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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
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010

Media Highlights

US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 4, as prepared
by the Public Affairs Information Office

How the US is Playing

General McChrystal: "We Take Turkish Soldiers as an Example"
(Milliyet, Radikal)
Mainstreams Hurriyet, Milliyet, Aksam, Sabah, Vatan, liberal
Radikal, and conservative-nationalist Cumhuriyet's defense
correspondents continue reporting from Afghanistan within the
framework of a press tour arranged by the TGS. The papers cover
General McChrystal's comments delivered during his visit to Turkish
Forces Headquarters. Hurriyet quotes General McChrystal as saying
"Our goal is to protect the Afghan people and to allow the country
to develop in a secure and stable atmosphere. We want to help
people. In the past, maybe our goal was same but there were
mistakes in the implementation. We might have made some mistakes.
There are so many threats against the Afghan people. We are trying
to minimize our mistakes while we are trying to help the Afghan
people. If the Turkish troops and the other coalition forces were
not here, would Afghan children be able to go to school? Would
elections take place? We should ask these questions. It is
necessary to show respect to the families, schools and the values of
the people. Now, we are aware of all these and I hope things will
be better. Not only us but, all other coalition forces learned a
lot from the Turkish forces." Vatan cites an AP International
report that "Turkish soldiers' guns are always turned downward while
they are patrolling because Turks want to give an open message to
the Afghan people: 'We didn't come here to fight.'"

Liberal Radikal Columnist Nuray Mert does not quite agree with the
current role of Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan. She thinks the
fact that Turkish soldiers have started patrolling with Afghan
forces in the streets of Kabul might be part of a big plan: "In the
new world order, upcoming wars will be taking place between radical
and moderate Islamic countries. What Turks are doing in Kabul is a
clear example of this plan implemented and we should not be
overwhelmed by flattering statements about us. The US and other
western countries are trying to put moderate Islamic forces before
radical elements to fight, thus they hope to eliminate growing
anti-western sentiment."

Iran Nuclear Issue "All Eyes Turn to Turkey on Sanctions" (Milliyet)

In "Both Carrot and Stick to Iran," leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
highlights "while the US offers to help Iran purchase medical
isotopes, on the other hand, it threatens with a huge package of
sanctions." In a side story, Cumhuriyet notes in "Sanctions from
the US," that "the US government sanctions four Iranian construction
companies tied to Iranian Revolutionary Guards." Mainstream Milliyet
in "All Eyes Turn to Turkey for Sanctions," expresses concern over
"Turkey's attitude at the UN Security Council regarding voting as
new sanctions on Iran are expected to be imposed in several weeks."
Pundits continue to focus on Iran's uranium enrichment decision and
comment on possible consequences. Erdal Guven of liberal Radikal
and Kadri Gursel of mainstream Milliyet both agree that the
enrichment will strengthen Tehran's capacity to produce atomic
bombs, although each writer makes different predictions on next
steps. Radikal's Erdal Guven sees hope: "Neither the US nor Iran
have fully closed the negotiation door. Cards are being reshuffled
for the next step of the game." Milliyet's Kadri Gursel observes
that a strike against Iran is inevitable even if the UNSC approves
sanctions: "In order to legitimize the game plan, UNSC sanctions
should be the first step even though the Western countries are aware
they are of no use. This process will end up as a strike against
Iran, which means war, one way or the other because Iranian nuclear
capacity has a potential to trigger nuclear race in the region."

Iran - Demonstrations

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In "Civilian Life is Under Basij Control," liberal Radikal says "as
Iran marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution in a tense
atmosphere, arrests of the opposition have already started upon
demonstrations. Meanwhile, Iranian President Ahmadinejad brought a
proposal to expand the political voice of the civilian militia corps
called Basij. The Basij will be in force not only in universities
but also in every ministry." NTV carries live coverage on the
anniversary celebrations in Iran under the headline "Tense
Celebrations in Iran."

In the Headlines

Sargsian: Turkey Should Ratify the Protocols First (Zaman)
Media outlets report Armenian President Sargsian addressed the
Chatham House in London, saying the normalization protocols with
Turkey would be submitted to the Armenian Parliament on Wednesday,
noting however that Turkey would have to approve it first. Sargsian
said he was confident that the Armenian Parliament would approve the
protocols, as long as the Turkish Parliament approved it without any
conditions. Sargsian recalled Turkish officials have said in the
past that the result of the voting in the Turkish parliament could
not be predicted, and that the parliament was politically
independent. Sargsian wants to avoid a situation where Armenia
approves the protocols while Turkey rejects it. Sargsian also said
he would invite Azerbaijani President Aliyev to the ceremony if the
Armenian-Turkish border opens, report papers.

