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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
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2007


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In Today's Papers

Controversy Regarding the New Constitution
Sabah, Turkiye, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Hurriyet and others: Today's
papers highlighted the comments of Guler Sabanci, chairperson of the
Sabanci Group Board of Executives, at an interview with Bloomberg
TV, broadcasting from London. Giving information about Turkey and
the Turkish business environment Sabanci said "Women in business
life are the product of the 83-year-old Republic. I have confidence
in our republic. Secularism and democracy are coded in our DNA.
Mainstream Sabah reported that AKP Vice Chairman Dengir Mir Firat
said that "if AKP wanted the headscarf to be worn freely, then they
would have done it with a simple amendment rather than writing a
whole constitution. The rectors are acting with disrespect. We
want a constitution which does not limit freedoms."

Meanwhile, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says that the ruling AKP
plans to use the constitutional amendments to change the structure
of Turkey. The provision listing the tasks of the state does not
contain references to the independence of Turkish nation, the
integrity of the Turkish state, and to the democratic republic
structure of the country.

Blackwater Accused of Selling Arms to PKK
Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Vatan, Yeni Safak and others: Today's
and weekend papers draw attention to allegations that US security
company Blackwater was supplying the PKK with arms. US Federal
prosecutors are investigating claims that employees of Blackwater
illegally brought in weapons into Iraq and sold them in the black
market to terrorists.

Calling Blackwater 'a secret army with deep roots,' columnist Ferai
Tinc writes in the mainstream Hurriyet: "We cannot be very hopeful
about results of the ongoing investigation by the Maliki
administration into Blackwater's misconduct. This is simply because
Paul Bremer gave Blackwater and other American security firms in
Iraq immunity in 2004, and he made this a provision of Iraqi law.
One of the points in the investigation into Blackwater is related to
the missing American weapons falling into the hands of the PKK.
Even though a denial came from the firm, the prosecutor has said
there is enough evidence to open a case. This is an example of how
the Iraq war differs from conventional wars. There are mercenaries
in Iraq and nobody can question their whereabouts or the nature of
their operations. They are accountable to the firm not to the
state. Therefore their primary concern is to get the job done
regardless of who dies and who gets wounded. In this atmosphere,
there is no way to talk about war crimes or human rights violations.
There can be any kind of irregularity or misconduct as long as
money is paid. Blackwater is VP Cheney's project. He and Rumsfeld
made their approach very clear even in 2001 by saying that the
Pentagon should be managed like a private company. Blackwater in
particular has deep roots within the Bush administration.
Blackwater's former lawyer is now a private lawyer for President
Bush and leads an Evangelist organization in addition to his
fund-raising efforts for the Bush campaign. Cofer Black, the chief
of the counter-terror department at the CIA during 9/11 is the name
behind the Blackwater operations. John Warner, former Chairman of
Armed Services Committee used to call Blackwater 'the silent partner
in America's war against global terrorism.' Creepy but true, the
idea is that you need terror to continue to wage war so that the
economy keeps functioning."

Iraqi Interior Minister Bolani Comes to Turkey
Sabah reports that Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad Al-Bolani will
arrive in Ankara tomorrow to complete unfinished tasks. If the
memorandum of understanding signed during Iraqi PM Maliki's visit
could be converted into an agreement, then Iraq will extradite 150
PKK members, including Riza Altun, to Turkey.

One Million American Tourists to Visit Turkey

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Milliyet reports that the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism
intensified its promotion work in the US. As a result of this
campaign, it is expected that one million American tourists will be
coming to Turkey in 2008.

Editorial Comment: US View on Turkey-EU Relations:
Semih Idiz observes from Washington in the mainstream daily
Milliyet: "US official policy continues to support Turkey's EU
membership and sees it as an important element to counter the thesis
that there is a conflict of civilizations. However, there are
significant numbers of American experts who are pessimistic about
Turkey's EU prospects. Some even believe that potential
developments in the near future might block the entire process.
Steven Cook from the Council on Foreign Relations belongs to this
group. He claims that a cross-border operation into Northern Iraq
would bring Turkey-EU relations to an end. Washington-based CSIS
sees serious challenges before the Erdogan government especially due
to internal debates in Turkey, the popular opposition against
membership in the EU and the no-settlement status for Cyprus. I
don't necessarily agree with this pessimism. The EU perspective in
Turkey acts like an engine for political, economic and social
standards. Once Turkey fully meets those standards, if the EU
continues to leave the door closed to Turkey, then the
responsibility will be entirely the EU's."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

Protests were staged in Istanbul yesterday to denounce the
suspicious killing of Nigerian refugee Festus Okey at the Beyoglu
police station

Security forces detained 46 people in Sirnak on suspicion of
assisting and sheltering PKK terrorists

PM Erdogan's wife Emine Erdogan will attend a lunch hosted by first
lady Laura Bush


International News

Spanish police have found 15 immigrants inside a Turkish cargo ship
in the northeastern port of Barcelona

EU Commission accepted on Friday the Green Line Regulation annual
report

Iranian President Ahmedinejad demands a visit to 'Ground Zero' in
New York.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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