Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO
SUBJECT: TURKISH MEDIA REACTION
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2010
US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 4, as prepared
by the Public Affairs Information Office
How the US is Playing
PKK Leader Karayilan Threatens the US (NTVMSNBC website)
NTVMSNBC reported online that PKK "terror organization chieftain"
Murat Karayilan sent "instructions" to his militants in rural areas
and the leaders in Europe, warning against the US "reconnaissance
flights" in northern Iraq, and claiming that the US aims to
eliminate the PKK cadres through assassinations. "The US provides
arms, ammunition and other technical and intelligence support to
Turkey. If the US, in addition, gives Turkey 'special assassination
planes,' it will mean direct inclusion in the war," said Karayilan's
statement, noting the PKK would hold the US "directly responsible"
if these planes are used in striking at the PKK leaders and cadres.
In the Headlines
Iran - Protests and Nuclear
In "Ahmadinejad's Power Show Fails to Stop Opposition," mainstream
Vatan portrays Iranian president Ahmadinejad as making a 'show of
force' on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution." Liberal
Radikal in "Stones to Opposition, Cynicism to the West," opines "as
the Iranian regime smothered Tehran with Basij militia on the 31st
anniversary of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad "mocked the West
by claiming that Iran has succeeded in enriching uranium to 20
percent," noting that they have the capability of enriching to 80
percent enrichment." In "We Are Now A Nuclear State," mainstream
Sabah emphasizes "Iranian leader Ahmadinejad announced that Iran now
is a 'nuclear state,' while leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet calls it
"Iran is Now a Nuclear State." In a side story with "White House
Doesn't Believe in Iran," Sabah cites WH Spokesperson Robert Gibbs
as saying "Iranian leaders' have made a series of statements that
are based on politics, not on physics." Mainstream Aksam in "Tehran
in Turmoil on Revolution Anniversary," highlights how internal
problems including growing domestic opposition put Iran in trouble.
Aksam reports "Iran blocks the communication channels, announces
plans to cut Gmail and create a national e-mail service. Gmail has
confirmed users in Iran are having trouble accessing Gmail."
Op-Eds on Iran-Turkey
While papers extensively cover turmoil in Iran, pundits also advise
Turkey to pay more attention to human rights violations in the
country. In "Iran Puts Turkey in Difficult Situation," columnist
Cengiz Candar of liberal Radikal warns: "Turkey should stay its
refrain from giving an image of turning a blind eye to human rights
violations in Iran as if taking sides with Iran on the nuclear
dispute." The writer concludes negative consequences otherwise "not
only for the region but for the entire world." Soli Ozel in
mainstream HaberTurk calls Ankara to be more careful on Iran: "While
the Iranian regime faces the most serious problems inside, it is
also making itself an unreliable player internationally. This
approach cannot last long. Given the current conditions, Turkey
will find itself forced to take a side when UNSC begin voting on the
sanctions." However, Islamist Yeni Safak's Tamer Korkmaz has a
different approach as he suggests Turkey should not attach itself to
the Western policies: "Despite Washington's pressure, Ankara is
doing the right thing by following its own policy line on Iran,
Afghanistan and Middle East issues. The US-NATO formulations for
these issues do not have any chance for success."
Afghan Chief of General Staff: "We Would Welcome More Turkish
Mainstreams Hurriyet and Aksam and leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
report that Afghan Chief of General Staff General Muhammedi met with
visiting Turkish journalists yesterday. Responding to a question
regarding Turkish combat troops, Muhammedi said "The whole world
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knows the depth of Turkish-Afghan friendship is based on history.
We cannot value the assistance Turkey extends us in millions of
dollars. To date, Turkish soldiers have never had a wrong behavior
against the Afghan people. We don't even need a visa to go to
Turkey. Turkey is like my second home. The aim of the Coalition
Force operations here is to clear the country's borders of enemies.
Afghanistan's enemies are the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Gulbettin
Hikmetyar. My country needs the ISAF until it stands on its own
feet. The Afghan national military will succeed in overcoming the
country's challenges in two to three years. If more Turkish troops
are sent, that will be to Afghanistan's interest because presence of
Turkish troops here doesn't mean that we are having foreign troops.
They are considered locals." Hurriyet notes that Turkish troops
started training 600 Afghan soldiers in Kabul who will join the
Afghan army after two months training. Cumhuriyet notes that the
Turkish military is planning to train over 5,000 Afghan soldiers.
Of that number, 1440 will be trained in Isparta-Turkey and the
remaining 3.600 will be trained in Afghanistan before they join the
Afghan National Army.
