Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2009
Media Highlights: Commentary Pelts Back on Israeli Ambassador Egg
Protest; Sudan's Bashir to Visit Turkey; Turkish
Take on Iran Demonstrations; 'Border Patrol' System for Turkey; EU
Warns Turkey on Judiciary, Iran; Turkish Poems
into Armenian; US Election Results Rattle
"Egg Protest Against the Israeli Ambassador" (Yeni Safak)
All Media outlets report on the Trabzon University "egg" protest
against Israeli Ambassador Gaby Levy with commentators continuing to
pelt Black Sea
politicians for their anti-Semitic behavior. According to liberal
Radikal, which provides footage of the protest on its website, about
25-30 students shouted "Child Killer Israel, Out!" at Ambassador
Levy and pelted his car with eggs. Papers report Prime Minister
Erdogan phoned Rize Mayor Halil Bakirci regarding the mayor's
previous day's tense dialogue with the Israeli ambassador.* Bakirci
is widely quoted today as saying his warnings for the Israeli
ambassador had not been planned in advance. Turkish tour operators
told mainstream Sabah around 400,000 Israeli tourists visited Turkey
every year, of which 15,000 tour the Black Sea region, and warned
that Bakirci's comments would lower the number of Israeli visitors.
(*see Media Reaction, November 4, 2009)
Commentary Warns of "The Risk of Slipping Towards Anti-Semitism:"
Following yesterday's negative media reaction to the Rize Mayor's
behavior, mainstream Vatan columnist Okay Gonensin provides level
commentary on the Trabzon protest: "It is only natural for the
conservative sector in Turkey to support PM Erdogan's "One Minute"
show in Davos. The policies of Israel's radical right has always
been criticized globally. Naturally, the majority of Turkish public
also are opposing these policies. However, it is so easy to go over
the board and pass that fine line between showing reaction and
slipping towards anti-Semitism. The latest example of this is Rize
AKP Mayor's harsh comments to the Israeli Ambassador. Anti-Semitism
has a strong place in Turkey's political Islam traditions. While
criticizing Israel's state policies, if the AKP government is not
careful about the triggering effect of each mistake they make,
incidents like throwing eggs to the Israeli Ambassador, will be
"Go Home Beshir" - Sudanese Leader Beshir's Upcoming Visit to
In "Knock Knock Beshir," liberal Radikal outlines ramifications from
Sudananese President al-Beshir's visit to Turkey for an OIC
Conference in Istanbul November 5-8. The paper notes that Beshir
will visit Turkey for the third time "although an international
court asked for his arrest on charges of crimes against humanity,"
and notes that the court's decisions are not binding in Turkey.
Mainstream Vatan's columnist Gungor Mengi protests Beshir's upcoming
visit in his column under the headline "Go Home Beshir." Mengi said
"Beshir's visit to Turkey last year had a very negative impact in
the world. The biggest advantage for Beshir in Turkey is to benefit
from the AKP government's weaknesses. In order to be in the good
books of the Islamic world, the AKP is increasingly contradicting
with the Western world. Reuters already commented that this visit
will be a test for Ankara to show its respect to the international
law. Moreover, this visit will strengthen the hands of the ones
accusing Turkey for committing genocide and they will say "of
course, as the crow flies with crow, the two countries will
understand each other well!" When Beshir wanted to go to Uganda,
people of Uganda did not allow him to enter the country. Here,
also, the responsibility not to allow him in belongs to the civil
public. Aren't we capable of acting like the Ugandan people?"
"People Flood the Streets in Tehran" (Cumhuriyet)
All media outlets report that on the 30th anniversary of the raid on
the US Tehran Embassy, Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard forces
cracked down Wednesday on opposition-reformist demonstrations in
Tehran, beating the protesters. Turkish TV carried video from
protestors beginning in the early afternoon. In "Down with
Dictators -- People Flood the Streets in Tehran,"
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leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports opposition leader Mehdi
Karroubi, who was among the protesters, was also beaten. Mainstream
Hurriyet reports "Moderates took to the streets in Tehran."
Islamist-oriented Zaman says Iranian opposition held demonstrations
on 'Student Day.' In "US Strains in Iran Again After 30 Years,"
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak says thousands of protestors rallied
outside the former US Embassy complex, chanting slogans such as
"Death to America" and "Death to Israel." In "Double Protests in
Iran," mainstream Sabah says Iranian opposition protested against
President Ahmadinejad and the regime on the anniversary of the US
Embassy raid. In "Two Poles in Iran," mainstream Milliyet says the
conservatives' "Death to the Dictator" slogans mixed with the
reformists' "Death to the US" slogans in the streets of Tehran.
