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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2008

In Today's Papers

Erdogan, Baykal, Bahceli on PKK Terror
Media outlets report Prime Minister Erdogan told his
ruling AKP lawmakers in the parliament that Turkish military could
launch cross-border operations into
the north of Iraq if necessary. The PM's remarks
came after the PKK attack on a gendarme outpost in
Hakkari province that killed 17 Turkish soldiers
over the weekend. Erdogan urged the Kurdish
administration in the north of Iraq to cooperate
with Turkey in combating terrorism. "Remarks or
statements alone are not enough; if they are not
carried into action, we will have to move on our
own," stressed Erdogan. In "'Yes' to Effective
Fight against Terror, 'No' to Backpedaling on
Democracy," Islamist-oriented Zaman reports Erdogan
also vowed to not take a single back step concerning individual
rights and freedoms. Liberal Radikal says
the PM makes pledges for democracy, but declines to
give concrete guarantees for protecting democracy,
human rights and freedoms.

Addressing his lawmakers yesterday, opposition CHP
leader Deniz Baykal said northern Iraq should cease
being a shelter for terrorists. "This task should
be shouldered by Iraq and the U.S. The Iraqi
government, fighting against the al-Qaeda terror,
should also fight against the PKK terror," said
Baykal. He added the U.S. should also be told that
terror attacks on Turkey from the territories under American
occupation would not be tolerated.

Opposition far right MHP leader Devlet Bahceli
proposed a "buffer zone" set up on the Iraqi side
of the border in order to prevent terrorist
infiltrations from the neighboring country.
Bahceli also slammed the AKP government for
leaving the whole responsibility in the fight
against terror to the military. Government
Spokesman Cemil Cicek said his government would
"evaluate" the security zone proposal.

President, Justice Minister on Anti-Terror Measures
Media outlets report President Abdullah Gul responded
to reporters' questions yesterday before departing
for Finland on a state visit. On a question, Gul
said terror attacks take place in a period of "great improvement" in
Turkey-Iraq ties, apparently by some
who do not want the relations to be developed further.
Gul expressed belief that democracy would isolate
terror. On the controversial issue of expanding the authority of
the military and police against terror,
Gul stressed the debates, "a requirement of open
society," would enhance democracy. Gul noted the military's demands
for combating terror would be
evaluated by the government and parliament.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said
the government evaluated the five demands of the
military for combating terror, and added two of
them were supported. Sahin noted the government
continued working on the matter, and stressed that
neither freedoms nor security would be sacrificed
while tackling the terror issue. Liberal Radikal
sees a contradiction, saying while the PM was giving messages for
upholding democracy in the parliament,
the Justice Minister announced the government accepted
two of the five proposals of the military to facilitate
the fight against terror. "The AKP government had

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earlier turned down such proposals within the framework
of the EU harmonization," says Radikal.

CBO Debate
All papers report upcoming debate at the parliament to extend
mandate for cross border operation for one more year. Prime
Minister Erdogan talked supportive in his party group meeting;
"Cross border operation mandate is
a strong deterrence factor and I expect all of the AKP members to be
present at the parliament and show strong support for the motion."
Papers also carry statements
from other three parties represented in the parliament. Main
opposition CHP leader Baykal urged government "to realize the
long-term strategic political plan against Turkey when fight with
PKK is planned" and he added:
"Iraq must be a terrorism-free place. The
responsibility for this belongs to Iraq as well as
the United States." The MHP leader Bahceli urged for
a comprehensive cross border operation both in land
and by air "until PKK is completely eliminated."
Meanwhile DTP opposed cross-border operations. Leader
of DTP, Ahmet Turk suggested more reforms to solve the problem,
saying that instead of cross border operation mandate, the
parliament should implement reforms to
ease tension.

TGS Chief Meets Academics, Analysts on Terror
All papers report on Wednesday, the military General
Staff (TGS) chief General Ilker Basbug had a six-hour brainstorming
meeting with academics and terror
analysts, including Ercan Citlioglu from Bahcesehir University,
Ihsan Bal from international strategic
research institution USAK, and Nihat Ali Ozcan from
economic-political research foundation TEPAV.
Mainstream Vatan reports on its front page the TGS
meeting discussed civilian solutions to the problems
in the mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey. Mainstream Milliyet
comments yesterday's meeting with academics
and analysts indicate Basbug will give emphasis to
the social, economic and psychological aspects of the
fight against terror as well.

