Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2010
US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 8, 2010 as
prepared by the Public Affairs Information Office
How the US is Playing
Secretary Gates Visits Turkey: Turkish media gave extensive and
prominent attention to Secretary's February 5-6 visit to Ankara for
bilateral talks. All major papers, from mainstream to
pro-government, highlighted his remarks at a press event with senior
Turkish and travelling American press. Reports focused on the
Secretary's remarks on the PKK, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and the
Turkey-Armenia protocols but some media regurgitated the 2003
"hooding" incident of Turkish soldiers who had crossed into Iraq.
Missile Shield. Liberal Radikal headlined on Sunday "U.S. Knocks on
Turkey's Door for Missile Shield" by reporting Secretary Gates
proposed placing two radars in Turkey for the missile shield project
against Iran. Media noted he refrained from specifics regarding
naval plans for the Black Sea.
Regarding the PKK: Mainstream Milliyet, in "We Can Not Solve by
Killing All of Them," wrote that Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen.
Basbug emphasized "we cannot solve anything by killing all of them,"
while explaining to Secretary Gates Turkey's views on the fight
against terrorism. Gates told reporters that he shared the views.
The U.S. executive said that "while speaking with the leader of the
regional administration in the north of Iraq, Massoud Barzani, I
have stressed the importance of placing pressure on the PKK to end
violence." Gates said they also discussed the missile shield that
would be established by NATO, adding that "we have discussed the
possibility of erecting two radars in Turkey." Conservative-pro
government Turkiye says "Last Blow on PKK" emphasized the meeting
between Secretary Gates and Minister Gonul and said they made
important steps to put an end to the PKK's terrorist activities.
Gates said the United States attached great importance to the move,
sending the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno,
to Ankara to explore joint steps. Gates said they also put pressure
on Barzani, the leader of the regional administration in north of
Iraq, regarding terrorist organization PKK. Islamist-oriented Yeni
Safak headlined "Predator Support Against PKK" and notes that
Secretary Gates promised to provide military equipment, including
three Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, flight control systems, and
advanced communication and data processing devices in order to
support Turkey's fight against the PKK. Islamist-oriented Zaman
headlined "Turkey's Multi-dimensional Foreign Policy is Positive,"
and reported that Secretary Gates said that "Turkey is situated on a
crucial geography. As such, Turkey's efforts in all fields must be
Protocols: Mainstream Aksam in "On Gates Agenda: PKK, Iran and
Missile Defense" highlights the Secretary's comments, practically
verbatim, including his remarks on the Turkey-Armenia protocols and
the possible impact a planned March Congressional hearing on the
genocide issue will have on their passing. Aksam noted that
Secretary Gates stressed "Turkey and Armenia have started down an
important road. For us, anything that causes difficulty in this
process is objectionable."
Odierno and Turkish Sensitivities: Hurriyet headlined "U.S.
Secretary of Defense Gates Supports General Who Caused the "Sack"
Incident," emphasizing that "Secretary Gates expressed his full
confidence in General Odierno," and also noted that Gates said "We
give relations with Turkey the highest importance and to the Turkish
people, and to Turkish soldiers, our greatest respect." CNNTurk
said on 2/6 that Secretary Gates "brushed aside" questions about
General Odierno, by saying "I was managing a university in Texas. I
do not know the details of the incident." Several columnists on 2/8
questioned the US sincerity over Turkey's sensitivities. Columnist
Fatih Cekirge in mainstream Hurriyet wonders why the US sent General
Odierno to Ankara while "he still has a bad reputation for putting
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hoods on Turkish soldiers." The columnist says, "pictures of
Turkish soldiers hooded with sacks cannot be erased from many
people's minds. The person, who ordered that incident, including
the interrogation of Turkish soldiers by Americans, was General
Odierno and he was in Ankara recently. The US sent that General to
Ankara in order to talk about disarming PKK and sharing intelligence
in Fight against PKK. It seems the US wanted to refresh our
memories about that sad incident." In mainstream Vatan, columnist
Necati Dogru claims a "joint effort" between the deep state elements
of the US and Turkey "to defame Turkish military" before the eyes of
Afghanistan Reporting: Risky Patrols: Tabloid Aksam observed that
Secretary Gates on 2/6 confirmed "I didn't ask for more troops,"
from Turkey, which plays an "impressive," "varied" role in
Afghanistan with its 1700 troops, two provincial reconstruction
teams, several operational mentoring and advising teams and command
of regional command capital, Kabul. Turkish columnists on 2/8,
however, had other views. Mainstream Hurriyet's Ferai Tinc in
"Risky Patrol" opines that in an effort to pull forces out of the
"Afghan quagmire," the international coalition is embarked on the
"Afghanization" of the war by training and strengthening the Afghan
army and security forces. She notes that ISAF is using Turkish
troops as trainers to get the Afghanis ready, and quotes General
McChrystal that "following a training period, we will send Afghan
troops to the field," accompanied by coalition forces. Extreme
Islamist Vakit observes in "You Can't Make History By Banking on
Westerners," that the US and its supporters have "lost in
Afghanistan after facing defeat in Iraq," and in a "last ditch
effort" are increasing their soldiers but notes that "collaborators
in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan who place Western interests above
those of their own people will soon be disappointed."
Turkish-Armenian Protocols/Genocide: Davutoglu Says "I Don't
Believe This is a Coincidence"
Mainstream Hurriyet reflects FM Davutoglu's uneasiness regarding the
Armenian Genocide draft coming on the US Congress agenda on March 4.
