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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2007


In Today's Papers

Turkey Warns US Not to Repeat Airspace Violation
All papers report Turkey asked the US formally on Tuesday to avoid
another violation of its airspace after two US F-16 jetfighters
briefly infringed on Turkish airspace near the Iraqi border last
week. Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) gave a note to a US Ankara
Embassy official, requesting that this kind of incident not be
repeated. State Department spokesman Tom Casey told the press the
planes had inadvertently violated Turkish airspace for "a couple of
minutes, adding "'We are very respectful of Turkish sovereignty and
of Turkish airspace. We are going to make sure we thoroughly look
into this and make sure that there are no further incidents of this
kind." Prime Minister Erdogan said in a televised interview that
"We warned them not to repeat this. If this happens again, what we
will do is obvious," papers report.

AKP Displays 'Centrist' Image
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports that on Tuesday some prominent
politicians joined the AKP, the party of Prime Minister Erdogan.
Among those formally introduced at a party meeting by the PM were
the former secretary general of opposition CHP Ertugrul Gunay,
former education minister Mehmet Saglam, former CHP member Haluk
Ozdalga, Merrill-Lynch economist Mehmet Simsek, lawyer Aysenur
Bahcekapili, Alevi writer Reha Camuroglu, and the wife of famous
cartoonist Salih Memecan, Nursuna Memecan. Erdogan said AKP is
Turkey's "centrist" party, stressing they will protect the nation's
basic values and diversity as well as its cultural legacy.

US-Made Missiles Found on Train
Hurriyet and Milliyet report 300 US-made missiles were found in a
train traveling from Iran to Syria after the train was attacked by
PKK terrorists in the southeastern province of Bingol. Eight cars
of the freight train were derailed when PKK terrorists detonated a
bomb planted on the tracks.

US Transfers Security to Kurds in Northern Iraq
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak and
others report the Kurdish regional administration in will take
charge of security for the provinces of Erbil, Dohuk and Suleymaniye
in northern Iraq Wednesday in a transfer of command from the US-led
coalition. A US coalition forces statement said the Kurdistan
regional government was deemed ready to assume security
responsibility in the region. Islamist-oriented Zaman reports the
decision to transfer security responsibility to Iraqi Kurds was made
during a meeting held in Baghdad between Kurdish regional president
Massoud Barzani, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and US
military leaders.

Editorial Commentary on Turkish Intervention into North Iraq
Hadi Uluengin comments in the mainstream daily Hurriyet: "Turkey
should confess that the main reason for the much-wanted intervention
into Iraq is not really to stop PKK terrorism but because of concern
over the possible establishment of an independent Kurdish state and
the influence of this state on the Kurds in Turkey. First of all,
from the angle of international law, the Turkish military has no
right to enter Northern Iraq, because Iraq has been an independent
country since 1932. The US violated international law by invading
Iraq, but, alas, it is the only super power. Moreover, the
Turkey-Iraq border was determined in 1926 by the Ankara agreement
and there is no Iraqi Kurdistan demanding more land than that
determined by this agreement. Therefore, any possible operation
against Iraq will have no legal justification. Some might describe
this as 'hot pursuit,' however, crossing the border, building a
military headquarters there and engaging in armed clashes is not
counted hot pursuit. People should consider international law
before encouraging a cross-border operation against Iraq."

Ismet Berkan writes in the liberal Radikal: "Following the
violation of Turkish territory by US F-16s, the issue of a

ANKARA 00001316 002 OF 003


cross-border operation against Iraq rose to the top of the agenda
again. This issue has three angles: domestic politics, countering
terrorism and foreign politics. From the angle of domestic politics
the plan is very simple: those calling for an operation are accusing
the government of being afraid of the US and trying to weaken its
power. In order to fight against terrorism the solution is to stop
PKK activities in the autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Iraq.
As for the third angle, the foreign policy front, Iraq is under US
invasion and the US is responsible for Iraq's territorial integrity.
Some time ago, after Turkish demands, the US urged Kurdish leaders
to stop PKK infiltration into Turkey. The violation of Turkish
territory by American F-16s might be a new issue but maybe the
purpose was to stop the PKK activities at the border. Nevertheless,
there are certain facts that no one can deny: the autonomous Kurdish
Administration in Northern Iraq is not behaving like a good neighbor
to Turkey and continues to shelter and protect the terrorist
organization which claimed many civilian and military lives in
Turkey. It is not possible to remain silent for long to such a
situation."

Sarkozy to Tone Down on Turkey until December's EU Summit
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet and Zaman report, citing the
French daily Le Figaro, that President Nicolas Sarkozy has decided
not to take any anti-Turkish steps until the EU summit six-months
from now. Sarkozy is also careful about moves that could have an
impact on general elections in Turkey. Sarkozy will not veto the
opening of EU discussions with Turkey in three new chapters at the
EU summit on June 21-22, but will raise the issue of fixing EU
borders at the EU summit in December. Following a phone
conversation with Prime Minister Erdogan last week, Sarkozy sent his
top diplomatic advisor Jean-David Levitte to Ankara. During talks
with Levitte, Turks said Sarkozy's proposal for forming a
Mediterranean Union as alternate to Turkey's EU membership would not
be accepted. Erdogan mentioned some half a million Turks living in
France, and the French investments in Turkey, stressing ties with
France will be strengthened further, say papers.

TV Highlights
NTV (6 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal said the ruling AKP attempts to
change the constitution are "wrong and unhealthy."

- Seven PKK terrorists have been killed in clashes with the security
forces in the southeastern province of Sirnak.

- The parliament has agreed to extend the mission of Turkish troops
in UNIFIL in Lebanon by one year.

- Marginal left-wing Turkish parties have agreed to cooperate in the
upcoming parliamentary elections to form a joint platform for
supporting independent candidates.

International News

- President Bush imposed economic sanctions against Sudan in a bid
to curb the violence in Darfur.

- Tehran, accusing Washington of using intellectuals and others
inside the country to undermine the Islamic state, has charged three
Iranian-Americans with spying.

- The White House is expected to announce President Bush's
nomination of Robert Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as World
Bank president.

- Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has reversed a controversial ban
on mosques using loudspeakers for the Muslim call to prayer.

ANKARA 00001316 003 OF 003

WILSON

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