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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
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
MONDAY, JULY 9, 2007


In Today's Papers

Forest Fires Rage in Tourist Towns
All papers report a blaze that started Sunday morning in the
Manavgat area of the Mediterranean resort of Antalya spread to a
larger area, threatening residents. Also on Sunday, a fire broke
out in the northwestern Adapazari district. Forest fires broke out
in three districts of the Aegean port city of Izmir the same day. A
fire that broke out on the outskirts of Bodrum early Saturday was
brought under control on Sunday, but not before destroying some 300
hectares of forest and farmland and forcing some locals and
holidaymakers to be evacuated from the area. Forestry General
Directorate said the cause of the blaze was still being
investigated. News reports over the weekend said the fires which
broke out almost simultaneously around tourist towns may have been
acts of arson by terrorists.

Weekend Activity Shows Election Campaign in Full Force
All papers continue reporting on the campaigns of the political
party leaders in the run up to the July 22 parliamentary elections.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Erdogan is welcomed by 50,000 supporters
in Izmir, known as a stronghold of the main opposition party CHP.
"We will strengthen the nation's desire for coexistence in a
democracy," said Erdogan, stressing Turkish citizens' personal
preferences will be respected. During an AKP rally in CHP leader
Baykal's hometown of Antalya the same day, Erdogan criticized the
main opposition leader for "doing nothing" for the Mediterranean
tourist resort.

Addressing a rally in the southeastern city of Adiyaman on Saturday,
CHP leader Deniz Baykal said that the state-owned oil refiner Petkim
was sold in a hurry just two weeks before the general elections,
adding that the identity of the buyers was not clear. Baykal vowed
to stop the sale if CHP gains power after the elections. Baykal
recalled during a TV interview on Sunday night there were 200
lawsuits including ones concerning the PM and other cabinet
ministers waiting at the parliament, and maintained that once in
power, CHP would remove the immunity for lawmakers. Answering a
question on whether CHP would form a coalition with the nationalist
MHP, Baykal said, "such a thing is out of the question, all parties
are trying to come to power alone. But depending on the future
circumstances of the country, we will do whatever is necessary to
remove obstacles in the way of Turkey."

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli addressed some 40,000 supporters in
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's hometown and AKP stronghold Kayseri,
criticizing Erdogan for fueling tensions during the presidential
elections. Bahceli also said Erdogan constituted a "security risk"
for Turkey, and lashed out at the PM for fighting against terrorism
under the direction of the US.

Iraqi Turkmen Injured in Bomb Attack Flown to Turkey
Al papers report 21 Turkmen injured in a bomb attack Saturday in the
northern Iraqi Turkmen town of Tuzkhurmatu were flown to Turkey for
medical treatment. Two military air ambulances departed on Sunday
from Ankara for the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to extend a
helping hand to those wounded when a suicide truck bomber struck
Tuzkhurmatu on Saturday, killing about 150 people. Iraqi officials
have blamed al-Qaeda for the attack. The Turkish Foreign Ministry
(MFA) said in a statement released late on Saturday, "We harshly
condemn the terror attack and wish these violent incidents to come
to an end. Our country will continue giving all kind of support to
efforts to maintain national harmony and peace in Iraq without any
discrimination on the basis of religion, sect or ethnic roots."

Ankara Protests to Athens over "Kurdistan Map"
All papers report the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) has protested
to Greece after a map showing Turkey's southeast as part of a
Kurdish state was displayed at a seminar organized by the Greek
General Staff. Greek Ambassador in Ankara George Yennimatas was

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summoned to the MFA over the incident. The seminar took place July
3-7 in Athens. A participant, Professor Mazis, displayed a map of
Turkey and the Middle East, showing Turkey's southeast as part of a
"Free Kurdistan." Turkey's military attach in Athens, Colonel
Atilla Sirin, reportedly walked out of the meeting to protest the
presentation. The same map had caused strains in the past when it
was shown at a NATO seminar.

Editorial Commentary: Turkish Cross-Border Operation into Northern
Iraq
Semih Idiz comments in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "All
conditions which would enable Turkey to launch a cross-border
operation into Northern Iraq are in place. However, there is an
international angle to the issue. As an example, Turkey entered
Cyprus based on a legal right. But, even that right couldn't
prevent the UN from labeling Turkey an occupier. This label is
still used and Turkey stands on its own on the Cyprus issue. Today,
too, the international community believes that Turkey has not
exerted the necessary peaceful means regarding the elimination of
the PKK in Northern Iraq. Iraqi Kurds as well, use this argument in
the international arena. Is it definite that such an operation will
be successful? First of all, if there are such plans, they don't
need to be announced openly. As Israel successfully did in the
past, an operation can be launched unexpectedly and at targets well
determined beforehand. As many analysts pointed out, there is
another serious angle to a possible operation, which is, in case of
a cross-border operation, the PKK could increase its bloody
activities in Turkey and Turk-Kurd separation could speed up. The
Turkish government and military officials stress that every plan is
made and every possibility considered regarding the cross-border
operation. I hope they are right because the risk of deepening the
already open wound is at a level that cannot be ignored."

TV News:
(NTV, 8 A.M.)
Domestic News

- Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) representative in Turkey Bahros
Galali said a Turkish cross-border into northern Iraq before the
July 22 elections was unlikely.

- The Council of Ministers will hold a meeting on July 9 to discuss
terror and other problems at the Iraqi border.

- Security officials in Nusaybin have seized 36 Glock handguns which
have been smuggled through the Habur border gate between Turkey and
Iraq.

- Turkey's High Election Board has begun preparations for a
referendum on October 21 on whether the president should be elected
by popular vote.

International News

- The Israeli cabinet, aiming to strengthen the Abbas government in
the West Bank, has approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners
from the Fatah Party.

- President Talabani said Iraq could have been more successful in
ending the insurgency and sectarian violence if it had received full
support from Iran and Syria.

- US military sources in Baghdad said Sunday radical Iraqi Shiite
cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has gone back to neighboring Iran.

- Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and Tasos
Papadopoulos might come together in ten days, according to Greek
Cypriot papers.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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