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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
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2007

In Today's Papers

Buyukanit on Turkey's Unitary, Secular Structure
All papers report that in a speech at the opening of the new
academic year at the Military Academy, Turkish General Staff (TGS)
chief General Yasar Buyukanit gave three messages: no power could
divide Turkey, change its secular structure, or shake the Turkish
nation's confidence in its military. On the Kurdish question and
terrorist actions, Buyukanit said it was concerning that some
circles were calling the PKK terrorists "brothers," and stressed
that Turkey had to resolve this problem "within the law." He said
"action, not words is what counts in the fight against terrorism,"
in remarks interpreted by the papers as "a message to the US."
Buyukanit also said Iraq was moving toward a federal structure and
that it "posed a risk" for Turkey. On the draft new constitution
prepared by the ruling AKP, Buyukanit said the military would
express its view on the constitutional changes when the draft is
published.

Gul Calls for Compromise at Opening of New Legislative Year
All papers report President Abdullah Gul and Speaker Koksal Toptan
addressed the opening session of the Turkish Parliament in the new
legislative year. In his opening speech, President Gul said
democracy requires respect for radical and marginal views. He
called for "consensus" and "compromise" on the new constitution, and
lauded the government's work to that end. Gul urged the parliament
to approve more EU-sought reforms. He also called for more
investment in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast region, saying
infrastructure projects there could help the fight against
terrorism. Speaker Toptan said that there would be no change in the
first three articles of the constitution, which are related to
secularism, territorial integrity and the rule of law. Toptan
pointed to the parliament as being the place to seek reconciliation.


Meanwhile, papers report President Abdullah Gul will travel to
Strasbourg today to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (PACE). Gul will be the first Turkish President
to address PACE.

Kurdish Administration Reacts to Turkey-Iraq Security Agreement
Islamist oriented Yeni Safak reports that the deputy chairman of the
Kurdish Parliament in Northern Iraq Kemal Kerkuki condemn the
security agreement signed by Turkey and Iraq and said that they
cannot accept any border violation in the Kurdish region in Northern
Iraq, based on agreements signed with any country.

Dink Murder Case Continues
Sabah, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others: Papers
report that during his trial yesterday, Ogun Samast, the murderer of
Hrant Dink, said that he used ecstasy pills and other drugs for
courage before the murder. Samast claimed in court that Yasin Hayal
threatened to kill Samast's family if he did not kill Dink.

Meanwhile, papers highlight that the prison vehicle that brought
Ogun Samast to the court had an extreme nationalist sticker on it
saying "love it or leave it." The gendarmerie covered the sticker
after the public noticed it.

ECHR Rejects Judges Nominated by Turkey
Sabah, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has rejected
all the three candidates nominated by Turkey to fill the post
vacated by the Turkish Judge Riza Turmen in the European Court of
Human Rights (ECHR), saying there were stark differences between
their levels of expertise. During a visit to Turkey in April, the
head of the ECHR, Jean Paul Costa, had criticized the Turkish
government for its unwillingness to extend the mandate of Turmen.
There was speculation that the AKP government declined to back
Turmen because of his support for headscarf restrictions in Turkey.

ANKARA 00002454 002 OF 003


Editorial Commentary on Turkey-US, Turkey-Iran Relations
Haluk Ulman observes in the business and political daily Dunya:
"Press reports were filled with positive stories about PM Erdogan's
visit to the US and the successful atmosphere of the meetings he
attended or where he gave speeches. This is very good as far as
appearance is concerned. However, if we have to speak about the
bare truth, despite all the exchange of goodwill messages between
the US and Turkey, all efforts are to no avail. For the ruling AKP,
this relationship does not go beyond a domestic public relations
effort. Let's face it: the views of Turkey and the US do not match
any longer, nor do their interests. We just do not have similar
views about the future of Iraq, about the Armenian Genocide or about
the fight against PKK. Iran has just been added to the list areas
where the views of Turkey differ from those of the US. Even though
we express concern about the Iranian nuclear program, it mainly
stems from the fear of consequences after possible American
operations against Iran. Moreover we are engaging in energy
cooperation with Iran. As proven by PM Erdogan's trip to the US,
there is still a bilateral dialog mechanism but it can only be
called a dialog between the deaf. And it will remain so unless or
until Turkey agrees to act within the unilateral policy line of the
US."

Enis Berberoglu writes in the mainstream daily Hurriyet: "Despite
obvious warnings from the US about not engaging in business with
Iran, Turkey moves forward on energy deals as well as a
transportation project. When PM Erdogan met with Iranian leader
Ahmedinejad, it was actually the Iranian side who expressed concern
about whether Turkey wants to move forward on the natural gas deal
project. The Iranian leader wanted to make sure whether or not
Turkey had some concerns about going ahead. The Turkish side
expressed commitment to go until the bitter end on this project. A
rapid rail system between Istanbul and Tehran was also brought up as
an effort to further cooperation. The Turkish Ministry of
Transportation assumed responsibility for moving forward on
construction and management processes. The two sides also talked
about cooperation on defense particularly on recent operations
against PKK at the borders. Iranians explained their operations
against the PKK in the Kandil Mountain area in detail. In sum, the
Iranian leader Ahmedinejad has every reason to be happy about his
relationship with Turkey."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- Government spokesman Cemil Cicek has signaled Turkey might still
use its right to hot pursuit even though the security agreement
signed with Iraq does not envisage provisions for chasing terrorists
across the border.

- The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly President Rene van
den Linden said Turkey's membership in the European Union would be a
fantasy if the country became an Islamic state.

- German Greens Party co-chair Claudia Roth says Turkish penal code
article 301, related to freedom of expression, was the reason for
the murder of Dink.

- Prime Minister Erdogan will host a Ramadan fast-breaking "Iftar"
dinner for AKP lawmakers Tuesday evening.

International News

- Syrian President Bashar Assad told the BBC that Syria reserved the
right to respond to the Israeli air strike in northern Syria early
in September.

ANKARA 00002454 003 OF 003

- Dr. Hussein al Shahristani, Iraq's Oil Minister, says Iraq's
neighbors will not allow shipment of Kurdish oil across their
borders.

- Myanmar's protests have lost steam as security forces clampdown,
killing over a dozen and arresting as many as 1,000 people involved
in the street protests.

- The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh reports that "in a series of public
statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his
Administration have redefined the war in Iraq as a strategic battle
between the US and Iran."

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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