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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
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2007


In Today's Papers

Erdogan: 'Those Who Reject Gul's Presidency Should Leave the
Country'
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Vatan, Radikal, and Cumhuriyet report a
heated debate, being played out in the press, between Prime Minister
Erdogan and mainstream Hurriyet columnist Bekir Coskun. In what
most believe is a direct reference to what Coskun said in a column
last week --"Abdullah Gul won't be my president" -- Erdogan said
during a television interview late Monday that those who reject Gul
as president should "leave Turkey and go live elsewhere." Bekir
Coskun responded to Erdogan in today's Hurriyet by saying, "I have
nowhere else to go. I cannot love another country."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet Coskun said he started to receive
death threats after the remarks of Erdogan.

Papers report opposition CHP deputy chairman Mustafa Ozyurek as
urging Erdogan to apologize, saying such calls could be made only in
fascist countries. MHP followed suit, saying the PM's remarks had
been "unfortunate." NGOs have also condemned the "unfortunate"
statement of Erdogan. On page one liberal Radikal compares the
words of Erdogan to earlier statements of Turkish politicians urging
communists to go to Moscow or Turkish women wearing headscarves to
go to Saudi Arabia. A commentary in mainstream Vatan says Erdogan's
words, a clear confirmation that the PM has "not absorbed
democracy," have contradicted the pledges made by Abdullah Gul that
he will be a president who represents the whole nation.

Iran Warns of Shelling in Kurdish Villages
Yeni Safak and Cumhuriyet report northern Iraqi Kurdish officials
said Iran has been spreading leaflets warning of ground operations
supported from the air against the villages around Mount Kandil,
urging residents to evacuate homes within 48 hours.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports from Erbil the regional Kurdish
administration spokesman Cemal Abdullah complained about the Iranian
shelling of the Kurdish villages in the region and the military
buildup along the border. "We have no ties with the PKK and PJAK;
we also don't have the power to fight against them," Abdullah said.


Russia Takes Over the Administration of Gulen School in
St.Petersburg
Hurriyet, Milliyet: Papers report that a Turkish school, claimed to
be established by a foundation connected with Fethullah Gulen, an
Islamic Sect leader who lives in the US, has been taken over by the
Russian government with claims that it has connections to the Nurcu
sect and for not following the curriculum in Russia.

Hijacker: "There was no Direct Flight to Iran"
Papers reported that the hijackers of the Atlas Air jet said that
they searched the internet to find direct flights from Ercan airport
to Tehran, and decided to hijack a plane because there wasn't any
direct flight to Tehran. They added that they were planning to meet
with their Taliban brothers and join al-Qaeda.

Editorial Commentary on Iraq, the Middle East
Sami Kohen writes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "The statement
by French Minister Kouchner gives enough clues about the changing
French policy on Iraq. French diplomacy wants the UN to assume a
bigger role in Iraq so that there will be no vacuum in the event of
a US withdrawal. Kouchner also emphasized the importance of
sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the establishment of a
functioning democracy in Iraq. This stance is very close to
Turkey's view on Iraq. Ankara too wants Iraq territorially intact
and sovereign, looks for a settlement through national consensus,
and sees a role for the UN in ensuring security and stability after
the US withdrawal. Kuchner's remarks also indicate that France does
not promote the division of Iraq or a separate Northern Iraqi state.
The French FM might be more sympathetic toward Iraqi Kurds since he
used to engage in the issue during his time with Doctors without

ANKARA 00002207 002 OF 002


Borders. However there is no reason [for us] to get upset about his
contacts with a series of Iraqi leaders, including the Iraqi
president, ethnic and religious leaders, including Barzani. Let's
not forget that even Iran, despite its uneasiness over Kurdish
terrorists, is in close contact with Talabani and other leaders."

Kamuran Ozbir writes in the nationalist daily Ortadogu: "Washington
has started implementing a new strategy for the Middle East which
basically is about establishing a new front against Iran by arming
regional countries. The question is whether Iran will feel pressure
and give up in the end? I think the answer to this question is no.
Unlike Iraq, the Iranian regime is supported by millions. A single
bomb attack against Iran can create a colossal fire in the entire
region."

TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- The Turkish National Security Council (MGK) held its last meeting
chaired by President Sezer. During yesterday's short meeting of one
and a half hours the fight against terror, the situation of the
Turkmen in Iraq, and a recent visit by the Iraqi PM al-Maliki to
Turkey were discussed.

- Kurdish party DTP signaled it will support Abdullah Gul in the
second round of the presidential voting on August 24 if Gul issues a
positive message with regard to the Kurdish issue.

- The Turkish General Staff released a statement rejecting
allegations of meetings held with politicians in the presidential
process in a reference to press reports that Abdullah Gul enjoyed
close ties with the military, and that the military was uneasy with
the CHP.

- Istanbul Bar Association said complaints over abuse of civilians
by policemen increased after recent legal changes expanding the
powers of the police.

International News

- Greece supplies US-made weapons to the Greek Cypriots in violation
of international treaties, while Turkey has pulled back all US-made
weapons from Turkish Cyprus.

- Turkish Cyprus leader Mehmet Ali Talat told The Daily Telegraph
that Cyprus faces "permanent partition" unless the conflict between
the Greeks and Turks is resolved soon.

- A website of the northern Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
claims the personnel working in Turkey's Mosul consulate are "spies,
not diplomats".

- New video from 1994 that surfaced on YouTube shows VP Dick Cheney
speaking about why dismantling Saddam Hussein's regime during the
Gulf War would lead to a "quagmire."

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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