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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2009

Media Highlights:

FBI Director Makes Surprise Visit to Turkey
Following online reports on his "surprise visit" to Turkey last
night, mainstreams Aksam and Hurriyet report that FBI director
Robert Mueller is visiting Ankara today. Quoting an "unnamed senior
Turkish MFA official," Aksam gives sensationalist play to Mueller's
schedule, noting that he will discuss Iran's nuclear program, the
withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, US support for the evacuation of
the Makhmur refugee camp and meet with an array of officials,
including one currently visiting Russia. Hurriyet, in turn, says
that the issues of US troop withdrawal from Iraq, PKK and the
democratic opening will be in "Mueller's briefcase." Turkish
television and online websites began reporting late morning
Mueller's corrected schedule with meetings planned with Deputy Prime
Minister Cicek, Justice Minister Ergin and the Director General of
the Turkish National Police Koksal. (Mueller was in Ankara for
just one day and no media availabilities were planned)

IRAN: Baradei's Efforts and Turkey's Proposal. Turkish headlines
report a secret Baradei proposal, while Turkish pundits comment on
Ankara's getting "credit" for offering to store Iranian uranium. In
"Baradei Secret Bargain to Iran," liberal Radikal says "El Baradei
has offered a secret agreement to Iran, just before he leaves office
at the end of this month" to lift sanctions and "allow Tehran to
continue with most of its nuclear program in return for cooperation
with UN inspectors." In "Pressure on Iran Via Peking,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet headlines that "President Obama
called on Peking to Put Pressure on Iran," noting that President
Obama said Iran should show more effort to demonstrate that its
nuclear program was peaceful. Questioning Iran's long term goals,
columnist Sami Kohen of mainstream Milliyet doubts that the storage
of uranium will be good enough to solve the issue: "Transfer of
uranium to Turkey solves only one aspect of the problem. Tehran
still owes an explanation about other undisclosed nuclear
facilities." Kohen concludes that "Iran obviously is after the
establishment of a new world order," and "does everything to
increase its power as well as its influence." Meanwhile, liberal
Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin comments "if a decision is made
regarding Turkey's storage of Iranian uranium, that will be a
significant credit for Turkish foreign policy." Mainstream Aksam's
Utku Cakirozer indirectly quotes Turkish president Gul as saying
"Turkey has historic neighborly ties with Iran and it serves Western
interests that Ankara maintains a dialog with Iran."

ATC in Ankara: Iran's Response is Just "Rope-a-Dope"
Mainstream Aksam and English language daily Hurriyet Daily News
highlight the Ankara visit of Brent Scowcroft, chairman of
American-Turkish Council (ATC) and ATC Chair-elect Richard Armitage
and their meetings with President Gul and Foreign Minister
Davutoglu. Armitage told press that "It is possible for Turkey to
be a friend of both the US and Iran" by adding "The US is not trying
to destroy Iran, but to integrate it into the international
community." Armitage likened Iran's response to the international
community's various offers as playing "rope-a-dope" ala boxer
Mohammed Ali. Aksam daily comments that both Armitage and Scowcroft
are very influential names vis-`-vis lobbying in the U.S. During
their contacts in Ankara, Aksam says the main highlight was "a vast
variety of common issues between Turkey and the US" which makes the
current "model partnership more important than ever."

Ankara's Surprise Moves on Sudan (Sabah)
Sabah reports today "a surprise move from Ankara" regarding Sudan
President Al Bashir, noting that Ankara has withdrawn its earlier
decision to be a part of the ICC's genocide ruling. Citing a
Turkish Foreign Ministry 2010 budget report, Sabah says the Foreign
Ministry plans to follow a "new procedure" after the ICC's reviewing
conference that is scheduled for next year. Meanwhile mainstream
Milliyet reports "Another Crisis Were About to Happen" because Al
Bashir was invited to the 5th International Turkey-Africa Congress
to be held in Istanbul November 19-21. However Milliyet says Al

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Bashir prevented another crisis by declining the invitation and
notified that Sudan's Agriculture Minister will represent.

"Recognition of Genocide Homework" (Hurriyet)
Mainstream Hurriyet banner headline fronts story of a 13 year old
Turkish student in Nancy, France who was forced to recognize
Armenian genocide when he expressed his counter opinion. His
teacher instructed him to go home and come back with finished home
work that, instead, admitted genocide. Later, the school principal
told Hurriyet's Paris reporter that the "Turkish student will
continue in class and he will not be forced to accept anything,"
adding that the earlier practice was only a "pedagogical exercise."


We Were on Board the USS Bataan (Sabah)
Mainstream Sabah reporters visited USS Bataan and asked few
questions to the commander of the vessel Colonel Samuel Charles
Henry Howard. Howard said 'they've been sailing for seven months
and came to Izmir to boost their morals. When asked about the
allegations that prisoners were tortured in the Bataan, Colonel
Howard said "I am not authorized to comment on this issue.
Meanwhile, web-sites report that there was a protest at the port of
Izmir last night by the Communist Party of Turkey from approximately
1900-2000hrs. They were protesting the presence of the USS Bataan.
There we no incidents and TNP kept all protesters away from the main
port entrance.

