Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2009
Media Highlights: Gul Warns Iran, Says Israeli Ties Strong;
Secretary Clinton in Middle East; Israel- Turkey Normalization;
Afghanistan Election Coverage; Turkey-Northern Iraq; Bill Clinton in
Istanbul; Baykal Postpones Iraq Visit.
Gul Warns Iran: "It's Dangerous to Play with Nukes." All papers
carry statements made by Turkish President Gul regarding Iran and
Israel, made enroute to Slovakia. In "We Don't Want Nuclear
Weapons in the Neighbor" mainstream Hurriyet gives front page
coverage to Gul's remarks that Turkey did not want nuclear weapons
in the region, especially in Iran. "Tehran needs to be more
transparent in order to eliminate the concerns about Iran's nuclear
aims," said Gul. Islamist-oriented Zaman, in "It is Dangerous to
Play with Nukes," said Gul emphasized that problems with Iran
should be solved with diplomacy, and that Iran "first must be
transparent and open to the IAEA's inspection, in order to overcome
suspicions." On the current shape of ties between Turkey and
Israel, Gul said, "What matters is that the essence of Turkey-Israel
ties is strong. But this doesn't mean we will turn a blind eye on
On a question whether Turkey was shifting to the East, Gul said such
claims stemmed from jealousy. "They are jealous because they see
that Turkey is a rising star and becoming a model. They also see
that their area of influence is shifting to Turkey," emphasized Gul.
On Turkey's EU bid, Gul said, "When we reach the EU standards, we
might decide to act like Norway and abstain from joining the EU."
Commentary: Gul's Remarks on the Middle East
Columnist Sedat Ergin wrote in mainstream Hurriyet under the
headline "Nuanced Stance from Gul to Iran and Israel:" On his way
to Bratislava, President Gul said "to be able to participate in the
Middle East Peace Process, Turkey's ties should be strong with
Israel and all Muslim countries. There is no problem in the essence
of the ties. However, this doesn't mean that mistakes and unfair
behavior should be ignored." Ergin noted that President Gul's
comments were parallel to US Ambassador Jeffrey's comments in
Radikal last week, quoting Ambassador Jeffrey as saying "we hope
that problems will be resolved between Turkey and Israel. Turkey
was very successful in reaching to all parties in the region.
However, if you have diplomatic problems with one country, your
ability to talk all the other parties for solution will be
interrupted." Ergin summed up that, compared to PM Erdogan's
comments, President Gul's comments "were more moderate and stable."
Secretary Clinton in Middle East: "Clinton Says Israel Must Show
Gesture for Abbas' Efforts" (Hurriyet) Mainstream Hurriyet today
reports that Secretary Clinton called on Israel to make greater
efforts to ease tensions with Palestinians as she tried to overcome
Arab anger over Jewish settlements. In a related story, in "Reaction
to Clinton in Palestine," leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says,
"Palestinians protested Secretary Clinton's statements praising the
Israeli government's offer to 'restrain' settlement growth. In
protests in Ramallah, Palestinians accused President Obama of
lying." Regarding US foreign policy in the region, Sahin Alpay
wrote in Intellectual-Islamist oriented Zaman: "If Obama wants to
protect the US interests in the critical Middle East region, he has
to do this through diplomacy. Turkey's Middle East policy presents
an excellent model for such a diplomacy."
Israel Seeks Normalization of Ties with Turkey (Zaman)
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports President Shimon Peres, in a message
to congratulate the 86th anniversary of the founding of Turkey, has
invited President Gul to Israel. In his Republic Day message, Peres
draws attention to the historic roots of ties between the two
countries despite the problems seen time to time. Zaman says Ankara
sees the message as a "positive development" in bilateral relations.
Diplomatic sources said work was launched for a possible visit of
the Turkish president to Israel, but did not give a clear date.
Analysts believe "positive developments" were needed in the region
to clear the way for Gul's visit to Israel, says Zaman. Mainstream
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Sabah says Turkey, just like Israel, believes the ups and downs in
ties would not be lasting, and views the invitation as "positive."
Afghanistan Elections: "Second Karzai Term in Afghanistan"
(Milliyet) Media continue their coverage on the latest developments
on the Afghan elections. Papers note, "Afghan election officials
cancelled the presidential run-off vote after Karzai's only rival,
former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew citing serious
concerns about the election." Mainstream Hurriyet headline reads,
"Karzai Declared Winner," while leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
writes, "Karzai President Again." In "Elections Cancelled, Karzai
President," mainstream Sabah notes UNSG Ban Ki-Moon said "disputed
presidential elections were the toughest elections that UN has ever
supported." Liberal Radikal writes, "Again and Again President
Karzai," highlighting, "President Obama admonished officially
reelected Karzai to tackle corruption." Islamist-oriented Zaman
headline reads, "Afghanistan Doesn't Go for Second Tour," and
believes "after a period of political uncertainty, Afghanistan will
face a legitimacy problem."
