Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2010
US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 1, 2010 as
prepared by the Public Affairs Information Office
How the US is Playing
"US Encircles Iran with Weapons" (Yeni Safak)
All media outlets carry in detail a Washington Post story which says
the Obama Administration was quietly working with Saudi Arabia and
other Persian Gulf states to speed up arms sales and upgrade
defenses for oil terminals and other key infrastructure in a bid to
thwart military attacks by Iran. "The US Arms the Gulf," reads a
headline in mainstream Hurriyet; "Intimidation Aimed at Iran,"
reports all-news broadcaster NTV; "The US Speeds up Arms Sales to
Gulf against Iran Threat," says a headline in Islamist-oriented
Zaman. Zaman also points out that according to the story, regional
countries, including Yemen, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey, were all
seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes but that "if Iran were
to test a weapon, those countries might reassess their options."
In "Remorseless Kidnap of Quake-Stricken Orphans,"
conservative-nationalist Bugun expresses concern over the growing
fear of human trafficking in Haiti reporting the story of "ten
American Baptists arrested for kidnapping 33 children from the
earthquake-hit country." There is broad media coverage of the child
trafficking arrests of the 10 Americans "after they tried to cross
the border with more than 30 children who did not have proper
paperwork." Islamist oriented Yeni Safak carries the headline,
"Americans Kidnapped Those Kids," and says they were arrested for
kidnapping children "who were being searched for, for days."
Mainstream Sabah calls it "Ten Americans Were Going to Kidnap 31
Haitian Orphans," while leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet headline
says, "Ten Child Trafficker Americans Arrested in Haiti."
Mainstream Milliyet says, "Haiti's Social Affairs Minister Yves
Christallin called the operation an abduction, not adoption."
"Mysterious American Vehicle in Poyrazkoy" (Vatan)
Mainstream Vatan claimed Sunday that a car belonging to the US
Consulate in Istanbul was used to take pictures of a military zone
in Poyrazkoy on April 7, 2009, 17 days before security forces
unearthed weapons, allegedly buried by the illegal 'Ergenekon'
group, in the area. According to mainstream Aksam columnist Mustafa
Mutlu, the US vehicle entered the military zone and took photos "by
mistake" but he still opines that foreign powers had a role in the
allegations about a military coup in Turkey. Aksam did report
Sunday that the US Embassy has voiced strong reactions to the
reports claiming US involvement in the weapons unearthed in
Poyrazkoy, calling the charges "absurd."
"Jewish Security Teams" Claims (Sabah)
Sunday papers report the Islamist-oriented Saadet Party (SP) leader
Numan Kurtulmus said that the US Consulate in Istanbul was giving
"general security training" to religious minority groups in
Istanbul. Kurtulmus added that the US State Department's 2009
religious freedom report contained information about this training.
Mainstream Sabah repeats the story on Monday, adding that a
businessman, Dogan Kasadolu, confirmed what Kurtulmus reported,
saying high-school graduate volunteers were used to guard Jewish
organizations, foundations and institutions after being trained
In the Headlines
Erdogan on New Constitution, Israel, Armenia
All media outlets carry excerpts from Prime Minister Erdogan's
Sunday meeting with reporters on state broadcaster TRT, in which the
PM said his government was going to remove a controversial protocol
on Security, Public Order and Assistance, known as the Emasya
Protocol. The protocol, which authorizes the military to conduct
operations and intelligence gathering in cities without the approval
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of the governor's office or police, was signed by the police and the
military in 1997, and now the military General Staff (TGS) and the
Interior Ministry are working to annul the protocol. Erdogan also
vowed to change the constitution. "We want a constitution in EU
standards, which must be a civilian constitution, and the ideal way
for accomplishing this would be holding a referendum," said Erdogan.
Liberal Radikal says Erdogan's remarks would be a turning point in
the debate over a military tutelage regime in Turkey.
Erdogan said Israel should give some thought to what it would be
like to lose a friend like Turkey. "The way they recently treated
our ambassador has no place in international politics. We have done
our best for Israel-Syria relations. But now we see Prime Minister
Netanyahu saying, 'I do not trust Erdogan, but I trust Sarkozy.'"
He also commented on the Israeli foreign ministry's recent
accusation of causing tensions between Turkey and Israel by saying:
"I am telling the truth, and I will keep telling the truth. When
innocent civilians are ruthlessly killed, struck by phosphorus
bombs, infrastructure is demolished in bombings and people are
forced to live in an open-air prison, we cannot see this as
compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
On the Armenian Constitutional Court's interpretation of the recent
Turkish-Armenian protocols, Erdogan said: "We appear to have gotten
off to an unhealthy start. What are we negotiating about? What are
we going to do? Armenia should once again take this into
consideration because we fulfilled our protocol commitments."
Erdogan also said both sides had road maps, and that the process
Critical Day in Cyprus (Radikal, Milliyet)
Hurriyet and other papers reported on Sunday the Greek Cypriots have
accepted a package prepared by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots that
includes the right of visa-free entry, free travel, free settlement
and the right for Turkish nationals to obtain property. In "72
Million Turks Will Enjoy EU Rights In Cyprus" Hurriyet reports Greek
Cypriot leader Christofias said the" nod of Greece and the EU is
needed for the package." Hurriyet sees the acceptance of the
Turkish package as "big progress in Cyprus talks."
