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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001173

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
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2008

In Today's Papers

Erdogan-Basbug Hold Surprise Meeting
All papers report that on Tuesday, Prime Minister Erdogan met Land
Forces Commander General Basbug. The meeting was held on Erdogan's
invitation. A statement by the Prime Ministry said Erdogan and
Basbug discussed some recent developments and the measures to be
taken against the PKK in the following period. Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet says the two also discussed the recent slander campaign
against Basbug and the forthcoming High Military Council (YAS)
meetings in August.

High Court Acquits Gulen
All news outlets report Islamic leader Fethullah Gulen has been
acquitted of charges filed in 2000 that he conspired to turn Turkey
into an Islamic state. The Court of Appeals affirmed an earlier
lower court ruling that had acquitted Gulen, paving the way for his
return from exile in the United States. The Court of Appeals upheld
the decision to acquit Gulen despite objections from the prosecutor
in the case. Papers point out that Gulen, living in the US since
1999, can now freely return to Turkey.

Gul, Erdogan to Basel for Turkey-Germany Soccer Game
The Turkish national soccer team's match against Germany in Basel,
Switzerland tonight dominates front pages of all dailies. President
Abdullah Gul will go to Basel to watch the semi-final match of the
Euro 2008 Soccer Championship. Prime Minister Erdogan and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel also are expected to attend the match.
Despite several injured and suspended player, the Turkish team hopes
to beat Germany to reach the finals on Saturday.

Meanwhile, papers also report Armenian President Sarkisian, in
Moscow for talks with Armenian community members, said he plans to
invite President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan on September 6 to watch a
soccer game between the Armenian and Turkish national teams.

Germany Bans Kurdish Satellite Broadcaster Roj TV
Milliyet, Hurriyet, Zaman, Cumhuriyet, Vatan: Papers report that
the German Interior Ministry has banned the Danish-based Kurdish
broadcaster Roj TV as well as "Mesopotamia Broadcast", a
Danish-based broadcasting company. Mainstream Vatan reports that
the German Interior Ministry claimed Roj TV is a mouthpiece of the
PKK terrorist organization which supports violence against Turkey.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that Germany has frozen the financial
assets of Roj TV, Mesopotamia Broadcasting and VIKO production
company, which works on behalf of Roj TV in Germany.

General Buyukanit Responds to Barzani Comments on PKK
Liberal Radikal and leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet report Chief of
General Staff General Buyukanit responded to a journalist question
about Masoud Barzani's recent comment that the PKK is not a
terrorist organization simply said "you all know what I've been
saying. This shows I was right. The PKK is the bloodiest terrorist
organization."

Editorial Commentary on Iraq, Iran

"Strategic Relations with Iraq"
Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet (6/25): "Efforts are
underway for Prime Minister Erdogan's trip to Baghdad. It will be
the first official visit to Iraq by a Turkish PM since the Saddam
regime's overthrow. Turkey has made some direct contacts with the
Iraqi regime, but these were mostly through visits to Ankara from
Baghdad officials. Despite visits by leaders of other neighboring
countries such as Iran, Turkish leadership has preferred not to
visit Baghdad. Turkish diplomats have been making contact with the
new Iraqi regime at various levels. The Turkish PM's visit to
Baghdad will certainly provide a new impetus in bilateral ties. The
main purpose of this visit is to lay a strategic groundwork for
future Turkey-Iraq relations. It is expected that a Strategic

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Cooperation Committee will be established which will help sustain
relations in many fields, from diplomacy to security and energy to
trade. Ankara's sensitivity toward northern Iraq will certainly be
part of the discussion. The Prime Minister and his delegation will
meet with politicians of Kurdish origin, including Talabani and
Zabari. Ankara has recently made efforts to open up to the Northern
Iraqi administration. Massoud Barzani's latest statement indicates
that his views on PKK have not changed and this is the very reason
for Turkey's disappointment with him. However, a strategic
cooperation between Turkey and Iraq is important and should not be
overshadowed by negative statements such as Barzani's."

"Iran"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in conservative Turkiye (6/25): "Israel is
working intensively against an Iranian threat. Along with Israel's
recent statement saying a strike against Iran is inevitable if Iran
continues with its nuclear program, there are also speculations
about Israel and Greece military cooperation against Iran.
Meanwhile, Washington is preparing to lift the ban of F-22 sales to
Israel. Given the threatening statements against both Israel and
the United States from Iranian leader Ahmedinejad, it all comes down
to apocalyptic scenarios. The IAEA Chairman alBaradei made an
important assessment by saying Iran will use an atomic bomb in
reprisal if it is attacked by the United States. It is entirely in
the hands of Iran to eliminate all apocalyptic scenarios. Iran
accepting the UN's full control over its nuclear research is an
adequate measure to prevent these apocalyptic scenarios."

A Cartoon in Hurriyet daily:
Erdogan to Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat: "Thanks to you, we've found a
name for the new party."
On top of the party logo reads, 'Justice and Trauma Party'

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- Joost Lagendijk, co-chairman of Turkey-EU joint Parliamentary
Commission, said the closure of the ruling AKP would be difficult to
understand, but added the ban would not lead to suspending Turkey's
EU membership talks.

- A prosecutor demanded a maximum 10 year prison sentence for former
DTP leader Nurettin Demirtas and 70 other suspects accused of
forging official documents to avoid compulsory military service.

- Turkey's National Security Council (MGK) is to meet on June 26.

International News

- A Belgian court annulled an earlier Anvers court verdict which
acquitted terrorist DHKP-C members Dursun Karatas, Zerrin Sari,
Sukriye Akar and Bahar Kimyongur in February, and designated DHKP-C
as "terrorist and crime organization, and gang."

- Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said Israel will
immediately attack Iran's nuclear facilities if Barack Obama wins
the upcoming US presidential election.

- EU Agency for Fundamental Rights says in its annual report racist
violence and discrimination persist across the European Union, and
most members of the 27-nation bloc aren't using tough legislation to
crack down on racism.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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