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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ANKARA1571 2009-10-30 12:52:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TURKISH MEDIA REACTION

Tags:   OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO 
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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
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2009

Media Highlights: Erdogan-Basbug Discuss Secret 'Military Action
Plan'; DTP at Republic Day Celebrations; Davutoglu to Northern Iraq;
US Praises Turkey on Middle East; Turkey to Open Ports to Greek
Cyprus

Erdogan-Basbug Discuss Secret 'Military Action Plan' against
Fundamentalism
Media outlets report Prime Minister Erdogan and the Chief of the
General Staff (TGS) General Ilker Basbug met twice yesterday -- at
the Republic Day celebrations and later at a reception. Yesterday's
meeting was the first one between Erdogan and Basbug since the
revelation of a "secret military action plan" for fighting
fundamentalism. In a statement posted on its website, the Prime
Ministry said the "procedures regarding the action plan" are with
the military prosecutor and that the process was expected to reveal
the truth as soon as possible. The statement also warned that
institutions should not be targeted. Mainstream Milliyet sees the
statement released as an indication of "softening."

Editorials on Secret Military "Action Plan"

Hasan Cemal commented in mainstream Milliyet: " If the Turkish
military doesn't want to wear itself out any longer, then it needs
to change itself to fit within the framework of democracy and the
rule of law."

Cengiz Candar wrote in liberal Radikal: "If the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) resists being open to review, Turkey will never reach
full democracy. The TGS has lost its credibility and the day has
come for an investigation by a civil court. This is a must for
Turkey's future."

Mehmet Ali Kislali questioned in Radikal whether protecting the
republic against religious fundamentalism is the Turkish military's
main duty or not. If it is, shouldn't everyone be careful in
accusing the TGS of committing a crime by preparing an "action
plan?"

Huseyin Gulerce wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "The Turkish
military has a junta support staff in its structure, a betrayal of
democracy. The TGS, which is the Turkish public's most trusted
institution, should definitely clear out junta members. Turkey will
never manage to resolve its problems until this lot is kicked out of
the TGS."

Kurdish DTP Joins Republic Day Celebrations
Mainstream Sabah says Republic Day celebrations became a platform
for a "softening" with the DTP officials participating in the
celebrations held yesterday. Lawmakers from DTP, CHP and AK Party
celebrated the Republican Day in Kurdish, says Sabah. Papers report
Diyarbakir's Kurdish Mayor Osman Baydemir shook hands with generals
in the city. Sabah says that Turkey has been longing for this for a
long time, whereas mainstream Aksam says army commanders have
recognized the DTP. Mainstream Vatan comments the DTP members who
incurred fierce criticism over their greeting of the PKK groups
returning to Turkey sent the message that they were respecting
national values.

First Turkish Ministerial Visit to Northern Iraq
Papers report that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and State
Minister Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan, accompanied by 70
businessmen, will travel to northern Iraq to meet the
representatives of the Kurdish regional administration and open a
Turkish consulate in the cities of Basra and Mosul. Papers note the
visit would be the first at the ministerial level to northern Iraq.
The Turkish delegation will also visit Erbil and meet with the KRG
President Massoud Barzani. Islamist-oriented Zaman quotes Barham
Saleh, the PM of the regional administration of northern Iraq, as
saying that the visit of the Turkish ministers would be an "historic
event." Mainstream Sabah and leftist Taraf say that in Erbil
Davutoglu is going to raise with Barzani the return of the PKK

ANKARA 00001571 002 OF 003


members to Turkey.

"US Praises Turkey on Middle East" (Cumhuriyet)
Islamist-oriented Zaman, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet, mainstream
Milliyet and other papers report that Assistant Secretary of State
Jeffrey Feltman told a US House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing
that "Turkey plays a very positive role in contributing to stability
in Iraq." Feltman noted that Turkey has "encouraged dialogue
between Israel and Syria." "We are concerned about the reasons that
led to the cancellation of the Anatolian Eagle military exercises,"
Feltman is quoted as saying. "The US Praises Turkey on the Middle
East," and "The US Praises Turkey's Role in the Region," read two
headlines in Cumhuriyet and Zaman respectively.

Turkey to Open Its Ports and Airports to Greek Cyprus (Milliyet)
Mainstream Milliyet carries a report broadcast by the all-news
television NTV that Turkey, preparing for a new move on Cyprus,
would open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot vessels and
planes in exchange for approval of direct trade between the EU and
Turkish Cyprus and direct international flights to the Turkish north
of the divided island.

Editorials on Nukes in Incirlik Airbase, Iran

Sedat Ergin in mainstream Hurriyet questions whether PM Erdogan is
against the nukes at Incirlik airbase. Ergin writes "there is an
important point we should not forget. When Erdogan says "countries
against Iran's nuclear program should not have nuclear weapons
themselves", he challenges not only the US and Israel, but also
NATO's nuclear policies. Turkey always defended NATO's defense
doctrine based on nuclear weapons. Within this framework, Turkey
always considered US nuclear power an important part of NATO's and
therefore Turkey's national security. For these reasons, Turkey has
allowed the US for many years to have nuclear warheads at Incirlik
air base. Erdogan's words contradict NATO policies. In the long
run, this might have an impact on Western perceptions of Erdogan."

Erdal Safak in mainstream Sabah accompanied the PM to Pakistan and
Iran and he assesses his visit to Iran by saying "hopefully, the
Western world will stop their threats against Iran and leave them
alone. Iran may not have a revolution but is advancing speedily
towards evolution. Trust me, a modern, powerful, proud and wealthy
Iran is about to be born."

Upcoming events:

Q October 30: President Gul and Turkish Cyprus leader Talat will
meet, to be followed by a joint press conference.
Q October 30: Erdogan-Talat hold talks.
Q October 31: Civic organizations will rally in Istanbul to protest
plots for toppling the AKP government.
Q October 31: Center-right parties Anavatan and DP will merge at a
joint convention.
Q November 8: CHP leader Deniz Baykal will visit Iraq and meet with
President Talabani.

TV News (NTV)

Domestic
Q President Gul approves a bill for holding parliamentary elections
every four years.
Q MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said in a circular sent to party
branches the AKP government's democratic initiative was a "PKK
initiative."
Q "Swine flu" kills two women in the cities of Diyarbakir and Konya.

Q Central Bank, in preparation for a possible swine flu pandemic,
prints new banknotes.

World


ANKARA 00001571 003 OF 003


Q Zubeyir Aydar of the PKK leadership sends a letter to President
Obama protesting the placement of the PKK leaders in the list of
drug traffickers.
Q Greek Cypriot leader Christofias warns that any concessions to
keep Turkey on a pro-European path could backfire and likens the
EU's concessions to Ankara to the appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the
1930s.
Q Israeli Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer will visit
Turkey on November 24.
Q US National Security Adviser James Jones met with Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss reducing the nuclear arsenals of
the two countries.


JEFFREY