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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2008
In Today's Papers
The Most Critical Presidential Election in American History (Vatan)
All media outlets still predict an Obama victory in today's U.S.
presidential election, and anticipate a new phase in American
history. Islamist-oriented Zaman carries the headline, "The World
Holds Its Breath as Obama Gets Closer to the Presidency," and
speculates "Obama, who seeks to change the traditional line, could
bring a breath of fresh air to foreign policy." Mainstream Sabah
carries the headline, "The World's Eyes are on This Election."
Mainstream Milliyet reports, "The U.S. Elections Could Change
History," as "The Dream Comes True." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
reports, "The U.S. Faces a Test in the Election of a Black
President." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak carries the front page
headline "The Fateful Day," and reports, "If McCain is elected, the
only result is the continuation of Bush's policies." Leftist Taraf
calls today "A Revolutionary Day in America." Economic daily
Referans carries the headline, "Either Obama Will Win or There Could
Be a 'Racist' Miracle."
Editorial opinion on U.S. Elections
Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal: "The new
American president will immediately be part of the system even
before the inauguration ceremony; therefore there is a strong chance
that PM Erdogan will meet with the new president during upcoming
G-20 talks. Following Ambassador Wilson's rightful explanation to
President Bush about the seriousness of the PKK situation,
Washington decided to give active support to Turkey last November.
At that time, the U.S. also supported the newly-elected Erdogan
government. Erdogan will now be the key figure in the new era of
Turkish-American relations as the only legitimately elected leader
of the only democratic and secular country in the Muslim world."
Tamer Korkmaz wrote in Islamist-leaning Yeni Safak: "There is a
chance the United States will lean toward rational policies,
particularly in the Middle East, if Barack Obama comes to power. Of
course if Obama is elected it still remains to be seen to what
extent the 'American deep state' will let him proceed on his own
accord. The United States, under a new leader, will make gains if
it abandons its policy toward world hegemony. Otherwise the United
States will continue to be a loser."
Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah: "There are rumors that Obama
will withdraw US troops from Iraq immediately, freeze sanctions
against Iran, engage in close cooperation with the EU and open a
brand new page with Russia. Don't believe these rumors. American
national policies do not always change with the election of a new
president. Nevertheless, Obama has millions of fans all over the
world, including Turkey. If he wins, one must simply enjoy the
pleasure of a change."
Can Dundar wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "There is no doubt that an
Obama victory will bring many political results. But, from a
historical perspective, the most important point is that a black
person can become president in a country where, half a century ago,
white women were not allowed to marry black men. This is really
good news for people who believe that communities can eliminate
bigotry and prejudice in order to find the rational path."
Ambassador Wilson Offers Reassurance Regarding Elections.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports in "Either Way, Turkey Will
Win," that U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson spoke to journalists
following his farewell call to the Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler.
Wilson emphasized, "No matter which candidate is elected, there will
be strong and positive relations between the U.S. and Turkey."
The Duchess of York Stirs Diplomatic Tensions
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has created a tense controversy
in Turkey after revealing her undercover photos of orphanages in
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Turkey including Saray orphanage on the outskirts of Ankara. The
photos were published in the Sunday Daily Mail* last weekend and a
documentary will be aired on ITN November 6th that details
horrifying conditions, including children screaming for attention,
patients fed while lying down, patients eating their own feces, and
patients tied to their beds. Mainstream Vatan newspaper accuses the
Duchess of "offering donations to convince orphanage officials to
show her the worst parts of their facilities." Islamist-oriented
Zaman carries the headline "Sarah Ferguson's Hidden Intentions," and
notes, "State Minister for Women and Children's Affairs Nimet
Cubukcu accused Ferguson of attempting to harm Turkey's image at the
same time the EU Commission is preparing a report regarding Turkey's
progress toward its EU bid." In "The Duchess Crisis," mainstream
Sabah reports, "The English Duchess created diplomatic tensions
between the UK and Turkey when she took secret photos," and notes,
"The British Foreign Ministry said Ferguson's opinions were not
official," and "do not represent the views of the UK." Mainstream
Aksam, meanwhile, calls the Turkish government's response to the
photos "buffoonery" because "the government launched diplomatic
complaints with the UK before they launched an investigation into
the conditions in the orphanages." Liberal Radikal also criticizes
the Turkish government by saying, "Turkey cares more about its image
than the problems in orphanages." Radikal also notes that a 2005
report by Mental Disability Rights International documented the poor
conditions at the Saray orphanage, calling the conditions
"tantamount to torture."
