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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2010

Media Highlights: General McChrystal on NTV; Obama in 2010: Op/Eds;
Secretary Clinton To Meet US Armenians; US-Turkey Model Partnership;
Erdogan Warnings on Iran, Israel and the Iraq Syndrome; Cyprus
Talks; Survey on Turkey's Orthodox Citizens; TV Spotlight

McChrystal: "Turkish Soldiers Are the Best Communicators with Afghan
People" (NTV)
In evening news cast on 1/11 and today, NTV gave prominent play to
their exclusive interview with General Stanley McChrystal, the
commander of ISAF and American forces in Afghanistan. General
McChrystal lauded the contribution of Turkish soldiers serving in
Afghanistan, saying, "The Turkish military has unique influence in
Afghanistan. They communicate with Afghan people very well and they
understand the environment. Their presence is important for the
coalition's success." On a question on the demand over Turkish
combat troops to Afghanistan, McChrystal said whether it be civilian
aid, development or military security, whatever Turkey does makes an
"effective and valuable" contribution in the region. The General
said about the changing Afghanistan policy under President Obama,
"One of the most important things we do is the protection and
respect of Afghan people, and minimization of civilian losses. We
must try to convince the Afghan people that we are here for them."


Obama in 2010: Commentaries on Yemen and Security
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak's correspondent Ali Akel reported on
1/11 that "The hope President Obama rendered to the Islamic world
during his inauguration ceremony is losing ground in the face of the
desperation in the Muslim world. Except for some partial
developments in Iraq, no progress was seen in Israel, Palestine and
Syria, and the White House is unclear about the strategies to be
followed regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan. Confusion over a
possible US intervention in Yemen makes the Muslim world 'clench its
fist' again. The Washington Administration conducts 'shivering'
policies regarding internal and foreign policies but maintains its
position on the issues of Iran's nuclear program and the closure of
Gitmo. President Obama had made a good kickstart on January 20 last
year, and the world responded by awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Let's see if 'Mr Cool' will be able to defuse the dynamites which
had been placed under the Peace Prize."

In Islamist-oriented Zaman, Virginia Commonwealth University
academic Dr Fahrettin Sumer wrote a guest column that noted: "It's
in the benefit of all to prevent Yemen from falling into internal
strife and instability. Therefore, it's important that the US and
Western powers conduct their relations with Yemen by paying
attention to the country's delicate balances. Besides fighting
against terrorism, Yemen must be helped in its efforts for economic
development and democratization. We hope that Obama, under constant
criticism from Republicans for being soft on terror, will not be
influenced to conduct Bush-style policies."

Clinton to Meet Armenians in US (Hurriyet Daily News)
Columnist Umit Enginsoy with Hurriyet Daily News reports that
representatives of major Armenian-American groups are planning to
hold talks with Secretary Clinton on the recent thaw between Turkey
and Armenia. Enginsoy quotes Armenian Assembly of America (AAA)
executive director Bryan Ardouny as saying that "Turkey continues
its counterproductive actions with respect to normalizing relation
with Armenia" and that a meeting planned for sometime in February
would offer "an important opportunity to discuss the US
administration's efforts to hold Turkey accountable."

US-Turkey Model Partnership: In "Roadmap for Model Partnership with
the US" mainstream Aksam columnist Cigdem Toker reports that Deputy
Prime Minister Ali Babacan chaired a meeting of government ministers
and private sector representatives to discuss the necessary
groundwork for implementation of the model partnership proposed by
President Obama. The group saw US cabinet level focus on the
partnership as positive and different from the earlier strategic
partnership model. Foreign Trade Undersecretary Ahmet Yakici will

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chair a "model partnership team" with hopes for positive impact on
industrial zone projects and military procurement.


In the Headlines

PM Erdogan Warnings: Israel Tensions Mount Today's media outlets
widely cover PM Erdogan's press conference with Lebanese Prime
Minister Saad Hariri on Monday, giving widespread play to his
comments on Israel. All papers report that Erdogan confirmed he
would not participate in the World Economic Forum annual meeting in
Davos. Mainstream Vatan said PM Erdogan fiercely criticized Israel
for its new attacks in Gaza where he said they used phosphorous
bombs against civilians. According to Vatan, Erdogan rhetorically
asked: "Israel bombed Gaza again. Why did you do this? Will you
accuse them again for firing missiles? But there are no such
happenings at the moment. Israel gives the message that it is the
superpower of the region and uses disproportionate force and
violates UN resolutions." CNN Turk reported that Israel described
Erdogan's comments as "insolent scolding" in an MFA statement
released late on 1/12. In the statement, the Israeli Foreign
Ministry's defended its full right to protect its citizens from the
missiles and terror of Hamas and Hezbollah and noted that "the Turks
are the last who can preach morality to the State of Israel."

PM Erdogan Warning on Iran Gets Major Play
WashingtonTV and other online outlets were quick to report on
Erdogan's comments late on 1/11 under the headline "Turkey Slams
Western Pressure over Iran Nuclear Program." The online services
noted that "Erdogan criticized major powers for pressuring Iran on
its nuclear program while tolerating Israel's assumed nuclear
arsenal" while also "blasting Israeli violations of Lebanese
airspace and air strikes in the Gaza Strip." Islamist Today's Zaman
on line noted that Erdogan was "actually commenting on the Iranian
nuclear issues" and that "Erdogan noted that Turkey was warning the
Iranians against their bid for nuclear weapons."

