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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2154
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OSS INCIRLIK AB TU
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RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000502

SIPDIS

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
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2007


In Today's Papers

Baykal-Erdogan Row over Election of New President
Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the main
opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal told NTV that Turkey's
constitution envisaged a "qualified," or two-third majority as the
quorum needed for the presidential elections in the parliament. "If
this majority is not reached in the first round, we will take the
issue to the Constitutional Court," Baykal said. Baykal also noted
there was no doubt that Prime Minister Erdogan wants to become the
new president. "I think," Baykal said, "the public reflex to
protect the republic and the country might still have a discouraging
effect [on Erdogan]." Erdogan shrugged off Baykal's remarks, saying
"qualified majority" was not stipulated in the constitution, and
that presidential elections will be "carried out in the same way as
in the past."

Turkey, Iraq, UNHCR Met to Discuss Mahmour Camp
Aksam, Yeni Safak: Iraqi, Turkish and United Nations officials met
yesterday in Geneva to discuss the future of the Mahmour camp. The
UN has stated that those residents of the camp who would like to
return home should be allowed to do so and those who want to stay
should be allowed to settle in Iraq. The voluntary return to Turkey
of more than 10.000 refugees who fled in the UN run camp following
fighting between Turkish security forces and the PKK in the 1990s,
was discussed at the meeting. However, the trilateral meeting ended
without reaching a concrete solution.

Editorial Commentary on Iraq
Cuneyt Ulsever commented in the mass appeal Hurriyet (3/6): "Turkey
is a country of divided opinions especially when it comes to policy
making on Northern Iraq. Turkey, on one hand, respects Iraqi
territorial integrity, yet at the same time ignores the Northern
Iraq element which is an essential part of Iraq's integrity. Let's
be realistic about ourselves: Everybody in the world, including the
US, is very well aware of the fact that in Turkey the views of the
military are as important as the views of the government on
political matters. Given this picture, let's take a look at what
the thought process of a US bureaucrat who works at the Turkey desk
might be: 'Our major expectation from Turkey is to see it embrace
Northern Iraq, which provides internal peace and has our trust, in a
brotherly manner. However Turkey's views on this are not clear.
Evidently there is a certain degree of softening on the civilian
side but the Turkish military is still pursuing a relatively tough
stance. We also know well that the Turkish military is very active
in the political arena -- some people expect this activity in a
period of presidential elections. Given this confused environment,
why should the US help out Turkey on the PKK issue? We can only
pretend we are helping out. Let's wait for the election results.'
If we consider that the pro-Kurdish party DTP hopes to enter into
parliament with about 20 deputies, things will likely to get even
more confusing in the period ahead."

Ambassador Nuland Holds Talks, Meets Press in Ankara
Hurriyet, Milliyet and Cumhuriyet report Ambassador Toria Nuland,
the US Permanent Representative at NATO, held talks Monday at
Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) and Turkish General Staff (TGS).
Hurriyet and Milliyet say Nuland told the press "The US and Turkey
work together at NATO to remind everybody that Iran's missile
development program is not only a threat for tomorrow, but in the
case of the short and medium-range capability it's a current
threat." Nuland added, "There is still a short- and medium-range
threat for countries like Turkey. That system will cover the vast
majority of alliance territory against a long-range missile threat
from Iran." Milliyet reports Nuland responded to a question on
whether Turkey will be protected under the US missile defense system
in case of an attack from Iran by saying, "The parts of Turkey that
could be threatened by such a missile attack will be covered by this
system. The short and medium threat is different, and will require
complimentary steps either nationally or at NATO." On whether the

ANKARA 00000502 002 OF 003


US expected new Turkish contributions in Afghanistan, Ambassador
Nuland said, "We appreciate that Turkey will take over the Kabul
regional command, increasing its presence in Afghanistan. Our
commanders there are continuing to ask that all countries help with
things like airlifts and helicopters, and that if we have
difficulties in any parts of the country that we'll be willing to
help each other." Cumhuriyet claims that after the Czech Republic
and Poland, the US wants to include Turkey in the Nuclear Missile
Shield project. Ambassador Nuland has raised the issue in Ankara,
but Turks, thinking it will make their country a "direct target,"
are distanced to the project. Turkish diplomatic sources said a
Turkey dependant on Russia and Iran for energy, cannot allow US
missiles on its territory, according to Cumhuriyet.

