Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2010
US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 3, as prepared
by the Public Affairs Information Office
How the US is Playing
US Ambassador: "Turkey Does Not Distance Itself From the West"
Mainstream Sabah dedicates its front page lead story, as well as a
two page spread inside, to a comprehensive interview with US
Ambassador James Jeffrey by Sabah columnist Nur Batur. In "Turkey is
Not Breaking from the West," Jeffrey stresses that Turkey is an
integral part of the Western alliance. He adds that Turkish ties
with the Arab world should not be viewed as an alternative as "the
majority of the Arab countries are allies of the West." Ambassador
Jeffrey describes PM Erdogan as a "smart politician," and adds that
TGS General Basbug was committed to democracy. He observed that the
need for army supervision in foreign politics has declined.
General Odierno: Arrives in Ankara for Talks
All media report General Ray Odierno arrived Feb 2 for a three-party
meeting with Turkish and Iraqi officials and will also hold talks
with TGS General Basbug, Interior Minister Atalay and FM Davutoglu.
In a message released upon his arrival that was widely replayed in
all major Turkish media, Odierno condemned PKK activities,
emphasizing that Turkey is a strong ally of the US. He said that
the US was supporting Turkey in fighting terror and protecting
Turkish citizens. Several media play up the Turkish slang term
"cuvalci" or "sackman;" mainstream Sabah headlines "Hood Incident
General in Ankara" and mainstream Haberturk observes that "the
general, who once placed bags on the heads of detained Turkish
special forces, now denounces PKK activities." According to
Cumhuriyet, Odierno's Ankara talks will focus on developments
related to the closure of Makhmur refugee camp in Northern Iraq.
Aksam adds that the liquidation of PKK also will be taken up in
discussions. Hurriyet Daily News notes that Gen. Odierno said in
his written statement that "in 2008 the three countries, Turkey, US,
and Iraq, set up a three-way committee to enact measures against the
PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and
much of the international community. Within this trilateral
framework, the United States is working with the government of
Turkey and the government of Iraq ... to ensure cross-border
security and an end to PKK terrorism."
US Defense Secretary Comes to Turkey
Cumhuriyet reports that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrives
in Turkey this week to join informal NATO meetings in Istanbul
before heading to Ankara for bilateral talks on regional and global
issues including Afghanistan, the exit of US troops from Iraq and
Iran's nuclear program. Aksam says that in Ankara Gates is expected
to hold meetings with Defense Minister Vecdi Gn|l and Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and will discuss the liquidation of PKK
and the evacuation of refugees from Makhmur camp in Northern Iraq.
US to Turkey-Armenia: Ratify the Protocols (NTVMSNBC online)
Several papers and dailies' web pages report that Assistant
Secretary Philip Gordon, who gathered with reporters at Foreign
Press Center in Washington, called on Turkey and Armenia to ratify
the "normalization protocols" and continue the process independent
of other issues. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports Gordon also
said the missile defense system would be set up in the northern and
southern parts of Europe in a way that will cover all NATO allies.
Gordon added talks with different countries continued as to where
the system will be deployed.
In "US Fails to Hit Iranian Missile," mainstream Hurriyet says, it
was the first time that the US had tested its air defense against a
simulated attack from Iran and the attempt to shoot down a ballistic
missile mimicking an attack from Iran failed because of radar
problems. The Missile Defense Agency said that a missile was fired
from Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and an anti-aircraft missile
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from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. The missile
represented "the type of technology Iran might have."
Obama Passes Bush with Defense-Oriented Budget (Yeni Safak)
Media outlets report President Obama has asked for a record defense
spending budget for the 2011 fiscal year including USD 159 billion
for the "missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet headlined "Obama Opens the Wallet"
and "Plenty of Money for War."
A First from Obama: Press Conference on YouTube (Hurriyet online)
Mainstreams Hurriyet and Milliyet report Barack Obama became the
first US President to hold a press conference on YouTube when he
answered questions submitted via a YouTube moderator.
American May Day Convict (NTVMSNBC online)
Media outlets report one American and three Turkish citizens have
been indicted on charges of property damage and resisting arrest for
their actions during the May 1 demonstrations in Istanbul, with the
prosecutors requesting up to 55 years of imprisonment for all. An
arrest warrant had been issued for the American national Christopher
W. S., a student at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in
Ankara, who is in the US, says NTVMSNBC online.
