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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2010

Media Highlights
US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 10, 2010 as
prepared by the Public Affairs Information Office

How the US is Playing

Ambassador Jeffrey Visits Tarsus (Hurriyet online)
Mainstreams Aksam, Haberturk and Hurriyet online report Ambassador
Jeffrey, accompanied by his wife Gudrun, paid a visit to the Tarsus
American High School in south Turkey. Aksam and Hurriyet say
Ambassador Jeffrey did not comment on internal developments such as
military coup allegations and the 'Ergenekon' investigation. On the
developments in the Middle East, Jeffrey said, "Turkey will play an
important role not only in the Middle East, but in the areas from
the Balkans to Asia, from Asia to Africa, especially in the Middle
East and India. Because Turkey is the most successful and the
leading country in this vast region. It is a member of NATO, and
has become a temporary member of the UN Security Council. Turkey is
big, and plays a useful role for us; it will continue playing this
role in the future."

On Israel: Hurriyet quotes Jeffrey as saying, "I want the problems
Turkey has with Israel resolved. Diplomats are doing whatever is
necessary for the resolution of tensions. There can be a problem
between Turkey and Israel every week, what matters is being able to
resolve these problems." Jeffrey also noted cooperation between the
US, Turkey and Israel was essential for the resolution of terror
problems in the Middle East.

"Obama Thanks for Al-Qaeda Captures" (Haberturk)
In an unconfirmed report, mainstream Haberturk writes that President
Obama phoned Prime Minister Erdogan to express his gratitude for the
security operations against al-Qaeda suspects, staged recently in 20
Turkish provinces. Police have captured 140 suspects in the
operations, who allegedly were plotting attacks on the US bases and
American war vessels in Turkey. Police have also captured six
al-Qaeda militants who fired shots at the US Consulate in Adana last
week to protest the widespread operations against the terror
organization, says Haberturk.

In the Headlines

Sargsian: "Time For Progress in Turkey-Armenia Rapprochement"
(Vatan)
Mainstream Vatan reports that Armenian President Serge Sargsian sent
a message to President Gul regarding the protocols, while flying to
Britain over Turkish airspace. In a written, official statement,
Sargsian said "I extend my good wishes to you and to the Turkish
people. The foreign mediation efforts to normalize relations
between Turkey and Armenia are useful. However, that should not be
overplayed and the final step mutually should be taken by our
administrations and by our people. Ttime is running against us. If
we continue to lose time, the process between us will lose its
meaning. Moreover, hostile rhetoric and actions along with
opposition to the process may emerge. Neither country will benefit
from such development. Today, is the time to move forward for
Turkey and Armenia."

Op-Eds on Armenia-Turkey
Several columnists comment on a possible Armenian Genocide
Resolution in the US Congress. Veteran columnist Sami Kohen in
mainstream Milliyet hopes for a last-minute intervention by
President Obama: "Just like every year, Armenian lobbies are working
very hard for AGR in the Congress, however President Obama is
believed to be making a last minute efforts to stop the process even
as it passes from the Congressional committee. Turkey is of growing
strategic importance and Washington appreciates that value." In
English language Today's Zaman, Amanda Paul is advising both Turkey
and Armenia to work for finalizing protocols: "Allowing the
protocols to remain in a desk drawer forever would be a terrible
tragedy -- not just for Turkey and Armenia but for the entire

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region. Turkey's ambitious foreign policy, with its goal of becoming
the key power in its region, would face a serious setback and, with
a fresh Armenian genocide resolution to be taken up by a US
congressional panel early next month, throw Turkey's relationship
with the US into jeopardy. Turkey and Armenia need to finish what
they started. They need to take new brave steps and they need to
take them now."

Iran: Danger of War (Milliyet)
In "Tehran Pushes the Button," leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet points
out "despite the warnings of Western nations and even of Russia,"
Iran is going ahead with its 20 percent enrichment process."
Mainstream Milliyet calls it "Danger of War," and highlights "Russia
pointed to the danger of war while President Obama said new
sanctions will be imposed over the next several weeks." In "Iran
Challenges, Russian Supports the US," liberal Radikal reports "Iran
faces new UN Security Council sanctions due to its uranium
enrichment work that Western nations believe is designed to develop
a nuclear bomb. Gates signals new sanctions in a couple of weeks
while Russia warns of a possible war." Mainstream Hurriyet's Cuneyt
Ulsever wonders if Iran is serious about Turkey's mediation or using
it as a tactical way to maintain its nuclear program on the side:
"At this point FM Davutoglu's upcoming trip to Tehran becomes more
important than ever, and we shall see whether he can persuade the
Iranian regime to lower its enrichment ratio on the eve of possible
sanctions." In liberal Radikal, Akif Beki observes a "power game"
between Tehran and Washington: "Both sides are willing to sit and
negotiate but they are in a power game and reshuffle their cards
before starting to play." Islamist Yeni Safak opines: "There is a
deliberate effort by Israel and others to disseminate fear about
Iran. The Iranian nuclear program is under IAEA supervision while
Israel rejects to even sign NPT -- but nobody remembers that." In
"Basij Militants Attack Italian Embassy," CNNTurk reports that
some100 members of Iran's religious Basij militants had tried to
attack Italian embassy in Tehran, but Iranian media described the
incident as a student protest and did not mention any violence.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said "militants dressed as
civilians tried to assault the embassy shouting 'Death to Italy' and
'Death to Berlusconi'."

