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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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, JANUARY 23, 2008


ANKARA 00000126 001.2 OF 002


In Today's Papers

33 Nationalists Detained for Weapons, Assassination Plots
All papers give extensive front page coverage to the operations
carried out yesterday in three provinces to capture members of an
illegal organization code-named "Ergenekon." The operations began
with the discovery of army grenades eight months ago in a house in
the Umraniye district of Istanbul. Mainstream Sabah reports that
the offices of the nationalist associations 'Kuvayi Milliye' and
'Mudafaai Hukuk' were raided during the operations. Retired General
Veli Kucuk, journalist Guler Komurcu, ultra-nationalist lawyer Kemal
Kerincsiz and retired Colonel Fikri Karadag are among the 33 people
taken into custody. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak notes that the
operation was a turning point in the fight against illegal networks.
Sabah and Hurriyet report that the Istanbul chief prosecutor
reminded the media that press reports related to the issue have been
suspended. Following this decision, no further details about the
accusations against the suspects were released. Papers also report
that two days ago Istanbul police Chief Celalettin Cerrah met with
PM Erdogan in Ankara. They further speculate that after the
meeting, Erdogan authorized the operations. Sabah says that the
Ergenekon network was linked to a number of big attacks, including
the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, three bomb attacks
against Cumhuriyet daily, the murder of an Italian priest in Trabzon
and the Danistay killings.

PM Erdogan and US Ambassador Wilson Discussed Terror
Sabah reports that PM Erdogan and Ambassador Wilson met late on
Monday night to discuss the fight against terror. Reports say the
Ambassador requested an appointment from the PM before going to the
US for a high-level defense group meeting and that the PM had to
cancel an AKP administrative meeting in order to see the Ambassador.
Yesterday, Erdogan told journalists that terror was discussed at
the meeting. Ambassador Wilson told the Anatolian News Agency
yesterday that he wanted to hear the Prime Minister's opinion on
bilateral issues before going to the US next week.

Davos Survey
All papers report that a survey prepared for the Davos World
Economic Forum meetings concluded Turks are more pessimistic than
Iranians regarding the Muslim-West dialogue, and that 13% of Turks
support al Qaeda. Mainstream Hurriyet reports that "according to a
global poll conducted before Davos, the Islamic World and the West
do not understand each other." Yeni Safak says that PM Erdogan will
not attend the Davos World Economic Forum because the summit is
taking place in the shadow of crisis as Muslims are not being shown
respect. Other papers report that, according to statements made by
the PM's office, Erdogan cancelled his plans to attend Davos due to
a number of important internal developments and a heavy schedule.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Turkish Foreign Policy

"The Derailing of Turkish Foreign Policy"
Cengiz Candar commented in business and political daily Referans
(1/23): "It was comforting and nice to hear when President Gul
declared 2008 as 'the EU year for Turkey.' However, we should look
at the deeds following the words. In that regard, Turkish foreign
policy, at least so far this year, is far from focused on EU goals.
It appears that 2008 is destined to be anything but the EU year.
President Gul went to the US, but right after that he rushed to
Syria and Egypt. In Syria, he stood side by side with former
Lebanese president Lahoud, whom he called "the Syrian puppet" and
who has been linked to the assassination of Hariri. Shortly after
that visit, the Presidential Palace was opened for the Sudanese
president, who is known as a military dictator and a champion of
Islamist Sharia law. He is also accused of genocide. How can
Turkey make 2008 a year of the EU under such foreign policy

ANKARA 00000126 002.2 OF 002


preferences? Given the current vision, it is almost impossible to
expect any step for democratization and freedom of expression.
Evidently Turkish foreign policy has been derailed."

"Sharing Intelligence with Israel!"
Hakan Albayrak argued in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak (1/23): "It
is very interesting to see that the Turkish leaders, including
President Gul, exert every effort at international forums to defend
the rights of Palestinian people. Given its power and influence,
Turkey should be able to act in a more robust manner on this issue,
even at the Annapolis Conference. At the very least, Turkey should
cancel the defense cooperation agreement with Israel. Meanwhile,
wire services report that Israeli Defense Minister Barak will visit
Turkey at the invitation of Turkey's Defense Minister Gonul.
Reports say that Barak, who has been called the 'Minister for
Attacks,' and Gonul will discuss bilateral cooperation and regional
security. I cannot help but ask some questions to the AKP
government as well as the Turkish General Staff. Israel represents
an evil regime which holds the primary responsibility for the
insecurity in this region. What are we going to talk with them
about? Defense cooperation with Israel reverberates as something
shameful. How long should we bare this shame? There is also talk
about sharing intelligence with Israel. What is that supposed to
mean? If Israel provides intelligence about the PKK, what are we
going to provide in return? Are we going to inform against Hamas or
Lebanese Hizbullah? There is no rationale for Turkey to become so
involved with Israel."

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Istanbul Mayor Toptan said Istanbul has a huge population and
cannot accept any new migrants.

- The bird flu virus was found in Saz village in the Black Sea
province of Zonguldak.

- MHP leader Bahceli said the headscarf issue should be solved in
parliament.

- The "You-Tube" internet site has been banned since Friday in
Turkey by a court in Sivas.


International News

- PKK supporters staged protests yesterday in front of the Council
of Europe while the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
elected a new Turkish member of the European Court of Human Rights.

- Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad said "life in Gaza has become
completely unbearable."

- Kosovo's PM Hashim Thaci meets top EU and NATO officials this
week to secure a timetable for the province's independence from
Serbia.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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