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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5826
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RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OSS INCIRLIK AB TU
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RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000708

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
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2007


In Today's Papers

Annual ATC Conference in Washington
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak and
others report Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a speech to the
annual American Turkish Council (ATC) meetings in Washington that
the Armenian genocide resolution and anti-American sentiment in
Turkey were both "detrimental action" against US-Turkey ties. Gates
also said more needed to be done against the PKK. Papers also
report Ambassador Wilson called for "reconciliation and
normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations." Papers also report the
deputy chief of Turkish General Staff (TGS) General Ergin Saygun
reacted to former Kurdish lawmaker Leyla Zana's remarks, who had
said that Jalal Talabani, Massoud Barzani, and Abdullah Ocalan were
"the three leaders of the Kurdish people." Saygun stressed such
remarks invited the Iraqi Kurds to interfere with Turkey's internal
affairs, and said that "Turkish prosecutors will do what is
necessary regarding what such dangerous statements mean."

Beckett Cuts Turkey Visit Short over British Sailors Crisis with
Iran
All papers report Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul asked his Iranian
counterpart Manuchehr Mottaki on the phone yesterday for the
settlement of the crisis over Iran's detention of 15 British sailors
on charges of violating Iran's territorial waters. Visiting British
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has reportedly asked Turkey to
assume a role in the settlement of the controversy with Iran. After
holding a phone talk with Mottaki in the company of Gul, a
disillusioned Beckett decided to return to London. "I had hoped
that the situation involving our missing sailors would have been
resolved by now. I have decided with regret to curtail my visit
here so that I can report to our parliament tomorrow on the latest
position," Beckett said in a statement.

Meanwhile, CNN Turk quoted Prime Minister Erdogan as saying early
Wednesday at the Arab League meeting in Riyadh that Turkish
diplomats may be allowed to visit British military personnel
detained in Iran.

Editorial Commentary on Iran
Okay Gonensin commented in the mainstream daily Vatan: "An expected
tension is building after Iran's seizure of British soldiers. At
the end of this tension there stands the possibility of a military
operation against Iran by the US-UK alliance. Iran is already in a
war with Israel at the Lebanese border and through Shiites in Iraq.
With a possible US-UK intervention, the war will cross into Iranian
territory. In this case, the fire will come closer to Turkish
territory and our southeastern border will turn into a war front.
There might be some people considering such possibilities as new
opportunities for Turkey. Some might try to use this big fire as an
excuse and try to resolve the northern Iraq issue. However, there
is only one result that could be reached from such logic: to push
Turkey into a fire which is not in Turkey's direct interest. As the
possibility of a US-UK intervention in Iran increases, Turkey's
policy should be to stay as far as possible away from this conflict
environment. Turkey's short, medium and long term interests lie
with Turkey remaining a strong fortress of peace in the region. The
founders of this republic managed to keep Turkey out of trouble,
even in more complex periods. There were people who tried to
benefit from big fires in the past as well. Nevertheless, our
recent history shows clearly what was right and what was wrong."

Sami Kohen observed in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "The
Administration in Iran might try to use the hostages as a trump card
for a lengthy time against the western world. Doubtlessly, this
could turn into a very dangerous game. British Prime Minister Tony
Blair stressed yesterday that if diplomatic attempts do not resolve
this issue, a new phase would be entered. The new phase doesn't
have to be a military operation against Iran, but any act of
retaliation would increase the tension. Therefore, everyone should

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exert efforts to resolve this issue peacefully before it moves to
more dangerous phases. Turkish diplomacy has already intervened in
the issue for just these reasons. Recently, the Persian Gulf became
a field for the US, UK and Iran to exhibit their powers. This stems
from the region's economic and strategic importance and the conflict
between the US (UK) and Iran over this strategic importance for
their own interests. Although, the seizure of 15 UK troops by Iran
seems rather a small incident which could be resolved easily, in
fact, it is the result of this fight between the big powers."

Akdamar Church to be Opened Tomorrow
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report an Armenian government delegation led by deputy Culture
Minister Gagik Gurjyan arrived early on Wednesday in the eastern
city of Kars to participate in the inauguration of the Armenian
Church on Akdamar Island near Van. Milliyet reports the spiritual
leader of Armenian Orthodox Church, Karekin II, said he will not
participate in the opening set for March 29, because the church has
been renovated into "a museum."

Meabwhile, Hurriyet reports Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul have sent messages of condolence over the
death of Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan to President
Kocharian and Foreign Minister Oskanyan through the Turkish Embassy
in Georgia.

Iraq's Vice President Visits Turkey
All papers report the Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi met with
President Sezer, Prime Minister Erdogan, and Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul during his one-day visit to Ankara on Tuesday. Hashimi
said in response to press questions that Baghdad will not permit
Turkish cross-border military incursions into northern Iraq. He
said Turkey and Iraq should respect each other's borders and not
meddle in each other's affairs. Hashimi said Iraq understands
Turkey's sensitivity with regard to the PKK issue, but added that
the current conditions placed obstacles in front of the fight
against the PKK. The Iraqi VP, however, said Iraq will never allow
its land be used as a base for attacks against Turkey.

TV Highlights
NTV (6 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Yasar Cihan, the head of nationalist party BBP branch in Trabzon,
was set free after being interrogated by the prosecutor in
connection with the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

- Prime Minister Erdogan said he was disturbed by messages opposing
Turkey's membership at the celebrations held to mark EU's 50th
birthday.

- General Electric's CEO Jeffrey Immelt said Turkey was a country
with huge potential in sectors such as infrastructure, nuclear
energy, aviation, health, and consumer finance.

- Turkish Industry Minister Ali Coskun said customs union with the
EU has helped the Turkish industry learn how to cope with
competition.

International News

- Prime Minister Tony Blair warned that efforts to secure the 15
British Royal Navy personnel captured by Iran could "move into a
different phase."

- A US federal judge said Tuesday former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
cannot be tried on allegations of torture in overseas military
prisons.


ANKARA 00000708 003 OF 003


- Official results of a referendum say controversial changes to
Egypt's constitution were approved by 75.9 percent of voters.

- The UN General Assembly commemorated the 200th anniversary of the
abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but added that slavery
still persists for an estimated 12.3 million people.

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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