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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2010

Highlights
US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - January 14, 2010 as
prepared by the Public Affairs Information Office

Breaking news: CNNTurk is reporting a "last minute" development as
Mehmet Simsek, Minister of the Economy, has decided not to attend
the upcoming Davos meetings. Earlier, PM Erdogan confirmed his
decision not to go but that he was naming Simsek to represent the
Cabinet.

How the US is Playing

U.S. Spokesman Praises Turkey's Role In Middle East: The semi
official Anatolian Agency reports that U.S. State Department of
State Spokesman PJ Crowley praised Turkey's role in issues related
to Middle East. "Turkey has played an important role as an
intermediary in working through issues related to Middle East
peace," Crowley told a daily press briefing on Thursday when
responding to a question over a recent diplomatic tension between
Turkey and Israel. "We value that interaction, value Turkey's role
in trying to help countries work through these issues. And I would
expect that to continue," he said, adding that Turkey and Israel
were two important allies and friends of the United States.

Commentary Lauds US-Turkey ME Cooperation: Hasan Bulent Kahraman
opines in mainstream Sabah: "Turkey always wanted to be the key
actor in the Middle East. With its new position, Turkey came to a
different spot in the field of international relations as well. For
the first time, Turkey is acting in the Middle East, together with
the US, in cooperation and agreement. In the past, Turkey went to
the region to put distance between itself and the US. Today,
however, Turkey's good relations with the US works as a factor to
strengthen Turkey's power in the region. In short, Turkey benefits
from Israel's mistakes and strengthens its hand in the Middle East."


Pakistan "Payback" Bombings: In "Payback Strike from the US,"
mainstream Milliyet reports that the US pinpointed Taliban leader
Hakimullah Mehsud in yesterday's bombing raid, noting "the top
Taliban leader in Pakistan, who was recently seen with CIA bomber
Al Balawi in a video after the attack, might be among 15 militants
killed in a US missile strike in a religious school in northwest
Pakistan." Islamist Yeni Safak headlines "Drones Strike Taliban
Leader," and believes "the continued US pounding on key militant
targets in Pakistan's tribal areas shows that the US is determined
to keep up the pressure on the Taliban." Meanwhile,
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet in "Taliban Leader Escapes US Missile
Attack," says "the leader of the Pakistani Taliban was apparently
the target of a US missile strike but Pakistani officials reportedly
said he escaped unhurt."

Jewish Lobby in the US Accuses Turkish Government of Supporting
Anti-Semitism
In an exclusive, mainstream Hurriyet reports that American Anti
Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman claimed that Turkish
society is obviously becoming anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and accused
the Erdogan government of promoting anti-Semitism. Foxman also
accused Turkish media for being anti-Jewish and was quoted by
Hurriyet as saying "we are very much worried about the general
climate in Turkey which is becoming anti-Israel and even promotes
being anti-Israel."

In the Headlines

Russia Rejects Links to Nagorno-Karabakh on Protocols: Hurriyet and
other online sites reported Russian FM comments on Nagorno-Karabakh
during a 1/14 press conference with Armenia's Nalbandian in Moscow.
Lavrov called on Armenia and Turkey to move forward quickly on
stalled efforts to ratify the protocols, according to press reports,
noting "we are interested in ties being normalized . . . The
quicker this happens, the better it is for the entire region."

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Lavrov backed the Armenian stance in the dispute, but also rejected
any links between the Turkey-Armenia normalization process. Lavrov
said Russia was ready to assist both countries with infrastructure
projects, including electricity and rail links, once they agree to
establish ties and open their border. Islamist Yeni Sefak called
the Moscow meetings "For Karabakh - A Critical Threshold," while
HaberNews proclaimed "Russia's Reveals Its Armenian Moves."
Turkey- Armenia: PM Erdogan: "The Steps are Obvious if Armenia
Withdraws"
Major papers carry an on-board interview with PM Erdogan on his way
from Moscow to Istanbul. Aksam, Zaman and Yeni Safak highlight
Erdogan's comments that "Turkey should be ready and accustomed to
referendums" while Hurriyet's editor-in-chief Enis Berberoglu fronts
PM's remarks on the Turkey-Armenia normalization process and
Ankara's expectations from Russia in the Minsk Group.

Turkey-Armenia: Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as saying "Whatever is
said, the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia is
definitely connected with Karabakh issue. Closing the border gates
started with the problems between Armenia and Azerbaijan. If this
problem is resolved, and the occupation of Karabakh is ended,
Turkey-Armenia issue will relax. If Armenia has any good-will,
then, it can start by pulling out from the sections. Positive
developments will occur as soon as they pull out. In this process,
the steps Turkey will be taking are obvious: There are doors in
front of us. We have shouldered some risks. We already started the
Cargo flights and Yerevan-Istanbul commercial flights. We opened
our air space but opening the border gate is completely a different
issue. . . We also discussed this issue with Medvedev and Putin in
an open manner. Russia is the most influential country within the
Minsk Group. It will be difficult to obtain result if Russia acts
leisurely on this matter."

