Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
DE RUEHAK #0062/01 0111529
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111529Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4906
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8605
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3731
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2596
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6350
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6175
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2758
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000062
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
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2008
In Today's Papers
President Gul Continues Talks in the US
All papers report President Abdullah Gul met with UNSYG Ban Ki-Moon
in New York in order to lobby for a new Cyprus initiative in 2008.
Gul stressed the Turkish Cypriots will continue to back efforts for
a UN-sponsored settlement. Ki-Moon said he wanted to wait for the
presidential elections in south Cyprus before launching new
intitiatives. Turkish papers believe hopes for a settlement will
fade away if Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos wins another
term in office. Gul and Ban also discussed the situation in the
northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, with Gul urging the UN to
"facilitate" efforts to grant the oil-rich city a special status.
In New York on Thursday, Gul met international investors at the St.
Regis Hotel to discuss Turkey's privatization, EU accession, and
social security reform. Gul stressed the reform process in Turkey
would continue. He later met with Henry Kissinger for 45 minutes.
The meeting was closed to press.
On Thursday evening, Gul was interviewed on CNN-International where
he said Turkish military operations into northern Iraq would
continue as long as the PKK used the region as a safe haven. He
suggested there should be a timetable for withdrawal of US troops
from Iraq and that diplomatic efforts with Iran be doubled.
Erdogan Unveils Government Action Plan
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan Thursday announced the AKP
government's "Action Plan." Erdogan said the goal of the program
was to complete the "social restoration process" in Turkey. Liberal
Radikal says the new plan was not a concrete action plan but
"wishful thinking." Islamist-oriented Zaman says the plan's
priorities will create new jobs, promote democratization, initiate a
new constitution, and support EU accession. According to the plan,
state incentives for farmers will end, the Southeastern Anatolia
Project (GAP) will be completed in four or five years, and new
universities will be established in nine provinces. Erdogan noted
the state will no longer extend direct subsidies; rather state
support will be based on production. He also announced the
headquarters of Central Bank and the state-owned Ziraatbank,
Halkbank, and Vakifbank will be moved to Istanbul. Erdogan also
stressed privatization sales will continue, tax legislation will be
simplified, and the floating exchange rate regime will remain in
He said at least 10 more diplomatic missions are to be opened in
African countries. The PM also noted the draft constitution would
be made public in a few weeks.
Bomb Attack in Diyarbakir Divides the PKK
Vatan, Milliyet, Sabah, Zaman, Cumhuriyet and others: Mainstream
Milliyet speculates that the Diyarbakir attack divided the PKK. The
executive council presidency of the PKK issued a statement saying
"the issue concerning the Diyarbakir attack is complicated."
Meanwhile, the military council of the PKK called the Diyarbakir
unit of the organization back to northern Iraq. The bombing in
Diyarbakir revealed the internal unrest in the terrorist
organization. Vatan reports that the January 3 bombing led
residents of the city, who have been afraid to voice reactions to
PKK terror for years, to begin to criticize the PKK. Even the
mainly Kurdish party DTP reacted to the bomb attack harshly.
Meanwhile, a group of 200 NGO representatives held a 'silent march'
in Diyarbakir yesterday under the leadership of the local Bar
Association to condemn the January 3 attack in Diyarbakir.
Controversial Alevi Dinner
All papers report that the controversy surrounding an Alevi Iftar
dinner organized by an AKP parliamentarian is growing. None of the
prominent Alevi organizations are supporting this Iftar dinner. The
spokesman of the Alevi Associations Federation Metin Tarhan issued a
ANKARA 00000062 002 OF 003
written statement saying that there are 279 Alevi organizations in
Turkey and that only eight of them will attend the Iftar.
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports that PM Erdogan and 14 of his
Ministers will attend the dinner at Ankara's Bilkent Hotel tonight.
During his opening remarks, the PM is expected to comment on the
problems faced by Alevis. Mainstream Sabah says the dinner caused
disagreements among Alevis and Alevi leaders have threatened to
excommunicate those who attend the dinner. Liberal Radikal reports
that the senior Alevi leaders are objecting to the dinner by saying
'the goal of the dinner is to weaken the secular, republican,
non-racist and non-fundamentalist stance of Alevis.'
EDITORIAL OPINION: US-Turkey
"Political Solution; What Is That?"
Fehmi Koru opined in Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak (1/11):
"Ambassador Wilson's statement that 'Turkish and American leaders
did not discuss a political solution to the PKK' is very important.
Ambassador Wilson is aware of sensitivities in Turkey and the
differences in jargons, so he decided to conclude this controversy
with his comment. However, statements by other US officials
confused the situation. Both Dana Perino and an unnamed White House
official talked about a long-term solution which includes a
political solution. The fact of the matter is that the fight
against terrorism is very complicated. In addition to military
measures, Turkey has to take economic, social and political steps
for the sake of its security, welfare and safety. Economic and
social measures always pave the way for talks about political
changes. In America, such steps can be considered part of a
political solution but Turkey views the term "political solution" as
sharp-edged. Turkey is going through a period of learning how to
solve its own problems as it gets rids of terrorism."
"Political Solution: No Room for Optimism"
Cengiz Candar wrote in business and political daily Referans (1/11):
"Evidently the US is looking for a political solution to Turkey's
Kurdish problem. In this context, Washington prefers to see Turkey
engage in dialogue and cooperation with the Iraqi Kurdish
leadership. Turkish President Gul categorically denied the stories
he and Bush discussed a 'political solution' to the PKK because he
was afraid it would come back to haunt him in domestic politics. In
fact, what is wrong with discussing a political solution to the
Kurdish issue at the White House? Some circles, rather
optimistically, are waiting to see political steps taken by
President Gul and PM Erdogan, because they believe that current
Turkish leadership will act realistically. I can speak for myself
because I will not join the circle of optimism. I do not see any
serious indication of the Turkish leadership's preparation for a
comprehensive solution. The traditional approach treats this
problem with economic development. Unless we treat the Kurdish
problem as an identity issue and unless we take action with
strategic vision as well as political decisiveness, there is no room
NTV, 7.00 A.M.
- Erdal Polat, the suspect captured in connection with the January 3
bomb attack in Diyarbakir, was charged with PKK membership in 2002,
but soon thereafter was set free due to insufficient evidence.
- Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will
participate in the First Alliance of Civilizations Forum in Madrid
from January 13-16.
- Turkey's radio and television watchdog RTUK is expected approve
the sale of ATV-Sabah media group to Calik Group. On December 5,
ANKARA 00000062 003 OF 003
ATV-Sabah was sold for USD 1.1 billion in an auction at which Calik
Group was the sole bidder.
- The PKK-linked Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) has been designated
as terrorist organization by the US.
- The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday Turkey
violated the rights of nine Greek Cypriots who went missing when
detained by the Turkish military during the Turkish invasion of
northern Cyprus in 1974.
- President Bush said in Ramallah he believes there will be a peace
treaty between Israel and Palestine by the time he leaves office.