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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000573

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 13, 2007


In Today's Papers

Next Iraq Meeting to be Held in Istanbul
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report Turkey's special envoy to Iraq, Oguz Celikkol,
said Monday there was broad agreement that an expanded gathering on
Iraq could be held in Istanbul in April. With regard to opposition
from Iran and Iraq to Istanbul as a location for the meeting,
Celikkol said the two countries insisted on Baghdad, but the
security situation in the Iraqi capital would not allow such a
meeting. US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly said the
foreign ministers of Iraq's neighbors would decide whether to hold
the next meeting in Istanbul. Papers cite the British Daily
Telegraph as saying Secretary Rice would attend the follow up Iraq
meeting if it's held in Istanbul. Ankara plans to invite Iraq's
neighbors, the Arab states, the UN Security Council's five permanent
members as well as the Group of Eight countries to the conference.


Editorial Commentary on Baghdad Conference
Sami Kohen observed in the mainstream daily Milliyet (3/13):
"Almost one hundred diplomats from 14 countries and three
international organizations gathered together in Baghdad, where
bombs were exploding every minute, to find a way to establish
security and peace in Iraq. ... It surprised these many observers
that despite the tense atmosphere, the meeting was still successful.
At this expanded conference even countries hostile to each other
like the US and Iran, for the first time in many years, managed to
sit around the same table. ... From Turkey's angle this conference
was really successful because the basic principles decided at the
meeting match Turkey's long held interests such as Iraq's integrity,
national unity and independence. During the meeting, not only
Iraq's neighbors but the UN and the superpowers also agreed on these
interests. In other words, this united stance was a message against
Iraq's division. The participants also agreed on countering
terrorist groups in Iraq. ... One other important decision for
Turkey was the agreement to continue the Iraq's neighbors'
conference. Turkish diplomacy has been exerting active efforts on
this issue. The chaos and clashes in Iraq will not end with one
conference, but at least the process started in Baghdad promises
some hope..."

Haluk Ulman commented in the economic-political daily Dunya (3/13):
"The highlight of the Baghdad conference was the US, who has been
rejecting meeting with Iran and Syria for many years, agreeing to
sit at the same table with them. ... It is not an easy task to
find a solution to the problems in Iraq which have come as a result
of the US invasion. Each state that participated at the Baghdad
conference supported Iraq's territorial integrity. They all are
against the division of Iraq and defended a single-state regime for
the country. This is the main issue; the structure of the single
state. Some countries support a Shiite regime, some Sunni and some
Kurdish origin regimes. In order to prevent the establishment of an
independent Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey supports a unified Iraq or at
least an Iraq with a powerful central authority. We should not be
too hopeful, even if the second conference manages to convene that a
helpful solution will come out of it."

Asgari's Wife Asks Turks about Husband's Fate
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the
wife, brother and three of the children of Ali Reza Asgari went to
the Turkish embassy in Tehran to ask about Asgari's fate after the
former Iranian deputy defense minister disappeared in Istanbul.
Asgari's wife told the press her husband was on a business trip and
vanished after arriving in Turkey on December 7. "He was very
attached to his family, and had no problems with the Iranian
government that would cause him to defect. He was abducted by the
CIA and MOSSAD," she said. The Turkish, Arabic and Israeli media
have suggested that Asgari defected to the west, probably with his
family.

ANKARA 00000573 002 OF 002

Erdogan Suffers Backpain, Delays Visits
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan has cancelled a planned
visit to Albania on Wednesday as well as a planned trip to Sirnak
and Cizre in southeast Turkey on Tuesday because of a back problem,
his office said. Erdogan, who has suffered from recurring hernia
problems, rested at home and Monday's Council of Ministers convened
under Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

Crime Rates on Rise in Turkey
Cumhuriyet, reports Justice Ministry statistics show the number of
reported crimes leapt to 785,000 in 2006, up from 229,000 in 1995.
About half of the crimes are committed in Turkey's three largest
cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. More than 2,000 were killed and
some 40,000 were wounded in attacks last year. There are currently
77,425 inmates in prisons, up from 49,512 in 2000, according to
ministry data.

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- The Istanbul forensic medicine institution said after examining
Abdullah Ocalan's hair and blood samples that the PKK's imprisoned
leader was not poisoned.

- The Turkish Anti-Terrorism Supreme Board will meet Tuesday under
the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

- The head of DTP branch in Gebze and 13 other suspects have been
taken into custody for throwing a Molotov cocktail at a municipality
bus in Istanbul.

- The bar associations in Ankara, Konya and Eskisehir have decided
to suspend free services for suspects due to the government's
failure to pay lawyers.

- Specialists say an EU decision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
was binding for Turkey.

International News

- US State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said in response to
a press question, "We do not wish to see any kind of military
actions by Turkey into northern Iraq."

- Democrats in the House of Representatives have proposed
legislation for a US troop pullout of Iraq by 2008.

- NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has warned that a
proposed US missile-defense system risks splitting the alliance.

- US Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Bryza said Washington supported
Turkey becoming a transit point to Europe for Azeri and Iraqi gas in
order to provide a new source, breaking the dominance of Russia.

- Masked Palestinian gunmen abducted BBC reporter Alan Johnston from
his car in Gaza City on Monday.

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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