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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009

Media Highlights: Clinton's Global Partnerships; Commentary on
Turkey-US-Iraq Relations; New Case Against Incirlik
Base Extensions; Sabah on USNATO Tour to Afghanistan; Another 'One
Minute' Crisis in Rize; Erdogan Makes TGS Demands; Erdogan on
Turkey's Foreign Policy; Erdogan Rejects Swine Flu; New Turkish
University for Kabul;

Clinton's Global Partnerships to Strengthen Muslim Ties
Turkish media outlets were lukewarm in initial reporting on
Secretary Clinton's new initiative to boost development around the
Muslim world. National broadcaster TRT-TV Online in "Obama's New
Beginning Plan," notes that "previously, in his June address in
Cairo, President Obama promised to seek a new start to troubled US
relations with the Islamic world." In "Hillary Clinton Offers US
Aid to Help Boost Muslim Ties," Islamic-oriented Today's Zaman notes
that "taken together the new package pales in comparison to the
billions of dollars in aid that Washington extends to governments
in the region, including both Israel and Egypt." In "New US
Initiative for the Islamic World," liberal Radikal says, "Secretary
Clinton, speaking at a development forum in Marrakesh, announced the
new US initiative with the world's Muslims, to promote
entrepreneurship, economic development and education." Mainstream
Aksam's online page headlines, "Clinton Holds Muslim Initiative in
Morocco," and notes, "Clinton said the programs would aim to
encourage scientific and technical collaboration, women's
empowerment and cooperation between faiths."

Pundits Take Note of Turkey-US and Turkey-Iraq Relations
Cuneyt Ulsever in mainstream Hurriyet evaluates Turkey's foreign
policy and says "I am sure Turkey will produce independent policies
in certain areas, but after Obama was elected as the President and
Davutoglu assigned as Turkish Foreign Minister, Turkey-US ties
started settling on a new axis. Within the framework of Obama's
multi-centered politics - which expects active participation from
the other countries - Turkey is playing for the role of the US
Representative in the Middle East. US wants to test Turkey in four
areas. First of all the US wants to know whether Turkey will take
over an active role in Northern Iraq or not. Secondly, will Turkey
be able to tame Iran under US' demands. The US also wants to know
whether Turkey will be able to take Syria to the US' side. And
finally, the US wants to test Turkey whether it will be able to save
Hamas and Hezbollah from Iran's influence. If Turkey passes all
these tests without losing or isolating Israel in the Middle East
completely, then Turkey will be considered successful, otherwise,
we'll go back to Bush Administration's period."

Sami Kohen in mainstream Milliyet compares current ties between
Ankara-Irbil, as compared to last year, and says because of Ankara's
rationalist and pragmatic strategies, Turkey has improved relations
with the Northern Iraqi Administration. He comments: "The Kurdish
Administration in Northern Iraq, with US pressure, supported Turkey
in its fight against PKK terrorism. And we came to today's point
through a series of diplomatic and political initiatives, supported
by the military. Good ties with Northern Iraq is necessary for
Turkey, especially after the US withdrawal from Iraq."

Turkish NGO Goes to Court Against the Use of Incirlik Airbase by the
US
Papers report that following an application by the Global Peace and
Justice Coalition, a Turkish NGO, the Council of State (Danistay)
prosecutor has demanded the annulment of a Council of Ministers
decision made in 2007 to extend the agreement with the US allowing
the use of Incirlik Airbase for another two years. The prosecutor
said the approval of the parliament was needed to extend the mandate
for using Incirlik AB. He noted that the parliament, and not the
Council of Ministers, was to decide whether to authorize a foreign
troop deployment in Turkey and to use Turkish facilities. Danistay
is expected to make a decision on the issue within a month,
according to papers.

Sabah Multipart Series on Afghanistan

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Mainstream-pro government Sabah's diplomatic correspondent Duygu
Guvenc went on a USNATO tour in October in Afghanistan, reporting on
the Turkish ISAF contributions and the challenges of civilian
infrastructure projects in a three part series. She leds off the
series with a frank assessment of Turkey's" tough mission" in
Afghanistan and how Turkey handles many projects there, including
the police force, education and health services. In addition to
ISAF cooperation, she also emphasizes that the future of Afghanistan
is in civilian hands, noting the need for teachers, engineers and
doctors. One part of the series takes a humorous look at life for
the ISAF forces there, from rock concerts to the delights of Afghani
bread. "Now, ISAF is looking for a way out from Afghanistan," she
observes and notes that "civilians hold the key for the troop exit
from Afghanistan."

Turkey-Israel: A Mini 'One Minute' Crisis in Rize and Calls for Gul
to Visit Israel
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Aksam, Haberturk, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak
and Zaman report the mayor of the Black Sea province of Rize, Halil
Bakirci, had an "unpleasant" exchange of remarks during a meeting
with visiting Israeli Ambassador, Gaby Levy. Mayor Bakirci told the
Israeli Ambassador that the attitude of Turkish people toward Israel
would not change as long as Israel continues its "expansionist
policies." "The people of Rize will defend themselves in the face
of such threats, but they will not kill babies," said Bakirci. Levy
responded by saying that Israelis did not have any other
alternatives for survival. He admitted that Turkish-Israeli
relations had entered a difficult period, but added that
Turkey-Israel bilateral relations had strong roots. According to
Turkish media, the mayor went on to express anxiety about the safety
of the Israeli tourists visiting the Black Sea region, who he said
were viewed with suspicion but constitute 70 percent of all foreign
visitors to the area.

