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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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
FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2008

In Today's Papers

NSA Hadley Visits Ankara
All news outlets report on Thursday, US National Security Advisor
Stephen Hadley paid a one-day visit to Ankara for meetings with
President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ali
Babacan, and the military General Staff (TGS). Speaking to the
press following his meeting with Erdogan, Hadley said the US would
continue cooperating with Turkey in the fight against the "common
enemy PKK." Hadley said Turkey was a "close friend and ally and a
powerful strategic partner," and expressed gratitude for Turkey's
support. Hadley also noted the US would continue to support
Turkey's EU entry process. Mainstream Sabah claims Hadley told
Ankara negotiations with Iran would not happen unless Tehran gives
up its uranium enrichment program. Mainstream Hurriyet says Hadley
warned the Turks that Iran was a threat for Turkey. Ankara,
however, suggested dialogue to avoid a new crisis in the region
which would add on to the turmoil in Iraq. Sabah and the all-news
broadcaster NTV say Hadley sent messages to Iran in advance of the
talks in Geneva, and also held a "secret meeting" with the security
advisors of 11 NATO countries. The meeting was hosted by Prime
Minister Erdogan's foreign policy advisor, Ahmet Davutoglu.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet and some mainstream papers underline
the Hadley visit came two days in advance of the Geneva talks to
discuss Iran's nuclear program, and ask whether Ankara was mediating
in a new diplomatic process, as it did with Israel and Syria.
Leftist Taraf sees a "change" in the US approach toward Iran, adding
Turkey was supporting the new US strategy of seeking solutions to
the problems at the negotiating table.

EDITORIAL OPINION: NSA Hadley Visit

"Reason for Hadley Visit"
Nagehan Alci wrote in mainstream Aksam (7/18): "Some might think
that there is a link between the timing of Hadley visit and the
problems such as the Ergenekon investigation and the AKP closure
case that Turkey is going through. The fact of the matter is Iran
was the main and almost sole reason for Hadley's visit to Ankara.
There were certainly some other topics on the table, but mainly
Washington wanted to get Ankara's take on the Iran issue.
Interestingly enough, there are some in Turkey who seek the
'American finger' in every problem that Turkey faces. All of these
speculations are based on the assumption that the United States
Administration acts in a unified manner and that's its focus on
Turkey is organized. This isn't true, in fact, this Washington
Administration is not only nearing the end of its term, but it also
is not consistently unified about Turkey. Therefore, any Turkish
official can receive different messages about Turkey from Secretary
Rice's and Vice President Cheney's office. That said, there's
simply no room for creating conspiracies here."

"Ankara's Message from Hadley to Mottaki"
Yasemin Congar wrote in leftist Taraf (7/18): "Chances for
persuading Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program are higher
than ever. And it comes with a 'carrot' on the table which will be
the reestablishment of ties between the United States and Iran after
some 30 years. First of all, Washington has made a major policy
change by agreeing to send a high-level diplomat to talks with Iran.
Such an opportunity happened primarily because of the European
Union's efforts and despite those in the Bush Administration who
support a strike against Iran. This new move is compatible with the
ruling AKP's approach on Iran, and it also serves Turkey's
interests. Iran was one of the main topics during the discussions
with NSA Hadley in Ankara. An American diplomat knowledgeable about
these meetings said Hadley gave an extensive brief about the US'
current stance on Iran and added 'There is a strong proposal here as
we send an important diplomat to Geneva. That shows seriousness of
the proposal. It is up to Iran to decide whether or not they use
this chance.' Turkey is hosting the Iranian Foreign Minister and
this will be the message to Iran. Iranian FM Mottaki, who had

ANKARA 00001296 002 OF 003


previously served in Ankara as the Iranian Ambassador, will be told
that Iran should use this important chance to both resolve its
international dispute and to normalize its ties with the US."

