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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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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
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009

Media Highlights

A Warning Like A Quake to Israel From Erdogan (Sabah)
All papers today had banner headlines similar to mainstream Sabah in
reporting Prime Minister Erdogan's response to a question by an
Egyptian journalist regarding the allegations that Israel violates
Turkish air space in order to watch Iran. Mainstreams Sabah and
Hurriyet cite Israeli Jerusalem Post and quotes Prime Minister
Erdogan as saying "No violations have occurred until now. If such a
thing happens, consequences will be grave. Our response will be
like an earthquake." Meanwhile, intellectual/Islamist-oriented
Zaman and Hurriyet Daily News report that an Erdogan-Netanyahu
summit is in the making with plans for Israeli Defense Minister Ehud
Barak to visit Turkey soon, both citing official Israeli sources.
Gungor Mengi opines in mass appeal Vatan: "Prime Minister Erdogan's
'earthquake' warning against Israel is not a healthy sign. Turkey's
foreign policy has no tradition of threats, it's only the style of
Arab countries. Could the reason for the warning be that Erdogan
tried to distract Turkish people and make them look outside in the
face of the worsening situation in Turkey?"

PKK Admission on Tokat Attack Rocks DTP / TGS Gives Details / PKK
Returns to War / More PKK Returns
NTV, CNN Turk and all other TV channels last night and all media
today report that PKK claimed responsibility for the terror attack
in Tokat. Sabah says the attack rocked the DTP and notes that DTP
leader Ahmet Turk, who had condemned the attack earlier, was
astounded by the PKK statement and said "we do not approve attacks
that target lives." In breaking news, CNN Turk is reporting that
the TGS has announced that the PKK's regional Tunceli official gave
the orders to attack the soldiers in Tunceli's Resadiye. During a
TGS weekly press briefing, TGS Intelligence Chief General Ismail
Hakki Pekin said "a 5-6 people group came to Tokat from Tunceli,
launched the attack and reported it to their headquarters in
Northern Iraq." General Pekin added that the attack was launched
from four different positions and lasted for one minute.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports the PKK-aligned Firat News
Agency announced that "the attack was carried out by one of our
teams on their own initiative, without orders from the command
center." Cumhuriyet notes that following PKK statement, main
opposition CHP leader Baykal criticized the government for producing
conspiracy theories. Mainstream Hurriyet notes that the PKK
statement criticized the Turkish military's ongoing operations, the
death of a university student during the protests in Diyarbakir and
the prison conditions of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. In "PKK
Returns to War," liberal Radikal alleges that by launching the
attacks in Tokat, the PKK has ended its cease fire and is hinting
that fresh attacks are in the offing in their Firat News statement.
In a related story, mainstreams Hurriyet and Vatan report that nine
PKK members were killed during Turkish Military operations in Mardin
and Hakkari and during joint operations with Iranian military at
Turkey-Iran and Iraq border. And Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak
claimed that nine PKK members, including one female, entered Turkey
yesterday from Habur gate and surrendered to security forces.

Turkish Pundits Consider the Democratic Initiative vs the PKK

Mehmet Ali Birand writes in mass appeal Posta: "The experts in
Washington believe recent incidents that have been seen in Turkey is
nothing but a fight put up by the PKK and Abdullah Ocalan to secure
themselves. The experts point to the disagreements within the PKK,
and think that the government's Kurdish 'Democratic Initiative' has
shaken the organization, and took it to the point of losing control.
Likewise, they say Ocalan is provoking the incidents out of fear of
being put aside. 'The PKK and Ocalan do not know what to do." The
experts' overall evaluation is that the PKK aims to put off for some
time the Democratic Initiative, and in the meantime, try to resolve
internal disagreements. The Americans say the 'Initiative' has
shaken the PKK deeply, and stress that Erdogan should not halt the
process."

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Cengiz Candar emphasizes in liberal Radikal: "The real problem
between Washington and Ankara is the words and actions which feed
bloodshed in Turkey. If you stop the 'Democratic Initiative' and
weaken the PM, you can disrupt the balance in US-Turkey ties, and
it's not important whether it's done by the PKK, CHP or MHP. The
real problem within the context of Turkey-US relationship lies not
in Washington but in Turkey."

Rusen Cakir observes in mass appeal Vatan: "With the PKK, you don't
need other provocateurs in Turkey to derail the Kurdish 'Democratic
Initiative.' The Tokat raid is another sign that the PKK did not do
its part, and it doesn't give a picture that it will change from now
on. We will soon see how high the cost will be for the PKK and the
entire Turkey."

Warrior Obama Gets Nobel Prize" is how leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet and most Turkish media characterize President Obama's
Nobel Peace Prize. CNNTurk and mainstream Hurriyet focus on Obama
the "war president" and intellectual Islamist-oriented Zaman in
"Obama Argues for War," underlines Obama's emphasis that "sometimes
war is necessary." Mainstream Sabah plays up the President's
comments, noting "you cannot stop people like Hitler or Al Qaeda by
negotiations. . . unfortunately sometimes using force becomes
necessary." In "Embarrassing Nobel," mass appeal Milliyet
challenges Obama's Iran nuclear emphasis, with "Obama's first words
were about war . . this peace prize should have been embargoed and
given to Obama at the end of his presidency."

