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Cablegate: Turkish Media Reaction

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000298

SIPDIS

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 24, 2010

Media Highlights

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

How the US is Playing

Jeffrey at the American Business Forum in Turkey - Hurriyet reports
that Ambassador Jeffrey commented that "we support Turkey's efforts
to invite investment to Turkey" and "Turkey has proved to be a
trustworthy country for investments" at yesterday's well-attended
launch of a new ABFT survey on trade and investment in Turkey.
Semi-official Anatolian Agency quoted Ambassador Jeffrey as saying
"Private sector and investments are of great importance for the
improvement of commercial relations between Turkey and the US.
Turkey is expected to attract more investments in the future."
Expressing the US Government's support on the issue, Jeffrey said
the government desires US businessmen to work together with their
Turkish counterparts. Pointing to the recent global economic
crisis, Jeffrey said Turkey was in a stable position despite the
crisis, adding that the country is still attractive for foreign
investors thanks to its accurate policies.

Greek Lobby Calls for Jeffrey Resignation - In an inside page story,
Sabah reports that the American Hellenistic Institution has taken
issue with Ambassador Jeffrey's recent remarks in a Sabah interview
and have asked President Obama to withdraw Jeffrey from Turkey. Of
concern to the Greeks are his remarks that "Turkey is a peaceful
country," and one that "doesn't occupy (isgal etmiyor) its
neighbors." The institute accuses Jeffrey of defending Turkey's
invasion of Cyprus.

Genocide Initiative from the Parliamentarians
Mainstream Sabah reports that five Parliamentarians, under the
leadership of Foreign Relations Committee chair Murat Mercan, will
be travelling to the US at the weekend. Reportedly, the group will
meet with their counterparts in Washington to give the message that
in case of a genocide resolution approval, Turkey-US relations will
be damaged immensely.

Amb. Davies in Turkey: Milliyet's Sami Kohen, as well as
English-language reports in Today's Zaman and Hurriyet Daily News,
comment on the Ambassador Glynn Davies visit to Turkey. Citing a
"top level American source from the IAEA," Kohen notes that "Iran is
not keeping up with its IAEA promises," and that negotiations about
the nuclear standoff are now "conducted as if among the deaf." Kohen
predicts that the expected report in March will point the way to
sanctions against Iran and that "Turkey will have to take sides."


Websites:

"Rift Develops Between Allies and Turkey Over Iran" (Hurriyet Daily
News)

"Ankara, Washington singing different tune on Iran row" (Today's
Zaman

WH Spokesman on Iran: In "Harsh Warning to Iran from US," Milliyet
and Sabah report that Spokesman Gibbs commented yesterday that
"We've come to the end of our time and patience" with Iran.

In the Headlines

"Heated Times in Ankara" (Milliyet)
Media outlets continue to give extensive and prominent front page
play of the ongoing "Sledgehammer" coup plot allegations, including
actual charges made on 2/23 against two serving admirals and 5
retired senior army officers who were among the 49 originally
detained. "Meeting at Army Headquarters to Discuss Serious
Situation" says Islamist Yeni Safak, in reporting on an emergency

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summit of all serving army generals held in Ankara in the evening of
2/23. "Sledgehammer Tension" headlines mainstream Vatan, which
notes the wide-spread speculation that some army senior officers are
planning to resign. Many papers also carry excerpts from Western
press analysis of the situation. Meanwhile, Turkish pundits
continue to offer a polarized approach. In mainstream Hurriyet,
Cuneyt Ulsever finds allegations related to Sledgehammer "go beyond
imagination and are very hard to believe" while Ali Bayramoglu in
Islamist Yeni Safak accuses mainstream/secular writers for "acting
as coup mongers." Asli Aydintasbas in mainstream Milliyet also
wonders about the accuracy of accusations against high ranking
generals, and thinks the whole thing is "very mind confusing."
Liberal Radikal's Murat Yetkin details the government's attempt for
crisis management: "The government did not wait to take action,
sending acting PM Cicek to the TGS for a meeting with General
Basbug." However, he concludes, "even though both sides express
each other's concerns to each other's faces, it does not mean that
the crisis is over."

English dailies:
"Washington unconcerned by arrest of generals" (Hurriyet Daily
News)

"EU, US back Sledgehammer investigation for Turkey's democracy"
(Today's Zaman)

"Opposition CHP is unhappy that EU Parliamentarians only read
'certain' newspapers" (Today's Zaman)

President Gul Seeks to Reduce Tension Between Government, Judiciary

Today's papers and TV channels focus on President Gul's new efforts
Tuesday through meetings with top justices and government
representatives in an effort to reduce tension between the executive
and the judiciary. According to presidential sources, Gul invited
Hasim Kilic, president of the Constitutional Court and Justice
Minister Sadullah Ergin for a tte-`-tte. Kilic and Ergin are also
expected to hold meetings with the president Wednesday.

Al-Qaeda Criticizes and Threatens Turkey for its role in
Afghanistan
All papers and TV channels report on a newly released,
unauthenticated video from al-Qaeda that condemns Turkey for its
role in Afghanistan. The man speaking on the video, who claims to
be Ayman al-Zawahiri or al-Qaeda's No. 2, says Turkey is committing
crimes against Islam and Muslims by participating in the war in
Afghanistan. CNN reported that it could not authenticate the
message but that the voice was "consistent with al-Zawahiri's
intonation and accent."

Iran Captures Cundullah(God's Army) Leader (Sabah)
Turkey's Islamist-oriented media and the seculars are reporting
loads on the capture by Iranian forces of a wanted Iranian Sunni
activist Abdulmelik Rigi who has been returned to Iran. Prominent
coverage of claims by Iranian press that the US used this
"terrorist" in operations in Pakistan and Iran and that "now his
time is finished." Media quote Iran's Intelligence Minister in
claims that the "terrorist" was given an Afghani passport by the
Americans. Islamist oriented Yeni Safak notes that Iranian
Intelligence Minister Haydar Moslehi claimed that Rigi went to an US
base in Afghanistan 24 hours before his arrest.


TV Spotlight (CNN Turk)

Vatan newspaper web site editor Aylin Duruoglu was released
yesterday after ten months detention. She was accused of being
member of the terrorist organization 'Revolutionary Headquarters'

UN Drug Trafficking report mentions Turkey in the "insufficient"
category and report that only 10 percent of heroin is captured by

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Turkish police as Turkey continues to become a transit route.

17 Miners were killed in a firedamp explosion in a mine in Western
province Balikesir last night

Five children were given seven years prison sentence each for
throwing stones to the police during PM Erdogan's visit to
Diyarbakir in 2008

MHP leader Bahceli announced that his party will not give any
support to the constitutional reforms proposed by the government

Some 187 children have been killed in the war in Northern Yemen
since August, according to a report issued by UNICEF

Iranian President Ahmedinejad will travel to Damascus on Thursday
for talks with Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization leader Ali Akbar Salehi says that
Iran plans to build two more uranium enrichment plants at shielded
mountain locations.

JEFFREY

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