Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
DE RUEHAK #1527/01 2951230
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221230Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1034
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0095
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 6397
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 4221
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 7605
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 7497
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4087
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001527
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 22, 2009
Media Highlights: PKK Returns Spark Emotions; Davutoglu Briefs
Parliament on Armenian Protocols; Ninety Nuclear
Bombs at Incirlik; Powell Lauds Turkey's Active Role; Iranian
Officials Accept Protocol on Nuclear Fuel; Taliban
On Afghan Elections
Erdogan, Turk call for 'common sense' on PKK returns. Media outlets
report on Wednesday, the PKK group that has returned from Camp
Makhmur and Kandil Mountain arrived in Diyarbakir, to be greeted by
a huge crowd and fireworks. The PKK group was met with the posters
of Abdullah Ocalan and banners reading "Kurdistan is proud of you."
Papers describe the joyful welcome given to the group as a "show of
force." Papers report the relatives of martyred soldiers strongly
reacted to the returns and the government's 'democratic initiative.'
The prosecutors in Diyarbakir, Silopi, Cizre and Nusaybin have
launched investigations in connection with the celebrations held for
the returns. In the province of Agri yesterday, Prime Minister
Erdogan warned the DTP to avoid "provocations" and "show." Erdogan
stressed provocations would not be allowed to block the "process of
unity," which aims to "end the bloodshed and restore peace."
DTP leader Ahmet Turk, who addressed the crowd, warned that the
process might be deadlocked if they disregard the reactions in the
Turkish public. "We have to convince the people of Turkey. This is
neither victory, nor defeat. We have to leave our feelings aside,"
said Turk. Turk claimed MHP and CHP were exerting every effort to
block the new process, and that their opposition had some impact on
the government. "If the government believes in this project, it
should not be afraid of the opposition," said Turk. Papers also
report another group of 16 PKK members are expected to arrive in
Istanbul from European destinations.
Commentary: Columnists continue to urge DTP and pro-Kurdish
supporters for being sensible and respect everybody's feelings. In
"Kurdish issue, Turkish issue" mainstream Vatan columnist Rusen
Cakir takes note of sensitivities in Turkey's west as well as in the
east: "Genuine peace atmosphere can only be achieved by not
ignoring sensitivities in the west and by a common understanding
that this was not about pain and agony only for Kurds." In
mainstream Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok urges pro-Kurdish supporters to
understand "this not a victory nor a defeat for the returnees." He
writes in "Listen to Me My Kurdish Brother" that "this ongoing show
must be over and replaced by tranquility. We have done our part and
now you should do your part too." In Islamist oriented Zaman, Sahin
Alpay blames opposition parties: In "Giant Step Toward Internal
Peace" he writes "both leaders of opposition present a pathetic
approach by undermining the peace process. Their stance will be
judged by history." In liberal Radikal, Murat Yetkin sees a thin
line. In "Will PKK Address the Call?" he observes that "the
government acts on a thin line in the process. The scenes about
returnees are provocative and must come to a stop. If the PKK does
not get this immediately, the democratization spirit may also come
to end rapidly."
Davutoglu Briefs Parliament on Armenian Protocols. Mainstream
Hurriyet covers yesterday's briefing at the parliament and the
reaction of the opposition, extensively. The government on
Wednesday submitted the recently signed protocols with Armenia to
Parliament for ratification. Foreign Minister Davutoglu briefed
Parliament on Wednesday afternoon on these protocols. Davutoglu
said "these texts will shape the history. There are frozen crises
which are ready to explode in the region. We shall change the
status quo with peaceful methods so that a new tension area will not
be created." Main opposition CHP deputy Sukru Elekdag criticized
the protocols by saying "the protocols include very serious
disadvantages in terms of our national interests. Because, demands
of Yerevan for certain parts of Turkish land, were openly registered
in the founder documents of the Armenian state." MHP's group deputy
chair Oktay Vural said "we will defend that borders should not be
opened until the occupation of Azerbaijani lands ends. We will
oppose to the protocols at Parliament."
ANKARA 00001527 002 OF 003
Armenian Resolution in the Congress: The Hurriyet daily website have
started a flashy announcement about 2 Senators presented an Armenian
resolution draft to the Senate Foreign Relations. Senator Menendez
and Senator Ensign have prepared the draft which asks the
administration for recognition of 1915 events as interpreted by
Armenia, the story tells.
