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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
MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2008

In Today's Papers

Buyukanit, Erdogan, and Baykal Visit Diyarbakir
All papers report the Chief of the Turkish General Staff (TGS),
General Yasar Buyukanit, traveled to the mainly Kurdish southeastern
city of Diyarbakir on Saturday to visit victims wounded in
Thursday's blast. The bomb attack killed five people and wounded
68. Buyukanit told the press the attack took place in one of the
busiest streets of Diyarbakir, which shows that it targeted
civilians besides soldiers.

Prime Minister Erdogan also went to Diyarbakir on Saturday. "I've
repeatedly said that the terrorist organization has never and will
never represent our citizens of Kurdish origin. Those who were
killed in this attack were our Kurdish-origin citizens and people of
this region," Erdogan told a press conference. State Minister Cemil
Cicek, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Agriculture Minister Mehdi
Eker and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul accompanied the prime minister
in Diyarbakir. Later that day, PM Erdogan told civic organizations
that the AKP government would not concede their bid for democratic
integration.

On Sunday, the leader of the main opposition CHP, Deniz Baykal, went
to the city to offer condolences to the victims' families and visit
the military personnel who were wounded in the blast. Baykal
addressed the press and emphasized that people in Turkey should live
together and preserve their identities and languages. Baykal noted
that terrorists do not hesitate to target innocent people, including
civilians and children.

Meanwhile, the four suspects detained last week in connection the
bombing in Diyarbakir have been released.

President Gul Travels to US
Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan, Hurriyet, Zaman, Cumhuriyet and others:
President Gul left for the US on Sunday and will meet with President
Bush on Tuesday. Prior to his departure, President Gul told
reporters "for the first time as the President, I will visit the US
to confirm the importance of our strategic relations and
cooperation, particularly in fight against terrorism and the
protection of regional and global security. This visit will be an
opportunity to discuss new areas of cooperation in the
relationship." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says President Gul
will have an intense schedule in the US. Gul is scheduled to meet
President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary Rice and Defense
Secretary Gates, as well as UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon.

SIPDIS
Papers report Gul will also meet with representatives of the
business world. Mainstream Vatan says that during the visit, the
first ladies of the US and Turkey will have tea together at the
White House, and they may issue a joint statement that condemns
Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

Editorial Commentary on Gul Visit to the US

Semih Idiz wrote in the mainstream daily Milliyet (1/7): "President
Gul's upcoming US visit will level up the current impetus of
Turkish-American relations which entered into a new phase following
the visit of Turkish PM Erdogan to Washington on November 2007. The
new phase is about a normalization process of Turkish-American ties
which were derailed on many aspects since 2003. On the other hand,
even since 2003 there have been many efforts to keep up with the
strategic relations. The strong statement by former Secretaries of
State, both Republican and Democrat, supporting Turkey on the
Armenian resolution in the Congress was a very significant example.
Washington's determined steps against PKK were also highly
important. The last meeting between President Bush and PM Erdogan
not only prepared a tangible ground on the fight against PKK but it
also paved the way to revival of relations in strategic partnership
spirit. President Gul is now going to continue with this current
impetus. Talks will expand to regional and global matters and will

ANKARA 00000030 002 OF 003


not be limited to PKK only. Issues of mutual concern cover a vast
geography therefore the revival of strategic partnership will serve
to everybody's interest."

Washington based Ali Aslan commented in the Islamist-leaning daily
Zaman (1/7): "The visit of President Gul to the US is going to
contribute positively to bilateral relations. Gul's presence at the
White House will have a symbolic importance. Given his status as
Turkey's number one man, Gul will be able to give a message to those
who feel opposed to him and the values he represents. During his
Washington visit, the agenda will include many important topics such
as Iraq, Middle East peace, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Balkans
and the EU process. In other words, Gul's visit will contribute to
and round out the talks PM Erdogan had with President Bush last
November. In fact, despite the positive atmosphere, we cannot yet
say that we are problem free. Even though Turkey and the US are
having similar ideas on key issues, there are still some tactical
differences that need addressing. However the most important thing
is that both Washington and Ankara are now in a good spirit that
allows them to cope with differences and have the capacity to talk
about them in a civilized manner. Turkey, fortunately, has a
leadership who is well aware of America's importance and influence
on world politics. There is no doubt that Gul's visit will be a
good contribution to our bilateral ties."

Edmonds: Nuclear Secrets Sold in Washington
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report Sibel Edmonds, a former Turkish language
translator for the FBI, told The Sunday Times
Turkish agents in Washington sold nuclear secrets to black market
buyers, including Pakistan. Edmonds said, among the hours of covert
tape recordings, she heard that one well-known senior official in
the State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington
who were selling the information to black market buyers. Edmonds
also claims a number of senior officials in the Pentagon helped
Turkish agents.

Democratic Party (DP) Convention
Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet, Vatan, Sabah, Milliyet and others: Sunday's
DP extraordinary convention resulted in the election of Istanbul
Provincial Chairman of DP Suleyman Soylu as the new leader of DP.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports the period of Mehmet Agar's leadership
is over. Mehmet Agar did not run for the chairmanship, but during
his speech at the convention he accused the military of changing the
course of politics by issuing the e-memorandum in April 2007.
Mainstream Vatan describes the political position of the DP as the
"Tragedy of the Central Right" and says that the DP fell into ruins
after its defeat in the July 22 elections.

Iran Builds a Wall against the PKK
Mainstream Sabah reports that Iran started building a wall to
prevent PKK and PJAK infiltration along its border with northern
Iraq. The wall starts from Iran's border gate Haci Umran; the first
section will be fives meter high and four kilometers long.


TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- In security operations against the terrorist organization
Hizbullah, police have detained 37 suspects in Van, 33 in Konya, ten
in Diyarbakir, two in Mersin, and one in Istanbul.

- The head of the Ankara Bar, Vedat Ahsen Cosar, says Turkey's
military judiciary should be abolished.

- Heavy snowfall has blocked access to 1,639 villages in eastern
Turkey.

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International News

- Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili won re-election over the
weekend and avoided a runoff election by a 1 percent margin.

- The Pakistani military reacted angrily to reports that President
Bush is considering covert military operations in the country's
volatile tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

- Al-Qaeda has called on its fighters to greet President. Bush with
"bombs and booby-trapped vehicles" when he visits the Middle East
this week.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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