Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2010
US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - January 26, 2010 as
prepared by the Public Affairs Information Office
How the US is Playing
Haiti: "Pain Not Easing At All" (Radikal)
Media outlets express continuing concern about the humanitarian
crisis in Haiti and highlight the international conference held in
Montreal to discuss Haiti's economic reconstruction. Mainstream
Sabah's headline reads, "Death Toll in Haiti Exceeds Toll in
Hiroshima," and says "the estimated death toll in Haiti of 450,000
is worse than Hiroshima which was 200,000." NTV alerts its audience
that "as efforts to save more lives continue in Haiti, the country
needs one million tents before the rainy season starts." Meanwhile
mainstream Milliyet online writes, "Haiti Aid Conference Starts in
Canada," noting "major donor nations, along with regional and
multilateral organizations, opened a meeting in Montreal on
rebuilding efforts for earthquake-ravaged Haiti." Liberal Radikal
in "Search Ends, Time to Rescue!" highlights that "the British aid
and relief organization Oxfam said the attending countries at the
Montreal conference agreed to cancel Haiti's $890 million
international debt in the wake of the devastating earthquake."
Columnist Sami Kohen writing in mainstream Milliyet observes a deep
contrast between Haiti and its neighbor Dominican Republic. He
believes that "the Western world has a major role in this poverty"
and suggests that the "social and economic poverty in Haiti is more
obvious after the earthquake disaster. When comparing it to
neighboring Dominican Republic, it just breaks one's heart to see
the deep contrast despite Haiti's economic resources." Kohen
concludes that "when French colonial rule ended in Haiti there were
huge debts to pay which forced the country to become dependent on US
banks. Along with the US invasion between 1915-1934, Haiti always
became a sufferer economically and socially. " Finally, Kohen says
that the "debate in Western media, particularly French and American,
is a considerable sign of efforts for cleaning up their conscience."
In its print and online version, Hurriyet carries a statement from
Guido Bertolasa, Italian Prime Ministry Undersecretary for Civilian
Defense who accused the US for "setting up a media show" by using
its aid to Haiti. Reacting to this story, several bloggers give
Cemil Algan: "There was a debate about US aid to Haiti in CNN but
the nature of talks centered on how it will negatively affect
American taxpayers. The visuals carried more footage on American
soldiers than shots from devastating earthquake."
Tulay Bilgin: "It comes as no surprise because wherever the US
enters to a country under pretexts, like 'to bring freedom' there
comes bloodshed. The US is more concerned about using a country's
natural resources than helping out suffering people."
Selim Saglam: "This is a stupid statement. The US started the aid
with 2 billion dollars and sent thousands of people out there. At
the same time China was sending only 5 million dollars. Although
some call big devil, in reality, it was the devil(!) which sent its
aircraft carriers to help people. Have Italians, Iranians and
Europeans done anything? None."
In the Headlines
First Science Envoy of the US: "Invest in the Youth"
Leyla Tavsanoglu of leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet did an interview
with Ahmad Zewail, White House Science Envoy reported in today's
paper. The interview carries excerpts from Zewail's biography and
highlights his Nobel-winning study on molecular chemistry. The
following points are emphasized in the interview: "Dr. Zewail talks
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about President Obama's interest in strong cooperation on science
and technology with other countries. The better the cooperation in
this field is, the more development will be achieved. Advising
Turkey to invest in its youth, Dr. Zewail points to vision and
determination as key to success. He also believes that science can
be a good tool to solve problems."
Basbug: In Democracies, Power Changes Hands through Elections
Media outlets report the Chief of Turkish General Staff (TGS),
General Ilker Basbug, addressing a seminar on Monday, responded to
allegations about a military takeover plan dubbed "Balyoz"
(Sledgehammer) which allegedly included a bomb attack against a
mosque in Istanbul. "How can the military think of throwing a bomb
at the house of God? This is remorseless," said Basbug. Daily
Taraf recently reported plans, such as military plans to bomb
mosques, to provoke an uprising which would create a suitable
environment for the army to take over the country's administration.
Basbug noted the military felt uneasy about the allegations, and
stressed the military's commitment to democracy and the rule of law,
adding that "in democracies, power changes hands through elections."