European Parliament Approves Resolution on Turkey Progress Report
Media outlets report that the European Parliament approved by a
large majority a resolution on Turkey's progress in 2009 which calls
for Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus and allow Greek
Cypriot access to the ghost city of Varosha (Maras). The resolution
expressed concern over the alleged criminal network 'Ergenekon,' and
a suspected military plot to overthrow the government, popularly
dubbed 'the Sledgehammer.' While observing that "the cases offer an
opportunity to boost confidence in the functioning of democratic
institutions and the rule of law," the resolution expressed dismay
over the closure of the Democratic Society Party (DTP). The
resolution called for the reform of Turkey's judicial system, which
it said was "of crucial importance for the country's modernization
process." It criticized the rejection by the Constitutional Court
of an amendment that cleared the way for trial of military personnel
at civilian courts, saying the ruling dealt a serious blow on
Turkey's reform efforts. According to papers, the resolution also
called on the Turkish government to resume work on a new
constitution that would strengthen human rights and basic freedoms
in the country.

Meanwhile, Turkey's chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis said yesterday
it was not possible for Turkey to accept the sections regarding
Cyprus in the Turkey report of European Parliament, stressing,
"Turkey does not have a plan or opinion to withdraw troops from the
island."

TGS Chief, Naval Commander on Accusations against Military
Speaking to mainstream HaberTurk, the Chief of the military General
Staff (TGS) General Ilker Basbug said "For many months various
accusations against the military were mentioned. Many officers were
accused of having been involved in different coup plans and
scenarios, but none of them proved to be true or more detailed
information came to the surface. Who will be held responsible for
the production of these allegations? There is a serious damaging
campaign against the military. We are running out of patience about
these issues. In fact damaging the military officers and the
military is not an individual issue, it is a problem for the whole
country."

Meanwhile, media outlets report Naval Forces Commander Admiral Esref
Ugur Yigit yesterday attended the funeral of Captain Berk Erden who
committed suicide in Izmir. Reacting to various allegations about
the reasons behind the Captain's suicide, Yigit said "It is not

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possible to keep silent. Various allegations were mentioned about
him. Before accusing people, one shall turn to himself and ask what
he would do if he was falsely accused of such an issue."

Poll: Single Party Government Unlikely after Elections (Vatan)
Mainstream Vatan carries the results of a survey conducted from
January 14-30 by AKAM based on interviews with 15,620 people from
all provinces. If elections were held today, the distribution of
votes among parties would be as follows: AK Party 30.2 percent, CHP
26.8, MHP 18.7, DP 7.3, and BDP 7.0.
According to the survey, the DP and the BDP would not be able to
pass the 10 percent election threshold, so Vatan expects the BDP to
use the tactic of the disbanded DTP and enter the parliament as
independent lawmakers. The paper notes that the AK Party will not
have the necessary majority for a vote of confidence, and the total
seats to be taken by CHP and MHP will be slightly above 276, the
votes needed for parliamentary approval.

Education Ministry Sees Missionary Activity as a "Threat"
(Milliyet)
Mainstream Milliyet reports the Association of Protestant Churches
in Turkey said in its "monitor report" for 2009 that missionary
activities were characterized as a "national threat" in Turkish
schoolbooks, and that the Education Ministry has declined to erase
the expression from the schoolbooks despite the requests of the
Protestants. Milliyet recalls that three Protestant Bible
publishers were killed in the city of Malatya in 2007.

TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

CHP leader Baykal said the responsibility for defusing tensions in
Turkey fell on PM Erdogan and his party.

A group of women workers from Turkey's former state-owned alcohol
and tobacco monopoly, or Tekel, visited the PM's wife Emine Erdogan,
requesting her to convince the PM to find a solution to their 58
days of desperation.

Two people are arrested in connection with an attack on the Kurdish
BDP office in Ankara.

Businessman Mehmet Emin Karamehmet is given 11 years and eight
months prison sentence for irregularities in defunct Pamukbank.

Prime Minister Erdogan will host Thursday a luncheon for the
ambassadors of EU countries.

Prime Minister Erdogan will travel on February 13 to Qatar on an
official visit.

Foreign Minister Davutoglu says France never hinted that the wife of
PM Erdogan was not wanted in Paris.

European leader have agreed on a plan for bailing out Greece in debt
crisis.

Three Turks are convicted in Switzerland for denying Armenian
genocide claims.

Israeli warplanes hit Gaza's disused Yasser Arafat airport near the
border town of Rafah.

JEFFREY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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