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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, DECEMBER 2, 2009

Media Highlights:

30,000 More US Troops to Afghanistan (Zaman)
With scenes of President Obama interspersed with cooperative footage
of ISAF soldiers and views of multinational flags waving in the
breeze (CNNTurk), Turkey's major TV channels led with the Obama
Afghanistan strategy story in 12/2 news programs. Newspaper online
websites and TV extensively reported President Obama has ordered an
additional 30,000 US troops into the war in Afghanistan and that he
was determined to begin bringing home troops in 18 months. In
"30,000 US Troops En Route to Afghanistan," Islamist-oriented Zaman
On Line writes the Pentagon said it expected NATO members to send
10,000 additional troops to the war-torn country "in six months."
Liberal Radikal comments President Obama has built the new Afghan
strategy under the frame of an "exit plan," but adds that it would
be "difficult" to secure support from allies. Radikal also cites
the Guardian as claiming that the US did not trust the Karzai
administration, and that it would appoint an "international high
representative" for Afghanistan. Under the headline, "30,000
Reinforcement for Afghanistan," Islamist-oriented pro-government
Yeni Safak reports President Obama said the US had no intention of
waging an "endless war" in Afghanistan or "occupy the country."
Obama said the new US approach on Afghanistan wil also cover
Pakistan.

Ambassador Jeffrey's Afghanistan Outreach
Television channels NTV, CNN Turk and Haberturk reported extensively
on US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffery's roundtable for diplomatic
and defense correspondents from 10 Turkish media outlets, including
TV, press and new media. With the banner "More Soldiers and Greater
Role Asked from Turkey" CNN Turk TV carried live reports emphasizing
that the US wants to work in close cooperation with Turkey on the
way forward in Afghanistan. The reporter highlighted that more
soldiers would be needed and that Turkey has an important role in
civilian projects and soldier training. In reviewing President
Obama's new strategy, mainstream Hurriyet website reported that the
Ambassador said the US had "three wishes" of "military, civilian
and economic" contributions from its allies, including Turkey.
Jeffrey said the allies would be asked to take "additional roles"
for the protection of people in Afghanistan. Mainstream Hurriyet
website reports Ambassador Jeffrey said that as part of its Afghan
strategy, the US would like to see Turkey play a bigger role in the
combat side of the war. In "Ambassador Jeffrey Asks for Turkish
Troops for Afghanistan," Yeni Safak website, drawing from the
Anadolou Anjansi wire service, reports Ambassador Jeffrey told
reporters the US expected additional troop contributions from its
allies for Afghanistan, stressing that the situation was gradually
worsening in the country. Jeffrey recalled Turkey has made
important contributions with regard to civic operations and economy
in Afghanistan, and underlined that "the sooner extra troops are
dispatched the better." "As President Obama put it," noted Jeffrey,
"the existing status quo situation is not acceptable or
sustainable," emphasized Yeni Sefak. The paper said that the US
Ambassador also said the issue would be raised at the talks during
Prime Minister Erdogan's talks in the US. He also said the
US-Turkey high level defense committee would convene later in
December.

Building a Church in Turkey is Not Free (Radikal) U.S. Freedom of
Religion Report Cited
Liberal Radikal criticizes Switzerland's stance on the minaret issue
but at the same time draws attention to the failures in the
religious freedom in Turkey. The paper notes that, the Protestant
Church applied ten times so far for opening a church, "but to no
avail" US and the EU's "Religious Freedom" reports had criticized
Ankara in this context. Radikal observes that while opening a
church in Turkey has been allowed since 2003 under EU harmonization
laws - "in practice, the freedom remains on the paper." Even
getting permission for alterations on existing churches in Turkey is
very difficult, adds Radikal. Mainstream Milliyet columnist Sami
Kohen criticized Switzerland on the Minaret issue and said "The

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politicians in Switzerland definitely caught a European virus. This
virus contains discrimination, intolerance, hostile feelings against
foreigners, Islam-phobia and populism." Mainstream Sabah columnist
Erdal Safak says "Either European Court of Human Rights or the high
court in Switzerland will annul the referendum results. But, such
action will damage democracy in Switzerland immensely. Switzerland
should know that not every issue could be carried to a referendum,
especially the issues on basic rights and freedoms, should never be
carried to a referendum."

PM Erdogan's Upcoming Meeting with President Obama
Noting that external factors shape US-Turkish relations, Sabah
columnist Bulent Aras opined on 12/2 that: "a new era has started
in Turkey-US ties with President Obama. Turkey's maneuvers in the
region, such as in the Caucuses, Balkans, Iraq and Iran, has turned
to an opportunity where the two countries could exhibit their model
partnership and could participate together to regional and
international security. The meeting between Erdogan and Obama next
week will give us clues regarding the Turkey-US relationship next 10
years, and also on how the new international system Obama
Administration is trying to establish, will shape up."

Erdogan: "The Less Columnists Write the Better"
Turkish TV channels reported on PM Erdogan's remarks at his
parliamentary group, criticizing some columnists by saying that
columnists provoke people with their articles and that "the less
they write the better." Milliyet columnist Melih Asik said he was
unable to "hide his bewilderment" and notes "many of us columnists
have been writing for 40 years and this is the first time we hear
such insulting words from a Prime Minister. A colleague of mine
just said on the phone "I am really concerned for the future of the
country and for democracy."

Upcoming events:

Q December 2: President Gul is in Jordan on an official visit.
Q December 2: Foreign Minister Davutoglu joins the OSCE meeting in
Athens.
Q December 2: In Brussels, Turkey's Chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis
will meet EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn.
Q December 2: US special envoy for Eurasian energy, Richard
Morningstar, will meet Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and Prime
Minister Erdogan.
Q December 2: DTP co-presidents Ahmet Turk and Emine Ayna will hold
a joint press conference in Ankara.
Q Turkish December 3-4: Foreign Minister Davutoglu will visit
Brussels to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
Q December 4: High Military Council (YAS) will hold its regular fall
meeting.
Q December 6: Prime Minister Erdogan will travel to the US.
Q December 8-10: Prime Minister Erdogan will visit Mexico, and meet
with President Felipe Calderon on December 9.
Q December 22: Prime Minister Erdogan will head his delegation at
the Arab-Turkish Forum to convene in Damascus.

TV News (NTV)

Domestic

Q 'Ergenekon' prosecutors have invited retired force commanders,
generals Halil Ibrahim Firtina, Aytac Yalman and Ozden Ornek, to
testify in connection over allegations of three coup attempts in
2004.
Q Two police officers were injured in Molotov cocktail attacks
during illegal PKK protests in the city of Mersin.
Q Turkey's Privatization Administration will invite bids for the
sale of 52 small hydropower plants slated for privatization.
Q The Turkish Statistics Institute says the complete poverty rate in
Turkey has dropped from 17.79 percent in 2007 to 17.11 percent in
2008.

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World

Q Turkey and Jordan have agreed to scrap travel visa requirements
for nationals from both countries.
Q The European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten said
it was a pity that debates on drafting a civilian constitution were
closed in Turkey.
Q President Ahmadinejad said "Iran's nuclear issue was "finished,"
all technical aspects had been settled with the IAEA and Iran would
no longer talk to any country about this.
Q The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a new
chief, Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, who has replaced Egypt's
Mohamed al-Baradei, who has retired.

JEFFREY

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