Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2007
In Today's Papers
PKK Landmine Kills 6 Turkish Troops
All papers report six Turkish soldiers were killed when a PKK
landmine, perhaps detonated remotely, destroyed their vehicle in the
southeastern border province of Sirnak. Other sources told the
press the landmine was triggered by pressure when the vehicle was
driven over it. After the attack, a sweeping operation against the
terrorists was launched in the region.
Ankara Suicide Attack -- the Aftermath
All papers report Guven Akkus, the suicide bomber behind the
explosion in Ankara which killed six people, became affiliated with
the PKK while living in the Netherlands. He moved there following
his release from prison in Turkey in the late 90's. Tuesday's
bombing was the worst attack in Ankara in at least a decade.
Authorities said it looked to be the work of the PKK. The group has
denied responsibility for the attack. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak
says police are investigating whether the bomb Akkus was carrying
was detonated by someone else via a mobile phone or laptop computer.
Mass appeal Vatan claims the terrorists initially wanted to stage a
bomb attack during May Day protests in Istanbul, but their plan
failed as a result of tight security measures in the city.
Conservative-Islamist oriented Zaman reports 13 suicide bombers have
been captured in Turkey over the last month. Intelligence reports
say PKK suicide bombers were trained by foreigners in camps in the
Kandil Mountains. The paper warns that the attack in Ankara might
be part of efforts to postpone the forthcoming parliamentary
elections in Turkey. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says PKK leader
Duran Kalkan threatened in March that "thousands of PKK volunteers"
were waiting to attack if Turkey, in the face of claims of poisoning
of Abdullah Ocalan, does not allow the PKK's imprisoned leader to be
examined by an impartial delegation of doctors. The paper believes
Ocalan made remarks last week claiming his health is "bad," urging
"something to be done," and that could have triggered the Ankara
suicide attack. A woman terrorist captured in Adana over the
weekend said she was planning to strike Turks in retaliation to the
poisoning of Ocalan.
Editorial Commentary on Ankara Bombing
Ismet Berkan observed in the liberal-intellectual daily Radikal
(5/25): "The aim of terrorism by definition is to spread fear and
insecurity. In this respect, the Ankara attack achieved its goal.
Even the Chief of the General Staff could not control his anxiety
and he was talking about the possibility of similar explosions in
other big cities. All of the recent developments, even before the
TGS warning about threats actually created a climate of insecurity
in people's minds. The attack occurred at a time when Kurdish
candidates are working on ways to get representation in the
parliament. Given the already tense atmosphere in Turkish domestic
politics, the bombing in the capital city blew up the chance to
solve the Kurdish problem through peaceful means. The PKK is freely
operating in US-occupied Iraq which is one of the main reasons for
Turkey to turn increasingly inward. The deep mistrust toward the US
and US double standards in the fight against terrorism provoke
anti-Western sentiment in Turkey. In sum, the bombing in Ankara
will aggravate anti-Western sentiment even more."
Gungor Mengi criticized in the mainstream daily Vatan (5/25): "The
heinous act was carried by the PKK which acts like a puppet of the
Barzani administration. And the US occupying Iraq under the pretext
of the fight against terrorism, does nothing about it. The US only
watches the developments while its weapons are transferred from
peshmerges to PKK terrorists and while terrorists cross the border
for attacks in Turkey and return to their shelters in northern Iraq.
Where does 'the solidarity among allies and pledges for joint fight
against terrorism' rhetoric fit into this picture? What the US is
doing right now is a sheer denial of its sacred values, displaying
disgusting hypocrisy. America is betraying the values that it has
been proudly representing for over half a century, like courage,
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justice, freedom and the right to live."
Iraq Ready to Cooperate with Turkey against the PKK
All papers report the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) said in a
statement Thursday that Iraq said it was ready to cooperate with
Ankara against the PKK militants who use northern Iraq as a base.
"In a reply on May 17, the Iraqi government expressed its intention
to cooperate against PKK terrorism. We continue to follow possible
opportunities for cooperation in this matter," the statement said.
Last month Turkey sent a diplomatic note to Baghdad asking Iraq to
help force the PKK out of northern Iraq. The conservative-Islamist
oriented Zaman says Ankara, not satisfied by the Iraqi dipnote,
expects more, such as concrete measures. Turkey's Iraq Special
Envoy, Ambassador Oguz Celikkol, is to lead a delegation to Baghdad
for talks with the Iraqi leaders over the weekend.
Al-Qaeda Threatens Turkey
Sabah, Milliyet, Aksam, Vatan, Hurriyet and Cumhuriyet: Mustafa Abu
Al-Yazid, the new leader of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, said in a taped
statement broadcast on al-Jazeera TV that Abd Al - Hadi Al -Iraqi,
the top commander of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, was captured in Turkey last
fall while he was trying to sneak into Iraq and handed over to US
officials. Al-Yazid, threatened Turkey that Al-Qaeda would take the
revenge for the incident
President Sezer Partially Vetoes Nuclear Power Plant Bill
Sabah, Milliyet, Zaman, Cumhuriyet and others: President Sezer
partially vetoed the Nuclear Power Plants bill, which would
establish nuclear power plants in the country because he considered
three articles of the new law against the Constitution. Sending the
bill back to the Parliament, Sezer demanded Parliament to re-debate
article 5, 6 and 7 of the bill.
NTV, 7.00 A.M.
- The Turkish General Staff (TGS) chief Yasar Buyukanit and force
commanders will observe the "Ephesus" offshore naval exercises in
the Aegean city of Izmir on Friday. Prime Minister Erdogan and
President Sezer will also participate.
- Prime Minister Erdogan held phone talks with Azerbaijani and
Turkmen Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, and
invited the two leaders to Turkey. Erdogan held another phone talk
with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, urging him to avoid speaking
through the media to overcome problems. Sarkozy expressed deep
sorrow over Tuesday's bomb attack in Ankara.
- Opposition parties CHP and DSP will hold a rally in Mersin on
Saturday whereas Prime Minister Erdogan will address supporters in
- The ruling AKP government will reportedly reduce value added tax
in tourism sector and food sales.
- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the EU had a "solid
mandate" to continue membership talks with Turkey.
- Muhammad al-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, said Iran may be
between three and eight years away from producing nuclear weapons.
- The Greek Foreign Ministry condemned in a statement Turkey's
denial of Pontus genocide claims.
- The Berlin-based Transparency International says corruption is
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undermining justice in many parts of the world.