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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2007


In Today's Papers

Turkey Awaits Baghdad's Response to Protest Note
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Turkey will not
remain indifferent to moves threatening its peace, saying necessary
measures will be taken if Iraq fails to respond to Turkey's note of
protest. Gul was speaking in reference to recent remarks made by
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani about consequences of possible
Turkish interference in Kirkuk. "Our neighbors are responsible for
blocking harmful activities against Turkey on their territory," Gul
said, adding if Iraq lacks the power to eliminate the PKK,
international law provided the necessary means for that. Gul said
Turkey has no secret agenda on Iraq other than unity and peace.
Papers speculate Gul's words signaled a possible cross-border
military incursion into Iraq.

Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) spokesman Levent Bilman told the
press yesterday Turkey deals with the Iraqi administration in
Baghdad, not with Barzani. Bilman stressed Turkey expected
"decisive and urgent" Iraqi steps for ensuring border security,
capturing the PKK terrorists, and abiding by UN resolutions.
Radikal says Ankara has urged Baghdad to "declare the PKK a terror
organization, cut the military support given to the PKK, and silence
Barzani." Milliyet reports the US Administration told Ankara that
Barzani's interview with al-Arabiyah television was made six weeks
ago, and warned Barzani as well to refrain from making controversial
statements.

Editorial Commentary on Barzani Remarks, Iraq
Semih Idiz, commenting in the mainstream daily Milliyet, urges a
"gentle approach" to dealing with Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani:
"Turkey's foreign policy position could be described as 'foreign
policy in a minefield.' Geographically, Turkey is surrounded with
minefield-like neighbors. If tensions ease in the Balkans, new
problems start in the Caucasus or in the Middle East. That is why
Turkish diplomacy is appreciated all over the world. Ankara has to
develop 'stability tactics' each time, which is not easy and not
possible for every country to manage. Turks are very emotional
people and just for their own political interests, the opposition in
Turkey, always encourages harsh reactions from the public. The
latest example is the response to Barzani's remarks. Turkey is a
serious country and should not fall into Barzani's trap. By talking
to Washington and some other capitals on the issue, Ankara is not
making a mistake -- on the contrary, they are advancing down the
correct path. There is no hostility in the history between Turks
and the Kurds -- they fought together against mutual enemies. That
is why, Barzani, who is squeezed between being a tribal leader and a
political leader, should be approached gently. For some, this could
be rather degrading, but, this is the correct path for a serious
state to follow."

Cengiz Candar, writing in the economic-political daily Referans,
argues that it is in Ankara's interest to develop good relations
with Iraqi Kurds: "If Ankara is concerned about a divided Iraq
created by Kurdish independence - and it seems like it is - then
Ankara should support the presence of a Kurdish President in Iraq,
Kurds getting a good share in the government, and an autonomous
Kurdish administration in the North. It is very much in Turkey's
interest that the Kurds manage to integrate into a federal Iraq. It
is not possible for any country to have influence in the Middle East
without taking a role in Iraq. Neither Sunni nor Shiite Arabs of
Iraq could help Turkey have influence in the Middle East, but the
Kurds could."

Early Elections Debate
Milliyet reports State Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey should go to
early elections in order "not to waste time." Babacan believes
elections should be held two months prior to the scheduled date of
November, to allow the Turkish parliament to begin its new

ANKARA 00000858 002 OF 002


legislative year on October 1. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul
reportedly said the date for the elections has been fixed and that
changes would be made only on technicalities. Milliyet says the
ruling AKP wants to hold snap polls right after the presidential
elections in an effort to prevent a loss of votes if Erdogan is
elected president.

EU Draft New Pretext for Delaying Changes to Article 301
Liberal Radikal reports Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said yesterday
changes to the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish penal code,
the law making it a crime to "insult Turkishness," will be discussed
after seeing the fate of the "framework draft for the struggle
against racism and xenophobia," brought to the agenda of the EU by
term president Germany. The draft recognizes as an offense denial
of any genocide in EU member countries, bringing prison sentences
from one to three years for denial. Radikal says Turkey believes
the draft will name as a crime denial of Armenian genocide. Cicek
criticized those whom advise Turkey to scrap Article 301, saying
"they should first look at themselves."


TV Highlights
NTV, 6.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- Debate over procedures for the presidential election: Prime
Minister Erdogan said talks with the opposition parties on the
presidential elections would be "a waste of time." Parliament
Speaker Bulent Arinc said participation of over 184 lawmakers in the
first round of voting would be enough to hold the presidential
elections. The main opposition CHP insists that the presidential
elections will be invalid if less than 367 deputies participate in
the first round of voting.

- Turkish General Staff (TGS) Chief General Yasar Buyukanit is to
hold a press conference on Thursday. Buyukanit is expected to talk
about the controversial remarks of Massoud Barzani and a "leaked"
diary belonging to a retired admiral alleging military takeover
attempts in 2004, but avoid any mention of presidential elections.


- Turkey's Constitutional Court cancelled part of a law allowing
real estate sales to foreigners. The scrapped part allowed the
cabinet to increase the amount of land owned by individual
foreigners in Turkey by up to 30 hectares.

International News

- Russia and Greek Cyprus have reached an agreement to cooperate on
oil exploration.

- The Independent says the new US counter-insurgency strategy in
Baghdad is to carve up the city into sealed areas, a tactic that
failed in Vietnam.

- The Oxford Research Group said the US-led war on terror has
fuelled more violence, increasing more terrorist attacks across the
world.

- North Korea has offered to allow UN nuclear inspectors to enter
the country for the first time in over four years.


WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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