Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
MONDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2009
Media Highlights: Iraq: Bloodshed in Baghdad; Amb. Jeffrey's
Outreach on PKK, Afghanistan; Basbug and Barzani Enter
Debate Over PKK Returnees; Op/Ed's on PKK And Applause for US
Approach; PM Erdogan says "Iran is a friend;"
IAEA Inspects Iran Nukes; President Gul in Serbia; PM Erdogan Visits
Blood Shed Again In Baghdad (Sabah)
The bombings in Baghdad continues to make headlines in all papers.
In "The Bloodiest Attack," mainstream Milliyet says, "Two suicide
car bombs targeting Iraqi Justice Ministry and the Baghdad
provincial administration is the bloodiest attack since August
2007." Mainstream Hurriyet headlines, "A Bomb to Justice," and
characterizes the bombings as "a serious blow" against Maliki in a
critical period. Mainstream Sabah opines, "the attacks came just
before Iraq's top leadership is set to meet for a compromise on the
disputed election law ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote in
January." Liberal Radikal carries the headline, "Iraqi Capital All
in Blood," saying, "Iraqi officials pointed al Qaeda for the
Jeffrey: The PKK Question Must be Resolved before the US Withdraws
Sabah, Taraf, Yeni Safak and Zaman carried front page coverage of
Saturday's roundtable interview with Ambassador Jeffrey. Mainstream
Sabah gives extensive front-page coverage to his comments that the
PKK should be "brought to an end" before the withdrawal of US troops
from Iraq. "The sooner Turkey solves this problem, the better,"
noted Jeffrey. Jeffrey underlined that the democratic initiative
was a plan shaped by Turkey, and not the US. "We support the
Turkish military operations against the PKK. We also support
Turkey's democratic initiative. This is a matter of sensitive
internal political debate, therefore we do not speak on it,"
emphasized Jaffrey. Jeffrey said the US was "making sacrifices,"
and in line with the requests of Turkey, was keeping in Iraq the air
platforms needed in Afghanistan. Islamist-oriented Zaman quotes
Jeffrey regarding Treasury's sanctions against three PKK leaders as
drug kindpins. "We have suggested the European countries do the
same," said Jeffrey. On Israel and Syria, Jeffrey said if Turkey
wants to be an effective mediator between Israel and Syria, it must
keep an equal distance to both sides.
Basbug Enters Debate Over PKK Returnees - Joint Decision With
The GoT's decision to postpone more PKK returnees and the Turkish
military's reaction is the main news in Monday's print and TV.
Milliyet headlined that the decision to postpone PKK returnees was a
"Joint Decision" that was made during a critical telephone
conversation between PM Erdogan and TGS Chief General Basbug.
Saturday's Sabah reports that the DTP officials were determined to
hold celebrations for the new returnees as well, while Istanbul
Mayor Muammer Guler stressed that they definitely would not permit
such shows. Turkish General Staff (TGS) also announced on Friday
that such celebrations were "unacceptable." Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet reports that TGS Chief General Basbug said "it is not
possible to accept recent developments. I share the feelings of
relatives of martyrs and veterans." Mainstream Hurriyet reports
that in protest against the AKP's democratic initiative and the PKK
returnees, around 300 drivers and riders visited the Edirnekapi
Martyrdom memorial in Istanbul yesterday with their cars and
motorbikes, draped in Turkish flags and anti-PKK slogans. Today's
Milliyet reports that, speaking to the journalists in Antalya, main
opposition party CHP leader Deniz Baykal criticized the AKP
government's democratic opening and said "The bases of the process
was wrong and the mistakes was blocked by Turkish people."
Mainstream Vatan quotes Baykal as saying "The Government had to take
a back step after seeing the public reaction to the celebrations."
Barzani Says Celebrations Provocative: In a related story,
mainstreams Vatan and Hurriyet report that KRG Prime Minister
Necirvan Barzani also criticized ceremonies held to celebrate the
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PKK 's return, saying "it is an important step for the PKK to send
Turkey a peace group, however, this should not be done in a
provocative way. The PKK should not adopt provocative ways which
could be violated by the enemies of the Kurds and could block the
process." Barzani added that he was pleased with Turkey's gesture
and he hopes that this project will continue in order to resolve the
Op/Ed's on PKK and Applause for US Approach;. In "Regional
Dynamics" Kadri Gursel in mainstream Milliyet calls the government
not to defer the Kurdish initiative process by making reference to
Ambassador Jeffrey's comments. He observes: "The current
circumstances are forcing the continuation of this process, just
like Ambassador Jeffrey was emphasizing the other day that the US
wants to finish the PKK issue before the completion of the
withdrawal from Iraq."