Davutoglu described the act as the "last loop" of the Armenians'
strategy and said "Nobody can expect Turkey to believe that these
developments are just a coincidence. We've been disturbed by the
timing of the developments. Turkey will not bow to April 24
pressure. Bringing this draft on the Congress' agenda now will not
serve for the interests of the US, Turkey or Armenia. This
initiative will damage the process and will bring it to the
bottle-neck situation. We expect the Washington Administration to
be sensitive on this issue." In "Tough Mission" columnist Semih Idiz
in mainstream Milliyet on 2/6 comments on the tough task ahead for
Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Sinirlioglu who left for
Switzerland and the US in order to convince both capitals on
Turkey's points on protocols. Idiz warns "Sinirlioglu starts his
mission with a very weak hand and it is surprising that Turkish MFA
cannot see that weakness. Having a written assurance from the US
and Switzerland against Armenian Court's interpretation remains
highly unlikely. As Western diplomats emphasize if that happens
then Armenia will ask for a written assurance about no linkage with
MFA Statement/Ambassador Jeffrey: Sunday papers carried a statement
by Turkish Foreign Ministry which calls for caution not to interfere
in internal affairs. The MFA spokesman Ozugergin mentioned an
interview with Ambassador Jeffery in a newspaper (Sabah) which
"carried remarks commenting on Turkey's internal matters." Turkish
opinion is divided. A nationalist columnist, Yigit Bulut, in
mainstream HaberTurk thinks MFA did the very right thing because
"Ambassador Jeffrey was clearly interfering and he was making
comments as if he was a colonial governor." Islamist and
pro-government Zaman's sister publication, English-daily Today's
Zaman, carried an op-ed by by Ihsan Dagi, who labeled the MFA
approach "old fashioned." He concludes: "The old motto of
non-interference in domestic affairs is no longer practical. The
line of demarcation between the domestic and the international has
blurred in this age of globalization. What goes on inside a country
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may have direct consequences on another country. Boundaries do not
bind; ideas, crimes, individuals, goods, etc., travel across
national borders. The fate of one country is increasingly tied to
the fate of others. For me the interview was enlightening in the
sense that we heard what a senior American diplomat and old-time
observer of Turkey thinks about politics, political actors and
prospects in this country."
Entrepreneurs from the Middle East: Sunday's Adana-area Yeni Asir
daily reported that the paper's entrepreneur Baybars Altuntas is one
of five Turkish entrepreneurs who will participate in the upcoming
White House Summit on Entreprenuers in Washington. The paper quotes
Altuntas as saying "Obama is the only President in the world history
who takes action on this issue at the presidential level. That is
why he is the world's most entrepreneurial leader."
In the Headlines
Bosnia Herzegovina-Serbia to Mutually Open Embassies (Sabah)
Mainstream Sabah and Hurriyet online report today that on 2/9, the
foreign ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia will announce at
a meeting in Ankara a decision for the normalization of bilateral
ties. The two countries will mutually appoint ambassadors. The
development is "historic" according to Sabah, which notes FM
Davutoglu has been trying for five months for a settlement between
the two countries. Hurriyet comments Ankara is concerned with NATO
recently failing to extend an invitation to Bosnia-Herzegovina to
join the Membership Action Plan as well as with the EU for lifting
visa restrictions for Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro but keeping
Bosnia and Albania outside.
Gul: Parliament Missed the Opportunity for a New Constitution
Papers report President Gul, en route to New Delhi on Sunday, told
reporters aboard his plane that the Turkish Parliament missed a key
opportunity for drafting a new constitution. The parliament had
reached a consensus about a new constitution, Gul said, and stressed
that the failure to adopt a new constitution had been a "pity."
"Everyone had their own draft constitution, and the parliament
should have handled this in the very beginning. I don't know what
they can accomplish now by changing the constitution piece by
piece," said Gul. Gul also said Turkey's "National Security Policy
Document," which enlists possible threats to the country's security,
did not and could not stand above the laws. "This document has been
considered as if it were above the constitution. This is totally
wrong; the document is neither a law nor an article of the
constitution," emphasized Gul.
Iran: Ahmedinejad Orders More Enriched Uranium
Mainstreams Hurriyet, Milliyet and Sabah report Ahmedinejad told a
national TV audience that "Even though we had the capability of
enriching uranium by 20%, we proposed exchange to the Western
countries. We gave them 2-3 months period to reach an agreement.
But they started a new game and I ordered for the uranium to be
enriched for 20% to be used in the nuclear reactor." Sabah adds
that SecDef Gates, during his Ankara meetings, emphasized that the
time had come for the international community to pressure Iran to
stop its nuclear program.
TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)
Israel is expected to deliver Heron drones to Turkey in the
beginning of March.
Prime Minister Erdogan will receive Monday Osama al-Tikriti, the
head of the Iraqi Islamic Party.
Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal said he expected early elections
15 million elementary and secondary students will begin school
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Monday following the end of winter recess.
Tokyo will lend Turkey USD 1-1.5 billion at a relatively lower cost
this year. Ankara has proclaimed 2010 as the "Japanese Year in
Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkish embassies would be established
in 27 of 52 African countries by the end of 2010.
A former Pakistan military official says former President General
Pervez Musharraf could return to the country soon.
PM Netanyahu has attempted to end a war of words with Syria, saying
Israeli was open to peace talks with Damascus.
The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Israel has failed
to properly investigate war crime allegations against Palestinians
in the Gaza Strip.
Britain is to tighten the rules on immigrants entering Britain on a