Turkish General Staff's Statement to Denounce Anonymous Letter
Today's papers widely cover the TGS statement, placed on its
web-site, saying that the third letter sent to Ergenekon case
prosecutors, which is attributed to the General Staff Legal
Advisor's office, is fake. The statement said, "It does not exist
in our records and the timing of the letter is rather strange." The
statement also expressed Turkish military's determination to fight
against similar attacks.

Iraqi Shiite Leader in Turkey
NTV, CNNTurk as well as web sites report the visit of Islamic
Supreme Council of Iraq Shiite leader Ammar El Hekim to Turkey. El
Hekim meets with President Gul and Foreign Minister Davutoglu today.
Upcoming Iraq general elections will be one of the major topics,
reports note. In a press event upon his arrival, El Hekim
emphasized the deep- rooted ties between Turkey and Iraq, and added:
"We are working toward ensuring all ethnic groups' rights. We don't
expect a security issue after the withdrawal of American forces."
El Hekim mentioned that they will support the 'National Coalition'
in the Iraq's upcoming elections.

Survey on Religious Trends
Mainstreams Hurriyet and Milliyet report that Prominent political
scientists Ersin Kalaycioglu and Ali Carkoglu from Sabanci
University reported research findings on religiosity in Turkey under
the framework of the International Social Survey Program, or ISSP,
which measures religious values from 43 different countries.
International research was conducted three times in the past; the
last available data was from 1998. International data from the 2008
research is expected to be available in 2010. Turkey first
participated in the survey in 2008 and is the first and only country
surveyed with a Muslim majority population. Eighty-three percent of
Turks identify themselves as religious, with 16 percent saying they
are extremely religious, 39 percent saying they are highly religious
and 32 percent saying they are somewhat religious. Of the 43
countries surveyed, Turkey, Poland, the Philippines and the United
States are among the most religious. Almost half of Turks say they
practice religious prayers and also identify themselves as
religious. Twenty-eight percent say they pray, but do not regard
themselves as highly religious. According to Carkoglu, there has
been a significant increase since 1999 in the number of people who
identify as religious. "This is the most striking conclusion of this
survey, though it is not alarming," he said. He added that the
change could be related to peoples' attitudes toward behaving in

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accordance with the current political climate. Another striking
discovery made by the survey was that 60 percent of Turks said there
is only one true religion, while 34 percent said most religions hold
basic truths. The findings on tolerance toward religions are
remarkable as well. Ninety percent of the Turkish population
reported having a positive view toward Muslims, but this ratio
dropped to 13 percent for Christians and around 10 percent for Jews.
Those who said they have highly positive views about non-believers
of any religion totaled 7 percent.

Ocalan is No Longer Alone
All papers: Today's papers widely cover the news on jailed PKK
leader Ocalan having five new neighbors at Imrali prison.
Mainstream Milliyet says five convicts, four of them PKK members and
one of them a member of the TIKKO organization, were transferred
early yesterday morning to a new prison that has recently been
constructed on the island. Ocalan also was taken from the place
he's been staying for the last ten years and sent to his new room in
this same prison. The paper notes that Ocalan will be able to meet
with the other convicts for 10 hours a week. Mainstream Vatan
believes that the five convicts were sent to Imrali upon the
decision of Europe to end his lonely imprisonment. Justice Ministry
decision of transferring the convicts to Imrali was taken because of
the reports of European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and
because of the cases opened at European Court of Human Rights, adds
Vatan.

Article on FM Davutoglu: Scholar in a Political World
Hurriyet Daily News editor Serkan Demirtas profiles Turkey's Foreign
Minister Davutoglu, noting that: "An academic more than a minister,
an intellectual more than a politician, Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu simply introduces a new age in diplomacy.

Upcoming events

- November 18: Italian President Napolitano meets with CHP leader
Deniz Baykal

- November 18: FM Davutoglu visits Afghanistan

- November 21-22: AKP deputies will have a party gathering in a spa
resort, Kizilcahamam.

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- MHP leader Bahceli said transferring of five inmates to Imrali
was preposterous

- DTP leader Turk said the transfer of inmates to Imrali was a
positive move but would not solve any problems

- Economist Steve Hanke said PM Erdogan's decision to avoid a deal
with the IMF was very wise


World

- French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People
(OFPRA)says that Turkey, Armenia and Serbia were safe for living and
France will no more take refugees from these states

- China and the United States pledge to step up military exchanges
and safeguard the peaceful use of outer space following the meetings
between President Obama and President Hu Jintao

- The European Union's Swedish Presidency says that it is premature
to recognize a Palestinian state.

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JEFFREY

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