Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2008
In Today's Papers
Nationalist KanalTurk TV Bought Out By Pro-Government Media Group
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report Turkish stationary manufacturer, Koza Group, bought a 99.99
percent stake in KanalTurk Television. KanalTurk, a small private
television channel, was Turkey's fiercest anti-AKP broadcaster. The
nationalist-leaning channel was the media sponsor of the
secular-Kemalist Republic Rallies held in 2007 to protest Abdullah
Gul's presidential candidacy. Koza Group Chair Akin Ipek owns the
pro-AKP, conservative-nationalist Bugun daily. Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet claims Ipek is controversial sect leader Fettullah
Gulen's "Number 2." The value of the transaction has not been
disclosed, but Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak estimates the price at
around $60 million. The paper expects KanalTurk owner Tuncay Ozkan
will establish a new television channel.
Papers: PKK Leader Bayik Hides in Iran
Mainstream Sabah reports Turkey's Ambassador to Tehran, Selim
Karaosmanoglu, asked the Iranian Foreign Ministry if Iran has any
knowledge concerning the whereabouts of the fugitive PKK leader
Cemil Bayik. According to Turkish intelligence reports, Bayik fled
to Iran after he escaped the latest Turkish air strikes against PKK
positions on Mt. Kandil. Iranian officials said they had no
information Bayik was in Iran, and emphasized Iran saw the PKK as
"terrorist group." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "The
U.S. told Ankara Bayik is hiding in the city of Sakiz in Iran,"
because, "The U.S. was aware that Bayik went to Iran." In addition,
the paper argues, "Bayik has good ties with Tehran. Washington
expects Turkey to ask for the extradition of Bayik, but Tehran will
reject the demand. Washington, in this way, aims to disrupt the
strategic cooperation between Iran and Turkey. In 2002, Tehran
turned down Turkey's extradition request for Bayik, who was hiding
in Iran at that time," says Cumhuriyet.
Turkey's Iraq Envoy Will Visit Baghdad Today
Mainstream Sabah reports Turkey's Special Envoy to Iraq Ambassador
Murat Ozcelik will travel to Baghdad on Tuesday. Ozcelik, who met
with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) PM Nechirvan Barzani in
Baghdad last week, is not expected to visit northern Iraq.
Discussions will include the strategic dialogue mechanism between
the two countries and the controversial referendum on the oil-rich
city of Kirkuk. Ozcelik will also hold talks with the Iraqi
Turkmen, reports Sabah.
Editorial Commentary on Countering PKK Terrorism
"In Order to Continue the Positive Process..."
Hasan Cemal commented in mainstream Milliyet (5/13): "Life for the
PKK in northern Iraq gets more and more difficult with each passing
day. The meeting between Turkey's Special Envoy to Iraq Murat
Ozcellik and the Kurdish Regional Government's Prime Minister
Nechirvan Barzani resulted in harsh warnings for the PKK from KRG
President Massoud Barzani. However, the root of the problem is not
in northern Iraq but in Turkey. If a comprehensive solution is not
initiated, the PKK will continue its existence. It is not
sufficient to address the PKK issue through efforts to reduce
violence and poverty. The aspect of Kurdish identity is extremely
important. If Kurdish identity is not taken into account, today's
positive developments in northern Iraq will fail tomorrow."
"The Other Aspect of Countering Terrorism"
Bilal Cetin wrote in mainstream Vatan (5/13): "During recent
months, Turkey has taken important steps in the military aspect of
countering terrorism. Statements from the Turkish General Staff and
the government claim the PKK's logistical support and its financial
sources were eliminated due to Turkey's diplomatic initiatives.
Most notable, Iran, Syria, and northern Iraq no longer tolerate the
PKK. Of course, the terrorist organization is not fully eliminated,
but it definitely suffered psychological damage. Nevertheless, at
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this point the important thing is for the government to implement
other initiatives parallel to military and security measures. As an
example, is it possible to convince PKK members to benefit from the
repentance law in Turkey and lay down their weapons? Recently Prime
Minister Erdogan urged PKK members to stop fighting and surrender.
The prime minister's advisors believe this call will be heard by the
PKK because, until the recent military operations, the PKK has never
faced such heavy military blow."
DTP Given Additional Time by Court to Submit Defense in Closure
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Taraf, Zaman and others report
the DTP, Turkey's main Kurdish party, was granted a one-month
extension to submit its defense to the Constitutional Court in the
lawsuit for closing down the party. Meanwhile, papers report DTP
deputy Emine Ayna was elected acting DTP chairman while a DTP
delegation headed by the parliamentary group chief Ahmet Turk was
holding talks in northern Iraq last week. Turk said he was
surprised by the move, but stressed the party administration would
decide on leadership at the DTP congress in June.
- Four members of the northern Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party
(KDP) were arrested in Uludere in the border province of Sirnak for
"spying" for the KDP's 'Parastin' intelligence agency. The suspects
were taking photos of military facilities in the region.
- Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, the
Duke of Edinburgh, will pay a state visit to Turkey on Tuesday. The
royal couple is scheduled to visit Ankara, Bursa, and Istanbul
before departing Turkey late Friday. It has been thirty-seven years
since The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh last visited Turkey.
- Director of the World Heritage Center Francesco Bandarin, who
leads a four-member UNESCO team on an inspection tour of Istanbul,
communicated positive impressions during the visit.
- At least 10,000 people were killed in the powerful earthquake that
struck south-west China's Sichuan province on Monday.
- The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia will meet in June to
discuss ways to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
- An American woman was killed on Monday evening when Palestinians
fired a Kassam rocket into Israel.