In the Headlines
First Consultation Following Protocol Crisis With Armenia
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that Ankara is initiating a diplomatic
attack after the Armenian Constitutional Court decision regarding
the protocols signed between Turkey and Armenia. Foreign Ministry
Counselor Feridun Sinirlioglu will travel to Switzerland tomorrow to
explain the contradictions between the protocols and the Armenian
court decision to his Swiss counterpart. He'll also stress that if
Yerevan doesn't give guarantees that they will abide by the
protocols, then it will become impossible for Turkey to pursue this
process. It was learned that Turkey is planning to meet with the
Minsk Group as well, after the meetings with the officials in
Israeli Press Claim Ambassador Celikkol is Leaving Israel
Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth claimed that the Turkish Ambassador
to Tel-Aviv wants to leave his post following the recent crisis
between Turkey and Israel. Gelikkol was the subject of much
attention after being treated with deliberate disrespect by Israeli
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Even though Ankara denies the
allegations, the paper cited a telegram sent by the Israel Embassy
in Ankara to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, as a source. Moreover, a
senior official at the foreign ministry confirmed Tuesday that
Gelikkol put in a request with the Turkish Foreign Ministry to leave
his current post. Jerusalem believes that the ambassador's reasons
for leaving are personal. The same paper also reported that sources
at the Israeli foreign Ministry predicted that Gelikkol would assume
a post as ambassador in one of the European countries.
Public Servants, Workers to Go on General Strike
Media outlets report that on Thursday around two million public
servants and workers are expected to go on a nationwide strike in
support of the "Tekel" workers on a hunger strike to protest the
reluctance of the government to compromise. Prime Minister Erdogan
said the protests have turned into a campaign against the
government. Erdogan warned the workers to end their illegal
protests by the end of the month, or the government would take legal
Op-Eds on London Conference, Iranian FM in Turkey, UNSYG in Cyprus
London Conference. In pro-government/mainstream Sabah, Bulent Aras
expresses contentment about the outcome of the London conference
which he sees as a demonstration of Turkey's growing influence:
"The London summit marked the end of a solely military approach,
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which was a dominating approach during Bush era. The Obama
administration's priority on Afghanistan problem includes
flexibility and rationality. Turkey showed a strong political
determination and influence both on the eve of and during the
conference. There is a need for domestic reconciliation in
Afghanistan and given its influence as well as its close dialogue
with everybody, Turkey can achieve this goal."
Iranian FM in Turkey. Yilmaz Oztuna of conservative and
pro-government Turkiye daily sees a timely reason for the Iranian
FM's visit: "The Us continues to provide high-tech weapons to the
Gulf monarchies which Tehran considers a major potential threat
against itself. Muttaki most likely came to express these concerns.
Ankara continues to advocate solutions through diplomacy and
peaceful methods. If we gave this advice to Muttaki, we will
certainly do the same to the US. However Iran and the US do not
seem to be giving up on 'accusing each other' diplomacy."
UNSG in Cyprus. Columnist Sami Kohen of mainstream Milliyet
considers the visit of the UN Secretary General a positive step for
a solution for Cyprus: "Ban Ki-Mon was careful and sensitive enough
to treat both sides equally and understand both sides. His positive
attitude provided ground for a good potential to move forward toward
a comprehensive solution in the island. At least this is the case
as far as Turkish Cypriots are concerned."
Turkey Will Open Its Arms to 700 Haitian Children (Hurriyet, NTV)
Mainstream Hurriyet and all-news broadcaster NTV report that with
the intermediation of Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA), and the
approval of the State Ministry for Women and Family, Turkey has
decided to take care of 700 Haitian children orphaned in a recent
devastating earthquake. The children will be settled in "warm"
cities such as Antalya and will be educated in English.
Turkey Becomes Refuge for Fleeing Iranians (Hurriyet online)
Mainstream Hurriyet's website reports Iranians fleeing the Tehran
government's crackdown on its opponents are increasingly seeking
refuge in Turkey, in an article citing the Sofia Echo Website.
"Analysts say the growing number of Iranians seeking refuge in
Turkey is an embarrassment to Turkish leaders who have been courting
the Iranian leadership. But, analysts point out there are other
pressures, including the fact that Ankara wants closer ties and
eventual membership in the European Union which will be watching
Turkey's treatment of Iranians who flee repression at home," reports
TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)
Turkish Parliament extended Tuesday a mandate for another year for
the naval forces to take part in an international effort to
fight-off piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
A human rights delegation from the Council of Europe visited the PKK
leader Abdullah Ocalan on Imrali prison island to examine the
conditions of his detention.
Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, in Ankara on an official visit, met
Tuesday President Gul.
President Gul will host Wednesday a luncheon for university rectors
and the members of the Higher Education Board (YOK).
Sakir Ercan Gul is named the head of TMSF state banking fund after
the end of the mandate of his predecessor Ahmet Erturk.
Prime Minister Erdogan will receive Wednesday a delegation of the
representatives of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace.
According to a new government arrangement, shopping malls will be
opened on Sunday, but will have to close two hours earlier.
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The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeated its protest of US arms
sales to Taiwan, saying it "seriously damages China's core
interests, as well as China-US relations."
President Obama will meet the Dalai Lama, despite warnings from
Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi says Israel's future belongs in
the European Union.