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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002776

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
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2007

In Today's Papers

Prime Minister and Air Force Commander deny Turkish strikes in
Northern Iraq
All papers report that, after four Turkish soldiers were killed in
clashes with the PKK, Turkish forces carried out air and ground
operations in the Gabar Mountains. Mainstream Vatan claims that
American U-2 "spy planes" have begun to patrol the Turkey-Iraq
border in order to monitor the activities of the PKK. On Wednesday,
Turkish journalists in Batman and Cukurca claimed to have seen U-2
planes. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet and mainstream Milliyet
report that Pesmerge forces are forming a buffer zone in Northern
Iraq in order to prevent the PKK from crossing into Turkey and to
cut their logistical support routes.

Papers quote Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, during budget debates in
parliament, stating that "as of today (Wednesday)," the US had
started to supply Turkey with "real-time intelligence" concerning
the activities of the PKK. "We have started to strengthen the
direct channels for communication and coordination regarding
military, diplomatic and political measures against the PKK,"
Babacan said. The Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA,) however, released
a statement saying that Babacan was not referring to specific
developments that unfolded yesterday, but to the overall situation
after the meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Bush.


Meanwhile, Turkish Air Forces Commander General Aydogan Babaoglu
dismissed reports claiming air strikes took place against targets in
northern Iraq. Prime Minister Erdogan later said that "a cross
border operation is out of the question for the time being, we have
operations inside Turkey. The Kurdistan regional government also
denied the reports that Turkish forces bombed Iraqi sites on
Tuesday morning.

MHP Wants Kurdish DTP Immunities Lifted
All papers report far right party MHP drafted a parliamentary motion
to restrict parliamentary immunities for crimes violating the
integrity of state. This appears to be an effort aimed at
pro-Kurdish DTP lawmakers. MHP is trying to garner the 110
signatures needed to take the draft to the floor from the AKP and
CHP. PM Erdogan indicated the AKP does not support the MHP effort,
saying he will not try "undemocratic" ways to expel people who were
sent to parliament through popular democratic vote. Opposition CHP
wants parliamentary immunities scrapped completely, according to
papers.

Turkey to construct airport on Iraq border
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak and tabloid Aksam carry Transport
Minister Binali Yildirim's announcement that the construction of an
airport in Yuksekova in Hakkari province, on the border with Iraq,
will begin in 2008 and be completed by 2010. Papers say the airport
triggered speculation that, due to the frequent visits to the region
by American delegations, the US was preparing to set up a military
base there. Aksam argues the base could be used in air strikes
against Iran while Yeni Safak claims it could be used in the fight
against the PKK.

Editorial commentary on the PKK and Kurdish Policy
Hasan Cemal observed in mainstream Milliyet (11/15): "Kurdish
politicians should distance themselves from PKK violence, influence
the PKK to declare a serious cease-fire and engage in immense
efforts to open the doors for democratic politics. The DTP is an
important party for me; its efforts in the parliament can help peace
and stability in this country immensely. Unfortunately, the DTP is
making big mistakes. They should realize that the doors for peace,
democracy, and freedom cannot be opened by terrorist activities. If
the DTP plans to get the PKK accepted in Turkish politics, they are
mistaken. This will only increase tension in Turkey and strengthen
those who don't support democracy.

ANKARA 00002776 002 OF 002

Turkey is going through a difficult phase. Possible operations
against northern Iraq are getting closer. It is understood that, in
order to please the public, operations against the PKK will be
launched before winter sets in. In addition, the Iraqi Kurdish
Leadership and the US are applying intense pressure on the PKK to
begin a cease-fire. There are also allegations that the US will
force the PKK into a cease-fire and pull the PKK from Turkey in
order to direct it to Iran through PJAK. Following a cease-fire, a
new process is planned by the Turkish government in the southeast.
The doors will open for high level dialogue with northern Iraq.
Then, the PKK will be brought down from the mountains. With the
application of economic, social, political and military measures,
the PKK will be fully isolated. We cannot know to what extent this
scenario can be implemented. However, we can only hope that such
measures will eliminate terrorism, violence and hostile feelings in
Turkey."

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Istanbul Municipality kicks off preparations for building a third
bridge on the Bosporus in Istanbul.

- The Egitim-Sen labor union of education workers and construction
engineers objects to the Istanbul Municipality's plans to build
parking places under 147 schools in the city.

- A survey conducted by the Turkish radio and television agency RTUK
shows that Turks living in Germany watch Turkish TV channels for
four hours a day.

- World Bank Turkey director Ulrich Zachau said structural reforms
and increased productivity were vital for competition with Far East
countries.

International News

- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in an interview with a Kuwaiti
newspaper on Wednesday, said tensions between Iraq and Turkey have
subsided and relations are improving.

- A senior Russian general has said Russia could place missiles in
neighboring Belarus to counter a planned US missile defense system
in Eastern Europe.

- The European Parliament's far-right bloc has collapsed after five
Romanian MEPs resigned over an Italian colleague's "xenophobic"
remarks.

- The US said it denied a visa for South African scholar Adam Habib
because he "engaged in terrorist activity." Habib, deputy vice
chancellor at the University of Johannesburg, is also a well known
critic of the war in Iraq.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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