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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 18, 2010

Media Highlights

US Embassy Ankara - Turkey Media Reaction - February 18, 2010 as
prepared by the Public Affairs Information Office

How the US is Playing

Turkey Urges Softer Tone as Time Ticks Away for Iran (Hurriyet Daily
News)
In a 2/18 late morning press availability, FM Davutoglu told
reporters that an expected Obama-Erdogan telephone was eminent to
discuss the outcome of Turkish diplomacy with Iran. Additionally,
Davutoglu said he had discussed his trip with Secretary Clinton late
on 2/17 and confirmed that Turkey had made several proposals to Iran
"some on the spot, others with the knowledge of the West." Tabloid
Aksam reports that FM Davutoglu will brief US Undersecretary William
Burns on his 2/16 visit to Tehran, focusing on how Iran responded
to Turkey's "new" proposals on uranium exchange. Media report that
Ankara offered to host the exchange of Iran's low-enriched uranium,
with the 20-percent enriched uranium to be supplied by world powers
as part of an IAEA deal. Asked how Iran responded to the proposal,
a Turkish diplomat in Hurriyet said "We are trying to avoid
escalating tensions but the Iranians are inscrutable and there is no
single Iran in front of us." Davutoglu held key discussions with
four top Iranian officials, including President Ahmadinejad, FM
Mottaki, Parliament Speaker Larijani and Chief Nuclear Negotiator
Jalili. Press reports claim that the talks began at 9 a.m. Tuesday
and lasted past midnight.

Secretary Clinton Says No Military Action Against Iran on al-Arabiya
(CNN-Turk)
In "Is There an Operation Against Iran?" CNN-Turk reports that
Secretary Clinton clearly delineated between military action and
sanctions against Iran during a 2/17 interview on al-Arabiya TV.
The story quotes Secretary Clinton as saying "We don't want Iran to
become a nuclear weapons power, but we are not planning anything
other than sanctions. We want to try to get the strongest sanctions
we can at the UN Security Council, mostly to influence Tehran's
decision-making." Meanwhile, the same report adds "Admiral Mike
Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the
US keeps all options on the table against Iran which includes
potential military options." In "Reality About Iran Crisis"
columnist Kadri Gursel of mainstream Milliyet observes that there's
been a "wrong approach by the Turkish government in Iran from the
very beginning: "Diplomatic efforts on the Iran nuclear crisis
require impartiality, the rulers of Turkey, however, implied their
pro-Iranian stance from the very first step. Given the current
situation, there is a heavy toll to pay for Turkey even if we now
pretend to being neutral." The writer thinks that the government
acted against the established thinking: "AKP pursued a marginal
policy and presented the nuke crisis like a tiff between Israel and
Iran. Instead Turkey should have been exerting efforts to break
Iranian stubbornness and explain the awaiting consequences."

Sinirlioglu Visit: Ankara-Washington Diplomacy Gains Momentum
(Today's Zaman)
Islamist-oriented Today's Zaman reports that FM Undersecretary
Sinilioglu discussed a wide range of topics during his Washington
visit this week in talks with State Department and National Security
Council officials. Zaman underlines the close timing of the visit
to a new hearing on AGR planned in the House of Representatives, and
reports that diplomatic sources emphasized that "the rhythm of
Turkish-American relations should always be kept lively via
senior-level technical and diplomatic visits." Zaman also previews
U/S William Burns arrival in Ankara for "Shared Vision" discussion
with Turkish officials.

US Seeks New Page with Syria (Cumhuriyet)
In "President Obama Makes Double Move on Syria," Islamist-oriented
Zaman reports the US President has nominated Robert Stephen Ford as
ambassador to Syria and sent Undersecretary of State for Political

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Affairs William Burns to Damascus, where Burns met with President
Assad yesterday. Zaman says these moves "signal a new era between
the US and Syria." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says "The US
Seeks a New Page with Syria." Media reports that Burns, "the No: 3
at the State Department," will visit Ankara on Thursday to discuss
Iran, Turkey-Armenia normalization, and the AGR.

