Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
DE RUEHAK #1716/01 3371157
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031157Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1362
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0166
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 6593
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 4302
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 7667
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 7574
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4168
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001716
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
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2009
Obama Asks for More Troops (Radikal)
Turkish 12/3 coverage of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy was
robust, but mixed with most speculating that Turkey would resist
calls for additional troops to Afghanistan. The news dominated all
major television channels, including leading NTV and CNNTurk, which
headlined "Both Soldiers and Flexibility are Wanted." Most TV
interspersed video of President Obama's speech with montages of
blue-hatted soldiers in Afghanistan with civilians. Turkish papers
also covered the new strategy, including Ambassador Jeffrey's
remarks during a roundtable in Ankara, and reacted with mixed views.
Mainstream Hurriyet headline reads "Bargaining for Combat Troops"
and reports that the US is calling all NATO countries, including
Turkey, for more troops and more responsibilities in Afghanistan.
Mainstream Milliyet headline reads "Rejecting Obama's Call" and says
the US asked Turkey for combat troops but that PM Erdogan is
expected to reject this request at his meeting with President Obama
on December 7. Liberal Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin says
"Turkish media might think that only Erdogan will have requests from
Obama on December 7, however, Obama has some expectations too and
there will be mutual requests on the agenda. US call for additional
troops in Afghanistan, was not conveyed only to Turkey. It's been
understood that, US Ambassadors in all NATO countries, made similar
statements as Ambassador Jeffrey made in Turkey. MFA sources
reiterate that Turkish troops in Afghanistan will not be involved in
fighting but will increase their training and constructing duties.
Besides, Turkish government and the opposition will never approve
sending combat troops to Afghanistan. However, this issue will
definitely be on Obama-Erdogan meeting's agenda. Mainstream Sabah
quotes Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul saying that "Our reservations
continue on our troops fighting in Afghanistan." Sabah columnist
Erdal Safak says in column on 12/3 "We understand that the US asks
for flexibility on Turkish troops' responsibilities. Turkish troops
in Afghanistan are deployed in international security aid operation
(ISAF), which is a NATO coalition. Their primary duty is to train
Afghan forces and to help in constructing the infrastructure in
Afghanistan. Now , the US is asking for combat troops. This
request is nothing else but a call for disaster. It will mean
Muslims killing Muslims. The government and Turkish Armed Forces
were always against sending combat troops to Afghanistan. Other
than the war in Korea, Turkey never fought in the operations under
the UN and NATO umbrella. Same thing will happen in Afghanistan and
the duties of Turkish troops will remain the same." Mainstream
Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir says "Let's wait and see whether Obama
will be successful in pulling Turkey into the swamp in Afghanistan.
President Bush had exerted huge efforts to pull Turkey into Iraq
swamp, to no avail."
Morningstar Backs Turkey's Nuclear Desire (Yeni Safak)
Papers report that on Wednesday, Richard Morningstar, the US special
envoy for Eurasian energy, paid a visit to Ankara and met with
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. Following his meeting with Minister
Yildiz, Morningstar told a joint press conference that Iran was not
in a position to become a part of the new energy projects in the
southern corridor. "If the relations with Iran are normalized and
nuclear issues are resolved, it will of course be a positive
development," emphasized Morningstar. Islamist-oriented Zaman
comments Morningstar criticized recent natural gas deals between
Turkey and Iran, but adds that the US gave green light to joint oil
exploration between Turkey and Iraq. Morningstar said they wanted
to see "very much" the inclusion of Iraqi gas in the Nabucco
project, and added that the Iraqi government had to agree with the
northern Iraqi leaders for the use of Iraqi natural gas in the
project. Under the headline, "US Cold to Iranian Gas,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports Morningstar also said the US
backed Turkey's nuclear energy aspirations.
'Drug Fight' between Government, Drug Companies (Radikal)
Liberal Radikal reports on its front page that in the face of a no
avail in the talks with international medical companies over the
ANKARA 00001716 002 OF 002
price of drugs to be sold in Turkey, the Turkish government has
unilaterally set the prices. Turkey's 2009 budget has envisioned TL
14.6 billion of share for medical drugs expenses. After seeing that
the actual expenses would be much higher, the government entered
into negotiations with drug companies, asking them to lower prices.
Following a couple "tense" meetings with the sector representatives,
State Minister Ali Babacan left the negotiating table, saying the
government would unilaterally fix the prices. Radikal says a Swiss
medical company told Babacan they cannot sell pharmaceuticals at the
prices set by the government, and that the implementation would make
the entrance of new drugs into Turkey "impossible." Pharmacists
will reportedly go on strike Friday to protest the government.
TV News (NTV)
Q DTP leader Ahmet Turk said the "democratic overture" of the
government was not convincing because the prison condition of the
PKK leader Ocalan was "deteriorating."
Q Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said his government has no
intention of privatizing the state-owned banks in the short-term.
Q Thomas Cook, Europe's second-largest tour operator, is in talks to
buy Germany-based Turkish travel group Oeger Tours.
Q The EU's new foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told the
European Parliament EU members need to debate Turkey's EU entry bid.
Q Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said the decision by
Swiss voters to ban the construction of minarets posed a risk to
Q The latest European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
(ECDC) data shows H1N1 pandemic has killed almost 8,750 people
Q Five British sailors detained by Iran after drifting into the
country's territorial waters have been released.