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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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 29, 2007


In Today's Papers

US Jetfighters Violate Turkish Airspace
All papers report over the weekend and today the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) said in a statement posted on its website late Sunday
that two US F-16 jetfighters had violated Turkish airspace on May 24
for four minutes in the province of Hakkari on the border with Iraq.
The violation is seen by several papers and commentators as a
"challenge," demonstrating that US forces were closely monitoring
Turkish troop movements along the Iraqi border. Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul said such things sometimes happen in border areas,
adding said the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) was still awaiting
details from the TGS. He noted that Ankara would decide on what to
do after receiving a technical report from the military indicating
whether the violation was intentional and the duration of the
incursion. MFA sources are quoted as saying summoning the US
Ambassador in Turkey to the Foreign Ministry or even a diplomatic
note of protest were under consideration, depending on the technical
report that the General Staff sends. Papers report US Ankara
Embassy said the crossing of the US jetfighters into Turkish
airspace was inadvertent, and that the incident was under
investigation.

Editorial Commentary on US Violation of Turkish Airspace
Sami Kohen observes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "It is even
beyond imagining that two allies, the US and Turkey, would engage in
a hot conflict over Northern Iraq. This kind of development can
only bring very serious consequences for both sides. Let's hope
that this will never ever happen. However a concrete effort is also
needed to ensure that we do not come closer to that point. The
effort should be pursued at the highest possible level and Turkey
does not have the luxury of ignoring this fact in the midst of the
election excitement. The US and other coalition partners are
responsible for emphasizing the need for strong cooperation with
Turkey to the Kurdish administration and to the central authority in
Baghdad to counter terrorism. While the US suggests Turkey not act
unilaterally in northern Iraq against the terrorist shelters, is the
US doing anything to act together with Iraqis on this issue? The
lack of concrete action is the main reason for the current
circumstances. A constructive and urgent dialogue - that's what we
need at this point."

Okay Gonensin writes in the mainstream daily Vatan: "Given the
current situation in Turkey, everybody seems ready for the
possibility of a cross-border operation in Northern Iraq. The
American administration, which keep Iraq under occupation and
considers the Kurds its most important allies in Iraq, clearly and
repeatedly expressed its opposition to a cross-border incursion.
The recent violation by two American F-16 jets can also be
interpreted as a message to Turkey. It is debatable whether a
cross-border operation can really be a serious blow to the PKK. An
operation in northern Iraq means an armed conflict with both Kurds
and American forces there. When and if Turkish forces cross the
border, it will only bring serious economic and political
consequences. Regardless of the excuses, the consequences of war are
borne by people. Turkey should never consider 'settling the issue
with war' as an option."

Iraq Urges Turkey to Use Diplomatic Means to Stop PKK
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report Monday and today that Iraqi deputy Prime Minister Barham
Salih told reporters after meeting with a Turkish delegation in
Baghdad that Iraq would not accept a breach of its sovereignty.
Iraq urged Turkey over the weekend to pursue diplomatic means as it
attempts to stop the PKK terrorists operating out of northern Iraq.
Turkey's special Iraq envoy Oguz Celikkol, the head of the
delegation to Baghdad, said a number of issues had been discussed,
including Ankara's growing uneasiness at recent violence it blames
on the PKK.


ANKARA 00001302 002 OF 002


Parliament Overrides Sezer's Constitutional Reforms Veto
All papers report that on Monday the Turkish Parliament approved
constitutional reforms including the election of the president by
direct popular vote, overriding the veto of President Sezer. The
bill also envisages holding parliamentary elections every four years
instead of five, requires a quorum of at least one third of total
number of MPs for convening parliamentary sessions, and reducing the
presidential term to a renewable five years. Sezer cannot veto the
legislation a second time if it is unchanged. He must either
approve the law or call for a referendum.

US Congressional Delegation in Turkey
All papers report that US Congressional delegation led by Edward
Whitfield, the co-chairman of Congressional Caucus on Turkish-US
relations, and a Senate Delegation headed by Senator E. Benjamin
Nelson held meetings at the Turkish General Staff and also met with
Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Gul. Responding to the
questions after meeting the PM, Whitfield said "The US is telling
Turkey not to intervene in Iraq. But on the other hand the Turkish
public and soldiers are loosing their lives. The US needs to take
concrete steps but we are not urging military action." Mainstream
Sabah reports the visit with the headline "Support from US
Senators."

Lagendijk will Visit East & Southeast of Turkey Prior to the
Elections
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that prior to the July 22
elections, European Parliament's Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary
Commission Co-Chairman Joost Lagendijk will have meetings with the
local people in Van, Hakkari and Mardin to observe developments
connected to the election.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Turkish security forces detained two members of the outlawed PKK
in the Aegean port city of city Izmir, seizing hand grenades,
explosives, two assault rifles and two handguns.

- A retired policewoman has been taken into custody for giving a
fake passport to Guven Akkus, the suspected PKK militant who killed
himself and six other people in a suicide bomb attack in Ankara last
week.

- On Monday President Sezer approved a law envisaging the foundation
of new universities in 17 cities: Karaman, Agri, Sinop, Siirt,
Nevsehir, Karabuk, Kilis, Cankiri, Artvin, Bilecik, Bitlis,
Kirklareli, Osmaniye, Bingol, Mus, Mardin and Batman.

- An investigation has been launched against a retired cleric
(Mufti) in Bartin who allegedly encouraged school children to
boycott national holidays.

International News

- US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said Monday his talks with
Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi were positive.

- A car bomb killed at least 24 people and wounded 70 in central
Baghdad on Monday.

- Thirteen people were killed and 35 wounded in Afghanistan when
police fired at a crowd protesting against a provincial governor.

WILSON

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