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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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SIPDIS

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
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2009

Media Highlights:

Davutoglu: Integration with Europe Key Aspect of Turkish Foreign
Policy
Tuesday papers report extensively on Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu's interview with Newsweek, trumping coverage of Newsweek's
foreign policy analysis in "Triumph of the Turks." Mainstream
Aksam says Davutoglu, a moderate, believes claims that Turkey has
shifted Eastward had been spread by those who were jealous of
Ankara's expanding role in its region and underlines Newsweek's
claim that "even his own country did not know Davutoglu well
enough." In "With America Our Agenda is the Same,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet highlights that Davutoglu said the
ties between Turkey and the US were now "much better" as compared to
the times of the Bush administration. Cumhuriyet reports Davutoglu
as telling Newsweek that Turkey was both "European and Asian," and
therefore it needed a "multi-dimensional foreign policy." In
"Turkey Won't Wait till 2023," Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports
Davutoglu said Turkey would be a member of the EU before 2023,
adding it would also be among the 10 leading economies around the
world. Mainstream Milliyet emphasizes that Davutoglu said the
histories of 20 countries in the Middle East and the Balkans cannot
be written without using Turkish archives, and that "NATO is
Turkey's strongest alliance, and integration with Europe is the main
objective of Turkish foreign policy. But it doesn't mean that
because of these strong ties, we can ignore the Middle East, Central
Asia, North Africa or Africa."

Erdogan's Washington Mission
Turkish media coverage of US-Turkey relations ahead of the PM visit
varied greatly during the long Kurban Bayram holiday, with most news
reports predicting that Iran, Cyprus and terrorism would top the
agenda while commentary focused on Turkey's East/West orientation as
played out in Western media. On 11/30, mainstream newspapers, web
news sites and Turkish television gave wide play to Newsweek's
analysis "Turkey Is the Real Winner of the Iraq War," and played up
the magazine's observation on the rising brash reputation of PM
Erdogan in the West. In other coverage, media carried Turkish
language translations of New York Times commentary by Alistair
Crooke, stating that the US, Turkey and Iran should be mindful of a
new equilibrium, and the Foreign Affairs article on "How the West
Lost Turkey." In substantive reporting over the holiday,
Islamic-oriented Today's Zaman headlined that "US Praises Turkey's
Role Amid Axis Shift," and in citing recent remarks by State
Department Spokesman Ian Kelly, concluded that "the United States
has appeared to dismiss concerns that Turkey's foreign policy
orientation is shifting away from the West, saying Ankara stands out
as a democratic model for its region." Citing the recent Washington
Post editorial in "Turkey and West Are Condemned To Each Other,"
mainstream Milliyet said "the scathing commentary" reflects a
stereotypical approach by Western observers, who are "basically in a
state of panic because Turkey, free from the pressures of the Cold
War, has started acting too independently for Western comfort." In
"Murky American Minds, Murky Turkey," Zaman opines that "there is
great congruence" between the WP article and the Obama
administration's private concerns when it comes to the Erdogan
government's democratic credentials and observes "timing of such
pieces is particularly advantageous . . . because it will put the
Turkish government on the defensive" and enable the US
administration to "hide behind" public opinion when pressing for
changes in Turkish policies. In "Another Critical US Trip"
mainstream CNNTurk TV reported the irony that, despite the passage
of two years, the main issue between the US and Turkey remains
terrorism but predicted that the GoT will also press for the naming
of a US Cyprus special envoy.

In continuing coverage on December 1, leftist Taraf headlined that
"Israel and Iran Issues Will be in PM Erdogan's Briefcase" and adds
that the US, in order to lower the pressures from the Armenian lobby
in Washington, will pressure Turkey to pass the protocols signed
with Armenia in the parliament. Citing a high-level government

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source, the paper also claims that Turkey is "upset" with Washington
pressure to normalize relations with Israel and rejected press
reports that Turkey had cancelled any civilian or military projects
with Israel. Friday's mainstream Hurriyet quoted FM Davutoglu
saying that "Erdogan will give three messages to President Obama
regarding Iran: Everybody has the right to acquire nuclear
technology for peaceful means; nuclear weapons are a big threat for
the world and for the region; diplomacy and dialogue are needed to
solve problems." Liberal Radikal columnist Cengiz Candar writes
under the headline "While the Winner of Iraq War is Going to
Washington" and refers to Newsweek's "Triumph of the Turks" article
and says "recently Turkey gained respect for its international
profile. The biggest credit in this gain should be given to AKP
government and the architecture of the government's foreign policy,
Ahmet Davutoglu. Now, the most important thing is to get Obama's
support for this new profile. This will be the vital mission for PM
Erdogan during his US visit." In "Suspicious Support," maintstream
Vatan observes that Western laudatory commentary regarding Turkey's
expanding foreign policy profile as flawed as "Western countries are
expressing concern whether Turkey is trying to become a leader in
the region for its own interests or for an Islamic regime."