Turkey to Implement 'Border Patrol' System (Aksam)
Mainstream Aksam reports Turkey, in an effort to catch up to
European standards regarding border security, would deploy 50,000
"border patrols" along its borders to fight terror, drug smuggling
and illegal migration. The border patrols will not be affiliated
with the military or the police and will be an "independent
military" force controlled by the Interior Ministry. Turkey's
chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis said an agreement would be signed
with the EU on the extradition of illegal migrants, reports Aksam.
EU Warns Turkey on Judicial Reforms, Iran
Papers report European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur Ria
Oomen-Ruijten warned that many problems in Turkey stemmed from the
troubles in the functioning of the judiciary. Oomen-Ruijten urged
the Turkish government to implement its judicial reform strategy
without delay. The EU's draft report calls on Turkey to coordinate
its foreign policy with the EU, to fulfill its obligations in the
customs union protocol and to make active contribution to moves for
solving the Cyprus issue. It also urges the Turkish parliament to
approve the normalization protocols signed last month in Zurich.
Mainstream Milliyet says that Ruijten criticized Turkey for
deviating from the EU values in dealings with Iran, saying that "she
noted Turkey had to clarify its views about Iran's nuclear program."
The European Parliament has sent a warning about Iran to Turkey,
comments Milliyet whereas leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet criticizes
the European Parliament for "meddling" in Turkey's ties with Iran.
In a related story, papers report that addressing the French Senate
on Thursday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn defended Turkey's
EU entry bid and also stressed that the Turkish government's Kurdish
"democratic initative" was a "noteworthy effort."
Turkish Literature to be Translated into Armenian (Zaman)
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports Armenia has applied to Turkey for
the translation into Armenian of 200 poems from 15 noted Turkish
poets. The translation of Turkish stories and novels will come
next. The Turkish Tourism Ministry supports the project, which is
to be wrapped up in 2010, says Zaman.
US Election Results Rattle the Democrats
Media interpret a democratic defeat in two states on the anniversary
of Obama's triumphant election is a warning to the President. In
"Election Grief to Obama on the First Anniversary," liberal Radikal
notes, "Republicans presented these elections as a 'referendum on
Obama's performance' who's in trouble with the economic crisis and
health reforms." Mainstream Sabah headlines, "Election Shock to
Obama on His First Year," and characterizes the Republican victory
as "a warning shot to Democrats looking ahead to the 2010
congressional elections." Mainstream Hurriyet writes "Obama's First
Election Defeat," alerting that "next year will be very difficult
for Democrats." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet pursues a
pessimistic line, saying "the election results in two states are a
disappointment for Obama," while the mainstream Milliyet headline
reads, "Referendum Shock to Obama." The paper notes: "Republicans
claim Americans gave the message that they're fed up with Obama's
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Q November 5: Visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband will
be received by Prime Minister Erdogan and meet with his Turkish
Q November 5: Prime Minister Erdogan will hold separate meetings
with European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot and Swedish
Migration Minister Tobias Billstrom.
Q November 5: Prime Minister Erdogan will hold his weekly meeting
with army chief General Basbug.
Q November 5: Turkey's Chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis visits
Greece. Bagis will be received by Prime Minister Papandreou.
Q November 5-9: The 25th session of the Standing Committee for
Economic and Commercial Cooperation of OIC (COMCEC) will be held in
Q November 8: Iranian President Ahmadinejad will come to Istanbul
for the COMCEC meeting.
Q November 6: Foreign Minister Davutoglu will go to Paris on an
Q November 10: The government plans to take Kurdish "democratic
initiative" to the parliament for debates.
TV News (NTV)
Q Following the announcement of Prime Minister Erdogan that he will
not get the swine flu shot, President Gul also said he does not want
to receive the vaccine. The death toll in the swine flu outbreak
climbs to 15, with four patients dying of the virus yesterday.
Q On Thursday, President Gul will visit the eastern Alevi-Kurdish
majority city of Tunceli, and join the opening of the new academic
year in Tunceli University.
Q Environment and health associations will apply to the Council of
State (Danistay) to demand the annulment of a controversial
regulation permitting the sale of genetically modified food.
Q President Obama has urged the Iranian government to "open the
door," saying the US wanted a relationship based on mutual interests
Q A Milan court sentences 23 US citizens in absentia to several-year
prison terms for the daylight kidnapping of a Muslim cleric six
Q New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is elected to his third