Commentary Condemns: In mainstream Hurriyet, Chief Editor Ertugrul
Ozkok took aim at the Mayor, criticizing him for his warning that
"Israeli tourists should not come to Rize" and for voicing concerns
of Israel policies in Gaza. According to Ozkok, "if Ankara's harsh
language spreads internally and turns into warnings to an Ambassador
from a Mayor, then, it will be difficult for the Turkish foreign
policy to stretch when it is necessary."

Gul Should Visit Israel: In mainstream Aksam, columnist Utku
Cakirozer voices concern that the continuing diplomatic crisis will
damage Turkey and Israel's strategic interests. "The heaviest
portion of the bill will go to Israel, because Turkey is Israel's
only trustworthy ally in the Islamic world," he opines. "Foreign
Ministry officials in both countries and the Ambassadors in two
capitals, exert extreme efforts to ease the tensions, however, the
remarks of the politicians in both countries, do not help at all.
We believe that, at this point, President Gul can play the most
constructive role to eliminate the tensions. If President Gul pays
a visit to Israel, the relationship between Ankara-Tel-Aviv will
reach the much deserved strategic level again."

Erdogan Calls on TGS to Turn In Anti-Government Conspirators
Papers report Prime Minister Erdogan, on an alleged military plot
against his government, called on the TGS Chief General Ilker Basbug
to bring to justice the suspects who drafted the plan for fighting
fundamentalism. Erdogan wanted the army to hand over Colonel Dursun
Cicek, the author of the plan, and five other military officers to
the prosecutor. TV and print media also carry reports of a new
wrinkle in the Ergenekon crisis with the publication if a new
"military memorandum" on fundamentalism. Media report that last
night an unidentified officer e-mailed a copy of another secret TGS
memo dated April 2009, to the 'Ergenekon' prosecutor and media
outlets. The new memo indicates that 430 websites, including the
NYT, the New York Post, The Independent, ANF, DIHA, Bianet, the AFP
and the WP, were monitored. Wire services reported that 292 of them
were in Turkish and 138 in foreign languages. They were categorized
as "separatist," "fundamentalist," "nationalist," "extreme left,"

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"pro-EU" and "unbiased." The memo was signed by eight officers,
including Colonel Cicek. It was presented to then TGS Deputy Chief,
General Hasan Igsiz. The memo also listed the websites used by the
TGS for psychological warfare, say papers.

Erdogan: Turkey in Close Ties both with West and Islamic World
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan on Tuesday told his ruling
AK Party group meeting that Turkey was "not shifting" its foreign
policy, but was only getting "normalized." Erdogan emphasized
Turkey was in close relationship both with the West and the Islamic
world. "Defending the rights and humanity in the face of the
Israeli atrocities in Gaza cannot be characterized as shifting
politics," said Erdogan.

Erdogan-Akdag Disagreement on Swine Flu Vaccines Lead to Confusion
All papers report Erdogan's controversial rejection of the swine flu
vaccination, just as swine flu vaccinations began in Turkey and the
death toll hit eleven. Health Minister Recep Akdag was vaccinated
in front of TV cameras as part of the nationwide swine flu
vaccination campaign. Prime Minister Erdogan, however, said he will
not get vaccinated, adding he did not agree with the health minister
that it should be compulsory. Akdag said the prime minister was not
in the group at risk for contracting the virus, and that citizens
would make their own choice about the vaccination. Erdogan's remarks
also led to confusion over the effectiveness of the vaccine, say
papers. Eyup Can in Hurriyet writes that the PM has more concerns
regarding the vaccination campaign which the public doesn't know.
"Otherwise," he says, " the PM would not be concerned that if
anything goes wrong with the campaign, his government would get all
the blame."

Turkey to Establish University in Kabul (Zaman)
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports Turkey would establish Mevlana
University in Kabul, upon demands coming from President Karzai that
Afghanistan's education needs be met. In the first phase, an
Education Faculty will be set up. Afghanistan will need 100,000
more teachers by the beginning of 2010, says Zaman. There is
currently eight Turkish schools in Afghanistan, including two high
schools for girls.

Upcoming events:

Q November 4: President Abdullah Gul will hold meetings with Prime
Minister Erdogan and army chief General Ilker Basbug.
Q November 4: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband will meet in
Ankara with the chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis.
Q November 5-9: The 25th session of the Standing Committee for
Economic and Commercial Cooperation of OIC (COMCEC) will be held in
Istanbul.
Q November 8: Iranian President Ahmadinejad will come to Istanbul
for the OIC meeting.
Q November 6: Foreign Minister Davutoglu will go to Paris for an
official visit.
Q November 10: The AKP government plans to bring the "democratic
initiative" to the parliament for debates.


TV News (NTV)

Domestic

Q The government plans to debate the government's Kurdish
"democratic initiative" in the parliament on November 10, but
opposition CHP says the debates should not be held on the day when
Turkey commemorates the death of the founder of modern Turkey,
Ataturk.
Q DTP leader Ahmet Turk says his party will file a legal complaint
against an alleged military plot envisaging steps against the Kurds.

Q Farming Minister Mehdi Eker has briefed the parliament on a new
regulation related to genetically modified food.

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World

Q Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei says his country will not
be deceived into reconciliation with its arch foe, the United
States.
Q France and Germany urge Iran to accept a UN-brokered proposal to
enrich its nuclear fuel abroad rather than lose time by asking for a
further round of talks.
Q Four months after unrest in China's Xinjiang region, security
officials have launched a fresh campaign to track down accused
rioters.
Q The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled against the
use of crucifixes in classrooms in Italy, saying he practice ran
counter to the child's right to freedom of religion.

JEFFREY

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