Conservative daily Turkiye's writer Yilmaz Oztuna believes that the
PKK was being used by both the US and the KRG, "but those times are
over" he concludes. He says: "The US is determined to leave a
stable Iraq so that it will not pose any headache in the aftermath
of pullout. In this context, there is no room for PKK and Turkey is
expected to develop better ties with the KRG."
In "From Opening to Dissolving" Islamist-oriented Zaman's columnist
Ali Bulac blames the DTP for working toward a divided society "as
oppsed to helping for unity." Similarly, Islamist oriented Yeni
Safak writer Yasin Aktay suggests empathy: "The DTP has to
understand the sentiment in other parts of society. Even a little
bit of empathy will be helpful if the genuine goal is peace."
Mainstream Vatan's columnist Okay Gonensin thinks there is a
responsibility for DTP as well as for the main opposition. In
"Reactions" he says: "Both opposition parties are trying to work
more on the tension-building while the DTP presents an irresponsible
attitude. This process is meant to be an overall peace and
democracy not an overall conflict seeking."
"Iran is Our Friend" Says PM Erdogan
TV outlets are reporting this morning on The Guardian's exclusive
interview with Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan. The interview highlights
PM Erdogan saying "Ahmadinejad is Turkey's friend and they have not
experienced any problems with Iran." PM Erdogan warned Europe not
to ignore Turkey's strengths, emphasizing that "being in the EU,
Turkey would be building bridges between the people of Muslim world
and the non-Muslim world."
UN Experts in Iran for Nuclear Inspection
Turkish media carry straightforward coverage on the report that UN
nuclear experts inspected a uranium enrichment site in the city of
Qum whose existence was announced by Iran last month. Mainstream
Hurriyet headline reads, "First UN Inspection in Iran's Site,"
pointing "while world powers pressure Iran to put its uranium
enrichment activities, they also want to get much of its enriched
uranium reserve." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet headlines, "IAEA
Inspection Starts in Iran," while in "Uranium Inspection,"
mainstream Sabah says, "Iran's nuclear site is inspected by IAEA
officials." Islamist-oriented Zaman carries the headline, "First
Visit to Iran's New Site."
A Significant Visit to Serbia
Mainstreams Sabah and Milliyet report that President Gul went to
Serbia on an official visit together with a 115 member delegation.
Sabah quotes the President saying "I strongly believe that my visit
to Serbia will contribute to our efforts to establish stability and
security in the Balkans and to improve our relations with Serbia."
Milliyet notes that Gul is first Turkish President since 1986 to
visit Serbia. President Gul noted that our relations with Serbia
recently came to a point that it could be counted as the strategic
cooperation and added that Serbia's responsible stance has a vital
importance for the region's stability.
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Erdogan Visits Pakistan to Avert Military Takeover (Radikal)
All papers report Turkey was intermediating to end the tensions
between Iran and Pakistan. Iran accuses Pakistan together with the
US and the UK for harboring Jundallah, the "Army of God," which
claimed responsibility over the October 18 suicide bomb attack in
the southern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan. More than 40
people including seven commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards
were killed in the attacks. In a joint press conference with his
Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, Erdogan said he was going
to discuss the attack with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Erdogan
stressed that joint action was needed for peace in the region.
Papers report Turkey and Pakistan established a high-level
Monday's liberal Radikal warns a military coup was imminent in
Pakistan, and comments that Turkey was working to convince the
Pakistani military to abandon plans for a military takeover and
support the establishment of a national unity government in the
country. Erdogan is currently visiting Pakistan after Turkish army
chief General Ilker Basbug called on the Swat valley from October
12-15. Radikal claims Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani
was expected to seize control of the country, and stresses that the
government of Gilani could not do anything to avert a coup.
Q October 26-November 8: Turkey and Britain will carry out joint
military exercises in Salisbury.
Q October 30: Foreign Minister Davutoglu and Foreign Trade Minister
Caglayan will visit the city of Erbil in northern Iraq.
Q November 8: CHP leader Baykal will go to Iraq to meet Iraqi
TV News (NTV)
Q Demonstrators rallied Sunday in the cities of Ankara, Istanbul,
Konya, Afyonkarahisar, Mus, Konya, Yalova, Edirne and Canakkale to
protest the celebrations organized at the return of the PKK
militants to Turkey.
Q In addition to a reception to be hosted by President Gul, the
military will hold a separate reception to mark the Republican Day
on October 29.
Q Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said IMF funds could trigger
growth in Turkey, and signaled that a deal with the IMF was
Q Turkey's Privatization Administration prepares plans for the sale
of 56 state-owned power plants.
Q Former Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said the
celebrations organized by DTP to welcome the PKK groups in Turkey
had been "provocation."
Q Pakistan removes visa requirements for Turkish businessmen.