"Warrior Obama Gets Nobel Prize (Cumhuriyet)
"Warrior Obama Gets Nobel Prize" is how leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet and most Turkish media characterize President Obama's
Nobel Peace Prize. CNNTurk and mainstream Hurriyet focus on Obama
the "war president" and intellectual Islamist-oriented Zaman in
"Obama Argues for War," underlines Obama's emphasis that "sometimes
war is necessary." Mainstream Sabah plays up the President's
comments, noting "you cannot stop people like Hitler or Al Qaeda by
negotiations. . . unfortunately sometimes using force becomes
necessary." In "Embarrassing Nobel," mass appeal Milliyet
challenges Obama's Iran nuclear emphasis, with "Obama's first words
were about war . . this peace prize should have been embargoed and
given to Obama at the end of his presidency." Derya Sazak comments
in mass appeal Milliyet: "In Oslo, Nobel Peace Prize recipient
President Obama's anti-torture statement and his decision to close
down Gitmo has received applause. In his speech, Obama spoke
against Iran's nuclear program and voiced support to the masses that
took to the streets in protest of the non-democratic elections in
Iran. Thus, Prime Minister Erdogan's recent statement after meeting
with Obama in Washington earlier this week that the US President
backs Turkey's Iran policy has been left up in the air now. It's
clear that Obama does not put Iran, North Korea and Israel in the
same basket. This peace prize should have been embargoed and given
to Obama at the end of his presidency."

Gordon: "No Preconditions" for Normalization for Armenia-Turkey
In straight forward reporting mainstream Hurriyet and
Islamist-oriented Zaman both report on AS Philip Gordon's comments
at the Council on Foreign Relations on 12/10 that the United States
supports the "normalization process between Armenia and Turkey and
we asked both governments to approve the protocols as soon as
possible without any preconditions." In "Armenian Reflections on
Erdogan's US Trip" CNNTurk Online notes Gordon's remarks and offers
an Armenian perspective on the speech quoting Armenian FM
Nalbandyan saying "we started the dialogue based on the mutual
understanding that there were no preconditions."

19 Miners Killed in Explosion
All TV channels at this time are reporting in breaking news that 19
miners killed in the mine collapse in the northwest province of
Bursa's Mustafa Kemal Pasa town. A methane gas explosion occurred
in the local mine last night at 19.30 while 32 people were working

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in the coal mine. 13 of the 32 workers were immediately rescued but
19 others were trapped after the blast that caused a collapse in the
mine, reports mainstream Milliyet.

TGS Warns Police on 'American Agents' (Aksam)
Mainstream Aksam and Gazeteport website report the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) sent a 'top secret' note to the Turkish Interior
Ministry to warn the police against American spies working in
Turkey. According to Aksam, the TGS said that the US Air Force
Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI) members were exceeding their
normal duties, and asked the police to not meet with AFOSI personnel
without first obtaining permission. According to Aksam, the TGS
made the same warning before President Obama visited Turkey in
April, pointing out that Americans were meeting with local
municipality people. Gazeteport adds that an AFOSI officer at the
Incirlik Airbase met with some people in Giresun and Trabzon,
inquiring about the fate of weapons that disappeared in Iraq, some
of which were used in mystery killings in Turkey.

Reform Opponents Aligned Against Opening: Islamist-oriented Zaman
OnLine reports that "Turkey's three main opposition parties, the
Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)
and the Democratic Society Party (DTP) hold the same position as the
outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on the government's efforts
for a reform package that could settle the country's decades-old
Kurdish question, though they differ drastically on many other
national issues." Zaman OnLine cites Deputy Prime Minister B|lent
Aring's statement that "the opposition of the CHP and the MHP to the
reform package is the same as that of the pro-Kurdish DTP" and they
are all "seeking ways to make ... gains" following the Tokat
terrorist attack. He accused the MHP and CHP in particular of
making the funerals for the slain soldiers occasions for
"psychological abuse."


TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu warned that children throwing
stones to the security forces during protests might be taken from
their parents and send to orphanages

- Supporters of various sports clubs attack DTP branch in Izmir.
Seven assailants were taken into custody

- Council of State rejects the objections of the Higher Education
Board (YOK) regarding a decision suspending adjustments in
university entrance exam regulations.

- The Chief Prosecutor makes preparations for filing a new suit for
closing of AKP


World

- A Kuwaiti detainee held in prison in Guantanamo for almost eight
years was sent home after a federal judge order of freedom

- Russia claimed that Azerbaijan and Armenia are close to a deal to
end the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh

- US Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Iraq Thursday to meet
with Iraqi officials amid a wave of bombings

SILLIMAN

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