The semi official wire service Anadolu Ajansi carried Erdogan's
remarks as follows: "This is about peace in this region, this is
what we are sensitive about. We stand against whoever and whatever
threatens the regional peace. If you want to establish peace, you
have to act together with peace seekers. Otherwise peace in the
region cannot be achieved. Of course the region cannot bear a new
Iraq Syndrome. We do not want to have this again in this region.
Arguments with Iran are about nuclear weapons. Our stance is clear
on this matter. We do not approve any country in this region to go
for nuclear weapons. We tell this to our Iranian friends and
brothers as well. But at the same time, there are nuclear weapons
in Israel too. Those who warn Iran do not make a similar warning to
Israel. There is a problem here. On this issue, the permanent 5
have to be fair. They have to issue a similar warning to Israel.
Because there are nuclear weapons there. Israel has never denied
having nuclear weapons, on the contrary, Israel has acknowledged
this. And they have used weapons of mass destruction, i.e.
phosphorus bombs in Gaza. Nobody can argue that phosphorus bombs
are not weapons of mass destruction. We have seen it, we lived
through it. Thus we have a message to the voice of conscience, a
message to the voice of humanity: we will be fair. Our approach to
this region will be fair. If we don't act fairly, then the problem
will not only hit [damage] this region but also it will spread out
through other regions. Peace in the Middle East is peace for the
entire world, and uneasiness in the Middle East is an uneasiness for
the world. Therefore we attach great importance to Middle East
peace." (US Embassy translation)

Commentary on Erdogan and Iran: Analyzing PM Erdogan's comments on
Iran and Israel, "Government remains skeptical to the US approach on
Iran" writes Murat Yetkin in liberal Radikal. In "Erdogan Warns the
US About Iran" he says: "What PM Erdogan said was a disclosure of
Ankara's position regarding tension with the Iran issue which is on
the verge of escalating particularly after remarks by General

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Petreaus. When a US commander talks about bombing Iran which is
located right between Iraq and Afghanistan, it is more serious than
it seems. Erdogan considers Washington's approach as another Iraq
syndrome like it is looking for an excuse to attack." Noting that
Turkey remains the only NATO member who is skeptical about US
approach to the Iran nuclear issue, the columnist concludes: "Turkey
wants no nuclear weapons around itself and that covers not only Iran
but Israel as well. Ankara is asking Washington to work on Iran
nuclear issue by being fair and not causing any damage to the world
peace by using force. Turkey strongly believes that a military
option with Iran will lead to global problems."

Cypriot Leaders: "We Will Continue Negotiations Until the End"
(Sabah)
All papers today report that the Cypriot leaders launched
intensified talks under the shadow of the Greek Cypriot refusal of
Turkish proposals. However, mainstream Sabah highlights that
following nine hour meeting between Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and
Greek Cypriot leader Hristofyas, the leaders stressed that none of
the parties will run away from the negotiations and they will
continue until the end. Hurriyet headline reads "The Summit Starts
With Crisis Again", Liberal Radikal headline reads "All Hopes for
Solution in Cyprus Depends on the Talks,"
Intellectual/Islamist-oriented Zaman headlines the talks as "Most
Critical Talks Started in Cyprus" and reports that the talks has
high importance especially for Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali
Talat. If no concrete decision comes out of talks, it is likely
that Talat will lose his chair at the elections in April. Columnist
Sami Kohen in mainstream Milliyet notes a fundamental difference
between the two sides: "Turkish Cypriots are targeting a loose
federation system while Greek Cypriots are determined to have a
centralized federation. No significance can come out as long as
this fundamental difference remains."

Poll: Orthodox Turks Concerned of Their Security (Cumhuriyet)
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet carries a public opinion survey
headlined "How non-Muslims live in Turkey, and what they want." The
survey was conducted January 7-9 by Eurasia Public opinion Research
Center (AKAM) through face-to-face interviews with 820 Orthodox
citizens in the country. 66.6 percent of the respondents said they
faced "discrimination," and 77 percent said they were concerned of
their security, since they were non-Muslims. With regard to the
Orthodox citizens' most important expectations from the Turkish
government, 47.8 percent responded by saying "the reopening of Halki
Seminary," 44.6 percent "the recognition of the Patriarchate's
Ecumenism," and 5.2 percent "respect to our efforts to spread our
religion."

Erdogan to Strengthen Ties with Moscow
In "Erdogan to Moscow in Search of Alliance" Hurriyet Daily News is
reporting that Turkey and Russia will set up a strategic cooperation
working group co-chaired at the prime ministerial level when PM
Erdogan meets with PM Putin on Wednesday. Accompanied by five
cabinet members and a group of businessmen, Hurriyet Daily News
reports that talks will focus on strengthening energy and business
ties and according to a Turkish official find "a mechanism to
prevent any more crises and put the relations on a sound footing."

TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

Prime Minister Erdogan goes to Russia on January 12. Energy will be
the main issue on the agenda.

Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkey was "very close" to reaching a
long-delayed deal with the IMF.

Foreign Minister Davutoglu is in the UK on an official visit to meet
with his British counterpart Miliband. Davutoglu will deliver a
speech at the King's College.

Prime Minister Erdogan will be given the King Faisal Award, known as

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the Nobel Prize of the Arab world.

CHP leader Baykal insists the popularity of AKP was declining, and
urges PM Erdogan to reveal the results of the public opinion polls
he was conducting.

The newly founded Kurdish party BDP will hold a convention February
1.

Italian PM Berlusconi returned to official duties a month after he
was injured by an attacker in Milan.

SILLIMAN

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