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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
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RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000873

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
TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2008


In Today's Papers

The AKP's Roadmap Is To Continue Their Mission
Radikal, Turkiye, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Vatan, Cumhuriyet,
Zaman and others: Liberal Radikal gives a front-page coverage to PM
Erdogan's remarks at a dinner sponsored by TESEV, a foundation for
economic and social research. Prominent journalists who attended
the dinner included Ergun Babahan, Mehmet Barlas, Taha Akyol, Hasan
Cemal, and Cengis Candar. According to speculation in the press, PM
Erdogan indicated at the dinner the AKP will "continue the mission,"
even if they are banned by the Constitutional Court. Mainstream
Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila lists AKP politicians that could take
over the duties in the party if Erdogan is banned from politics.
These names include Ali Babacan, Mehmet Ali Sahin and Cemil Cicek
because none of these names are listed in the chief prosecutor's
indictment. Mainstream Vatan reports that AKP plans to hold early
elections if Erdogan is banned from politics. Columnist Bilal Cetin
of mainstream Vatan writes, "The AKP will adjust its roadmap based
on the court's decision on whether or not to ban them." Murat
Yetkin of liberal Radikal notes, "regardless of what Erdogan does or
does not do, the mission of the AKP will continue through a new
party if the AKP is banned." Okay Gonensin of mainstream Vatan
writes, "The AKP will not amend the constitution to prevent closure,
but Erdogan could run as an Independent and thus become the first
Independent PM." The press indicates the bottom line is that if AKP
is banned, they will create a new party in order to continue their
mission.

Meanwhile, PM Erdogan attended a ceremony in Ankara yesterday on the
occasion of Foundations Week and said, "Turkish society
traditionally has the feeling of solidarity in times of crisis," and
expressed his wish that "Turkey will not go through such periods
again." He added, "The economy, the state and society have
developed in a very concrete way. Because of cooperation, many
problems were resolved. However, Turkey deserves more democracy,
justice, production and development."

Wounded PKK is Angry with Barzani; PJAK Threatens U.S. Interests in
Turkey
Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan, Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet and others: Mainstream
Milliyet reports that the PKK terrorist organization suffered heavy
losses during Turkish military operations last week in northern
Iraq. Reportedly, the PKK is angry with Kurdish Regional Government
(KRG) President Massoud Barzani for remaining silent and not
criticizing the Turkish air strikes. Sabah and Milliyet report that
the operations against the PKK continue in Sirnak's Bestler -Dereler
region. Operations intensified yesterday following the discovery of
a group of terrorists' movement in the region. The Turkish General
Staff (TGS) web site reported that two terrorists were killed while
trying to cross the border.
Meanwhile, Mainstream Hurriyet carried an AP article yesterday on
its website indicating PJAK threats against U.S. targets in Turkey.
Under the headline, "The U.S. Sold Us Out," Peritan Derseem, a
senior official with the PKK's Iranian wing, PEJAK, is quoted as
saying, "We have changed our stance toward the United States
government and we are standing against them now," and "Maybe some
day individual combatants might launch suicide attacks inside Iraq
and Turkey, and even against American interests."

EDITORIAL OPINION: U.S. Help In The Fight Against The PKK

"Body Bag Deliveries"
Enis Berberoglu wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (5/6): "There have been
rumors and expectations about PKK leadership being extradited from
northern Iraq to Turkey. Current events, however, indicate that the
U.S. does not want PKK leadership to be caught alive. Last year
when PKK leader Murat Karayilan went to a hospital in Erbil for
treatment, the U.S. shared this intelligence with Turkey. However
later on, the U.S. blocked Karayilan's capture at the hospital. Now
a year later, it seems the U.S. has revised its attitude. When

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Karayilan held a meeting at Kandil Mountain last week, the U.S.
instantly informed Ankara, and air operations ensued. Thus, the U.S.
no longer keeps its intelligence reports regarding PKK to itself; on
the contrary it shares them with Turkey immediately. It looks like
the U.S. is prepared to deliver to Turkey PKK leaders packaged in
body bags. Both PKK and PJAK are having a hard time realizing this
and acknowledging the fact that the U.S. has made a clear choice
between Turkey and the PKK. The U.S. is on Turkey's side."

