Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
DE RUEHAK #0940/01 1361346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151346Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6290
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8889
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 4225
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2932
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6607
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6437
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3015
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 000940
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
THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2008
In Today's Papers
FM Babacan Signals Expanding Ties with Iraq
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak and others
report Foreign Minister Ali Babacan announced at a press conference
yesterday that contacts between Turkey and the Kurdish Regional
Government (KRG) in northern Iraq will intensify. Babacan said
Turkey's special envoy to Iraq Murat Ozcelik would visit Iraq "at
least once a month." Liberal Radikal reports Babacan noted, "KRG
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani could also visit Turkey." The
press conference was held after Babacan's meeting with British
Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Concerning the meetings with
Miliband, FM Babacan noted they discussed the establishment of an
industrial zone by Turkey, the UK, Kuwait, and Iraq on Iraq's border
with Kuwait. He also noted Turkey, with the help of Britain, was
planning to open a consulate in Basra.
Meanwhile, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "Turkey has sent
a delegation to Britain headed by Energy Ministry Deputy
Undersecretary Selahattin Cimen to work out an agreement with
British Petroleum (BP) in order to join efforts for oil exploration
in northern Iraq."
Ahmet Turk: PKK Armed Struggle Harms Kurdish Interests in Turkey
All papers report Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP group Chief Ahmet
Turk told the website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) the
armed struggle waged by the PKK "harms the interests of the Kurdish
people, and strengthens the hand of the military." Turk said the
PKK was ready to discuss a project offered by Turkey for a
resolution to the Kurdish problem. "If the Turkish state insists on
military solutions alone, we cannot do anything," Turk emphasized.
He also pledged to work to end the fighting if Kurdish identity and
language is recognized in Turkey. Turk also criticized the ruling
AKP government, and said, "Kurds regret supporting the AKP in
parliamentary elections last year."
Barzani Preparing 'Measures Package' on PKK
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says in a news commentary the Kurdish
Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani was preparing a
"package of measures" regarding ties with Turkey. The measures will
be implemented if Turkey takes forward steps for expanding ties with
the KRG. According to the package, the PKK's heavy weapons will be
collected, and PKK militants who have not participated in terror
attacks will be offered Iraqi citizenship or a chance to return to
Turkey. The organization's Syrian and Iranian members will either
be arrested or deported. The KRG insists on working out a political
settlement regarding the PKK leadership, according to Cumhuriyet.
Meanwile, Cumhuriyet also reports KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan
Barzani will travel to Washington over the weekend for talks at the
White House, the State Department, the U.S. Congress, and the
Israeli PM Olmert Praises PM Erdogan's Mediating Efforts
Mainstream Hurriyet and Milliyet report Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert said, "My good friend Erdogan is helping me to initiate
stable dialogue with Syria. I hope the process will succeed but, in
any case, I extend my appreciation to the Turkish PM for his
efforts." Olmert added, "Turkey is the closest democracy to us in
the region. We consider Turkey an EU country. We respect and
support Turkey's will to become an EU member."
British Foreign Secretary Miliband Supports Turkey's EU Membership
Hurriyet, Sabah, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak and others: At a
joint press conference with Foreign Minister Babacan, British FS
Miliband said in response to a question about the closure case
against AKP, "governments are elected by the people, not by the
judges. The AKP was elected with great popular support.
Constitutional principles should be respected; however, governments
elected by the public should be supported." Regarding Turkey's EU
ANKARA 00000940 002 OF 003
membership, Miliband said "Turkey has made progress in its EU
accession process and that should continue."
Turkey and Greece Hold Joint Military Search-and-Rescue Exercise
Mainstream Hurriyet reports on Wednesday, the Turkish and Greek
militaries held a joint search and rescue exercise in Athens. The
exercise, a first in the history of Turkey and Greece, was based on
the scenario of a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hitting Greece. Turkish
and Greek soldiers worked together to rescue people trapped under
debris in the Ilion neighborhood, which is 20 km west of Athens.
Following the exercise, the Turkish team commanded by General
Abdullah Barutcu exchanged gifts with their Greek colleagues.
Editorial Commentary on Natural Disasters in China and Myanmar
"Warnings From The Disasters in China and Myanmar"
Sahin Alpay commented in Islamist-oriented Zaman (5/15): "The
cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China are major events that
are erupting into greater disasters. This is a wake-up call
regarding the impact of global warming on humanity. In addition to
enormous natural disasters, global agricultural production is
suffering from drought, which is resulting in a global food crisis.
It is already too late for an across-the-globe-fight against global
warming. The U.S. and China are primarily responsible for global
warming, and they continue to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
Turkey, despite its promises, also has not signed the Kyoto
Protocol. In addition, the Myanmar disaster illustrates the
collapse of the concept of state-oriented security. This is a
shockingly sad example of the military government ignoring their
people's desperate need for international aid, and focusing on their
own regime's safety. The China earthquake should remind everyone
of the imminent danger of earthquakes in Turkey. The events in
China and Myanmar should serve as wake-up call for Turkey."
Derya Sazak wrote in mainstream Milliyet (5/15): "Since the 1980s,
China has pursued liberal economic policies. The philosophy was
shaped as 'earning like a capitalist and distributing like a
socialist,' which changed the fate of millions. However China
ignored environmental risks during its rise as a global economic
power. Now, this global power has been rocked by an enormous
earthquake. Scenes from the debris are reminiscent of Turkey's 1999
earthquake; this week's earthquake in China is the biggest
earthquake anywhere in the world during the last 30 years. Rapid
urbanization, overpopulated cities and the lack of proper
infrastructure affected China negatively even before the latest
earthquake disaster. China has already suffered from consequences
of global warming. The recent earthquake should be a wake-up call
to Turkey as well. In order to be ready for future earthquakes,
building and housing structures must be enhanced."
- Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip visited
the city of Bursa on Wednesday. The Royal Couple will visit
Istanbul today and depart Turkey on Friday.
- CHP has submitted to parliament a censure motion against Prime
Minister Erdogan for abusing his authority when he interfered in the
sale of Sabah daily and ATV television on behalf of the pro-AKP
- The ruling AKP officials will hold a meeting in Kizilcahamam
resort near Ankara from May 30-June 1 to discuss the lawsuit for
banning their party.
ANKARA 00000940 003 OF 003
- Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias says he was not
convinced Turkey is willing to resolve the Cyprus issue.
- President Bush arrived in Israel to take part in celebrations
marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state.
- New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes the next American
president will inherit many foreign policy challenges, but surely
one of the biggest will be the cold war with Iran.