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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2009

Media Highlights: Colonel Cicek Now; Iran's Nuclear Technology; 300
PKK Leaders for Gulf Countries; OIC Warned Bashir; Pundits on
Foreign Policy; Visa-Free Period With Azerbaijan; Turkish and US
Companies are Sued Over Toxin Waste Claims

Colonel Cicek in Prison
All papers report that Navy Colonel Dursun Cicek, whose signature is
allegedly on the original of the "action plan to fight
fundamentalism," was arrested for the second time after four and a
half months. Mainstream Hurriyet and Milliyet note that Colonel
Cicek was interrogated by prosecutor Zekeriya Oz and then remanded
to court. Cicek denied the allegation that the signature on the
action plan belonged to him. Citing an official forensic report
that indicated "the wet signature is Cicek's," the court sent him
to prison. This latest development is a reverse of an earlier
decision by the Military Prosecutor's Office, which had investigated
the allegations and decided not to prosecute. The prosecutor had
determined that the document was not drafted by the TGS.

Turkey Warns the West and Iran Regarding Iran's Nuclear Technology
Mainstream Sabah reports that in order to find a solution for Iran's
nuclear crisis, Turkey is sending the following message to the 5
permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. Citing
sources, correspondent Duygu Gunvenc writes that "None of the
sanctions implemented against Iraq and North Korea in the past had
resolved any issues. We are against the sanctions and operations to
be implemented against our neighbor Iran. The on-going inspection
process should continue. You should not expect Iran to transfer its
nuclear technology to any other country or to Turkey." Meanwhile,
Turkey continues to advise Iran to compromise on the nuclear
bargaining by saying, "we used all our credit in the Western world
for Iran. Now, we are expecting you to take concrete and realistic
steps regarding nuclear inspection."

300 PKK Leaders Might be Sent to Gulf Countries
Intellectual-Islamist oriented Zaman reports that the fierce battle
between the opposition and government on the Kurdish issue continued
yesterday as members of the Planning and Budget Commission in the
parliament gathered to listen to Interior Minister Besir Atalay, who
made references to the country's fight against terrorism. The ruling
AKP brought the issue to Parliament on Nov. 10 after months-long
public discussions in order to end the Kurdish conflict.
Parliamentary officials announced yesterday that the general
discussion of the issue will be held in Parliament on Friday.
Hurriyet Ankara bureau chief Enis Berberoglu reports that Deputy
Prime Minister Bulent Arinc commenting on voluntary returns said
'Once returnees say they would like to continue living in their
country and to come back from the mountain, Article 221 of the
Turkish Criminal Code can be applied. They don't necessarily need to
pronounce 'I repent.'' As none of the Makhmour residents have
criminal record, they will not be detained upon their return.
Priority will be given to Makhmour and then to returnees coming from
Qandil. There are about 1000 Syrian citizens who are expected to go
back to Syria. The government has made contact with some Gulf
countries to discuss transfer of 250-300 high rank PKKers. Earlier
discussions with Scandinavian countries for their transfer did not
succeed, according to Berberoglu.

OIC General Secretary Ihsanoglu Says He Warned Bashir Many Times
The General Secretary of the Organization of Islamic Conference
(OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told Hurriyet that "Islam doesn't give
anyone the right or privilege to kill people. Being Muslim will not
give him any exemption. This is very wrong. There is also a double
standard here which disturbs the public in the Islamic World. Maybe
this caused some of the reactions. The Al-Bashir issue was
exaggerated. There is no court decision on that issue but only the
allegations." Just because Turkey is hosting the event, doesn't
give Turkey the right to decide on the invitees. When the UN has a
meeting in New York, Ahmedinejad and Kaddafi can go as well. Chavez
also goes and talks as he wants. This is an international forum and
the member countries have a right to attend. While I am saying all

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this, I am not defending the mistakes of Sudanese government in
Darfur. I, personally, told all this to Bashir many times and our
position is still the same on this issue. We have a principal
decision on the people who are responsible of the human rights
violations in Darfur, to be tried and punished. However, it is
wrong to change the whole issue to a genocide. Genocide was not
committed in Sudan."

Editorial Opinion: Is Turkey Shifting From Its Foreign Policy Axis
to the East?

Pundits express different opinions on the issue but mostly they take
US foreign affairs and/or think tank reviews as the basis for their
arguments. In mainstream Milliyet, Kadri Gursel sees serious
problems in Turkey's current foreign policy actions. In "No Shift
But Discrepancies" he writes: "As seen in many examples and in the
Iran nukes and Sudan issues recently, Turkish foreign policy suffers
from Islamism tendency. Up until 2005, the EU used to be the main
parameter but it is no longer there."

In a similar approach, mainstream Milliyet columnist Semih Idiz
expects some tough times ahead for Prime Minister Erdogan during his
upcoming visit in the U.S. In "Erdogan Will Be Sweating in
Washington" he observes: "there are some negative impacts on foreign
policy which come directly from PM erdogan. Thus while he is in
D.C., he will be facing questions on why Turkey has become a
defender of all the countries which have problems with the West."


Tamer Korkmaz, a columnist for Islamist oriented daily Yeni Safak
thinks differently. In "News That Makes Some Disappointed" he calls
those who question Turkish foreign policy tendencies as "more royal
than the king" while noting "Turkey has become the ruler of the game
in its region and therefore some in Turkey as well as outside are
not happy about."

In mainstream Sabah, columnist Erdal Safak also sees that the
ongoing controversy is about Turkey's power. He argues: "The
growing argument about whether Turkey is changing its foreign policy
direction comes mainly from a growing concern about Turkey's role as
a main regional player."

Visa-Free Travel with Azerbaijan
Sabah reports that during AKP party group meeting, PM Erdogan said
that Turkey had reached an agreement in principle with Azerbaijan to
lift visa requirements. The paper says the AKP government is
exerting efforts to improve the relations with Azerbaijan and this
initiative is the result of these efforts.

Turkish and American Companies are sued for Poisoning people with
Waste Toxins
Mainstream Milliyet reports that a retired contractor and a US
soldier filed a case against American companies Halliburton and KBR,
and the Turkish Erka company, for creating toxic waste. The
companies were all contractors for the US Army in Iraq and are
accused of burning all kinds of waste in the open, including human
bodies, animals, etc. and resulting in poisoning people with the
waste toxin.


Upcoming events:

Q November 13: PM Erdogan will address the Parliament to give
details about government's democratic opening

November 13: FM Davutoglu will travel to Spain

November 16-18: PM Erdogan will attend the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO)summit held in Rome on November 16-18

TV News (NTV)

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Domestic


- Death Toll in Swine Flu Climbs to 40. Health Minister announced
an initiative for Turkey to produce its own flu vaccination

- The Kurdish opening debate in Parliament will be held on Friday

- AKP rejects the allegations that PM Erdogan scolded Parliament
Speaker Sahin while the opposition demands the resignation of the
Parliament Speaker

- RTUK gives permission to private radios and TV channels to
broadcast in Kurdish for 24 hours

- Judges and Prosecutors from Sincan courthouse ready to file suit
for compensations in connection with reports that phones in their
courthouse were wiretapped


World

- Human Rights Watch says the running dispute between Iraq's central
government and Kurdish authorities could erupt into a human rights
catastrophe

- British The Guardian has been ordered to pay Iraqi PM Maliki
thousands of dollars in compensation for printing an article
describing him as increasingly autocratic

- Iran unilaterally lifts visa regime for Azerbaijani citizens.

JEFFREY

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