"The PKK Is Alienated"
Mainstream Milliyet's carried this group analysis from its regional
reporters (5/6): "In its fight against PKK, Ankara has support from
Washington and Baghdad. In addition, there is support from Tehran,
who deals with the PJAK threat. Now Ankara hopes to complete this
support chain with the Kurdish Regional Government of northern Iraq
(KRG). The KRG kept silent when the Turkish army launched an air
attack in the Kandil Mountain area last week. Then, over the
weekend, KRG President Massoud Barzani, who used to strongly oppose
cross-border operations, changed his rhetoric. On Saturday, Barzani
asked the PKK to abandon violence and begin a dialogue with Turkey.
The obvious switch in KRG's position created uneasiness within the
PKK. PKK figures are now complaining about both Turkey and the KRG.
The statements from the PKK also complain about the
intelligence-sharing mechanism between Turkey and the U.S., and
about the cooperation against PJAK between Turkey, Iraq and Iran.
There was speculation about the U.S. giving support to PJAK in its
efforts against the government of Iran. However, it seems the U.S.
does not care for PJAK any longer."


DTP Delegation to Meet with Talabani
All papers report a DTP delegation comprised of Ahmet Turk, Sebahat
Tuncel, and Kamuran Yuksek will go to Iraq today to request Iraqi
President Jalal Talabani's support against the Turkish military
operations in the north. Papers also report that DTP deputies
Gulten Kisanak, Aysel Tugluk and Akin Birdal paid a condolence visit
to a Diyarbakir family of a PKK terrorist who was killed in the
Turkish air operations in northern Iraq.

Trade Unions Will File Complaints over May Day Incidents
All major news outlets report leaders of several trade unions
yesterday held a joint press conference to announce that they would
seek legal remedies in the face of incidents that occurred on May
Day. Liberal Radikal writes in, "Next Year Another Taksim" that,
"Union leaders are determined to hold May Day celebrations in Taksim
next year." Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet and other papers
report Suleyman Celebi, the secretary-general of the Confederation
of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DISK), Mustafa Turker, the
secretary-general of the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions
(Turk-Is) and Ismail Hakki Tombul, the head of the Confederation of
Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), issued a joint statement which
noted, "The ruling AKP, the governor of Istanbul and the Istanbul
police chief violated citizens' rights to life and freedom of speech
and the rights to hold demonstrations and rallies." They also
added, "The government does not accept that the police used
disproportionate force and treated the demonstrators harshly.
However, the concept of the proportionate use of force is a legal
term, which is clearly defined in the rulings of the European Court
of Human Rights."


EU Troika Meeting Takes Place in Ankara Today
All news outlets report on today's meeting between Turkish Foreign
Minister Ali Babacan and representatives of the EU. In addition to
FM Babacan, NTV reports the participants will include Slovenian
Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, French State Minister for European
Affairs Jean Pierre Jouyet, and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli
Rehn. Mainstream Sabah writes, "The focus of the meeting will be on
the closure case against the AKP, the events on May Day, and union
rights." In addition, mainstream Hurriyet notes, "EU members will

ANKARA 00000873 003 OF 003


urge Turkey to continue its reforms, Babacan will brief the Troika
on Turkey's progress in its reforms," and finally, "Cyprus, Iraq,
and Iran will come to the agenda." Melih Asik of mainstream
Milliyet writes, "This meeting is not going to defend democracy, but
will be the EU's effort to save the AKP." Columnist Muharrem
Sarikaya of Sabah writes, "The EU is now preoccupied with security
and gas," so "issues concerning the Nabucco pipeline will be
discussed at the meeting."

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

Ankara's 11th Penal Court of Peace banned access to YouTube due to
videos insulting Ataturk.

On May 7 CHP will submit to parliament a censure motion against PM
Erdogan in connection with police brutality in May Day protests.

FM Babacan says close dialogue with the administration of Iraq and
northern Iraq will continue.

Smoking in public offices and education, commercial, social and
cultural facilities will be banned as of May 19, 2008.

20 people were injured in Istanbul yesterday when a municipality bus
rammed into a tree after its brakes failed.


International News

The new Turkish judge of the European Court of Human Rights, Prof.
Dr. Isil Karakas, was sworn in and took office on Monday.

The death toll from the Myanmar cyclone has reached to more than
10.000 people.

A survey conducted in Southern Cyprus shows that most Greek Cypriots
are more willing to accept compensations for the loss of their
assets in northern Cyprus than reunite the divided island.

WILSON

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