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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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
MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2007


In Today's Papers

Barzani Statement Angers Ankara
All papers report over the weekend and today the regional Iraqi
Kurdish administration president Massoud Barzani said in televised
remarks on al-Arabiyah television on Saturday that Turkey must not
interfere in Kirkuk, warning, "There are 30 million Kurds in Turkey;
if they interfere in Kirkuk over just a couple thousands of Turkmen,
we will interfere in Diyarbakir and other cities in Turkey." Sunday
papers reported the Barzani statement with headlines, "Barzani goes
too far," "Barzani threatens Turkey," and "Barzani signals unrest
among Turkey's Kurds." Hurriyet reports Turkey's special Iraqi
envoy Oguz Celikkol will be sent to the US to tell Washington that
Turkey will take the necessary steps in response to Barzani.
Radikal reports Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul phoned Secretary Rice
saying that Barzani should be warned not to repeat such statements.


Barzani continued remarks on Sunday, saying an independent Kurdish
state could be established in 10-15 years, papers report, citing a
report by Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party's (KDP) Peyamner news
agency. "Turkey's cause is not Kirkuk and the PKK, but the
existence of the Kurdish people," he was also quoted as saying.
Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) sources said the reason for Barzani
to make such an inappropriate statement is "his panic due to the
international community's rising awareness of what is going on in
Kirkuk." "We have always said Kirkuk is an Iraqi city," Turkish
diplomatic sources said. MFA sources told Cumhuriyet that "Barzani
is sitting on a pile of dynamite, and if he lights the fuse, he will
not even be able to pronounce the 'D' of Diyarbakir. Barzani should
know his place and should not dare spell Diyarbakir's name." The
same sources said Barzani was distressed to see no support from the
US, the international community, and other groups in Iraq, and the
fact that Turkey established contact not with him but Iraq's
President Talabani. Hurriyet says Barzani's statement would be
discussed at the National Security Council (MGK) meeting on Tuesday.


Editorial Commentary on Kirkuk, Barzani Warning Turkey
Zafer Atay comments in the economic-political daily Dunya: "There
will no longer be any need for the Kurdish Administration in
Northern Iraq -- developing under the US troops' wings with every
passing day - to have a referendum in Kirkuk because the Kurdish
Administration is carrying out an ethnic cleansing in Kirkuk and
sending the Arab population to other places by so-called voluntary
methods. Barzani has managed to bring 600,000 Kurds into Kirkuk so
far, using the excuse that he is bringing Kurds who were expelled
back to Kirkuk. What is going on in Kirkuk now is an
anti-democratic, primitive cleansing. Barzani, with the support he
gets from the US, openly threatened Turkey and said that they will
interfere with 30 million Kurds in Turkey. Let us say only this
much: the US is not going to remain there infinitely and when they
leave Iraq, you will face us on your own. To avoid future regrets,
I suggest, you think before you talk."

Mustafa Balbay criticizes the ruling AK Party for its Iraq policies
in the leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "The AKP Government's stance
clearly shows that internal and regional security issues do not
interest the AKP. That is why the US and others who get US support
continue insulting Turkey. Kurdish leader Barzani, in this recent
interview with al-Arabiya, openly threatened Turkey, saying he would
interfere with the Kurds living in Turkey. On the same day, US
former Chief of General Staff Richard Myers, in an interview with
VOA, said that Turkey will have to face US troops if they interfere
in Northern Iraq and the 'Suleymaniye incident' might repeat itself.
This is US friendship for you! Barzani is talking about Turkish
territory and General Myers is stressing that the US is responsible
for northern Iraq. Even though the situation seems complicated, in
fact, it is very clear: the US is playing and Talabani is dancing
and the fact is that Turkey's neighbor in the south is not Iraq but

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the US."

Follow-up Iraq Meeting to be Held in Sharm al-Sheikh
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report a follow up meeting of Iraq, its neighbors and officials from
G8 nations and the European Union will be held in Egypt in the first
week of May, Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said over the
weekend. The gathering had been expected to take place in Istanbul
in early April but Zebari said the Iraqi government wanted it to be
"in Egypt on May 3-4." Unnamed Turkish Foreign Ministry sources
told Radikal that Iraqi Kurdish leaders Barzani and Talabani had a
role in shifting the venue from Istanbul to Egypt's Sharm al-Sheikh
resort. They also said Kurdish leaders exploited the US reaction to
an alleged al-Qaeda linked Iraqi Sunni group meeting in Istanbul in
February. The paper claims Secretary Rice told Foreign Minister Gul
that she will work for another Iraq meeting to be held in Turkey.
Zaman reports Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Ali
Huseyni said, despite the announcement by Zebari, the date and venue
of the meeting was not yet set. Huseyni also said a meeting between
Iranian and American officials was "not on their agenda."

9 Soldiers, 4 PKK Fighters Killed in Southeast Turkey
All papers report Turkish military operations against the PKK
militants in southeast Turkey left nine members of security forces
and four PKK fighters dead over the weekend. In Ankara over the
weekend, thousands attended the funeral of a second-lieutenant
killed by a PKK landmine in the southeastern province of Bitlis.
The funeral was also joined by Turkish General Staff (TGS) chief
Yasar Buyukanit, force commanders, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, and
some parliamentarians. In the eastern province of Erzurum on
Sunday, some 20,000 participated in the funeral of a sergeant killed
by the PKK in Bitlis.

Supporting Human Rights and Democracy 2006 Report
Mainstream Sabah carried on Saturday excerpts from US State
Department "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The US Record
2006" report, the US has been pressing for the opening of the Greek
Orthodox Halki Seminary in Istanbul. The report says non-Muslim
religious groups and Alevis continued to face restrictions on
practicing their religion, and that religious communities such as
Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Bahai have been banned in
Turkey. Milliyet reports on Sunday the report says the AKP
government "faced major challenges, such as reducing restrictions on
free speech, and modernizing societal attitudes with respect to
practices such as 'honor killings' of women." "Although reform of
the criminal code helped to reduce torture and improve due process
for defendants, the government struggled to fully implement the new
laws," the report is cited as saying.

TV News:
(NTV, 8 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said in a meeting
with businessmen and NGO representatives in Bursa that the AKP had
still made no decision about its presidential candidate.

- Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener said all 353 AKP MPs
support Erdogan as president.

- A woman PKK terrorist and her two accomplices were captured after
she left a bag containing 3kg of A-4 explosives in front of a kiosk
in Istanbul's crowded Taksim square.

- Three members of the extreme leftist DHKP-C (Dev-Sol) terrorist
organization were captured while preparing to stage bomb attacks in
Istanbul and Adana.

- The Turkish Council of State (Danistay) has rejected the

ANKARA 00000814 003 OF 003


objections of Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir to an investigation
into a Kurdish-language invitation distributed by Diyarbakir
Municipality.

International News

- A car bomb killed 17 people and wounded dozens in Mahmudiya town
south of Baghdad, and four US soldiers were killed in an explosion
in north of the capital.

- Iranian state television reported an Iranian diplomat freed two
months after being abducted in Iraq accused the CIA of torturing him
during his detention.

- Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Ankara is working to rescue two
Turkish engineers abducted on Friday night in volatile oil-rich
southern Nigeria.

- Israel is reportedly reviewing the names of hundreds of
Palestinian prisoners that Gaza militants want released in exchange
for the Israeli soldier Ghilad Shalid abducted in June by Hamas.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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