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Cablegate: Turkey Reacts to Hostage Release

VZCZCXRO8128
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIHL
RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #2717 3091450
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051450Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4274
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/425ABS IZMIR TU//CC// PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEPGAB/MNF-I C2X BAGHDAD IZ PRIORITY

UNCLAS ANKARA 002717

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV TU IZ US
SUBJECT: TURKEY REACTS TO HOSTAGE RELEASE

REF: A. ANKARA 2682

B. ANKARA 2693
C. ANKARA 2680
D. ANKARA 2662
E. ANKARA 2658

1. (SBU) All media headlined the November 4 release of the
eight Turkish soldiers held hostage since October 21 by the
terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Before boarding
his plane to Washington for his November 5 meeting with
President Bush, PM Erdogan thanked the U.S. and Iraqi
governments for their work in freeing the hostages. When
asked by the press how the return of the troops would affect
his visit, he commented, "I am in a positive mood...(we hope
that) we will return from this meeting with positive results."

2. (SBU) While all are happy to see the soldiers safely home
and the press highlighted the constructive role played by the
USG and GOI in freeing the troops, many columnists speculated
on the timing and motives surrounding the release. Most
media characterized the event as a "gesture" - one designed
to convince Turkey not to conduct a cross border operation
(CBO) -- conspicuously executed just prior to the November 5
meeting. While pro-government daily Yeni Safak opined the
U.S. wanted to "erase the image of the (July 4, 2003
detention of Turkish special forces by U.S. troops) sack
incident," mainstream Milliyet viewed it as an "indication of
the U.S. determination" to resolve the problem. Deputy PM
and GOT Spokesman Cemil Cicek warned that the fight against
terrorism should not be regarded as if it depended on a
single measure, adding "There should not be the impression
that only a CBO would resolve the problem." Nevertheless,
the press has expressed renewed optimism for increased
U.S.-Turkish cooperation following Erdogan's visit.

3. (SBU) The peripheral role played by three pro-Kurdish
Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies in securing the
release of the hostages is drawing extensive public
criticism. In a statement to the press, DTP chair Ahmet Turk
claimed the MPs traveled to Erbil as a humanitarian, not a
political, endeavor. Turk added "We believe that we had a
responsibility... and tried to establish the necessary
links." Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President
Barzani's spokesman noted that the DTP MPs only played a
"limited role." Cemil Cicek dismissed DTP's participation as
"solely propaganda," adding that pictures from the Erbil
meeting were proof of DTP's friendly relations with the PKK.
Nationalist Action Party (MHP) Vice Chair Tunca Toskay echoed
Cicek's accusation when he said "The DTP was caught red
handed." Meanwhile, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor has started
a study (the phase before an investigation) on the three DTP
MPs regarding the Erbil trip.

4. (SBU) Media reports also covered the GOI,s closure of
several PKK-affiliated Democratic Solutions Party offices in
Northern Iraq following the release of the Turkish troops.
As part of his brief pre-departure comments to the press,
Erdogan characterized the closures as "a positive
development." Columnists viewed the action against the PKK
party bureaus with greater cynicism. Hurriyet dismissed the
efforts as "cosmetic measures taken to defuse tensions," and
questioned how long the offices would remain shut.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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