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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
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2010

Media Highlights

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

How the US is Playing

Ambassador Tan Will Present Credentials, Work against AGR (Sabah)
Mainstream Sabah reports the new Turkish Ambassador to Washington,
Namik Tan, will present his credentials to President Obama on
February 24, and will kick off work with the US congressmen and the
Jewish lobbies for the prevention of the AGR to be voted March 4 at
the US Congress Foreign Relations Committee.

General Petraeus Wants Pressure on Iran (NTVMSNBC)
NTVMSNBC online reports General Petraeus said in a statement to NBC
TV time has come to put pressure on Iran for Tehran to comply with
the demands of the international community. Petraeus said the US
has done everything for a friendly solution of the problem, but that
Tehran's attitude pushed the US to take a more rigid position.

Genocide Bill Makes Caglayan Postpone His Visit To the US. Tabloid
Aksam reported on 2/21 that State Minister Zafer Caglayan postponed
his visit to the US to avoid being there when a controversial draft
of the AGR comes to the agenda of the US Congress. He was to hold
talks on the new model partnership project between Turkey and the US
and for boosting economic and commercial ties. Aksam reports that
the visit has been postponed on recommendations of the Turkish MFA.


In the Headlines

March 4 Genocide Bill Alarm (Vatan)
Mainstream Vatan gives front page coverage to the fate of the AGR in
the US House of Representatives on March 4. Noting that "Turkey is
on its own now," Vatan reports that the Jewish lobby in the US is
withdrawing it support this year because of the recent tension
between Turkey and Israel. The paper concludes, as a result, that
it is almost definite that the resolution will pass Congress this
time. Turkish Foreign Ministry sources say that if the draft is
adopted, turmoil in Turkey will be huge and Turkey will re-evaluate
its alliance with the US.

Commentary on Turkey-Armenia, AGR and Israel Lobby Support
In mainstream Sabah, Omer Taspinar does not quite agree with
Ankara's contentions that a deliberate timeline was set for the AGR:
"The American system is based on checks and balances, and no
administration is capable of asking Congress about a resolution."
On the other hand, writer talks about factors which are making the
Armenian lobby stronger than before, including the lack of Jewish
lobby support for Turkey. His suggestion for Turkey is to establish
steps to enhance dialog and communication with Armenia: "Any
concrete step vis-`-vis Armenia will enhance Turkey's position in
the Congressional process." Similarly, Ali Aslan in
Islamist/pro-government Zaman advices Ankara to "remain committed to
the normalization protocols" while Washington "should work for steps
toward solution to the Karabakh problem." In mainstream Vatan, Okay
Gonensin has a different take: "With the lack of Jewish lobby
support, it seems more likely to see a genocide resolution passing
from the Congress. However it might not be a really bad thing after
all because Turkey will be able resolve its annual 'April 24 in the
US' syndrome once for all." On 2/21, mainstream Milliyet's Semih
Idiz reports on the Armenian Parliament's starting the ratification
process for the Turkey-Armenia protocols last week. The writer
opines that the goal of Armenia is to convince the international
community that Turkey was blocking the normalization process.
Yerevan also wants to use the protocols to give impetus to genocide
claims, says Idiz. The writer notes that the normalization
protocols might deal a heavy blow to Turkish ties with the US. The
writer reminds that Turkish officials recently scolded US Ambassador
James Jeffrey who issued warnings about the importance of the

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protocols. He concludes that the scolding has not helped improve the
image of Turkey. Commentary in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
decries the lack of control by the GoT regarding the Turkey-Armenia
protocol debate in parliament and predicts that when the protocols
fail, the international community will blame Turkey.

Erdogan: "We are Determined for Judicial Reform" (Yeni Safak)
Media outlets report Prime Minister Erdogan, prior to his departure
last night to Spain, told the press both political parties and
nongovernmental organizations were looking forward to judicial
reforms, and stressed that "referendum" could be held to pass the
reforms. "We want to bring all political parties together for
constitutional changes," said Erdogan, and noted that his colleagues
were working on a draft judicial reform. "My colleagues will visit
the political parties. If they accept working together, we will
take the necessary steps. Otherwise, we can hold a referendum."


On the other hand, papers report Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc
has strongly criticized the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors
(HSYK) as well as the previous governments of the last 20 years.
"Some biased members of the judiciary made our party a target. We
never thought of interfering in the judiciary's work but we will not
allow any new tricks," he said. Arinc condemned previous
governments for their inaction regarding the illegal actions of
"shady networks," saying that the burden of the unresolved murders
committed before the AKP came to power lied on the previous
governments.

Afghanistan. In "Taliban Rejects Peace, Continues War," mainstream
Sabah, as well as Islamist-oriented Zaman online, notes in an inside
page story that "after his government collapsed over the dispute
about troop withdrawals, Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende said "Dutch
troops will leave Afghanistan as planned if nothing else takes its
place." Sabah also notes that "despite the continuing joint
Operation Mushtarak by NATO and Afghan forces in the Marja district,
the Taliban has announced that they won't give up. Taliban spokesman
Qari Mohammad Yousuf is quoted as saying they rejected President
Karzai's call for peace talks." Mainstream Milliyet in "Capture of
Mullah Baradar is A Blow on Peace," cites British Sunday Times
report saying "Taliban's number two figure, Mullah Baradar who was
captured in a joint operation by US and Pakistani forces was a
supporter of reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan. The capture
of such a figure caused concerns by Afghan officials."

Talabani: "Kirkuk Belongs to Kurdistan" (Hurriyet)
According to Kurdish News Agency PNA, Iraqi President Talabani, at a
meeting with the NGOs in Kirkuk said "Kurdish population in Kirkuk
is more than any other ethnic groups. The best document to prove
that is the census results which was held during the Ottoman Empire
time. According to these censuses, there were around 97.000 Kurds,
70.000 Turkmen and 8.000 Arabs in Kirkuk. Kirkuk is a Kurdistan
city where Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Christians lived together and
peacefully for centuries."

TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

Prime Minister Erdogan, accompanied by ten cabinet ministers, visits
Spain for the second Spain-Turkey Summit.

Higher Education Board (YOK) President Professor Yusuf Ziya Ozcan
said there were preparations to introduce "elective"
Kurdish-language lessons.

A report prepared by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) says
Turkey was the second-largest market around the world for
counterfeit products of famous brands.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has lifted Turkey's sovereign
credit rating to BB with a positive outlook.


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Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu's "Bal" (Honey) film won Sunday
the Golden Bear, the top prize of the Berlin Film Festival.

Greek PM Papandreou said his country is not looking for an EU
bailout to help cut its debt levels effectively.

Greek Cypriot daily Alithia says Britain offered to hold three-party
negotiations in Cyprus with the participation of Cyprus guarantor
states -- Greece, Turkey and Britain.

A new drone, Heron Tp, that can remain airborne for more than 24
hours and reach as far as Iran is added to the Israeli air force's
arsenal.

The US State Department lifted an advisory warning American
travelers of security concerns in Syria.

JEFFREY

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