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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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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
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2009

Media Highlights: Sudan's Bashir Cancels Visit-Turkish Commentators
Criticize Government; Iran: IAEA Offer; Amb. Jeffrey Comments on
Turkey's
Democratic initiative and Iran; PM Erdogan with Journalists; Alevis
Rally in Istanbul

"Good News: Bashir is not Coming" (Radikal) - OIC's COMCEC Meeting
Continues in Istanbul
All papers extensively cover the developments after Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir cancelled his visit to Istanbul to attend
the ongoing the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
meetings. A commentary in today's Milliyet says that Ankara used
"special channels" to tell Bashir that Turkish prosecutors might
issue an arrest warrant on his arrival in Turkey. Islamist-oriented
Yeni Safak comments that Bashir cancelled his visit to Istanbul out
of "consideration" to relieve the Turkish government in the face of
pressures over the Sudanese president's visit. "Good News: Bashir
is not Coming," reads a front page headline in Monday's Radikal.
The paper guesses the OIC might have asked Bashir to not go to
Turkey. Papers report Bashir phoned President Gul and said he would
not be able to come to Turkey because of "internal problems" at
home. Saturday papers have reported Assistant Secretary of State
Philip Gordon voiced hopes that the messages to be given to Bashir
in Istanbul would be "parallel to the message issued by the EU and
the US." Papers also quote Prime Minister Erdogan as saying Sunday
he saw no evidence of genocide in Darfur, and adding that "a Muslim
cannot do such things."

Editorials on al-Bashir

Ahmet Hakan in mainstream Hurriyet criticized the words PM Erdogan
used to defend Sudanese leader Bashir "A Muslim cannot commit
genocide." Instead of "cannot" Erdogan should say "should not." We
have many examples that Muslims commit genocide and massacre.
Muslim leaders committed massacre in Syria's Hana town and in Iraq's
Halepce town. If a person is cruel, no matter which religion he
belongs to, it should be our duty to scream to his face that he is
cruel."

Ferai Tinc in mainstream Hurriyet believes that the timing of
Erdogan's defending Bashir was very wrong. She said "Erdogan's
words did not match with the EU's foreign policies. Nothing will
change after this hour even if Bashir doesn't come. Because the
list of "Ankara's friends" is already being distributed around."

Mehmet Tezkan in mainstream Milliyet questions whether a Muslim
actor in leading role of a massacre makes the whole massacre legal?

Semih Idiz in Milliyet believes that it is a very positive
development that Bashir is not coming to Turkey. But, it wasn't
easy to reach this position. And , at the end, Turkey reached a
position that it bows to the pressure. Moreover, Erdogan defending
Bashir right after Ahmedinejad, will definitely incite the debates
regarding "solidarity between Mujahidin."

Okay Gonensin in mainstream Vatan criticizes Erdogan's stance
regarding Bashir and says "someone should explain to the Prime
Minister the gravity of his words regarding the Muslims not
committing massacre. If a person can say this, that means his first
criteria in evaluating the people is definitely the religion. It is
really very sad for the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey to
defend a murderer dictator like Bashir. And, I cannot make any
further comments for a defense that is based on religion!"

Riza Turmen in Milliyet explained the legal side of Turkey's
responsibility on Bashir's arrest decision. Turmen said "Turkey did
not sign the Rome agreement which issued an arrest warrant for
Bashir. That is why when the US and the EU warned Turkey to arrest
Bashir and hand him to ICC, Turkey said the ICC decision is not
binding for Turkey. However, there is article 1593 of UN Security
Council decision which orders all countries, whether signatory of

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the Rome agreement or not, to be in full cooperation with the ICC
decisions. Therefore, Turkey's responsibility in this case doesn't
rely on the ICC decision but relies on the UN Security Council
decision."

