, the whole
situation goes toward more conflict rather than peace." The writer
hopes that DTP uses the 34 returnees and their release as "a good
chance for peace." In mainstream Hurriyet Sedat Ergin finds the
welcoming scenes of returnees "annoying" however he adds optimism.
"While PKK Lays Down Arms": "If these scenes will ultimately lead to
peace and tranquility, we can try to be hopeful." "Concrete Steps":
Similarly Islamist oriented Zaman's Mustafa Unal says "there were
some annoying visuals about the returnees but at the end of the day
this is about peace at home."
Considering strong reaction from the two opposition parties,
columnist Murat Yetkin thinks there is no chance for the government
from now on to work for a constitutional amendment to encourage more
on the Kurdish initiative. In liberal Radikal he wrote: "It is
obvious that the government has to proceed thru decrees and
regulations." One pessimistic scenario however comes from Islamist
oriented Yeni Safak's writer Ibrahim Karagul. "Worrying About
Turkey": Skeptical about warning coming from the Turkish
intelligence units, he writes: "There is a strong possibility of
undermining the ongoing initiatives thru creating chaos in the
country. Turkish Intelligence is now warning about Islamist groups
may be attacking Israeli and American targets in Turkey. Given the
fact that similar chaotic attacks occurred in Iran and Pakistan
previously by some American and British manipulated groups, this
warning presents a big question mark."
Erdogan's Upcoming Visit to the US
Mainstream Milliyet headline reads "Erdogan First Goes to Iran and
then to the US" and notes that PM Erdogan will be travelling to
Pakistan on October 24-25, to Iran on October 26-27 and then to the
US. Due to Turkish Republic day, the PM was planning to postpone
his trip to the US, originally scheduled for October 29> Milliyet
reports that PM Erdogan said he did not receive an answer to his
postponement request from the US yet. And, according to the paper,
the PM added that if there is no other option, he can attend
Obama's invitation on October 29.
Turkish businessman arrested over fake spare parts sold to US
Mainstream Hurriyet reports from New York that New York based
Turkish businessman Galip Dedekarginoglu was arrested for delivering
to the US Defense Department "low quality and fake spare parts"
produced in the businessman's factory in Turkey. Dedekarginoglu has
New York Machinery LLC in New Jersey. Dedekarginoglu was accused of
putting on the parts the logo of the original brand after producing
them with cheap material. He was released on USD 500,000 of bail,
but will be on trial with the demand of up to 20 years in prison
each for five separate crimes, says Hurriyet.
Q October 21: Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev comes to Turkey.
Q October 21: Foreign Minister Davutoglu will brief the parliament
on the normalization protocols signed with Armenia.
Q October 24: President Gul will pay an official visit to Serbia, as
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Q October 24-25: Prime Minister Erdogan will visit Pakistan, as
Q October 26-27: Prime Minister Erdogan will visit Iran, as reported
TV News (NTV and other channels)
Q Istanbul Governor's Office said the swine flu outbreak has not
reached Istanbul yet, but health officials say there were 235 cases
in the city.
Q Health authorities have shut down all schools in the city of
Diyarbakir following the outbreaks of swine flu.
Q Central bank governor Durmus Yilmaz said there was "partial
improvement" in Turkish unemployment figures.
Q Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said recent talks with
Turkish PM Erdogan focused on bilateral, regional and international
issues, but stressed that Turkey cannot be a mediator in nuclear
Q The Turkish Parliament's foreign relations committee will send a
delegation comprised of AKP and MHP MPs to Baku at a time of
strained relations with Azerbaijan.
Q Turkish flags removed from the Monument of Martyrs in Azerbaijan
have been returned.
Q The association of Turkish Jews in Israel sent a letter to
President Gul, PM Erdogan and FM Davutoglu, asking for taking off
the air "Separation" series on TRT television.