Minaret Ban: A Storm of Anger (Sabah)
Turkish media across the political spectrum denounced the
controversial Swiss decision to ban minarets in front page news and
commentary. Mainstream Vatan headlines "Europe is Ashamed," liberal
Radikal blasts "Reaction Showered on Switzerland," Haberturk TV
Online headlines "Saying No to Minarets Causes Disillusionment,"
while Islamic-oriented Zaman claims "Minaret Banning Leaves
Switzerland Alone in the World." In a "Storm of Anger" mainstream
Sabah points to the Vatican's denouncement of the move as a blow to
religious freedom and says that the referendum was a mistake as
"Minarets are only symbols, just like churches having bells." Sabah
columnist Mehmet Barlas quips that, in any case, "Muslims will not
miss anything - they will look at their Swiss made watches and know
it's time to pray." In "No to Minarets, Yes to Guns" mainstream
Hurriyet news and commentary also takes aim, noting "this kind of
democracy, never mind be able to bring freedom, will limit basic
human rights."

More Troops to Afghanistan (Haberturk)
Media outlets today carry straightforward coverage on President
Obama's speech today in which he's expected to outline his new
Afghanistan war strategy. In an exclusive feature, pro-government
Haberturk headlines "More Troops to Afghanistan," predicting that
President Obama will say that "it's getting more and more dangerous,
and that "in order to finish our job in Afghanistan and leave the
country as soon as possible, we must send more troops to prevent
Taliban and Al Queda getting control." In "US Expects NATO Members
to Send 10,000 More Troops to Afghanistan," Islamist-oriented Zaman
notes, "Obama administration emphasized that US involvement in
Afghanistan is not an open-ended period and will last only until the
target is reached." CNNTurk TV online writes in "Clinton Calls
Davutoglu on Afghanistan," that, "as President Obama is expected to
detail a new strategy on Afghanistan in his address today, Secretary
Clinton made several calls to a series of FMs including Turkish FM
Davutoglu."

"Iran Mocks the World" (Radikal)
Liberal Radikal in "Iran Mocks the World," reports "Iran announced
that its decision to build ten new nuclear plants is in retaliation
to IAEA's resolution condemning Iran for building a new uranium
enrichment site. Even Russia voices its concern and new sanctions
are on the way." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet headlines "New
Sanction Warning to Iran," highlighting "the reactions of the world
leaders including British, German, French and Russian FMs following
Iran's statement that it'll build ten more nuclear plants."

YouTube Ban Taken to European Court
Papers report on Monday that Turkey's Internet Technologies
Association has applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

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seeking the annulment of a ban imposed on access to YouTube since
May 2008 over video clips insulting Ataturk, the founder of modern
Turkey. The association said the ban on YouTube has also restricted
the right to education, noting that the educational content
available on the site makes it a resource for universities and
international organizations.

Genetically Modified Organisms in Turkey
Mainstream Aksam reports the Turkish government has changed the
related regulations November 20, and brought a condition that
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) will be indicated on the
package of food products. Information released by the Turkish
Farming Ministry said contrary to the public-wide claims, production
of GMOs was not allowed in Turkey. The ministry said the countries
that produce GMOs were the US, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India,
China, Paraguay, South Africa and the EU. It also said GMOs were
not allowed in infant food products in Turkey, adding that Turkey
was far ahead of the EU countries regarding GMO usage.

Upcoming events:

Q December 1: President Gul will pay an official visit to Jordan
from December 1-3.
Q December 1: Foreign Minister Davutoglu will join an OSCE meeting
in Athens on December 1-2.
Q December 1: Turkish Cyprus 'President' Mehmet Ali Talat and
'Foreign Minister' Huseyin Ozgurgun will visit Ankara to meet with
President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan.
Q December 1: Energy Minister Taner Yildiz will join a luncheon of
the American-Turkish Business Council.
Q December 4: High Military Council (YAS) will hold its regular fall
meeting.
Q December 7: Prime Minister Erdogan will visit the US.

TV News (NTV)

Domestic

Q A 16 year-old teenager was shot dead during violent demonstrations
in the city of Mersin marking the 31st founding of the PKK. Police
broke up a demonstration by young Kurds in Istanbul, and violence
flared in other Turkish cities with large Kurdish populations.
Q The death toll in the swine flu outbreak in Turkey climbs to 195.

Q Turkey's Alevi Bektasi Federation is expected support a new party
to be founded by Independent MP Ufuk Uras in 2010.
Q Financial Times says the fact that Turkey has finally broken free
from the IMF's tutelage is a source of pride for Turkey.

World

Q 20 Turkish pilgrims have died in Saudi Arabia during Hajj.
Q The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi,
said Iran does not want to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Q British PM Gordon Brown announced an additional 500 soldiers would
be deployed in Afghanistan in December.
Q Stocks in Dubai plunged more than 7 percent on Monday, the first
day of trading after the Persian Gulf state's debt problems rocked
financial markets around the world.

JEFFREY

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