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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001795

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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
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2009

US Embassy Ankara Media Reaction
Prepared by Public Affairs Information Office on a daily basis

Media Highlights:

How US is Playing
Iran Missile Test: "Iran Plays With Fire" is how mainstream Milliyet
describes Iran's 12/16 test of a new medium-range missile, noting
that "while the West expects Iran to take steps for negotiations,
Iran has challenged the world." Liberal Radikal headlines the "West
is Angry With Iran's Missile Test" emphasizing "the US and Western
countries branded as provocative Iran's test-firing of an upgraded
version of its most advanced missile, which is claimed to be capable
of hitting Israel, Arabic countries, Turkey, and parts of Europe."
The paper quotes US State Dept Spokesman Ian Kelly as saying, "these
kinds of tests can only undermine Iran's claims of peaceful
intentions." In "Washington Tightens Sanctions On Iran,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet comments on Iran's provocative timing
and notes that US lawmakers have approved expanded sanctions
measures against Iran. Islamist-oriented Zaman goes further,
predicting "US Will Respond with An Exercise to Iran's Missile Test"
next month in the Pacific. In "US-Israel and Iran: Potential
Confrontation," Zaman columnist Fikret Ertan opines on the danger
that "both sides are giving messages to each other through missile
tests" and predicts US missile tests next month will accelerate
tensions.

US Bombs Yemen: A front page story in Islamist Yeni Safak claims
"The US is carrying out massacres in Yemen." Similarly, HaberTurk
and Cumhuriyet report that local Shiite sources in Yemen confirm
that US air force bombing of Shiite-controlled areas have killed "at
least 120." Stories mention the US decision to treat Yemen as the
new headquarters for Al Qaeda. In "Are We About to See a War
Between Iran and Saudi Arabia?" Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul
wonders if the US has opened a new war front in Yemen. Since there
is a civil unrest between Shiites and Sunnis in Yemen, and because
"the US started bombing the Shiite areas" the writer concludes
there's growing danger: "all of this might turn into a war between
Iran and Saudi Arabia with the US backing the Saudis."

Gordon: In "Turkey is Not Distancing from West" leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet highlights A/S Philip Gordon's remarks at a 12/15
Congressional hearing that "it will be a wrong impression to
consider Turkey as turning its back to the US and Europe" and his
praise of Turkey's regional role: "Turkey plays an active role in
its region and is seeking for itself for an important role."
Today's Zaman emphasized Gordon's comment that "the benefits of
Turkey conducting equal relations with its neighbors for the US and
the West outweigh its harms." The paper further opines that the PM
Erdogan visit was "an opportunity to diversify the strong political
and military cooperation between the two allies with the launch of
the initiative aimed at boosting trade and investment ties. The
initiative is "widely considered to be another concrete sign of the
mutual desire to make the model partnership more substantial."
Gordon speech is carried on the Wires:

Other News
Interior Minister Atalay: "We will eliminate terror and lift
democratic standards." All TV channels broadcasted live Interior
Minister Atalay's midday press conference on the Government's next
steps on regional unrest and reforms. In summary, Atalay said
"Violence is not a way to seek for rights in democracies. We will
continue to act with determination on eliminating terrorism as well
as lifting democratic standards. We will take some steps in the
parliament in the short and the mid-term. Atalay asked opposition
and media to act with common sense and "not exaggerate events."
Atalay said new measures would include: establishing an independent
HR agency; establishing an independent committee to look into
complaints about law enforcement; establishing a committee to
prevent discrimination; and "we also will try to enact as soon as
possible the draft law on the establishment of a Public Order and

ANKARA 00001795 002 OF 002


Security Undersecretariat. Regarding the DTP, Atalay noted he met
with banned leader Ahmet Turk on 12/13 and noted the upcoming
trilateral meeting with the US, Turkey and Iraq. In liberal Radikal
columnist Murat Yetkin observed: "The government wants to see DTP
members back in the parliament and Minister Atalay is working on
this issue." The writer believes that DTP is ready to cooperate
only if "reforms, including change in political parties and election
law are introduced to the parliament." Similarly mainstream Sabah's
Mehmet Barlas calls the government to act on the reforms even more
determinedly: "the AKP will be more powerful if works toward
comprehensive democratization package, including constitutional
changes."

DTP Resignations on Friday: "Door is open to Come Back" (Cumhuriyet)
To avoid mass protests by their supporters, Mainstream Sabah reports
that DTP deputies will not resign en masse on Friday. Instead, DTP
deputy chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Gulten Kisanak will submit
their resignations to the parliament tomorrow. DTP leader Ahmet
Turk called for commonsense regarding the incidents in Mus and said
"our actions should not harm either the shopkeepers or the people.
However, it is necessary to show reaction with commonsense within
the framework of real democracy." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak
quotes Ahmet Turk as saying "the people do not want us to leave the
parliament. We also considered the parliament as the only address
to resolve the problems. However, this parliament doesn't tolerate
our differences. " Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet's fronts "Door is
Open to Come Back" and reports that despite the resignation of 19
DTP deputies, the party will keep open the opportunity to return if
concrete steps are taken on election and party law reforms.
Meanwhile, NTV, CNN Turk, Show TV and all other TV channels last
night featured scenes showing DTP signs across Turkey have been
replaced by the new ones proclaiming the "Peace and Democracy
Party" (BDP).

"Freedom for Gaza" Convoy Left Sakarya for Ankara
Turkish Red Crescent and major television stations along with web
sites report a motorcade of 200 vehicles taking humanitarian aid to
Palestine from London arrived in Istanbul yesterday. The motorcade
left Sakarya for Ankara which will then be transported to Gaza.

TGS Chief Basbug Responds to Terror Charge
NTV at midday reported that during a terror summit with the other
commanders in Trabzon, Chief of General Staff General Basbug told
journalists the "PKK and its supporters can link terror activities
with the Turkish Armed Forces," but warning "the politicians and the
media members cannot do that and they should not do it."

Copenhagen: "No Consensus For Climate" (Cumhuriyet)
Turkish media are predicting failure in Copenhagen and note that
"the clock is ticking." Liberal Radikal asks "Will the World Return
Back With Empty Hands?" and says forcing agreement among 192 nations
is like "forcing a lazy kid do his homework." Mainstream Sabah
headlines "Summit is on the Streets" and observes that "hundreds of
protesters were arrested outside the Copenhagen climate conference
after violent clashes with police." Meanwhile, Today's Zaman
reports extensively that Turkey's climate change presentation in
Copenhagen drew fire from environmental civil society groups which
say their views were not taken into consideration. Though
Environment and Forestry Ministry official Fulya Somunkiranoglu
explained that Turkey's national strategy includes encouraging
renewable sources and nuclear energy, Greens of Turkey official
Devin Bahceci argued that Turkey's continued use of coal as its
primary energy source "hinders the climate change fight" adding that
"we have clearly seen that environmental organizations do not have a
place in the government's decision making process."

SILLIMAN

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