In the Headlines

"Judiciary Earthquake" Rocks Turkey (CNN-Turk)
All papers and TV channels cover the crisis that's erupted between
the government and the constitutional judiciary bodies. Mainstream
Hurriyet headline reads "21.15 Quake" and says the arrest of
Erzincan's chief prosecutor Ilhan Cihaner caused a tremor in
judiciary. Sabah headlines "Double Threat," and notes that
following the arrest, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors
(HSYK) stripped four prosecutors in Erzurum, who ordered the arrest
of Cihaner, of their authority. Hurriyet reports that, as a result,
Justice Minister Ergin, following consultations with PM Erdogan,
announced at a press conference that the "HSYK's reaction is a
clear usurpation of authority, an unjust behavior, an intervention
in independence of judiciary." Mainstream Milliyet headlines "State
Crisis," and reports that while the HSYK was discussing the issue,
the Supreme Court of Appeals unanimously decided that HSYK's ruling
was right and would follow the decision's proper implementation.
Liberal Radikal and pro-government Haberturk both note that "closure
case" Chief Prosecutor Yalcinkaya announced he would investigate
allegations regarding "agreements" made with the Kurdish DTP party
for the recent return of PKK members at Turkey's Habur border gate,
as well as the latest developments in Erzurum and Erzincan, was
associated by the recent rumors in Ankara on a new (AKP) closure
case. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak headlines "HSYK's Blow on
Justice" and says HSYK's stroke on the judicial power raised tension
in Ankara. Media note that Justice Minister Ergin said that "the
support for the HSYK decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals and
the Council of State are unacceptable."

Commentary: Prosecutorial Debates
Pundits varied in their opinions based on the papers they write for.
Writers in pro-government papers mostly express concern over
"judicial board intervening in the process." Zaman's Huseyin
Gulerce makes a link to Italian Gladio: "When the Gladio
investigation was started, the biggest resistance came from the
judiciary." Nazli Ilicak of Sabah similarly says "High board of
judiciary is blocking an ongoing process." Writers in mainstream
press however do not quite agree with this argument. Oktay Eksi in
mainstream Hurriyet considers "a bold violation of law through
government's effort" while Gungor Mengi in mainstream Vatan warns:
"The government is constantly giving an image of manipulating
constitutional institutions and standing against them." The writer
foresees a "deepening system crisis" in the end. Murat Yetkin in
liberal Radikal underlines Justice Minister's representative
unexpectedly attended the High Board of Judiciary voting and implies
that it was a deliberate effort to mount tension: "If the tension
continues mounting and if leads to a closure case against AKP, the
government is prepared for calling an early election and believes
that all of this will help for garnering more votes."

Afghanistan: Two-Thirds of Marjah under Control (Zaman)
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports US military officials claim
while their troops advanced, the Taliban used civilians as "human
shields" and evacuated several villages in the region.
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports two-thirds of Marjah, "a logistical
center for the Taliban," has been taken under control. Mainstream
Hurriyet website, reporting on the Marjah operation from
international wire dispatches, comments "The fight in southern
Afghanistan between insurgents and NATO troops, along with Afghan
forces still learning on the job, is not a conventional war. The
Taliban shoot, drop their weapons and run off. They plant roadside
bombs and disappear." Papers also report Pakistan has confirmed
that Mullah Abdulgani al-Baradar, "the Taliban's No: 2," was

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arrested in Karachi last week.

BDP Chairman Demirtas Proposes Home Arrest for Ocalan
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet and mainstream Sabah report that
Chairman of BDP Selahattin Demirtas, made a call on Turkish
authorities to transfer the jailed PKK leader Ocalan to a home
prison from where he stays now the Imrali prison.

Passenger Train Service Between Iraq and Turkey Begins
Mainstreams Sabah and Vatan report that the historical railway
connecting Turkey to Iraq over Syria re-opened after a period of two
decades. The first passenger train from Mosul arrived in Gaziantep
yesterday and welcomed by the Gaziantep residents at the station
with a ceremony. Vatan notes that the trip, including the passport
control, etc., takes about 18 hours.

RTUK to Allow Kurdish Broadcasts (Vatan)
Mainstream Vatan reports Turkey's radio and television watchdog RTUK
is expected to permit 14 radio and TV channels from east and
southeast Turkey to start "24-hour Kurdish-language broadcasts."

TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

The chief prosecutor has decided to probe speculations regarding
"judicial irregularities" during the return of the PKK members in
Habur and Erzurum.

Two navy admirals interrogated in connection with the alleged
criminal network 'Ergenekon' have testified to the prosecutor.

The Turkish Parliament has approved a bill for the establishment of
the "Undersecretariat for Public Order and Security."

The "Tekel" workers have ended their hunger strike in Ankara.

On March 7, Prime Minister Erdogan will go to Saudi Arabia to
receive the "Service to Islam" award by the King Faisal Foundation.


Brewer Efes Turkey said that over the last four years, 17,000 shops
selling alcohol were closed due to "neighborhood pressures."

Turkish Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz says an increase in
Turkey's international credit rating would not be a surprise.

An opinion poll shows that 57 percent of the French prefer former PM
Dominique de Villepin while 38 percent opt for President Sarkozy as
the head of state.
JEFFREY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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