Turkey-Northern Iraq: Commentary on Kurdish Democratic Overture:
Cuneyt Ulsever commented in Hurriyet under the headline "If This is
Not Northern Iraqi Opening, What is it Then?" that "there are no
concrete developments regarding the Kurdish opening since last May.
As a matter of fact, the only concrete thing was the PKK members
coming back to Turkey. Can someone tell me, could all recent
developments be called a 'Kurdish Opening' or, as the part of the US
plan to withdraw from Iraq, a 'Northern Iraqi Opening?'
Fikret Bila assessed in mainstream Milliyet: "There is no doubt that
the US decision to withdraw from Iraq has a vital importance for the
Northern Iraqi Regional Kurdish Administration. If the US withdraws
and leaves the region unprotected, Northern Iraq will become a
target for the Arabs, especially Sunni Arabs. And a big security
problem will occur in the region. The most important reason for the
US and the Northern Iraqi Administration to intensify their efforts
to improve ties with Turkey is this US decision of pulling out of
Iraq. There is no doubt that this issue is one of the legs of the
AKP government's democratic opening."
Bill Clinton: "I Knew Turkey Would Put Its Mark on the World"
All papers report former US President Bill Clinton addressed Monday
the "Leadership for Sustainable Success" conference in Istanbul.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports Clinton "apologized" for the
"US-sourced" economic crisis that spread around the globe. Clinton
stressed "games with multiple winners" must be built. "For
instance, welfare is rising in Turkey, but this is not the case
everywhere around the world," said Clinton. On the current shape of
politics in Turkey, Clinton said what Prime Minister Erdogan has
done cannot be underestimated. He warned it was important to mix
the secular republic built by Ataturk with "faith freedom." Clinton
also said during his presidency, he knew that Turkey would put its
mark on the world. The former US President also voiced support for
Turkey's EU bid, and predicted Turkey's efficiency within the G-20
would increase. He noted, "Islam must be understood well; for that
to happen, religion and politics must be kept away from each other.
In this context, it's important that Turkey enters the EU."
Conservative Star quotes Clinton on the 1996 Kardak (Imia) crisis
between Greece and Turkey. "I thought my aides were joking when
they said Turkey and Greece would engage in war over rocks on which
none but sheep live. I held phone calls with the leaders of both
countries, and convinced them to not go to war over the rocks that
inhabited mostly 20 sheep," said Clinton, who had also observed the
success of Greece-Turkey earthquake diplomacy.
Baykal Postpones Visit to Iraq
Papers report opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal's visit to Iraq,
which was scheduled to take place on November 8-9, has been put off
to a future date. Mainstream Hurriyet says Baykal believes the
"outcome" of the government's "Democratic Initiative" must be seen
before he pays a visit to northern Iraq. Leftist-nationalist
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Cumhuriyet reports the CHP said the visit was postponed due to the
"intensity of the domestic agenda."
Q November 3: President Gul is in Slovakia.
Q November 3: Prime Minister Erdogan will address the AK Party group
meeting in the parliament.
Q November 5-9: The 25th session of the Standing Committee for
Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the OIC (COMCEC) will be held
Q November 8-9: Iranian President Ahmadinejad will visit Istanbul to
attend the OIC meeting.
Q November 6: Foreign Minister Davutoglu will go to Paris for an
Q November 10: The government will take to parliament for debate the
Q November 11-12: Afghanistan Reconstruction Summit will be held in
TV News (NTV)
Q Health Ministry said the swine flu death toll in Turkey increased
to nine. On Monday, a mass swine flu vaccination campaign has been
kickstarted around Turkey.
Q The military General Staff (TGS) says Anatolian Hawk military
exercises will be held in Istanbul and Iskenderun from November
Q The 2010 budget has been opened to debate in the parliament.
Q Foreign Minister Davutoglu, in Malaysia, will attend the D-8
Council of Ministers' meeting and meet with Foreign Minister Anifah
Q Former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic says he will appear at his
trial in The Hague on genocide and war crimes charges.
Q The UN says it is stopping long-term development work in
northwestern Pakistan because of security concerns.