Commentary: In mainstream Hurriyet, Sedat Ergin thinks the Karabakh
solution process and protocol at the parliament will run parallel to
each other. He observes, in "Armenian Initiative Waits for
Karabakh" that "it seems to be a road map regarding Armenian
withdrawal from Karabakh's certain areas will be announced sooner or
later. However PM Erdogan put the bar too high when he talked in
Baku that the end of occupation is a must for border opening. In
the end, this will give an enormous card to play for the opposition
Ninety Nuclear Bombs at Incirlik Airbase. Hurriyet reports from
Washington that the Washington-based think tank "Stimson Center"
recently arranged a briefing for journalists on the latest nuclear
reports. The briefer, Dr. Barry M. Blechman is quoted as saying
that "there are 90 tactical nuclear weapons in Incirlik." Hurriyet
observes therefore that Ankara doesn't need to produce atomic bomb
as long as Turkey and the US remain as allies. "However, if Turkey
distances itself from the West, then the whole situation will
change, " the paper notes, and say that despite it being public
knowledge that there are nuclear weapons at the Incirlik air base,
no official announcement regarding the number and characters of
these weapons has ever been made.
US, Israel Hold 'Cobra' Exercises Against Iran. Papers report
Israel and the US have started "Juniper Cobra 10" military
exercises, the largest ever joint missile defense exercises between
the two countries with the participation of 2,000 troops from both
sides and 15 US vessels. An Israeli commander is quoted as telling
Israel Radio that the exercises were "preparation for a nuclear
Iran." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet comments that following the
exclusion of Israel from the Anatolian Eagle exercises that were to
be held in Turkey, the US gave the message that it sides with
Powell: US Government Pleased about Turkey Taking Active Roles
Mainstream Aksam report the former Secretary of State Colin Powell
went on a tour of the Bosphorus with several guests after addressing
an Istanbul conference on "mothers against violence." Powell told
Aksam nuclear weapons have not been used since the Korean War.
"Using nukes will harm the one who uses them; it is tantamount to
suicide. Iran is aware of this, therefore I do not see nuclear
weapons as a threat." On recent impressions that Turkey was moving
away from Israel and closer to Syria, Powell said, "Average
Americans see Turkey as sliding toward radical Islam. The US
Government, however, is very pleased about the active role Turkey
has taken. President Obama stresses this frequently, and ties are
strengthening between the two countries."
Iranian Officials Accept Protocol on Nuclear Fuel. Media reports on
talks regarding Iran's nuclear program in Vienna are positive after
envoys reached a tentative deal. Leftist Taraf headlines, "Draft
Deal with Iran on Nuclear," and thinks "the years-long tension
regarding Iran's ability to produce nuclear arms may be over with
the potential deal reached in Vienna." Meanwhile,
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reads, "Nuclear Fuel Deal on the
Table," saying, "Iran agreeing to ship most of its enriched uranium
abroad would significantly ease fears about Tehran's nuclear
program, since 1,000 kilograms is the commonly accepted amount of
low-enriched uranium needed to produce weapons."
Taliban's Comment on New Afghan Elections: Funny (Sabah) Media
observe "no matter who wins the election runoff that Afghanistan
President Hamid Karzai agreed to during pressured consultations,
Afghanistan has a government in which corruption has become second
ANKARA 00001527 003 OF 003
nature." Liberal Radikal headlines, "Always Fraud in Ballot Box,"
and opines, "Afghan election officials pay the bill for the fraud in
presidential elections. The UN issued a warning to Afghan election
officials not to re-recruit those officials who might have been
involved in fraudulent electoral processes." Mainstream Sabah says,
"while Karzai's rival, former FM Abdollah Abdollah, is happy with
the second round, Taliban militants said the election process is
funny and full of irregularities."
Q October 22: Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev visits Turkey.
Q October 22: Foreign Minister Davutoglu will go to Baku to attend
the Black Sea Economic Cooperation meetings.
Q October 22-25: A French police team will come to Turkey to discuss
the PKK activities in France and the extradition of fugitive
businessman Cem Uzan to Turkey.
TV News (NTV)
Q The state-owned TRT television "scissored" scenes of fighting
between Palestinian and Israeli soldiers in the controversial
Q One soldier is wounded when terrorists fired mortars at a military
base in the province of Hakkari on the border with Iraq.
Q A percussion bomb placed in front of Skyturk television's
headquarters in Istanbul has been sapped by the police.
Q Istanbul Governor's Office says 16 students from 10 schools have
been diagnosed with the swine flu. Two swine flu cases have been
reported in Konya. A high school in Ankara has been closed for a
week after four students were diagnosed with swine flu.
Q French President Sarkozy might reportedly cancel his November 7
trip to southern Cyprus scheduled after Greek Prime Minister
Papandreou said "Turkey will join the EU."
Q Turkey has submitted a note of protest to Azerbaijan over removal
of Turkish flags in front of Turkey's Religious Affairs office in
Q President Gul says he held a meeting with Azerbaijan's President
Aliyev to end the "misunderstandings that have triggered various
Q Russian and Italian Prime Ministers Putin and Berlusconi will hold
Thursday a teleconference with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to
discuss South Stream pipeline project.
Q Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer says nine Uighurs have been
executed by the Chinese government.