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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002643

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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, OCTOBER 24, 2007


In Today's Papers

Turks Express Anger at Funerals of Soldiers Slain by PKK
All papers report that on Tuesday, 12 Turkish soldiers killed by the
PKK terrorists in Hakkari over the weekend were laid to rest,
sparking an outpouring of public anger in towns and cities across
the country. Tens of thousands of people attended the
demonstrations waving Turkish flags, carrying placards and shouting
slogans condemning the terrorist PKK and also cursing the Kurdish
administration of northern Iraq for sheltering the terrorists.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports government officials
attending the funerals were also protests of protests. Some 300
students clashed with PKK supporters on a university campus in the
Aegean city of Izmir where demonstrators carried placards saying
"America killed our soldiers" and "the US is behind the PKK,"
reports Cumhuriyet. "Let this be the last," says a banner headline
in mainstream Milliyet above a picture of grieving relatives at
Tuesday's funerals.

Meanwhile, Turkey's broadcasting watchdog the Radio and Television
High Board (RTUK) said on Tuesday it had banned all broadcasts
inside the country regarding the deaths of 12 soldiers at the hands
of the PKK. The RTUK, acting on a government request, said news
about the deaths "hurts the psychology of society and creates an
image of the security forces as weak." Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet says the government is resorting to censorship to cover
up its failure to tackle the PKK terrorists. Papers speculate that
the government, discomfited by anger on display at funerals, banned
broadcasts about the deaths.

Papers Speculate on Turkish Iraq Incursions
All papers report Government spokesman Cemil Cicek said Turkey was
carrying out operations in Iraq's north in coordinated air and
ground operations, declining further elaboration. Tabloid Aksam
says Turkish F-16s dropped bombs on the PKK camps some 30 km inside
Iraq over the weekend after the attacks that killed 12 soldiers.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak claims 8,000 Turkish soldiers have
advanced some 50 km into northern Iraq and are attacking Kurdish
camps. The claims have not been independently verified.

Nationalist Vatan claims President Bush told President Abdullah Gul
over the phone that US forces in Iraq may launch air strikes against
the PKK camps, adding they may also send special forces to hunt out
the terrorists. Papers report Secretary Rice and British Foreign
Secretary David Milliband called for a solution to be found within

SIPDIS
the trilateral mechanism of Turkey, Iraq and the US. Papers and
television newscasts also quote State Department Iraq Coordinator
David Satterfield as saying that the Kurdish regional
administration's condemning of the PKK attacks was good but not
enough, and that "action is needed now." Mainstream Hurriyet
speculates Turkey will get intelligence information from the US on
the location of the PKK targets in the region to ease US concerns
that American soldiers and the Kurdish peshmerge might be targeted
by Turkish assaults.

Editorial Commentary on Possible Turkish Iraq Incursion
Kubilay Celik writes in the nationalist daily Tercuman: "The
possibility of a Turkish cross-border operation against the PKK has
activated the international community. We keep receiving warnings
about not harming civilians or advice not to even do it. Those
countries had better remember the Israeli and US examples. Israel
has been bombing Palestine for years without listening to anybody's
advice and without even making a distinction between civilian and
military targets. The US, despite the UN, attacked Iraq without any
real reason. What Turkey wants to do is to eliminate the PKK
terrorists in their shelters. However what we get is opposition
from the international world. This is something that even goes
beyond a double standard."

Sami Kohen writes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "Although

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belatedly, the US finally felt the need to end the PKK presence in
Northern Iraq by working together with Turkey. Turkey wants the
closure of PKK camps, termination of PKK activities and handing over
of the leadership to the Turkish authorities. The question is
whether Americans and Iraqis are ready to achieve these goals,
including the use of force. As the Turkish PM mentioned, there are
speculations about some joint operations, including the sharing of
intelligence and team work of Turkish and American forces. If this
mechanism is facilitated, there might be no need for Turkey's
unilateral military operation. A joint military operation is also a
requirement of international obligations against terrorism. Turkey
has always been part of international solidarity against terrorism,
such as in Afghanistan. And now is the time for Turkey's allies to
show the same attitude toward Turkey."

Foreign Minister Babacan Meets Iraqi Leaders in Baghdad
All papers report that on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani after his meeting with Foreign
Minister Hoshyar Zebari in Baghdad. In a joint news conference,
Zebari and Babacan said they agreed to prevent the PKK from
"poisoning" ties between Iraq and Turkey. "The Iraqi government is
determined to cooperate with the Turkish government in order to
resolve the border problem through direct talks among the major
sides involved in this matter," Zebari said. Babacan said Turkey
was not willing to undermine its relations with Iraq for the sake a
terrorist group. He noted several such issues would be discussed at
the Istanbul ministerial meeting of Iraq's neighbors next month.
Babacan has presented six concrete demands to Baghdad -- stop the
PKK militants using the Iraqi territory, halt logistical support for
them, block all its activities, limit its freedom of movement,
arrest its leaders and hand them over to Turkey, and shut down the
PKK camps.

Talabani, speaking to reporters in a joint press conference with
Babacan, said it was made clear to the PKK that they should either
lay down their arms or leave Iraq. The Iraqi President said Iraq
understands Turkey's fight against terrorism and that they will
extend Turkey all assistance possible in its fight against
terrorism. Following his meeting with Talabani, Babacan also met
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Prime Minister Erdogan in London
All papers: PM Erdogan and his British counterpart Gordon Brown met
for one hour and signed a "Strategic Partnership Document" in London
on Tuesday. Erdogan and Brown held a press conference after the
meeting. At the press conference Erdogan said that "unfortunately,
there are some European countries extending financial support to the
PKK. Turkey may start an economic embargo against Iraq since they
do not put an end to the existence of the PKK in Northern Iraq.
Turkey waited long enough for the US-backed Iraqi government to deal
with the PKK in Northern Iraq. However, the trilateral mechanism
did not work and we cannot wait forever. We can use the
authorization for a cross-border operation at any time." British PM
Gordon Brown, in return, urged Turkey for restraint and said "We
support Turkey's bid to join the European Union and are on Turkey's
side in the fight against terrorism."

EU Ambassadors' Meet with DTP Members
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Turkiye, Vatan, Sabah, Radikal and others:
Ambassadors of EU countries held a lunch with Kurdish party DTP
group chairman Ahmet Turk, deputy group chairman Fatma Kurtalan and
Diyarbakir deputy Akin Birdal. The Ambassadors urged DTP to put
distance between themselves and the PKK and refer to them as
terrorists.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News


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- Interior Minister Besir Atalay, attending a meeting of the
interior ministers of Iraq's neighbors in Kuwait, has called on
Baghdad to implement effectively the Turkey-Iraq agreement for
fighting against terror.

- Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, in Ankara on
an official visit, said Israel will not meddle in problems between
the Turks and Kurds, and urged the sides to resolve problems through
dialogue.

- Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP deputy Aysel Tugluk has warned
against the rise of ethnic nationalism, saying measures should be
taken to reduce strains.

- On Wednesday, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul visits the Netherlands
to take part in a meeting of defense ministers of NATO member
states.

International News

- The Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargisyan voiced hope that the
US Congress will pass a resolution declaring the mass killings of
Armenians in 1915-16 as genocide, but added his country is not
lobbying on the issue.

- The New York Times says Washington should make a serious effort to
broker a political agreement between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.

- A report from the Italian small-business union Confesercenti says
the Mafia is now Italy's biggest "business," earning more than 90
billion Euro a year and committing 50 crimes every hour.

- The municipality assembly in Pristine, Kosovo has agreed to
recognize Turkish as one of the official languages of the city.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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