Op-Ed on Turkey-Afghanistan
While the accomplishments of Turkish forces in Afghanistan dominate
stories in the Turkish press, one pundit questions the reason for
flattering words for the Turks. In mainstream Milliyet, Melih Asik
wonders why General McChrystal was praising Turkish soldiers:
"American general says they are taking Turkish soldiers as good
examples. Didn't the same US put sacks on Turkish soldiers in Iraq?
That was then, this is now, because Turkish soldiers are about to
be sent to combat zones in Afghanistan."
President Gul Responds to Armenian President's Message
All papers today report on President Gul's response to the good-will
message issued by Armenian President Serj Sargsian while flying over
Turkey. In his message G|l stressed Turkish determination to
advance the process of normalizing ties with Armenia and added that
no change in the content of the protocols signed with Armenia was on
the agenda. Hurriyet quotes Gul as saying "Overcoming the
long-established prejudices and nurturing mutual understanding and
trust among our two neighboring peoples were indeed our main
objectives when endorsing the process of normalization between our
countries. You should have no doubt that our determination to move
these objectives forward is intact, provided that this resolve and
commitment remains reciprocal." Gul added that he will continue to
deal with the current process personally.
Erdogan: "For God's Sake, Is the European Parliament Blind?"
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan lashed out at the EU over
its Turkey policies and criticized the EU Parliament's 2009 Progress
Report on Turkey as "one-sided." During a luncheon yesterday that
he hosted for the ambassadors of the EU countries, Erdogan said
"Regretfully, the Turkish public has become frustrated by
anti-enlargement remarks and debates as to whether Turkey is a part
of Europe." Commenting on the parliament's endorsement of the
report which criticized Turkey on the Cyprus issue, the PM said
"It's upsetting that the report touches on what Turkey has failed to
do but fails to mention the promises that the EU failed to meet
The Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) has also expressed disappointment
with the Cyprus chapter of the report, saying the European
Parliament ignored Turkish efforts for settlement on the divided
island and acted like a "spokesman of the Greek Cypriots." In the
statement released Thursday, the MFA said "It's thought-provoking
that the report stressed what is expected from Turkey but ignored
what commitments the EU has failed to carry out toward Turkey."
Turkey's Armenian Daily Agos Hacked, Threatened (Hurriyet online)
Television stations and dailies' websites report this morning that
the website of Turkey's leading Armenian newspaper Agos was hacked
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in the early hours on Friday. Mainstream Hurriyet online says
hackers calling themselves "AK Hacker" hacked the Agos website and
put up a picture of Ogun Samast, the alleged murderer of the paper's
editor, Hrant Dink. The note also said, "If you don't fix your
reporting in the way we see fit, there will be new Ogun Samasts and
new Hrant Dinks."
Gay-Lesbian Organization Faces Closure in Turkey (Hurriyet online)
Mainstream Hurriyet, NTVMSNBC and other websites report Friday
morning that another Turkish gay-lesbian association, Black Pink
Triangle, was facing closure due to a court case which was launched
February 9 over a governor's office complaint that the association's
purposes violated "Turkish moral values and family structure."
Hurriyet says the case against the Izmir-based Black Pink Triangle
Organization was not the first case opened against gay
organizations, adding that the Interior Ministry has repeatedly
attempted the closure of such organizations on similar claims --
Kaos-GL in 2005 and Pink Life in 2006.
TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)
The meeting of labor union Turk-Is leader Mustafa Kumlu with PM
Erdogan on the situation of "Tekel" workers ended to no avail. The
hunger strike of 16 workers continues.
During Thursday's debates in the parliament, Interior Minister Besir
Atalay said all unresolved murders were resolved under the AK Party
Diyarbakir prosecutor ordered detention of Kurdish singer Rojda
Senses on charges of making "terror propaganda" with a song she sang
at a festival in Diyarbakir last year.
Businessman Mehmet Kurt, the former owner of Kanal 6 TV, and two
associates have been taken into custody for being the financial
supporter of the 'Ergenekon' network.
The government has submitted to the parliament a draft for the
establishment of a "Directorate" for Turks living abroad.
European Union leaders pledged readiness to support debt-stricken
After four years, Syria has received a request from Washington to
accredit a US ambassador to Damascus.
The Yemeni authorities have announced a ceasefire with Shia rebels
fighting government forces in the north.
A total of 110 reporters were killed in the course of their work in
2009, making the year the most lethal for journalists over the past