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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002765

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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, NOVEMBER 14, 2007


In Today's Papers

Peres-Abbas Address the Turkish Parliament
All papers report that Tuesday was an "historic" day for Ankara
because Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority
Leader Mahmoud Abbas came together and addressed the Turkish
parliament. Peres and Abbas both conveyed messages of peace, a
precursor to the upcoming Annapolis summit where they will outline
their conditions for peace.

Peres, Abbas and Gul signed an agreement establishing an industrial
investment zone in the West Bank. Turkish firms will invest in the
zone, which is expected to create 10,000 jobs for Palestinians.
Land will be provided by the Palestinian Authority, the compounds
will be constructed by Turkey, and Israel will ensure the safety of
the zone. Peres called it a "win-win" project. Gul told emphasized
that the project will encourage political compromise and settlement
in the Middle East.

Addressing the Turkish Parliament, Peres and Abbas said the Middle
East conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in late November will
provide a chance to restart the peace process. As Peres addressed
the Turkish Parliament, he said Jews will always remember the help
that was extended to them by the Ottoman Empire. However, he noted
that Iran remains a source of concern while Turkey is "a source of
hope," and that both the Middle East and Europe need Turkey. He
also said Turkey could work for the release of the Israeli soldiers
abducted by Hezbollah last year. He also commented that Turkey
could help normalize the life of Palestinians. Peres invited Turkey
to join the Annapolis conference, while stressing that Israel wants
a two-state solution, with Turkey as "a partner and producer" in
this process.

Abbas told the lawmakers he supports the American efforts to revive
the peace process. Abbas said Turkey and Palestine were the members
of the same camp, and that both countries support peace and reject
radicalism. "We have warned many times that the expansion of Jewish
settlements and the construction of a security wall would undermine
peace and trust in the region. Eastern Jerusalem remains part of
the territory occupied in 1967. There will be no Palestinian state
in a capital other than East Jerusalem," said Abbas.

Editorial Commentary on Peres-Abbas Meeting

Okay Gonensin wrote in the mainstream Vatan (11/14): Turkey can
become the center for peace in the region "The meeting of Israeli
and Palestinian leaders in Ankara, Turkey's sensitive handling of
bilateral relations with Syria and Iran, and even the Saudi King's
visit to Turkey are all the proof of this important vision."

During the last 25 years, Turkey has proved to the world that it has
a global vision. Turkey is becoming the main base for regional
peace, which will strengthen Europe's regional effectiveness, as
well. There is only one issue that spoils this vision - Turkey is
unable to establish internal peace. Only when Turkey is fully
democratic and peaceful will it be able take important
responsibilities in the region."

Sami Kohen commented in the mainstream Milliyet (11/14): "The
hardest part of active policy in the Middle East is to walk the same
path and to show the same stance all the time. Since the
conjuncture and the balances in the region change very often,
diplomacy is constantly subject to fine-tuning. Turkey also faces
this kind of problem and, often, must fine tune its strategies. The
latest example to this situation was seen during the Peres-Abbas
meeting in Ankara this week. The world closely followed
developments in Turkey as President Gul brought these two leaders
together to sign an economic cooperation agreement and address the
parliament. During this important visit, Turkey demonstrated that,
from now on, it was on Abbas' side rather than standing with Hamas.

ANKARA 00002765 002 OF 003


Following the AKP's rapprochement with Hamas and the dialogue
established by the government last year, today we prove that Turkey
fine-tuned its pragmatic stance on this issue."

Papers: Turkish Jets Attack Targets in Northern Iraq
All papers report Turkey made a "first test" for a cross-border
operation with Turkish artillery and fighter jets hitting the PKK
shelters in northern Iraq. Mainstream Milliyet says the strikes
indicate the US seems to have started to supply Turkey with
intelligence, reporting that yesterday American helicopters
conducted reconnaissance flights over the areas attacked by Turkey.
Turkish artillery shells mountainous areas in Derkar and Batufa as
well as the PKK camps in Haftanin, reports Milliyet.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports Turkish fighter jets attacked
empty villages in Pirbela, Birsaka, Avashin and Norgole.

Prime Minister Erdogan told journalists that he did not know
anything about the air strikes, and military sources have not
confirmed the attacks. The chief of the Turkish General Staff (TGS)
General Yasar Buyukanit told journalists in Brussels that he was
unaware of air strikes in northern Iraq.

Erdogan: A Military Operation against Northern Iraq Near
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan said that during his
meeting with Bush earlier this month, he told the US President that
Washington has to choose between Barzani and Iraq or Turkey. On
Tuesday, Erdogan told the AKP administrative board that a military
operation into northern Iraq was "near." Erdogan said operations
against the PKK will be finalized before winter approaches, and
added the military general staff will soon be given political
directives for operations. Erdogan also said Kurds in Turkey were
not a "minority," but a fundamental element of the country,
stressing it is unfortunate that members of the pro-Kurdish DTP
cannot feel pride in their country and its people. "The DTP has
entered a dead end street; they're obviously being manipulated,"
Erdogan emphasized.

Turk: A Political Lynch Campaign Kicked-off against DTP
All papers continue coverage of the latest developments with regard
to some of Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP lawmakers' alleged ties
with the outlawed PKK. DTP lawmaker Fatma Kurtulan rejected the
photo showing her as a PKK militant, and told the press she will sue
the newspapers that said she was trained in a PKK camp. The party's
newly elected chairman, Nurettin Demirtas, said the medical report
exempting him from military service was given by a military hospital
in Ankara, and that it was not forged. Addressing his party group
in parliament Tuesday, DTP party group chairman Ahmet Turk said
there was a "plot" against his party, which, he noted, might amount
to a political lynch campaign as seen in the reports claiming
Kurtulan had been trained in terror camps. Turk warned that harming
the DTP will not be good for Turkey.

Hamas to be Invited to Jerusalem Meeting in Istanbul
Under the headline "New Hamas crisis at the doorstep," the
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports a representative of Hamas
will be invited to "International Jerusalem Meeting" to be held by
the Turkish Voluntary Organizations Foundation (TGTV) in Istanbul
from November 15-17. Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) sources said
they were not aware of the initiative, adding the meeting was
organized by civic organizations. Approximately 3,000 participants
including former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark will be invited to
the meeting. TGTV is the umbrella organization of mostly
conservative 150 NGOs, and former Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu
and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek are among the founders of the
foundation, says Cumhuriyet.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

ANKARA 00002765 003 OF 003

- Four Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with the PKK
terrorists in Gabar Mountains in Sirnak province on the border with
Iraq on Tuesday.

- Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said the government plans to
amend article 301 of the penal code before the end of 2007,
stressing it would not be scrapped.

- Former UNSYG Kofi Annan said the Middle East cannot cope with a
new conflict, warning that a Turkish cross-border incursion into
northern Iraq would be an "adventure."

- A delegation of the representatives of the Kurdish parties in
northern Iraq has come to Turkey to discuss Turkey-Iraq ties and the
fight against the PKK.

International News

- The "long march" from Lahore to Islamabad against the state of
emergency and the suspension of the constitution starts without
Benazir Bhutto who has been placed under house arrest. Bhutto said
President Musharraf must resign.

- French President Sarkozy told members of the European Parliament
that Turkey's EU accession was an issue to be discussed after 15
years.

- France is to face a transport strike that is set to last for days
and could become the biggest the country has seen in over 10 years.


- More than 30,000 birds and countless fish have been killed by oil
spilling from a tanker that shipwrecked Sunday in the Black Sea.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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