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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2008

In Today's Papers

Gul Continues Talks in the US
All papers continue coverage of President Abdullah Gul's first visit
to the US as president. A senior American official who was not
identified told the Turkish press after the Bush-Gul meeting that
military measures alone were not sufficient and a comprehensive
solution was needed to resolve the PKK question. "Bush and Gul did
not get into the specifics of either amnesty or a comprehensive
solution," the official noted. The official said the US encouraged
Turkey to seek dialogue with the Iraqi Kurds with an eye to work out
a long-term settlement. Papers note that Gul, in contrast, told a
gathering at Woodrow Wilson Center that a "political settlement" was
not discussed in his talks in the White House. "The PKK camps in
northern Iraq are used to stage attacks in Turkey. Do you think
that in the US a political solution is possible to the al-Qaeda
problem?" Gul said in response to a question at Wilson Center. Gul
stressed the ways for seeking a political settlement to the PKK
problem were not raised in his recent or earlier meetings with
American officials, adding Turkey would never discuss political
solutions to the PKK issue. On the other hand, mainstream Vatan and
Islamist-oriented Zaman say a "political settlement" was not
discussed in the Bush-Gul meeting, however, the sides discussed
plans for economic and social reform in the southeast. Mainstream
Hurriyet reports US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson denied the
"political solution" matter was discussed between Bush and Gul,
saying "We don't conduct such talks with Turkey."

In a meeting with Turkish and American businessmen in Washington,
Gul called for investments in east and southeast Turkey. Gul also
had talks with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and US Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The Turkish
President met later in the day with UNSYG Ban Ki-moon in New York to
discuss Cyprus.

Hurriyet, Radikal and Yeni Safak also report that American interest
for energy investment opportunities in Turkey is growing.
Mentioning Turkish Energy Minister's meeting with American energy
firms, papers cite energy as the new fundamental aspect for future
US investment in Turkey.


Editorial Commentary on Turkey's Kurdish Problem, Turkey-US Ties
Okay Gonensin opined in mainstream Vatan (1/10): "The talk about a
comprehensive solution to the Kurdish problem indicates that the US
Administration intends to meddle with our internal problems.
Evidently, solving the Kurdish problem in Turkey has become an
important issue for the US, particularly because of its role in
northern Iraq. It is true that Turkey and the northern Iraqi
administration will be able to interact and cooperate effectively
once the PKK issue is left behind. On the other hand, Turkey should
be able to consider its own Kurdish problem as a political and
social problem and exert its own efforts to find a solution. Such
efforts will improve Turkey's relations with the northern Iraqi
administration. Turkey stands at a point where it should think
about its own comprehensive solution. There is no need to hear this
from others concerning this issue."

Soli Ozel wrote in mainstream Sabah (1/10): "If we look at Turkey as
the center of the world, we overlook the dynamics in our region.
Ignoring and underestimating external factors makes us blind to our
own weaknesses. If Turkey fails to establish a reasonable
relationship with the Iraqi Kurds, it will be because of Turkey's
own internal political balances. However, the Gul visit to the US
was successful, especially because energy cooperation seems to be
the major component of bilateral relations in the period ahead.
Given the current situation in Iraq, it comes as no surprise that
the US wants to improve relations with Turkey. It is very
understandable for Washington to put effort into enhancing its ties
with Turkey because Turkey is the region's only Muslim, secular,

ANKARA 00000054 002 OF 003


capitalist and democratic country. Turkey should be able to observe
regional and international developments free from domestically-fed
fears."

Al-Qaeda Suspects Arrested in Van
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report that six of of the 38 al-Qaeda linked suspects detained last
week in Van have been formerly arrested. Police launched an
operation in Van in the face of the Turkish Hizbullah's efforts to
regroup and searched some 40 homes and offices last week.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says Ibrahim Sari, the leader of
those arrested, was captured in Afghanistan by US forces in 2001.
Sari was kept in Guantanamo Bay prison until 2003 before he was
handed over to Turkey and later released. Cumhuriyet claims a
police report submitted to the last National Security Council (MGK)
had warned that the Hizbullah terror organization was working to
restructure itself in southeast Turkey. The report says Hizbullah
changed tactics, trying to restructure through legal organizations
such as "Mustazaf-Der" and "Inzar" magazine. They extended help to
5,000 families during Sacrifice Feast in 2006, and 3,000 families in
2007, according to the report.

Iran Resumes Natural Gas Supply to Turkey
All papers report that regular natural gas shipments from Iran to
Turkey will resume next week, possibly Monday. Iran had said
earlier this week that tough winter conditions in Iran caused a
decrease in gas shipments to Turkey which also prompted a cease in
gas shipments to Greece via Turkey. The Iranian Petroleum Ministry
said Iran will gradually increase supply of natural gas to Turkey.
Meanwhile, Russia's Gazprom has increased the amount of natural gas
sent to Turkey and Greece via the Blue Stream gas pipeline.

Anti-Americanism Dropped to 89% in Turkey
Sabah and Aksam report that following the recent US-Turkey
cooperation, anti -Americanism dropped from 96% to 89%. The
chairman of the Turkey-US caucus in parliament, AKP Antalya Deputy
Mevlut Cavusoglu, told the visiting US Senators that 'according to
an un-named polling company, positive sentiments against the US in
Turkey increased from 4% to 9% following the increased intelligence
sharing against the PKK'. Separately, the MP noted "378 deputies
became members of the Turkey-US caucus in the parliament; 304 from
AKP, 41 from MHP, 18 from CHP and two from DTP."

Prominent Alevi Organizations Reject to Attend Iftar Dinner
Organized by the Ruling AKP
Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Taraf, Star, Vatan: Papers report that Alevi
Studies Center President Ali Yildirim said that those who attend the
Alevi Iftar dinner organized by AKP deputy Reha Camuroglu would be
defamed, in other words, alienated from Alevi society. Reportedly,
12 prominent senior Alevi figures will meet today and hold a press
conference. They are expected to highlight the fact that this month
is a month of mourning for Alevis and those who plan to attend the
dinner will be warned for the last time.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Turkish commando teams have been deployed to strategic points in
Gabar, Cudi, Kato Mountains and Bestler Valley area.

- Constitutional Court has given Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP one
extra month to submit its defense in the lawsuit for the closure of
the party.

- The Prime Ministry affiliated Directorate for Human Rights will
release a report on Turkey's human rights record in 2007.

International News

ANKARA 00000054 003 OF 003

- President Bush has arrived in Israel at the start of a regional
tour to help push forward the Middle East peace process.

- Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire,
edging out fellow Senator Barack Obama. Arizona Senator John McCain
is now the leader of the Republicans after winning in New Hampshire.


- The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected Greek
Cypriot objections to a decision to pass property disagreements to a
Turkish Cypriot commission formed to help settle property disputes.


MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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