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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2008

In Today's Papers

Ammunition and Drugs Seized from PKK Shelters in Diyarbakir and
Bingol
All papers report on the Turkish General Staff (TGS) announcement
that security forces seized 550 kg of ammonium nitrate and 200 kg of
illegal drugs from four PKK shelters in Diyarbakir and Bingol
provinces. The TGS said the drugs illustrate the role of the PKK in
regional drug trafficking.

Turkey's Ambassador to Iraq Meets Vice President Hashimi
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the
Turkish ambassador to Iraq, Derya Kanbay, met the Iraqi Vice
President Tariq al-Hashimi in Baghdad yesterday. Discussions
focused on the PKK and Turkish cross border operations into northern
Iraq. Vice President Hashimi asked Ambassador Kanbay for Turkey's
coordination with the Iraqi government before launching future cross
border attacks. According to papers, Ambassador Kanbay said Turkey
has been acting carefully not to harm civilians.

Baykal: 2008 will be a Year of Constitutional Crisis
Deniz Baykal, leader of the opposition CHP, told leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet "2008 will be a year of constitutional crisis in Turkey,"
referring to government plans to overhaul the constitution. Baykal
claimed the AKP's draft of a new constitution would "deteriorate the
unitary state structure, secularism, and judicial independence." He
added, "For the first time in Turkey, someone who has struggled
against the values of the Republic of Turkey occupies the
presidential post. With the new constitution, they want to change
the course of Turkey. The debate over the constitution is not an
ordinary one; it's an effort to radically change the state
structure," Baykal emphasized.

Every Year, 50,000 Illegal Immigrants Transit through Turkey to
Europe
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports on its front page that in
2007, approximately 50,000 illegal immigrants were detained in
Turkey. The illegal immigrants were passing through Turkey on their
way to Europe, according to data released by the Turkish military.
Over the past ten years, the number of illegal immigrants
apprehended in Turkey reached 129,792. Iraqis top the list of
migrants with 5,065, followed by 5,050 Palestinians, and 1,668
Mauritanians. According to the report, migrants pay $500-$1,500 to
human smugglers for passage. Over the past twelve years, human
trafficking in Turkey has become a $2 billion business.

Editorial Commentary on Turkish Foreign Policy in 2008
Sami Kohen observed in mainstream Milliyet (1/2): "All signs
indicate that Turkey will continue to engage in active foreign
policy initiatives during 2008. 2008 inherits many problems from
2007; let us evaluate some of these inherited problems. It is
obvious that Turkey's cross-border operations will continue into
northern Iraq until the PKK presence there is destroyed. So far,
the international community has supported these operations, but only
because the aim and extent of the operations has remained limited.
Thus, Turkey should be careful not to expand cross border operations
to the point where the international community withdraws its
support. Next, Turkey must pay attention to developments in
northern Iraq. Turkey should carefully consider its relations with
the Barzani Administration and with the Iraqi central government,
remembering that the Kirkuk issue will play a major role in
bilateral relations. During the first half of 2007, relations with
the US deteriorated, but relations improved immensely after the
Bush-Erdogan meeting in November. The bilateral strategic
partnership against the PKK will continue. It is unlikely that this
new approach will change, even after the US presidential elections
in November. Next, Turkey needs to work with France in order to
change Sarkozy's opinion about Turkey's EU membership. Concerning
Cyprus, Turkey may discover new opportunities after the elections in
February. Greek PM Karamanlis' visit to Turkey at the beginning of

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2008 will be a turning point for bilateral relations. While Iran
and Turkey are willing to continue their energy cooperation,
possible sanctions against Iran may affect bilateral relations
negatively. Despite the new energy rivalry that has developed
between the two countries, Turkey and Russia have worked for several
years to strengthen their political and economic partnership. In
summary, the success of Turkey's foreign policy in 2008 depends on
its ability to take advantage of the opportunities without sinking
into the problems."

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- In Turkey, the value added tax (VAT) for food was reduced from 18
to 8 percent as of January 1.

- The Turkish General Staff (TGS) said two Greek coastal security
boats and 13 fishing boats violated Turkish territorial waters on
Monday.

- The Turkish Parliament is expected in the coming weeks to approve
new smoking restrictions in public places such as bars and
restaurants. Steep fines await smokers who defy the tough new
restrictions.

- Turkey's population will exceed 100 million in 2050.

International News

- Pakistan's Election Commission will announce Wednesday whether the
January 8 parliamentary elections should be delayed because of
violence sparked by last week's assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

- Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reports Israeli security officials
said they have intelligence indicating al-Qaeda cells infiltrated
Turkey and plan to target Israeli and US interests.

- Slovenia has taken over the rotating EU term presidency.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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