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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002926

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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
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2007

In Today's Papers

PM Erdogan's Plan to Bring PKK Members Back Home
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others: While
en route from the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, PM Erdogan spoke to
journalists about his plan to bring PKK members down from the
mountains. Radikal and Milliyet quote Erdogan saying that "earlier
we passed a law concerning the terrorists, but it had only limited
benefit. As you know, there was resistance and defensiveness at
that time. Now, we are at a very different point. We can achieve
better results with the support of the media. With this new effort,
we can minimize, and even stop, people from going up into the
mountains. And we can also bring them down from mountains. We are
not bargaining with anyone. We will say 'this is the law, come and
surrender.' A new law could be issued. We will exert efforts in
order to get the best results." When Erdogan was asked whether the
military was aware of this new initiative, he said "of course, we
are working on this plan with the Turkish Military." Saturday's
Zaman based on Erdogan's comments, reported that has signaled that
the government will pass a new 'repentance' law.

The opposition reacted harshly to the PM's new plan. Main
opposition party CHP leader Deniz Baykal said that the government
"seeks a compromise with terrorists" and noted that "any weakness in
the fight against terrorism would have a serious cost. Issuance of
such a law would be political ignorance and would be a basic
mistake." While addressing his party's rally in Izmir, MHP leader
Devlet Bahceli criticized PM Erdogan by saying "such a repentance
law would mean pardoning the murderers of our martyrs and innocent
people. Prime Minister, stop playing with fire."

NGO Initiative for a Civilian Constitution
Radikal reports that the Constitution Platform Initiative National
Workshop, organized by NGOs including TOBB, TISK, Turk-Is, Kamu-Sen
and TUSIAD, convened over the weekend. The workshop issued the
following proposals: the new constitution characterize economic
stability as a duty of the state and should contain provisions that
stress a functioning market economy. The workshop also discussed
judiciary, legislative and administrative issues that should be
covered in the constitution.

Jurists Rally in Ankara
All papers and TV channels: Over ten thousand lawyers and members
of the judiciary protested at a rally held in Tandogan square in
Ankara. The title of the rally was "Independent Judiciary."
Eighty-one provincial bar presidents, members of judges' and
prosecutors' unions, law professors and many citizens attended the
rally. The rally protested a new law which allows the government to
be directly involved in the interviewing and hiring of the
judiciary, thereby - according to the protestors - politicizing the
judiciary.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Iran

"Nothing Can Be Achieved Unless Israel Becomes Part of the Process"
Semih Idiz commented in the mainstream daily Milliyet (12/10): "The
NIE report is not only a hot topic on the international agenda; it
also caused a fury in Israel. The report makes it very difficult to
validate an argument in favor of a strike against Iran. It even
makes it hard to justify diplomatic pressure on Iran. Israel's
objection to this report is understandable. In fact, the stranger
thing is the attitude of Washington. The Bush administration is
trying to defame an important assessment that was produced by its
own intelligence units. Former UN representative John Bolton even
accused American intelligence units for organizing a coup against
the Bush administration. As part of US diplomatic efforts, IAEA
Ambassador Greg Shulte called me from Vienna. Ambassador Shulte
emphasized that the NEI report demonstrates the fact that Iran,
despite all of its denials, had a nuclear weapons program until four
years ago. He added that Iran still had the option to produce

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nuclear weapons while recalling that Iran resumed its uranium
enrichment program. In return, I asked about Israel's nuclear
activities because Washington's efforts are doomed to fail unless
this issue is properly addressed. Israel refuses to be a part of
the NPT and does not allow inspection of its nuclear program.
Unless this attitude is changed, we cannot expect regional countries
to listen to the US. Ambassador Shulte, refraining from direct
pronunciation of Israel by name, said that 'the US wants the Middle
East entirely free from nuclear weapons. Realistically speaking, in
order to reach that goal, the Middle East problem should be resolved
first.' I believe that the nuclear weapons issue is one of the
fundamentals of the Middle East problem and both Iran and Israel
should be pressured for the sake of Middle East peace. If the
desire to prevent nuclear proliferation in this region is sincere,
this is the key to this problem."

"Olive Branch to Iran?"
Omer Taspinar wrote in the leftist daily Taraf (12/10): "One fact
should not be missed on the Iran-NIE: The Bush administration is
not happy with the NIE report for obvious reasons, but it did not
try to hide the report from the public. This attitude calls for the
re-evaluation of prejudices about the Bush administration, and about
America in general. All of this shows that the country is ruled
with democracy and has a free press. The rulers feel accountable to
the public and press. Where do we put 'imperialism' in all of this?
Evidently, despite our anti-American sentiments from the left to
the right, democracy and imperialism are not compatible with each
other. The US, despite its setbacks, is a democratic country and
cannot be really imperialistic even if it wants to be. By making
the NIE report public, the White House's plans for a strike against
Iran have completely failed. From now on, it is almost impossible
for the Bush administration to pursue harsh policies against Iran.
President Bush is unlikely to get any support from Western allies,
except for Israel. In sum, US imperialism is the loser and
democracy is the winner. If Democrats win the next elections, we
might even expect to see Washington present an olive branch to
Tehran."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

The Turkish General Staff (TGS) will organize a symposium at their
Central Officers Club in Ankara on Tuesday on 'cutting off
ideological and economic support for the PKK.'

When the Istanbul governor did not give permission for a DTP rally,
DTP supporters, some heard chanting pro-PKK slogans, organized
illegal demonstrations in Kucukcekmece, Okmeydani and Gazi Mahallesi
districts in Istanbul.


International News

Iranian President Ahmedinejad plans to visit Turkey, but the date
has not been determined yet.

Russian media reported that their Strategic Missile Forces have
successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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