Afghanistan
Turkish media extensively report on the press tour for some 40
Turkish journalists to Kabul by the Turkish military General Staff
(TGS), zeroing in on comments by ISAF's Kabul Regional Commander
General Levent Colak that Turkey has no plans to send combat troops,
but "if arms are pointed at us, then it is our right to use weapons
to defend ourselves." Colak noted Turkey's 1700 troops in
Afghanistan but said "it's not how many, but what we do here." In
"We Are Not Engaging in Hot Pursuit," leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
says "General Colak emphasized that Turkish forces in Afghanistan do
not engage in combat, mine sweeping or anti-narcotics missions.
They go on joint patrolling missions with the Afghan army, but would
never point their weapons at people. Their weapons are always
pointed down." Mainstream Sabah highlights "the US uses Turkish
forces as a model to prevent clashes between the local forces and
the people of Afghanistan and, as a result, now forbids 'warning
shots.'"

A Turkish TV Drama Receives Penalty
Turkey's Radio Television Supreme Board (known as RTUK) has issued a
warning penalty against the producers of popular Turkish television
drama "Ask-i Memnu" (Forbidden Love) for "undermining moral values
by picturing adultury as an acceptable form." This becomes a second
penalty for Kanal D, which airs the drama, was before cited because
of the movie pictures a "deep on-screen kiss." "Forbidden Love" is
a modern day adaptation of Turkish author Halit Ziya Usakligil's
1923 novel. Several columnists in mainstream Hurriyet criticized
the Board's decision. Tufan Turenc asks the board to "remember that
this is only a movie" and warns: "Have you ever considered the
consequences of your action? Where is Turkey going to with this
kind of mentality?" Yalcin Dogan also asks "if this is going to be

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the dominant approach for moral values, we will never ever catch up
to EU standards."

A Theatre Closed After Its Play Received Threats for Indecency
Authorities in Istanbul closed a theatre running an off-Broadway
kind of play this week, under the guise that it was the target of
threats from religious fanatics. "Theatre was closed, while actors
seek police protection" says Hurriyet. Aksam headlines "A stage
play stirs controversy." The play "Lick It but Don't Swallow" is
certified for audiences age 18 and above, and centers around the
transition of a former porn star into an angel. The play has been
facing criticism from fundamentalist circles and in ultra-Islamist
media groups. As a result, players applied for police protection
due to security threats. Meanwhile Beyoglu Municipality, which
closed the theatre, said "the theatre did not have fire escapes" and
"the closure decision is not related to ongoing criticism."

TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

The relatives of intellectuals and prominent figures assassinated
over the last 60 years demand the establishment of a parliamentary
investigation committee to probe the murders.

PM Erdogan strongly rejected CHP allegations that former French
President Chirac had asked Erdogan to not bring his wife to Paris on
a formal visit. French Embassy in Ankara, too, denied CHP's
allegations.

PM Erdogan has denounced a ruling of the Council of State (Danistay)
to suspend a government regulation that brought advantages to the
graduates of theology (Imam-Hatip) high schools in university
entrance exams.

Deputy PM Cemil Cicek said the government would narrow the scope of
the regulation regarding children facing trial for throwing stones
at the police.

In the third day of his visit to India, President Gul said Turkey
was planning to open three new consulates in the country.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Davutoglu will visit Kazakhstan to
meet his Kazakh counterpart Kanat Suadabayev.

On Wednesday, the Turkish Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee
headed by the AKP MP Murat Mercan will visit Sweden.

Prime Minister Erdogan will visit Qatar on February 13-14 as the
guest of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin
Jabir al-Thani.

Opposition CHP leader Baykal has offered to pay 300-lira monthly
wage to the unemployed. PM Erdogan said the proposal was
"unrealistic."

Kurdish BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas says the AK Party attempts
for constitutional reforms was a move to influence voters.

The US House of Representatives senior Senator John Murtha passed
away at the age of 77. Murtha was known for his support of
immediate US withdrawal from Iraq and his objection to the Armenian
Genocide issue to be included in the House agenda.

The Serbian and Bosnian foreign ministers, Vuk Jeremic and Sven
Alkalaj, who have met in Ankara for the fifth time with the
mediation of FM Davutoglu, agreed to restore diplomatic relations,
with Bosnia-Herzegovina to open an embassy in Serbia.

Belgium prepares to ban the wearing of chadors over concerns of
security risks.

A German dentist has apologized for having refused to treat a

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16-year-old Turkish teenager because his first name was Cihad (Holy
War, Jihad).

JEFFREY

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