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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000908

SIPDIS

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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, APRIL 17, 2007


In Today's Papers

Speculation on Presidency Continues
All papers continue speculating as to whether Prime Minister Erdogan
will run for the presidency. On Tuesday, Erdogan will meet with
opposition leaders Erkan Mumcu of Anavatan and Mehmet Agar of DYP.
The leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet claims Erdogan aims at securing
367 votes for the presidential elections, a number the main
opposition CHP claims is required by the constitution to launch the
first two rounds of voting in the parliament. Erdogan said so far
he met with 300 AKP lawmakers, who, he said, expressed support for
any decision the PM will make. Most papers believe Erdogan will
announce his candidacy on April 25, the last day for presidential
nominations. Cumhuriyet says following the rally of hundreds of
thousands in Ankara over the weekend, now secular Turks were
preparing to voice new protests message against Erdogan during
celebrations planned for April 23, Sovereignty Day, and May 1, Labor
Day. Abdullatif Sener, AKP deputy chairman, struck a different note
than his party line yesterday, stressing that the opinion of the
thousands who have rallied against the PM's presidential aspirations
should be taken into consideration.

DYP-Anavatan Consider Unity before Parliamentary Elections
Commentaries in mainstream dailies Milliyet and Vatan claim
center-right opposition parties DYP and Anavatan have been holding
"secret" talks on unification before the parliamentary elections in
November. Former President Suleyman Demirel and former Prime
Minister Mesut Yilmaz have convinced the two party leaders, Mehmet
Agar and Erkan Mumcu, to merge their parties. Milliyet says some
groups in Turkey demanding democracy, a market economy and civic
liberties might opt for the new formation instead of traditionally
supporting the main opposition CHP. DYP has a voter support of
around 10 percent while Anavatan is predicted to get 5 percent of
the votes.

Erdogan Meets Merkel in Hanover
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan met with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel at the Hanover industrial fair. In a joint press
conference with Erdogan, Merkel said Turkey and Europe have to move
closer together. "The entire membership process is a long and
open-ended one," Merkel said. Erdogan thanked Merkel for "boosting"
Turkey's entry negotiations during the German EU presidency,
expressing Turkey's expectations of having more chapters opened
during Germany's mandate which will expire at the end of June.
Erdogan invited Merkel to Turkey, but did not respond to questions
from the Turkish journalists on whether he will host Merkel as the
prime minister or president.

Meanwhile, Erdogan reportedly presented to Berlin a file on the
outlawed PKK's financial sources and its ties with media as well as
a list of the terror organization members in Germany. Turkey is
expected to ask Germany for the extradition of PKK members, say
papers.

Karzai-Musharraf to Meet in Turkey
Mainstream Hurriyet reports the presidents of Afghanistan and
Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf and Hamid Karzai, are scheduled to meet
in Ankara on April 29 to reduce tensions between the two countries
on fighting Taliban. Karzai accuses Pakistan of sheltering Taliban
militants as well as allowing border infiltrations. Turkish
officials will join the meeting as well. A spokesman for the
Pakistani Foreign Ministry said the offer to host the meeting came
from Ankara.

12 Terrorists, 1 Soldier Killed in Clashes
All papers report one Turkish soldier and 12 terrorists were killed
in a clash in the eastern province of Tunceli during a military
offensive against the outlawed PKK. Security officials predict
there are around 350 PKK militants in the province.


ANKARA 00000908 002 OF 002


Editorial Commentary: Iraq
Ilter Turkmen writes in the mainstream daily Hurriyet: "From the
perspective of international law, Turkey might have three options
regarding an intervention: hot pursuit, humanitarian intervention
and legitimate defense. Hot pursuit requires a bilateral agreement
with Iraq. We used to have such an agreement, but not any more.
Regarding humanitarian intervention, there is still a need for
definition. By using widely accepted criteria, we can, for
instance, claim a right to intervene if a massacre is carried out
against the Turkmen population. As for legitimate defense, which is
defined by UN Convention (Article 51), Turkey has to inform the UNSC
before an operation and describe the measures that it plans to take.
However the previous rulings by the International Court of Justice
on similar issues indicate that there may not be an automatic grant
of such a right to Turkey. Besides as proven by history,
asymmetrical clashes can be very difficult for even for the
strongest armed forces. Turkey's cross-border operation would
probably not be an absolute success due to many reasons, such as the
fact that PKK terrorists are spread all around Northern Iraq and the
reactions from US and EU. An operation into Northern Iraq requires
a solid political ground and calls for rapid military action.
Otherwise it would harm Turkey more than it would help.

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- The Education Ministry has initiated investigation in connection
with a traffic accident on the Aksaray-Konya highway that killed 32,
most of them primary school students.

- Four people have been killed and five others have been injured in
a traffic accident in the southeastern province of Adiyaman.

- Ceremonies will be held Tuesday to commemorate late president
Turgut Ozal on the 14th anniversary of his death.

- Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Dincer remains in critical condition
at a hospital in Ankara after cancer treatment and a kidney
transplant last December.

International News

- At least 22 people were killed Monday, some of them students,
during a shooting at Virginia Tech University.

- Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his ministers to
quit Iraq's government on Monday in protest against Prime Minister
al-Maliki's refusal to set a timetable for US troops to withdraw.

- Le Monde reported Monday French secret services knew before 9/11
al-Qaeda planned to hijack an aircraft in the US.

- Europe does not need a constitution, British Prime Minister Tony
Blair said, but should opt for a less ambitious new treaty that
would not require a referendum.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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