Commenting on the missile defense system in the
Islamist-intellectual Zaman, Fikret Ertan warns that the "son of
Star Wars" must be "watched carefully": "Following the Star Wars
project, the US is now working on a new defense system, technically
called the National Missile Defense System (NMDS) - a missile shield
system based on the ground instead of in space. Thus it's called
the son of Star Wars. The fact is that realization of NMDS requires
a wider geography and more bases, and that's where the Caucasus
region comes in. US General Henry Obering, who is in charge of
conducting the NMDS project, already told press that the US wants to
establish an anti-missile radar system in the Caucasus. Even though
the General did not say any country's name, there is strong
speculation that Georgia would be the first country that the US will
eventually approach. And most likely Azerbaijan will be the next on
the list. If and when realized, the NMDS will open a new page in
the world's military and political system. The son of Star Wars
must be watched carefully."

Missing Iranian Deputy Defense Minister
Sabah, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet and others: Iran demanded
information from Turkey about the former deputy defense minister Ali
Reza Asgari, who went missing after checking into an Istanbul hotel
on December 9. Iranian Foreign Minister said that the Turkish and
Iranian Foreign Ministries were working together on the issue.
However, Turkish Foreign Ministry emphasized that the issue was a
legal case. Vatan reports that the Iranian officials told Turkish
officials that they are concerned that either the CIA or MOSSAD
could be behind the kidnapping as the missing official has knowledge
about Iran's nuclear program.

Doctors Check Ocalan's Health
All papers report Cemil Cicek, Turkish Justice Minister and
Government Spokesman, told a weekly press briefing Monday a medical
team of three doctors has taken blood and hair samples from Abdullah
Ocalan, imprisoned on the island of Imrali, in the face of charges
that the PKK leader was poisoned. "Test results will be revealed by
the end of this week, proving all charges are lies," Cicek said.
"Since a retrial for Ocalan is off the agenda of the European
Council, his supporters are trying to create new issues. The
Turkish government will never choose the option of marring the
health of the terrorist leader," Cicek maintained.

Iran 'Exports' Missile Parts from US through Turkey
Milliyet reports according to customs reports, "Step Standard
Technical Corp.," an Iranian-owned company set up in Turkey buys
electricity connection parts for TOW missiles from the US
"Continental Connector Company" and sends them to Iran. The same
company has sent rocket and missile guidance units it purchased from
the French "ADR Company" to Iran through Turkey.


TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News


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- Turkey, under an ECHR ruling, has reached a settlement with the
relatives of 17 people killed in protests in support of the PKK in
the eastern Turkish province of Kars in 1993. Turkey has
acknowledged security forces used excessive force, agreeing to pay
350,000 Euro to victims' relatives.

- The Diyarbakir prosecutor has initiated an investigation into a
press conference held over the weekend by 54 mayors from the Kurdish
party DTP.

- A Turkish military training plane crashed Monday afternoon in the
western Turkish province of Manisa, killing its pilot Lieutenant
Baris Cakir.

- State Minister Kursad Tuzmen, heading a business delegation to
Israel, will join a business forum to be held Tuesday with the
participation of Turkish and Israeli entrepreneurs.

International News

- Tariq Aziz, a leading member of Saddam Hussein's regime, told a
court in Baghdad Iran was responsible for the poison gas attack on
the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq in 1988.

- UK think tank Oxford Research Group warned military strikes
against Iran could speed up Tehran's development of nuclear weapons.


- Some 6,000 Russian protesters blocked St. Petersburg's main avenue
over the weekend in a show of opposition to President Putin.
-
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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