Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2007
In Today's Papers
Detention of Kurdish DTP Members Continues
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report
Ferhan Turk, the head of the pro-Kurdish party DTP in Mardin
province, was detained for "praising a criminal" after referring to
the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan as "sayin," which means,
roughly, "esteemed" in English. The DTP leader Ahmet Turk recently
received a six-month prison sentence for using the same word to
refer to Ocalan. In the western port city of Izmir, 13 DTP members
were detained yesterday under the same charge.
Meanwhile, the Turkish anti-terror supreme board, convening under
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Tuesday, discussed the efforts to
fight against terrorism and the measures to be taken before the
upcoming Nevruz celebrations in southeast Turkey.
Center-Right Parties' "Election Alliance," Agar on Southeast
All papers point to ongoing efforts to form an election alliance
between center-right parties in Turkey, reporting former Prime
Minister Mesut Yilmaz met with Mehmet Agar, leader of the
centre-right True Path Party (DYP). Agar told the press he would
meet with all who have the knowledge and experience in Turkish
politics, stressing, however, that the "venue" of any merger should
be DYP. Yilmaz favors unity among center-right parties, supported
by former president Suleyman Demirel as well as veteran figures from
DYP and the Motherland Party (ANAP) according to papers. ANAP
leader Erkan Mumcu, however, said his party was not interested in
uniting with other parties.
Papers also report Agar as saying top Turkish officials'
contradicting statements on Iraq caused concern among the nation.
Responding to CHP leader Baykal's criticism about Agar's earlier
statements with regard to the southeast question, the DYP leader
said, "Contrary to Baykal's charge, I'm not trying to give away
Diyarbakir, but I am trying to take Mosul."
Ankara Doesn't Want Missile Shield
Radikal, Cumhuriyet: Turkey does not share the NATO
Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer's proposal that the US
proposed missile defense program should cover southern Europe as
well as eastern Europe, including Turkey. Responding to a question
on this issue yesterday, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul was quoted as
saying that "We are not involved in this project. We use our own
national resources and our own tenders to meet our air defense
US Initiative on Armenian Resolution
All papers report that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a joint letter to the House
leaders underlining serious difficulties that passage of an Armenian
genocide draft resolution would cause, describing how Turkish-US
relations would be damaged and US interests would be hurt.
Meanwhile, Milliyet, Sabah and others report that in an interview
with Reuters, Turkish Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee chairman
Mehmet Dulger said that if Armenian resolution is issued by the US
Congress, then Turkey may introduce restrictions to the US use of
Incirlik Air Base. Dulger added that the resolution would seriously
damage Turkish-US relations and that the Turkish parliament would
define the issue as a "hostile act."
Editorial Commentary on Possible Turkish Intervention in Northern
Cuneyt Ulsever observes in the mainstream daily Hurriyet: "Defining
Turkey's Iraq policy is a difficult task. Turkey, on one hand,
expresses respect for the territorial integrity of Iraq as well as
its constitution. On the other hand, however, Turkey also expresses
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its intent to conduct a cross border operation into northern Iraq.
The contradiction is not limited to the government. The main
Turkish opposition party proudly stood against permission for
American troops to pass through Turkey during the March 1 
parliamentary talks, yet the same opposition is now talking about
sending Turkish troops into Northern Iraq. Another opposition
party, DYP, used to talk about paving the way for PKK members to
enter into politics. The very same DYP is now talking about
expanding Turkey toward Mosul. It seems the Turkish opposition is
sacrificing Iraq and the Kurdish issue to the rising tide of
Fikret Bila comments in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "Turkey's
possible military intervention into Northern Iraq has become a
platform for a duel of words between the US and Turkey. First of
all, there is a difference in terminology. 'Military intervention'
is a broader concept, while an 'operation' is narrow and targeted.
The most recent statement on this came from the Turkish military
when the Land Forces Commander talked about taking measures against
the terrorist net in Northern Iraq if there is a military need.
This statement clearly indicates that in an operation shall be
considered through the military perspective and not for political
purposes. In response to statements of this nature, the US
generally comes up with an answer expressing opposition to a
military operation in Northern Iraq. Tom Casey for instance made a
similar statement a few days ago, and interestingly enough he
underlined the US position as a strong commitment to Iraq's
territorial integrity. This is exactly the reflection of Turkey's
Iraq policy from the very beginning. It is unrealistic to imply
that a military operation by Turkey aims at dividing Iraq. It
should have been very clear by now that Turkey is opposed to a
division of Iraq -- even more than the US is. What Turkey means is
a limited military operation in the fight against terrorism. For
some reason, the US administration spokesmen either do not
understand it, or do not want to understand it that way."
NTV (6 A.M.)
- An Izmir prosecutor has demanded a three-year prison sentence for
Professor Atilla Yayla who was accused of insulting Ataturk in a
speech at an AKP meeting in Izmir in November.
- A report of Egitim-Sen labor union shows only 43.5 percent of
Turkish youths aged 15-19 were attending school while the related
figure for EU countries is 86.4 percent.
- On March 19, a Turkish delegation will inspect the Israeli
excavation work near the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
- Turkey's trade with France reached a record 9.4 billion Euro in
2006 despite Armenian genocide tensions.
- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to the Sunni
insurgent stronghold of Ramadi on Tuesday to meet with tribal
- UNHCR has called on the Turkish authorities to refrain from
deportation of Iraqi refugees, and on all governments in the region
to keep their borders open for Iraqis fleeing persecution.
- Bosnia's top Muslim and Croat officials have expressed support for
the Muslims' request for self-rule in Srebrenica, a move opposed by
the Serb Republic, which runs the town.
- An Iranian official said his government is working to get a US
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visa for President Ahmadinejad to address the UN general assembly.
- Palestinian journalists held a protest outside the BBC offices in
Gaza city calling for the release of kidnapped journalist Alan