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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001359

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, JULY 29, 2008

In Today's Papers

Erdogan, Baykal Denounce Istanbul Bombings, PKK Denies
Responsibility
All news outlets report on Monday, Prime Minister Erdogan and
opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal visited the site of the deadly
bomb attack in Gungoren neighborhood in Istanbul. Erdogan claimed
the blasts were in retaliation to the Turkish operations against the
PKK in northern Iraq. The PM urged Turkish people to withdraw
support for "political parties backing terror." Baykal issued a
call for a "nationwide campaign against terror, calling for millions
of Turks to rally together to condemn terror. Papers report Erdogan
supports Baykal's idea and would be willing to discuss it with him..


Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler said earlier the attack was an act
of terrorism. Papers quote security experts suggesting the attack
"could have been perpetrated by the PKK," and that intelligence
units had been expecting a PKK operation "in a big city, especially
in the aftermath of the Turkish cross-border operations into
northern Iraq." Zubeyir Aydar, chairman of the People's Congress of
Kurdistan (Kongra-Gel,) "strongly condemned" the attack and said
"the Kurdish freedom movement has nothing to do with this." Aydar
said the fact that the attack took place in the midst of the AKP
and 'Ergenekon' trials should not be overlooked. Mainstream Sabah
reports "allegations" that the PKK-affilianted TAK had accepted
responsibility for the attack. Kurdish party DTP leader Ahmet Turk
warned it was "premature" to point at anyone as the perpetrator, and
the incident should not be exploited "for political benefits." Turk
said the attack was a blow for "peace, coexistence and the future."


Papers also speculate the attack's aim was chaos which would lead to
civil strife in Turkey. Mainstream Sabah says the Ergenekon
indictment alleges the possibility of such attacks to stoke tension
between Kurds and Turks.

Editorial Commentary on Istanbul Bombings

Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (7/29): "Efforts
are underway to provoke a conflict between Turks and Kurds. The
bombings in Istanbul resulted in a great deal of hatred, and the PKK
was believed to be the perpetrator. Even though the PKK
spokespersons in northern Iraq and Brussels denied responsibility,
there is an overall perception that this was the work of the PKK.
Perception is sometimes stronger than the truth and in this case, it
will be grave if this goes beyond the PKK and people of Kurdish
origin are held responsible. We should take a lesson from the past.
There is a trap and we should not fall into it."

Ekrem Dumanli wrote in Islamist-leaning Zaman (7/29): "At this
point there is no use thinking about who benefited from the Istanbul
bombings. Any sensible Turk is well aware of the fact that there
are many traps. In this game, those who are responsible for the
chaos are creating 'savior' or 'heroic' identities for themselves.
However, Turks are fed up watching various versions of the same
movie. And they have come to the point of 'enough is enough' - a
very good response to chaos plotters."

Court Holds First Hearing on AKP Closure Case
All papers report the Turkish Constitutional Court, convened its
first hearing on the AKP closure case on Monday. The hearing lasted
12 hours. Court justices will come together every day until they
reach a decision. Papers comment yesterday's long meeting raised
expectations that the ruling might come earlier than anticipated.
Under the Constitution, at least seven out of 11 court members'
votes are needed to close the party.

Editorial Commentary on 'Ergenekon' Probe


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Ali Sirmen wrote in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet (7/29): "The
Ergenekon investigation provides both horror and laughter at the
same time. Putting inconsistencies and irrelevant accusations
aside, so many horrifying stories have appeared in certain media
outlets and they've been presented as truth. The whole thing is
portrayed as going after the deep state. If this is the genuine
desire, state transparency is the only way to achieve the goal.
Let's take the murder of Hrant Dink. It is presented as a deep
state act. This proposition deserves only laughter. It is
certainly the responsibility of the State to prevent something like
Dink's murder from happening. The State's failure is that, almost
deliberately, it did nothing to prevent the Dink murder. Yet the
responsible figures are still in public service: Chief of Police,
Police Intelligence Chief, Istanbul Governor and others. They are
not hiding in the deep. Let's deal with the shallow state first
before going after the deep one."

Kurds Attack Turkmen Office after Deadly Bomb Attack in Kirkuk
All papers report 32 people were killed Monday when a female suicide
bomber struck a Kurdish rally in the city of Kirkuk in northern
Iraq. The demonstrators attacked the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF)
building and Turkmeneli TV station in the city after the attack.
Demonstrators set the ITF office on fire and abducted five people,
according to ITF officials. Islamist-oriented Zaman reports Ankara,
worried about the developments, advised the Turkmen to "keep calm."
ITF's Turkey representative Ahmet Muratli said Kurds held the
Turkmen responsible for the attack, and claimed some want to incite
fighting between the Kurds and Turks.

Babacan to Tehran July 29
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and Yeni Safak report
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will travel to Tehran on July 29 to
participate in the Non-Aligned Movement summit talks.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet expects Babacan to continue Turkey's
"facilitator" role between Washington and Tehran regarding Iran's
nuclear program through contacts on the sidelines of the summit.
Babacan will also lobby UN member states attending the meeting for
Turkey to gain a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council,
according to Cumhuriyet.

Paper: Ahmadinejad to Visit Turkey August 14
Liberal Radikal reports Iranian President Ahmadinejad will travel to
Turkey on August 14 on a working visit. Radikal says Ahmadinejad
and Turkish President Abdullah Gul are expected meet in Istanbul,
which would excuse the Iranian President from visiting Anitkabir,
the mausoleum of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. In the
past, visiting Iranian officials declined to visit Anitkabir, which
caused public anger in Turkey.

Iran 'Intermediates' for Improving Turkey-Armenia Ties
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports Kaan Soyak, the co-chair of
Turkey-Armenia Business Development Council, said Iran wants to
"help" in improving ties between Turkey and Armenia. "For the first
time, regional countries including Iran plus the Minsk Group members
want Turkey-Armenia border reopened and ties between the two
countries normalized," Soyak said.

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- The Turkish General Staff (TGS) said in a statement posted on its
website on July 27, nine shelters, one cave, and an explosives cache
belonging to the PKK were destroyed completely during air strikes
carried out Saturday evening by Turkish F-16 fighter jets in Mount
Qandil region in northern Iraq.

- The Turkish Central Bank said Monday it expects the year-end
inflation to stand at 10.6 percent.

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- A Goldman Sachs survey says Turkey will become the world's ninth
largest economy in 2050.

International News

- NATO soldiers killed two children after opening fire on a car in
southern Afghanistan.

- Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is to meet President
Bush to discuss efforts against the fundamentalist militants along
the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

- Three female suicide bombers kill 54 people in Baghdad.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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