Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2007
In Today's Papers
TGS Details Military Operations into Northern Iraq
All papers report that Turkey's military General Staff (TGS) said
Tuesday that between 150 and 175 PKK militants were killed in the
first Turkish air assault on December 16, which targeted terrorists
camps in northern Iraq. TGS said "more than 200 targets were hit,
including three command centers, two communications centers, two
training camps, 182 living quarters, and 14 arms caches." The TGS
said many wounded PKK members went to hospitals in northern Iraqi
cities after the air strikes. The TGS emphasized that the targets
were PKK installations and not civilians. The military statement
said it would continue attacks on the PKK targets in northern Iraq.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that four Turkish F-16
fighter jets bombed PKK targets in the Zap region of northern Iraq
early Tuesday. Colonel Hussein Tamar, a Peshmerge commander in the
province of Dohuk, was quoted yesterday as saying that "Turkish
warplanes bombed villages near the border with Turkey, but that no
one was hurt because the area was evacuated earlier this month."
At a party meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Erdogan emphasized that
the military operations targeted the PKK and civilians were not
harmed. Erdogan noted that Turkey was exercising its right to
defend itself "within the framework of international law."
Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal told his party that operations in
northern Iraq should continue until the PKK is eliminated. Baykal
criticized the ruling AKP for planning an amnesty law, saying it was
"too early." The far right MHP leader Devlet Bahceli followed suit,
saying the alleged government plan would mean "political amnesty"
for the terror organization.
Pro-Kurdish DTP to Form 'Human Chains' on Iraq Border
Mainstream Sabah reports Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP will begin
"civilian actions" that call for an end to Turkish military
operations into northern Iraq. The DTP will reportedly form "human
chains" on the border with Iraq, and has invited both the families
of the PKK victims and the families of security personnel killed by
the PKK to join the demonstration. Meanwhile, DTP MP Osman Ozcelik
said his party was ready to support a recent proposal from Jalal
Talabani, who said the PKK was ready to lay down its arms if a
"comprehensive amnesty" was approved by the Turkish government.
Meanwhile, DTP MP Fatma Kurtulan told liberal Radikal there were
other politicians in the parliament like her who have relatives in
the mountains. Kurtulan caused a heated controversy when it was
learned that her husband was a PKK fighter. She claimed one of the
AKP cabinet ministers had a cousin who died fighting for the PKK,
and that another AKP lawmaker's brother had also died in a clash
with the security forces. "I am a product of the Kurdish problem,"
Kurtulan said, emphasizing her family was just one of the families
devastated by the controversies over the Kurdish issue. Kurtulan
stressed that problems should be resolved in the parliament.
Papers also report a prosecutor has demanded a three-year prison
sentence for DTP deputy Aysel Tugluk for "making PKK propaganda" at
a DTP convention in the southeastern city of Batman last year.
President Gul to Meet President Bush Early January
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report President Abdullah Gul will pay an official visit to the
United States from January 6-9 at the invitation of President Bush.
At a meeting at the White House on January 8, the two leaders will
discuss the ongoing cooperation against the PKK, Iraq, the Armenian
genocide resolution in the US Congress, the presidential elections
in Lebanon, Iran's nuclear program, and energy cooperation between
Ankara and Washington, according to papers.
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PKK Member Captured with A-4 Explosives in Istanbul
All papers report Sahabettin Demir, a PKK terrorist who was
preparing to carry out a bomb attack on Istanbul subway, was
captured with 3.5 kg of A-4 explosives in Istanbul on Monday. The
police are pursuing a second suicide bomber who is allegedly
preparing to launch an attack in the city. Papers claim the
bombers, trained in the PKK camps in the Kandil Mountains, were
planning to carry out attacks in retaliation for Turkish air strikes
in northern Iraq. Mainstream Milliyet says the terrorist captured
by the police in Istanbul is one of the 800 PKK bombers trained for
attacks in Turkish cities.
Meanwhile, papers report that since December 9, 47 cars have been
set on fire in different cities around Turkey, with the majority of
incidents occurring in Istanbul. The Istanbul police have indicated
that the arsonists might be Kurdish young men protesting the Turkish
air attacks on northern Iraq.
- A percussion bomb placed in a trash can went off Tuesday evening
in Istanbul's Kucukcekmece district, injuring seven people.
- Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said changes in article 301 of
the penal code will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for
approval within 15 days.
- A Turkish military court has rejected the objections to the arrest
of the pro-Kurdish DTP leader Nurettin Demirtas, who faces trial
together with 183 other suspects for using falsified health reports
to avoid military service. The prosecutor also demands a 10-year
prison sentence for Demirtas for his alleged membership in a terror
- The Turkish General Staff (TGS) said in a statement Tuesday that
five PKK terrorists, including two women, were killed in security
operations on Kupeli Mountain, which is in the southeastern province
- Prime Minister Erdogan talked to Russian President Putin on the
phone so the two leaders could congratulate each other, wish each
other a Happy New Year, and exchange views regarding
- Northern Cyprus and the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
have signed a new agreement to clear mined areas in the north.
- Two suicide bombings targeting US-backed neighborhood patrols
killed 33 people in northern Baghdad, where the US military says
al-Qaeda militants are regrouping.
- After his allies won the recent election, ousted Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra said he will return to Thailand as early as
February as a "normal citizen," and will stay out of politics.