Government under Fire for Rising Gas Prices
All papers gave prominent coverage to the recent 22.5 percent
increase in natural gas prices. Minister of Energy Guler, in a
press conference held with Saltuk Duzyol, the chairman of BOTAS [Oil
Pipeline Corporation], said that all pricing processes are
determined by an automated pricing mechanism in which neither the
government nor BOTAS has a direct impact. Papers note that after
the natural gas price hike, a rise in electricity prices is also
Derya Sazak of Milliyet points out, "Turkey has become one of the
few countries in the world with record high natural gas price. The
government has to come to its senses eventually and should cancel
the price hike." Erdal Saglam of Hurriyet holds PM Erdogan
responsible for the price hike, "Due to the AKP government's
populist policies and political decisions, the high profit-making
BOTAS has turned into a deficit-making corporation. The natural gas
price increase is a clear demonstration of the mismanagement of the
Cartoon from today's edition of mainstream Sabah entitled "After the
Natural Gas Hikes."
DTP Slams PM Erdogan for His Remarks in the Southeast
During his trip to the largely Kurdish Southeast of Turkey over the
weekend, PM Erdogan angered many Kurds when he said, "Those who
reject the concept of one flag and one nation are free to leave and
go anywhere they want," which many media outlets translated as
"Turkey - love it or leave it." In response yesterday, Ahmet Turk,
Chairman of mostly pro-Kurdish opposition DTP, posed a sharp
question to the PM "Who will expel whom from whose motherland? This
country and its flag are common values of the Kurds, Turks and all
other segments of our society."
Six Prison Guards Charged in Ceber Torture Case
Mainstreams Sabah and Milliyet report six prison guards from Metris
prison were charged by the court in connection with the death of
Engin Ceber in Metris prison last month. 19 guards were detained
for torturing and killing Ceber in prison and six of them were
formally charged yesterday.
Life Is Hard for Women in Turkey
Milliyet, Sabah, Aksam, Posta, Radikal, Zaman, Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet
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and others: Today's papers report on the investigation the Justice
Ministry has initiated into a medical report that lead to the
release of extreme Islamist Vakit columnist Huseyin Uzmez from jail.
Uzmez was detained last April on charges of repeated sexually
assault against a 14-year-old-girl. Uzmez is awaiting trial, but was
released from jail last Tuesday because the Council of Forensic
Medicine's report indicated that the 14-year-old assault victim's
physical and mental health was stable and therefore not affected by
Uzmez's alleged assaults.
Mainstream Milliyet and others note that there are plenty of similar
cases in Turkey and the life is becoming harder for women in Turkey
day by day. Papers point to the latest rape incident in Sivas as an
example. A 16-year-old girl in Sivas refused to marry a 32-year-old
man chosen by her parents. The girl became a rape victim after her
parents invited their chosen husband-to be to their home and locked
him in a room alone with their daughter. The girl was then raped by
the man and later beaten by her family in order to convince her to
marry him. The girl filed a legal complaint and the parents and the
rapist were arrested.
- The DTP completes its sit-in protests in Diyarbakir.
- Zahid Akman, Director of the Radio and Television Board (RTUK),
said he was ready to publicly discuss the graft allegations against
him, which were brought up by CHP deputy Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
- Consumer prices increased by 2.6 percent in October.
- Total spending for political campaigns in US presidential
elections nears $1 billion.
- The Iraqi Parliament approves legislation restoring guaranteed
seats on provincial councils to Christians and other small religious
- Palestinian President Abbas is en route to Romania for a two-day