IRAN: Nuclear Material to Turkey?
Leftist Nationalist Cumhuriyet reports in "Surprise Proposal from
IAEA" that Muhammad al-Baradei said Iran could store enriched
uranium in Turkey until Russia provides it with nuclear fuel. All
media, including TV, reporting that Iran has yet again turned down
the IAEA offer that Iran ship its enriched uranium to neighboring
Turkey as a way to ease U.S. and European concern over its nuclear
ambitions.

Ambassador Jeffrey: Turkey's 'Democratic Initiative' Not a US Plan;
US Perspective on Iran
Mainstream, pro-government Star and leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
carry excerpts from Ambassador James Jeffrey's statements in a
one-on-one with the bureau chief of the Islamist-oriented television
channel Kanal 7 TV on Sunday. In "According to Our Vietnam
Experience -- Military Success Is Not Enough," Star emphasized that
Ambassador Jeffrey said on the Turkish government's Kurdish
"Democratic Initiative" the experiences from the wars in Vietnam,
Afghanistan and Iraq showed military success was important, but had
to be coupled with economic, cultural and diplomatic measures.
Jeffrey said the "Initiative" was not a US plan. "Turkey is a big
and independent country, we only provide support now and then," he
stated. On a question whether the relationship between Turkey and
Iran discomforted the US, Jeffrey said "We are not bothered, but
expect Turkey-Iran ties to proceed within the framework of the UN
decisions, and in line with them."

Erdogan: No Confidence Problem with Military
All media outlets report Prime Minister Erdogan came together with
journalists in a televised "question and answer" session Sunday
night. Erdogan said there was no "problem of confidence" between
the AK Party government and the military over alleged plans to oust
the governing party. "We have been in a positive process with the
military over the past seven years," emphasized Erdogan. Erdogan
also said his government's Kurdish "Democratic Initiative" would be
debated in the parliament this week, and strongly criticized the
opposition parties' stance on the matter. Erdogan stressed he
"deemed important" his upcoming December 7 visit to the US. "There
are issues we have to handle jointly. It is said that the US would
exit from Iraq in 2011, but such a decision would be too early and
wrong," said Erdogan.

Alevis Come Together in Mass Rally in Istanbul
Liberal Radikal reports that on Sunday, hundreds of thousands of
Alevis came together in a "historic" rally held in Istanbul to voice
expectations and demands from the government. The Alevis demand
legal status for their prayer houses (Cemevi,) prevention of
construction of mosques in Alevi villages, annulment of compulsory
religious education, abolishment of the religious affairs
directorate, Diyanet, and a new constitution. Radikal says at least
250,000 participated in the rally whereas Cumhuriyet puts the figure
as 500,000 and police records as 40,000.

Upcoming events:

Q November 9: President Gul will join the Standing Committee for
Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the OIC (COMCEC) held in
Istanbul.
Q November 9: In Istanbul, Gul will hold an informal meeting with
Afghanistan and its neighbors.
Q November 9: Prime Minister Erdogan will meet with Dr. Aras
Konjhodzic, the head of the Balkan American Federation.
Q November 10: The government will take its Kurdish "democratic
initiative" to the parliament for debate.
Q November 11-12: Afghanistan Reconstruction Summit will be held in
Istanbul.

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TV News (NTV)

Domestic

Q Opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli is reelected party chairman
at a convention held Sunday.
Q CHP MP Kemal Kilicdaroglu says the situation in Turkey can be
described as "covert fascism" because there is no independence of
the judiciary in Turkey.
Q Labor unions plan to go on strike on November 25.
Q The Turkish Consumers' Rights Association has issued a call for
the boycott of genetically modified products.
Q An IMF report says Turkey was one of the few countries to report
growth in the last quarter of 2009.

World

Q Iranian President Ahmadinejad has arrived in Istanbul to
participate in the OIC meetings. On Sunday, Ahmadinejad met with
President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan.
Q Syrian leader Bashar Assad said Syrian-heritage militants within
the PKK would not be arrested if they return to their country.
Q Bulgaria's President, Georgi Parvanov has refused to sign the
decree on the recall of Bulgaria ambassadors to Turkey and the US,
despite the proposal of the Cabinet.

JEFFREY

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