Nuclear deal with Russia: Media report that Erdogan commented
"Danistay cancelled the nuclear tender, and we have started a new
process. Studies are underway on this matter. There will be
inter-governmental agreements [between Turkey and Russia]. Once the
technical studies are completed Turkey and Russia will meet again to
discuss and we will submit it to the parliaments. It will be a
matter of international agreement and Danistay will not be in the
loop. This is not happening for the first time, there are examples
of this kind in the past. Russia prefers Siemens here as a partner.
This is about two units with 2400-2500 megawatts in 7 years."

Turkey-Israel Crisis: "Sultan Erdogan" (Milliyet) Turkish media
continue their coverage of the Turkish-Israel rift and focus today
on foreign press reaction. In "Sultan Erdogan," mainstream
Milliyet replays coverage in Lebanese daily El Ekber and excerpts
reports from Israeli Haaretz ("Turkish people never tolerate insult
to their representatives") and British The Times ("Israel had to
issue an apology following the recent damaging bilateral ties
quarrel") Similarly, mainstream Vatan and Islamist/pro-government
Zaman use reports from Arab press to conclude that "once again"
Turkey taught Israel a lesson, "especially after the Davos crisis
when PM Erdogan blasted Israeli President Peres for murdering
Palestinians." Carrying an expert from Lebanese El-Akhbar ("Israel
only understands Turkish"), Islamist oriented Yeni Safak reports in
bold headlines that "The world's media wrote about Turkey's winning
a diplomatic quarrel with Israel."
Commentary: US-Turkey ME Cooperation Lauded; Anti-Israel Sentiments
on the Rise

Fikret Bila in Milliyet observes a serious wound in bilateral ties:
"Turkey-Israel normalization efforts been obstructed by the fact
that Israeli government is a fragile coalition government. With the
recent incidents, Turkey-Israel relations have been heavily wounded.
Responsibility to heal the wounds depends fully on Israel.
Anti-Israel sentiments will increase in Turkey after the recent
incident, just like the anti-Americanism had increased in the past
following the Suleymaniye incident, where Turkish officers were
hooded by the Americans." Mainstream Aksam's foreign affairs

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commentator Deniz Aribogan observes a shift of the foreign policy
axis in Israel: "Even though Israel is accusing Turkey for shifting
toward the Middle East axis, in reality, it moves toward being out
of the Middle East equilibrium. The Middle East is going through a
transformation under a new world order and Israel resists to change
itself according to new parameters."

Poll -- Political Parties in Decline: In a front page story,
Cumhuriyet reports that Metropol's January survey on the "Political
Situation in Turkey" shows that 65.8 percent of Turks say they are
pessimistic about the future of the country, and that 30 percent say
2010 will be worse than 2009. If elections were held in 2010, the
pollster predicts that the distribution of votes would be as
follows: AKP 32.3 percent, CHP 16.2, MHP 14.4, DTP 5.3, and
Undecided 11.1. The poll was conducted by 1614 respondents in 31
provinces.
Human Rights Committee to Inspect Military Prisons


Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that a parliamentary
committee on human rights has decided to put together a group to
inspect military prisons. The decision, which would be the first
civilian inspection of military prisons in Turkey, also received
support from the opposition parties.
Herons to Come in March Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports that
controvery over the non-delivery of the Heron drones, which caused a
crisis between Turkey and Israel, will be solved. First delivery of
the unmanned aircrafts, with upgraded capacity, will arrive in
March.

Haiti is In Pain (Radikal). Citing American Earthquake Institute
sources, Turkey's mainstream Vatan compares the Haitian quake to
Turkey's devastating 1999 earthquake and says the high death toll
was the result of poor quality construction and lack of building
codes. In "Life and Death In Haiti," leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
says, "corpses litter the streets while thousands of people are
still trapped in flattened buildings in the quake-hit Haitian
capital more than 48 hours after the catastrophe." In "Haiti is In
Pain" liberal Radikal thinks "even if international relief efforts
reach the region, it won't be enough; the death toll is rising and
survivors are in miserable condition." Islamist Yeni Safak in a
pessimistic line, "Devastated, Hungry, Thirsty," says "the death
toll could reach to 50,000 in the wake of the Haitian earthquake,"
and notes "the UN confronts the largest single loss of life of its
own personnel in its 65 year history." Mainstream Milliyet's front
page headline reads, "The Corpse Island," and warns that "as water,
food and medicine remain limited, and dead bodies continue to
accumulate in public areas, Haiti is particularly at risk for
epidemic outbreaks of infection in the aftermath of such a natural
disaster."

TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

Delivery of Israeli drones to Turkey is expected to begin in March.


On January 18, Prime Minister Erdogan will go to Abu Dhabi to join
the Third World Energy Summit.

The AKP government will hold its last Alevi workshop on January 28
in Kizilcahamam near Ankara, which will outline a roadmap for
addressing the problems of the Alevis.

The Red Cross estimates there have been 45,000-50,000 deaths in the
Haitian earthquake.

China will reportedly send a lower-level representative to a meeting
of six world powers on Iran's nuclear program.

JEFFREY

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