The top general acknowledged that Turkey had experienced some
military interventions since the 1960s, and said: "Those days are
left behind. We think that everyone has taken his own lessons from
this process." Basbug also said on the issue of the "leakage" of
some top-secret documents from the military, that nine officers had
been taken to military court, one officer was found guilty and
sentenced to three years, and ten officers of different ranks were
An Olive-Branch for the Taliban (Milliyet)
All papers today give extensive coverage to the fourth trilateral
summit held between the presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan and
Pakistan, in Istanbul. Mainstream Hurriyet says, at the press
conference following the trilateral summit, Afghan President Karzai
said "those Taliban members who are not part of Al-Qaeda or other
terrorist groups are welcome to come back to their country after
laying down weapons, and enjoy privileges, rights and guarantees
given by the Afghan constitution." Mainstream Milliyet covers the
same news under the headline "An Olive-Branch for Taliban" and says
that security and education issues were on the top of the trilateral
summit's agenda. Milliyet and Islamist-oriented Zaman report that,
at the joint press conference, President Gul said "It is not
possible to overcome the problems facing Afghanistan through
military instruments only. We believe efforts are needed to win the
hearts and minds of the Afghan people." Zaman reports that, when
asked whether Turkey could hold talks with the Taliban, President
Gul said "isolating the supporters of terror and dividing them into
small groups is important to combat terror. We are ready to make
any contributions if it is possible for Turkey to help within the
framework of this perspective."
In a related story, mainstream Sabah cites the British The Times
interview with General Petraeus at the Tampa Headquarters, and says
that General Petraeus confessed that ending the insurgency in
Afghanistan will be more difficult and will take longer time than
Iraq. "It is necessary to be open for dialog with Taliban and
Pakistani officials," Petraeus added according to the Times.
Meanwhile, NATO forces Commander in Afghanistan, General Mc Chrystal
told the Financial Times that "there had been enough fighting. As
happens in every war, a political solution is unavoidable in the war
in Afghanistan as well."
Ambassador Reddaway: Turkey Plays a Leading Role in Afghanistan
In an op-ed written for Hurriyet daily on the occasion of the
Afghanistan conference held in Istanbul, British Ambassador David
Reddaway, a former special envoy to Afghanistan, stressed that
Turkey played a "critical and leading role" in Afghanistan. "The
people of Afghanistan need our help; they deserve our help," said
Reddaway, and added Turkey, having deep and long-standing ties with
Afghanistan, could do a lot in this regard. He stressed that the
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"Afghanistan conferences" to be held this month in Istanbul and
London would give the Afghan people a strong message of
international determination on supporting their future. Reddaway
underscored that terror, which has grown out of the instability
prevailing along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, has harmed other
countries including Britain. "We are determined to continue our
presence in Afghanistan until Afghanistan is safe and Afghan forces
are ready to fully take over security. We hope that day will come
soon," emphasized Reddaway.
Diyanet to be Given 'Undersecretariat' Status
Papers report the status of the Religious Affairs Directorate
(Diyanet) will be elevated to that of an "Undersecretariat"
comprising of six general directorates. A desk for Alevis will also
be set up under the Undersecretariat, and Diyanet will launch a
radio and a television station. The Diyanet chief will serve in
office for five years, for maximum two terms, according to reports.
TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will pay an
official visit to Turkey as the guest of Foreign Minister Davutoglu.
Jurgen Klute, a member of the European Parliament, expressed support
for the workers of Turkey's former state-run tobacco and alcoholic
beverages company Tekel in their strike in Ankara.
The scaffold constructed as part of various renovation projects at
Istanbul's Hagia Sophia over the past 17 years has now been removed.
Turkish Statistics Institute say Turkey's population has increased
to 72.5 million at the end of 2009.
Credit card spending in Turkey for 2009 totals 205 billion lira.
An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people on board has crashed into
the Mediterranean Sea shortly after taking off from Beirut.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, "Chemical Ali," has been executed by hanging on
Monday. Majid was sentenced to death for ordering the gassing of
Kurds in the northeastern town of Halabja, killing an estimated
Four car bombs targeting hotels killed 36 people in Baghdad.
The Guardian reports Turkish Cypriots say Cyprus could split like
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said several Jewish settlement
blocs in the West Bank would always remain part of Israel.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has rejected as "irresponsible"
allegations that swine flu is a fake pandemic.