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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001245

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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, MAY 22, 2007


In Today's Papers

Turkish anti-Terror Envoy Removed from Office
All papers report the Turkish government removed retired General
Edip Baser, Turkey's special envoy for countering the PKK, from
office on Monday soon after he stated doubts over the efficiency of
a tri-lateral mechanism between Turkey, Iraq and the US for
coordinating efforts against the terrorist group. The Prime
Ministry announced that Baser's replacement would be Foreign
Ministry Undersecretary Ambassador Rafet Akgunay. Baser's remark,
published in several papers Monday claiming "This mechanism has
already finished," is seen by papers as the last straw for the
government, which had been uneasy with Baser's statements for a
while. Baser also told Sabah on Monday that he planned to resign in
June. Papers report the US Ankara Embassy spokesperson told the
press, "the US government remains firmly committed to working with
Turkey against the PKK. We believe that the envoy dialogue has been
a positive part of that process."

Editorial Commentary on Baser's Removal
Oktay Eksi writes in the mainstream daily Hurriyet: "Anyone in
Turkey who believes that PKK terrorism can be ended through
coordination with the US should no longer keep their hope. Even
Turkey's envoy for countering terror General Baser has declared that
enough is enough. The US, to begin with, proposed this mechanism in
order to pretend to be doing something about the PKK. Yet as Baser
has expressed on various occasions, the countering terror mechanism
only helped Turkey waste another nine months. Given the replacement
of General Baser with a diplomat, we can easily conclude that the
Turkish government does not expect anything from this mechanism any
longer."

Ibrahim Karagul argues in the Islamist-oriented daily Yeni Safak:
"The counter terrorism coordination effort has totally lost its
meaning. In any case, it was designed to influence Turkey's Kurdish
policy based on American interests and to use the PKK as a trump
card. General Baser was removed from duty, but he was planning to
resign anyway. Turkey, despite all its good intentions, was left
with a story of failure. The fact of the matter is that the failure
of this mechanism was very obvious from the beginning. The US felt
the need to distract Turkey's attention from a cross border
operation into Northern Iraq, and so a coordination mechanism was
invented. The process of countering the PKK has led to a dead end,
and it is terminated now. Soon after the elections, we will see the
beginning of a new process to design Turkey's regional policy which
does not have any chance of success unless Washington and London are
kept out of the loop."

Paper: Al-Qadi Interrogated in Riyadh
The leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports under a page one
headline, "Has al-Qadi Been Arrested?" that the Saudi financier
Yasin al-Qadi has been interrogated while in custody in Riyadh for
the last two months on charges of supporting al-Qaeda. Al-Qadi was
arrested with the knowledge of the US intelligence and some
high-level Turkish officials, says Cumhuriyet.

Ankara Prosecutor Launches Investigation into Bribe Claims during
Presidential Elections
Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan, Cumhuriyet and others: Ankara Chief Public
Prosecutor started an investigation into allegations that some
deputies of opposition CHP and ANAP were offered bribes to
participate in the presidential elections. CHP leader Deniz Baykal
claimed that a businessman close to PM Erdogan, offered gifts to a
CHP deputy if he had attended the Presidential election rounds.
ANAP deputy Huseyin Ozcan claimed that he was offered bribe by a
prominent businessman for the same purpose. CHP deputy Zeynep Damla
Gurel said that AKP deputies forced her to attend the Presidential
election rounds.

Turkish Delegation to Pay a High Level Visit to Baghdad

ANKARA 00001245 002 OF 002


Sabah, Zaman: A delegation, led by Turkish special Iraqi envoy Oguz
Celikkol will pay a visit to Baghdad in the near future to meet with
the Iraqi PM and FM and to demand concrete steps for combating PKK
terrorism. In order to give the message that Turkey's counterpart
is the Iraqi central government, the Turkish delegation will not
meet with any leaders from Iraqi Kurdish Administration.

Angry Locals Attack Brothels in Yozgat
All papers report hundreds of angry locals in the Sorgun township of
the central Anatolian province of Yozgat attacked eight houses they
claimed were used for prostitution. Yozgat Governor's Office said a
group of local people, angered after a drunken man allegedly
belonging to a prostitution racket cursed them, set fire to eight
brothels. Police detained 12 from the group, which caused a group
of 500 to gather to in the morning hours to demand their release.
Police reinforcements from neighboring provinces were sent to Sorgun
early Monday, say papers.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- 494 defense companies will participate in this year's IDEF defense
fair in Ankara.

- Dikmet Onat, the head of teachers' labor union Egitim-Sen, said he
received death threats when he announced that a book which was
distributed for free to students in Denizli in connection with the
birthday of the Prophet Muhammad contains calls for jihad.

- A 4.8-magnitude earthquake was reported Monday evening in the
Mediterranean near the island of Crete.

- The Bursa-based Karsan automobile producer will export specially
designed "Standard Taxi" cabs to the US and Canada. Karsan will
gain USD 400 million for its yearly exports of 20,000 taxis as of
2009.

International News

- Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi told a youth conference in
Rome Turkey belongs to Europe, but full membership would be a "long
and complicated" process.

- Lebanese tanks renewed Monday heavy shelling on a Palestinian
refugee camp, raising fears of increased civilian casualties.

- A mortar round hit Iraq's parliament inside Baghdad's heavily
fortified Green Zone on Monday.

- Iraqi National Security Advisor Muvafaq al-Rubai told Britain's
Independent that in 2004, the US army tried to kill the Shiite
cleric Muqtada al-Sadr after luring him to peace negotiations at a
house in the holy city of Najaf, which it then attacked.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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