Iran's Mottaki in Ankara for Talks
All papers report Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
arrived in Ankara Thursday evening for talks with his Turkish
counterpart, Ali Babacan, and with President Abdullah Gul and Prime
Minister Erdogan. Leftist Taraf expects Turks to urge Mottaki "not
to miss the opportunity for a peaceful settlement" with regard to
Tehran's nuclear program. Babacan said in response to a press
question after meeting Hadley yesterday, "We are in close dialogue
with the six countries who have made a new offer to Tehran, as well
as with our friend and neighbor Iran. Turkey is ready to undertake
every necessary move to ensure the peaceful settlement of the
dispute." Islamist-oriented Zaman claims Babacan will pay visits to
the US and Iran later this month.

Paper: Turkey-Armenia Kick Off 'Secret Talks'
Mainstream Hurriyet reports on July 8, Turkey and Armenia kicked off
a series of "secret talks" in the Swiss capital of Bern. The
Turkish delegation was chaired by an unidentified senior Turkish
Foreign Ministry (MFA) official. The US and some EU countries have
been notified about the talks in Bern. Armenian President Serzh
Sarksyan said after his election in February, as well as in a recent
coomentary published in The Wall Street Journal, he was ready for
"unconditional" talks with Turkey to normalize bilateral ties and
the reopen the border between the two countries. Sarksyan's
messages were claimed to have been influenced by the US. Sarksyan
also invited Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan to watch a
World Soccer Cup qualifier between Turkey and Armenia on September
6. The Turkish MFA says Gul could go to Yerevan since such a visit
would not be an official one, reports Hurriyet.

Green Card Possibility for Fethullah Gulen
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that although the "US Immigration
Department" and their sub-office "Appeal Department" turned down
Fethullah Gulen's green card application, the Federal Court in
Pennsylvania decided in favor of Gulen for the review of the
decision.

GENAR Poll Results
Islamist oriented Yeni Safak gives extensive front-page coverage to
a survey conducted by GENAR polling company. The survey is based on
interviews with 2020 people in 14 provinces between July 7 and 17.
According to the survey, the majority of Turkish people support the
Ergenekon operation. 65.1 percent of the people interviewed in the
survey don't believe that Ergenekon investigation was a politically
motivated operation. 37 percent described Ergenekon as a terror
organization and 61 percent said it is a criminal organization. 60
percent of the interviewed objected to the closure of the AKP and 45
percent said the ban of the AKP and the PM would lead to a political
crisis in Turkey. According to the survey, the most trusted
institution in Turkey is the national soccer team and the least
trusted is the media.

The survey also contains questions about Islamic leader Fethullah
Gulen. 47.4 percent of Turkish people say Gulen should return to
Turkey, while 45.3 percent are against his return.

Barzani Threatens Baghdad Regarding Kirkuk Referendum
Liberal Radikal reports that at his party group meeting, KRG
President Mesud Barzani said that 'if article 140 of the
constitution, which states that Kirkuk's status should be determined
by a referendum, is postponed, Iraq will be divided. According to
the Iraqi Constitution, the referendum should take place by the end
of 2007. However, in search of a political solution, the UN had
suggested a census prior to the referendum, and that is why the
referendum was postponed.


ANKARA 00001296 003 OF 003


TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Prime Minister Erdogan is to lead a delegation to northern Cyprus
on Friday to participate in the July 20 celebrations marking the
founding of Turkish Cyprus.

- Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP is to hold a convention on July 20
to pick a new party leader. Ahmet Turk of the "moderates" is
expected to be elected the new chairman, and "hawkish" Emine Ayna
his co-chair.

- Turkey has been convicted by the European Court of Human Rights
(ECHR) in a lawsuit filed by 11 teachers who were punished for
participating in a one-day strike in 2000.

International News

- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will visit Germany and Italy
next week to encourage European investment in Iraq. Mailki will
also come together with Pope Benedict 16.

- The US plans to build a military airport near the northern Iraqi
town of Halabja in Suleymaniye which borders Iran.

- New York City's yellow taxi fleet will go green.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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