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
arrived in Cyprus on Sunday to boost the "slow-moving talks."
Liberal Radikal notes that with the participation of Ban Ki-Moon in
Monday's meetings, the parties are expected to make the first
concrete progress in the long lasting Cyprus talks. Zaman notes the
two Cypriot leaders have achieved only "marginal progress" in 17
months of negotiations and reports that PM Erdogan commented
yesterday in a live broadcast that "In my opinion, Christofias is
not able to move comfortably, and we have also entered a difficult
period." Erdogan said he appreciated Talat's determination to
continue negotiations without any interruption due to the election
In "Why Did UN Secretary General Come to Cyprus?" Ferai Tinc opines
in mainstream Hurriyet: "Ban Ki-Moon is the third UN Secretary
General, paying a visit to Cyprus. As it is alleged, the reason for
his visit is not to give support to Turkey only, but to support the
process, which has been going on between the two leaders for months.
It is obvious that this visit has a big role in reviving a nearly
collapsed process. Even though, Moon doesn't offer a new approach
for a solution, he will still show that he is there to revive the
process and to explain that the talks will continue in February
also. This visit reminds everyone of the UN's involvement in Cyprus
and this the only platform which gives equal bases to Turkey and
Turkish Cyprus. And again, bringing this platform to the agenda is
very important at a period when the EU reports and European Justice
Commission decisions, obstruct a fair solution."
Editorial Commentary on the New Arms Draft Law
Riza Turmen criticizes the draft for the new weapons law in "Under
the Shadow of the Weapons" in mainstream Milliyet: "As a nation, we
Turks love weapons and we have a habit of expressing our happiness
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and sorrow by firing weapons. In Turkey, most of the time, weapons
are used by the civilians and by the officials, in unintended ways.
It is an important human rights issue in Turkey if the police fire
before the necessary conditions occur. Allowing the police force
and the MIT to import military weapons has been discussed in the
Parliament's Internal issues sub commission reviewing the 'Arms Law'
draft. With this law, police and the MIT will be able to import and
use weapons which should only be used for military goals. The
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has a
document which was agreed to by all member countries, including
Turkey, which outlines a code for the military and civilian sides of
security. This document and the code has a binding role. According
to article 26 of this document, ' under the international
guarantees, each OSCE state, will control its paramilitary forces so
they do not exceed its founding intensions.' Police are accepted as
a paramilitary force. Therefore, Turkey is responsible for the
police force not to own weapons exceeding its founding intensions."
Turmen concludes that "while a peace and democracy atmosphere is
pursued in Turkey, it will not serve any purpose, for the police and
the MIT to have heavy weapons and the civil public should be the
main follower of this important issue."
'Alevism' Will be Taught in Religious Classes (Zaman)
All Sunday papers report that at the end of a three-day workshop
with government officials held in Kizilcahamam near Ankara, Turkey's
religious Alevi minority has asked the government to lift compulsory
religious lessons or amend the content. They want to avoid going to
court to get a child out of these mandatory classes. Mainstream
Haberturk notes that the decisions adopted at the workshop were
"revolutionary" and were important not only for the Alevis, but also
for representatives of other religious groups. Mainstream Milliyet
says religious instruction will remain compulsory, but students will
be free to decide whether to receive instruction about religious
Afghanistan Wants Turkish Imam-Hatip High Schools (Hurriyet online)
Mainstream Hurriyet online reports the Afghanistan government wants
Turkey to build religious vocational high schools (Imam-Hatip) in
the country, with Education Minister Faruk Wardak saying they wanted
a "modernization" of Islamic education. Wardak highlighted the
importance of fighting illiteracy, of women's education, and the
need for technical schools, and added Afghanistan could make use of
Turkey's experience in this regard.
TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)
People will gather in Istanbul to honor Abdi Ipekci, the late chief
editor of daily Milliyet, who was assassinated in 1979, on the 31st
anniversary of his death. Ipekci was murdered by Mehmet Ali Agca
who has recently been released after 30 years.
NATO defense ministers will meet in Istanbul on February 4-5.
President Gul will visit India and Bangladesh from February 7-13.
Russian President Medvedev will pay an official visit to Turkey in
May as the guest of President Gul.
On Monday, UNSYG Ban Ki-Moon will come together with the Greek and
Turkish Cyprus leaders in the divided island to boost peace talks.
The ruling AK Party is working to remove the restrictions on
political propaganda in Kurdish during elections.
The seventh Alevi workshop has ended Sunday; the government and
Alevi participants reached compromise on several issues.
Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin said the "constitutional reforms
package" might contain a provision for curbing the 10 percent
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Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) says Turkey needs more than one
nuclear plant to meet its energy needs.
At a news conference in Kabul, President Karzai has renewed calls
for the Taliban to lay down their arms and recognize the laws of