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09ANKARA331 2009-03-03 14:30:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT

Tags:   OPRC KMDR TU PREL KPAO 
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000331

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: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2009

In Today's Papers

Clinton to Seek Support for Iraq Exit in Turkey
Mainstream Aksam reports today in front-page coverage "During
Secretary Clinton's visit to Turkey, the U.S. will ask Turkey for
logistical support in the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq."
Aksam says, "Turkey is the most suitable route for the US, both from
an economic and security point of view," adding "Turkey will have to
pass a motion or issue a government decree to authorize cooperation
with the US on the issue." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports
that "In exchange for its support for the US, Turkey is expected to
ask the new administration to block Armenian genocide claims and
support the liquidation of the PKK."

Editorial Commentary on the US-Turkey Ties

Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "Secretary
Clinton's Turkey visit has a wide range of agenda issues to discuss,
including Iraq, Afghanistan, PKK, Hamas, energy and Iran as well as
a pending Armenian genocide resolution in Congress. However, it is
not realistic to expect concrete decisions from Secretary's visit
because the new American administration's European policy has not
been fully shaped yet. U/S for European Affairs Philip Gordon is
still in the Congressional approval process. The fight against the
PKK, however, is the most stable aspect of cooperation between
Turkey and the United States. The cooperation is military in nature
and will continue until President Obama invalidates the National
Security Order signed by former president Bush in November 2007.
Information coming from diplomatic sources indicate that Turkey
expects a robust military action from the U.S. against the PKK if
and when needed. Ankara has raised this expectation with visiting
high-level U.S. officials to Turkey. Even though the two are not
related to each other, Turkey seems to expect an active contribution
from the U.S. to its fight against terrorism while Turkey is
expected to do the same in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission
to fight against terrorism"."

Hasan Cemal wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "April 24 is the most
important date for Turkey right after the local elections. The
pending Armenian genocide resolution in Congress is not only a
concern to Turkey, but it is also of direct concern to the U.S as
well as Armenia. Concerned parties should think twice before
creating a new crisis which might be an essential source for
instability. If President Obama makes a mistake on April 24, it
will close the door for normalization between Turkey and Armenia,
and also U.S.-Turkey relations will be hit with a deadly blow."

Donors Pledge Aid in Gaza, Excluding Hamas
Media outlets report that the leaders of 87 countries made aid
pledges amounting to $4.5 billion to rebuild Gaza and excluded Hamas
rulers from the conference in Sharm al-Sheikh on Monday.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports in, "First Peace, Then Aid,"
that "it was highlighted by the leaders that reconstruction aid
would not have a lasting effect without peace which requires a
political solution." Mainstream Hurriyet notes, "Clinton urged the
international community to take steps to establish peace in the
Middle East and end violence," adding, "the US has promised a $900
million aid preventing the money transferred to the wrong hands
referring to Hamas." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak notes, "the US
and Saudi Arabia pledged the largest amount while most of the
countries asked that the money be under the Palestinian
Administration President Mahmoud Abbas's control and that Hamas is
excluded." Mainstream Sabah carries the headline, "One State
Destroyed, 87 Trying to Reconstruct," adding "Turkey pledged $200
million for the Gaza rebuilding."

Editorial Commentary on Gaza Donors' Conference

Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Making generous
contributions for Gaza's rebuilding is good, but not enough.

ANKARA 00000331 002 OF 003


Rebuilding Gaza requires the Palestinians to overcome their
administration crisis and present a unified presence. Unless the
Palestinian groups are reconciled, Gaza will continue to suffer."

Mehmet Yilmaz wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "International
efforts for the rebuilding of Gaza have reached a good stage with
statements from many countries expressing a readiness to make a
financial contribution to Gaza. However, there is still a big
question mark on how this financial support will reach to Gaza and
how it will be spent. Some countries have openly stated that their
money should not reach the hands of certain Palestinian groups. All
of this shows the urgency of reconciliation between Palestinian
groups."

Exports Fall Sharply in February
Cumhuriyet, Vatan, Radikal, Sabah, Milliyet, Hurriyet: Today's
papers draw attention to the sharp fall in exports. Mainstream
Vatan gives extensive front page coverage to the issue with a
headline "One Engine Stopped, We are in Turbulence" and notes that
"we are not talking about a plane crash, but the economy. Turkey's
monthly exports income dropped by half, this means one of the
engines stopped. One US Dollar is over 1.73 Turkish lira because of
the turbulence in the markets." Liberal Radikal reports that
according to the figures of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM),
exports in February dropped 35 percent when compared to figures from
the previous year.

DEA's Leonhart: Turkey Effective in Blocking Heroin Transport to
Europe
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet carries a talk with the US Drug
Enforcement Agency (DEA) Deputy Administrator Michele Leonhart on
the State Department report on narcotics trafficking. Leonhart says
that in 2008, Turkey displayed "16 percent of effectiveness" in
blocking the transport of heroin coming from Afghanistan to Europe
and other countries. The PKK has been involved in crimes related to
drug trafficking, says Leonhart, adding they were trying, in
accordance with the counter-terrorism law in the US, to cut the
sources which help the terror organization to finance its actions,
reports Cumhuriyet.

Verheugen: "We Made A Big Mistake"
Mainstream Sabah and conservative-nationalist Turkiye report that
European Commission's deputy chairman Gunter Verheugen criticized EU
countries for giving negative messages to Turkey by saying "Turkey
has a critical importance for Europe in terms of energy and
security. However, we could not present a reliable course for
Ankara." Verheugen added that he is not surprised that Turkey's
desire for reforms dropped under these conditions.

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Turkey's elite business group TUSIAD's chair Arzuhan Yalcindag
says the AKP government was planning to delay the signing of a new
stand-by deal with the IMF until after the municipality elections.


- A convoy of 100 military vehicles and personnel was dispatched
yesterday to the Cudi Mountains for Turkish military operations
against the PKK terrorists in Sirnak province on the border with
Iraq.

- A retired police officer threatened to commit suicide outside of
the Prime Minister's Office, saying his low income was not enough to
pay his debts.

- Turkey's leading mobile phone operator Turkcell says in a
statement it was working to acquire Macedonian peer Cosmofon.


ANKARA 00000331 003 OF 003


World

- On Tuesday, Deputy PM Nazim Ekren and Tevfik Bilgin, the head of
Turkey's banking watchdog, BDDK, will travel to the US to meet the
new US administration and hold talks with the IMF and World Bank
officials.

- President Abdullah Gul will visit Iran on March 10 to participate
in a meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

- The head of the UN nuclear monitoring agency IAEA, Muhammad
al-Baradei, says Damascus is blocking IAEA efforts to establish
whether it tried to secretly build a plutonium producing reactor.

- An Iraqi court sentences to death a former Iraqi general, Ali
Hasan al-Majeed, known as "Chemical Ali" for his role in the forced
deportation and massacre of the Shiites in 1999.

JEFFREY