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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002067

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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
MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2007

In Today's Papers

Week of Decisions on the Presidential Election
All papers report the AKP is expected to announce its candidate for
the presidential election this week. Prime Minister Erdogan hinted
on Friday there might be more than one candidate nominated when he
referred to "candidates" in remarks to the press. Gul, the AKP's
sole candidate for the post in an earlier attempt in May, is widely
expected to be a frontrunner once more. AKP sources said Labor
Minister Murat Basesgioglu and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul could
also be nominated. The AKP is expected to agree on the names for
the race after the cabinet of ministers meeting and party group
meetings today. Sources claim although the AKP has until August 19
to announce a name, it won't wait until the deadline and will
announce its candidate this week. Cumhuriyet quotes AKP sources as
saying the two candidates who receive the lowest votes in the first
two rounds of voting in the parliament will withdraw, allowing the
AKP's remaining candidate to win the ballot in the third round of
voting, scheduled for August 28. Main opposition CHP and its
electoral ally, the Democratic Left Party (DSP) announced over the
weekend they were inclined to support Basesgioglu, a former ANAP
politician. The first round of voting will be held in the
parliament August 20, and the second and third rounds August 26 and
28 respectively. A two-thirds majority (367 votes) is needed for
election in the first two rounds while a simple majority (267 votes)
would be sufficient in the third round.

Iraqi Kurds Express Support for the PKK
All papers report Kurdish regional administration leader Massoud
Barzani's Kirkuk representative Kadir Aziz told the Kurdish PUK
Media website they did not see the PKK as a terror organization,
stressing the Kurds "strongly objected" to the deal Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki signed with Turkey to fight against the PKK. "The
Kurds and Shiites form the majority of the Maliki government; our
approval is necessary when taking important decisions with
neighboring countries. The Kurds, Americans and coalition forces
cannot take the risk of opening a new front in Iraq. We prefer a
peaceful solution to the PKK problem through dialogue," Aziz said.
The Kurdish regional administration's peshmerge commander Sheikh
Cafer Mustafa also told the website the Kurds in northern Iraq will
not fight against the PKK.

Turkey-Iran-Pakistan to Finalize Preferential Trade Deal
Liberal Radikal reports Kursad Tuzmen, state minister for foreign
trade, said he expects a boom in Turkey's trade with Iran and
Pakistan after the Economic Cooperation Organization Trade Agreement
(ECOTA) stipulating customs tariff cuts between the three countries
goes into effect in the first months of 2008. In late July, a
delegation from the Energy Ministry traveled to Tehran to finalize a
preliminary deal between the governments of the two countries. Part
of the deal will enable Turkey to use Iran as a transit route for
Turkmen gas. Tuzmen said trade among ECO countries, amounting to
some five percent for each country, would boom once the preferential
trade agreement takes effect.

Equipment Meant for the PKK Seized in Mersin
Mainstream Milliyet reports Hakan A., a Turkish truck driver
arrested in Mersin last week with state-of-the-art radios, medical
equipment and body heaters aboard his vehicle, took the equipment
from a Turk employed at the NATO base in Giessen, Germany. The
driver was to take the cargo to the PKK in northern Iraq. Police
said the equipment did not belong to NATO. Turkish Foreign Ministry
(MFA) is expected to ask Germany for help to find out how the driver
obtained the equipment, says Milliyet.

Water Crisis in Ankara
All papers continue reporting on the suffering in Ankara from water
cuts, saying many in the Turkish capital believe the drought is not
natural, but a manmade disaster brought on by mismanagement of water
resources. The city has to supply water to hospitals in tankers and

ANKARA 00002067 002 OF 003


has called for the opening of schools to be delayed by a month until
mid-October. Ankara also has started building a 375-kilometre
pipeline to bring water from Kizilirmak, the country's longest
river. Opposition CHP is reportedly planning to table a motion
against Prime Minister Erdogan for failing to remove from office
Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gokcek.

Since October the northwest Marmara region, home to Turkey's largest
city Istanbul, has received rain 34 percent less than normal, while
the Aegean coast has seen 43 percent less than the usual level. The
Union of Turkish Chambers of Agriculture estimates the drought has
cost farmers USD 3.9 billion, and the meteorology service has warned
that autumn rains in western and central Turkey are unlikely to end
the drought.

Editorial Commentary on Iraq; Russia and Global Security
Semih Idiz writes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "With the
situation in Iraq heading toward an impasse, efforts are underway to
increase the role of the United Nations. The US Ambassador to the
UN has talked about their intention to call an Iraqi neighbors
conference under the auspices of the UN. Interestingly, Iran and
Syria are also included in the conference participants list which
clearly shows the helplessness of Washington vis-`-vis the Iraq
situation. In addition to that Baghdad is also preparing itself for
a possible post-US-withdrawal period. Iraqi officials are well
aware of the fact that they will have to be on good terms with their
neighbors once the US forces leave. Relations with Turkey, Saudi
Arabia and Iran are very important for Iraq especially for
security-related matters. Syria, Jordan and Kuwait are also
important for humanitarian reasons especially for the future of
Iraqi refugees. All of these developments indicate that Turkey has
to see the Iraq issue in a broader context and should not take the
PKK issue as the sole angle. Otherwise Turkey might be out of the
game, ignoring the new circumstances and the changing equilibrium."


Zafer Atay writes in the business and political daily Dunya:
"Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact not only
dissolved but some of its members joined NATO. In the meantime
Moscow could not get rid of its negative obsession regarding the
NATO alliance; Russia is still suspicious of the Western alliance.
In an effort to unite the former Soviet countries, Moscow managed to
establish the Union of Independent States and the Shanghai Five with
China, which was expanded to include new participants recently.
The Shanghai Cooperation group just launched a giant exercise with
6500 soldiers. Although both Beijing and Moscow deny this group is
meant to be an alternate to NATO, the member states are expected to
sign a cooperation agreement to form a defense shield. Iran,
Pakistan, India and Mongolia are observers to the ongoing exercise
and there is a possibility that they will join the alliance. Given
the huge populations and powerful armies of China and Russia,
participation of the current observers will not only lead to the
formation of Asian NATO, but also will change the world power
equilibrium."

TV News:
(NTV, 6 A.M.)
Domestic News

- Thirteen Turkish soldiers and two civilians, were wounded when a
PKK roadside landmine went off in Eruh in the southeastern province
of Siirt.

- Writer Nevval Sevindi said she will run for the Democrat Party
(DP) chairmanship. DP leader Mehmet Agar had quit his party after
failing to cross the 10-percent threshold in the general elections.


- Hundreds of environment activists including the city mayor held a
protest demonstration in the eastern city of Tunceli, calling on the

ANKARA 00002067 003 OF 003


government not to build dams on the Munzur River, saying it would
damage the ecology of the province.

International News

- The new Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozaku-Markulli said
the Turkish military and not Turkish politicians holds the key to a
solution in Cyprus.

- The northern Iraqi PUK website says the high commission for
implementing the constitutional article on Kirkuk is to convene
after five months in Baghdad, and is expected to speed up work for
holding a controversial referendum on the fate of the oil rich city.


- Britain's Sunday Telegraph reports a sudden pullout of US and UK
forces from Iraq will spark civilian strife and divide the country
into three zones, dragging Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia
into the conflict.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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