Editorial Commentary on PKK Terror

Hasan Cemal wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "Turkey's
Kurdish problem, or whatever you may want to call
it, cannot be resolved unless it is taken away from
the military's hands. Over the years, the military
itself has become part of the problem instead of part
of a solution. Both the government and the parliament
must be vocal and active. Otherwise, neither peace
nor democracy can be established."

Hadi Uluengin wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "There is
no military solution to the Kurdish problem. The
military should realize this and act accordingly by changing its
misguided political strategy on this
issue."

Mustafa Unal wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "In
the past, Turkey has tried to contain terror by
imposing lengthy states of emergency. If tough
measures were an effective remedy to the problem, separatist terror
would be history by now. The
government has made it clear that it will not
support efforts to re-establish emergency rule.
Instead, the fight against terror will be waged
with democratic methods."

Ali Bulac wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "The

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Aktutun military outpost attack has brought the
security aspect of the Kurdish problem back to the
top of the agenda. Still, we should not see the
military as the sole authority in resolving the
Kurdish problem. The military wants to tackle
other issues as well. In this regard, what is the
position of civic politicians, the government, and
the governing party? Leaving the issue to the
military will only stoke the fires of the problem. Civilians and
the parliament are the ones who will
find a solution."

Immigrants' Tragic End off Aegean Coast
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Posta, Star report that at
least 10 bodies were found at Gulf of Saros in
Canakkale, Turkey and appears to be drowned illegal migrants who
were trying to flee Greece. Star daily
fronts "Human Drama at the Shores" referring to
the 10 bodies found by local fishermen. Adnan
Calkiroglu, the district governor of Gelibolu, was
quoted as identifying bodies eight males, one female
and one child as one of them was Turkish. He said
five of the bodies had Iraqi passports on them, but
the others had no documents revealing their identity
or origin. The district governor said Iraqi authorities were
notified of the incident, and the bodies were
sent to Istanbul for autopsy. Governor of Canakkale
Orhan Kirli said Turkish coast guard ships are
searching the area to check if there are more
bodies, "which seems very likely" he added.

Global Economy Continues to Plummet
Media outlets note today that international markets continue to lose
steam and focus on the global economic structure as the possible
ultimate victim. Mainstream Vatan carries the banner headline,
"It's Not the Banks, It's Countries That Are Being Sunk," by the
global
crisis. Vatan notes, "Iceland ranked at the highest
levels of the U.N.'s human development index, but
Iceland has come to the point of collapse because of
the financial crisis," and "The public has started to
stock up on pasta." Liberal Radikal reports, "Iceland
has come to the brink of bankruptcy and depends on hopes
of Russian assistance." Mainstream Aksam reports, "The World is in
a State of Panic," as "Iceland is on the
Brink of Financial Collapse." Economic daily Referans carries the
headline, "The Crisis in the U.S. Creates Madness and Suicides Like
1929." Conservative Bugun
reports in "Crisis Madness," that "A U.S. man who lost
his job killed his wife, children, mother-in-law, and himself
because of his financial problems." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
reports, "Turkey is Hit by the Crisis," as "Consumer confidence
drops along with the lira." In addition, Cumhuriyet reports,
"Markets fail
to recover despite Europe's measures to save the
banks, including raising the minimum guaranteed for bank deposits."
Yasar Sungu wrote in Islamist-leaning Yeni Safak, "The most recent
financial crisis signals the
demise of brutal capitalism, which will pave the way
for a better and fairer economic system. The current events do not
represent the collapse of the United
States, it is in fact the collapse of an unfair
economic order."

In related stories, media criticize American CEOs for
their lavish lifestyles. Mainstream Sabah carries the banner
headline, "Lehman Brothers CEO Receives a $350 Million Bonus after
he Ruins the Whole World." Conservative-nationalist Turkiye
reports, "Lehman
Brothers CEO Receives $23 Million Days before the

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Company Collapsed." Leftist Taraf reports, "Despite
the Collapse of the Company, a Lehman Brothers CEO
Gets a Bonus."

Plane Forced Down in Iran
An initially erroneous news bulletin from an Iranian
news agency yesterday, one that claimed an American military
aircraft had been forced down in Iran,
stirred interest, confusion and criticism in Turkish
papers this morning. Mainstream Hurriyet reports in
"Was it a Hungarian Mistake," or "Iranian Bullsh*t"
that Iranian Fars news agency claimed that "Iran
forced down a Hungarian plane with U.S. passengers,"
but later clarified the plane contained Hungarians. Mainstream Aksam
reports, "The world is alarmed by
reports an American aircraft was forced to land by
Iranian fighter jets." Liberal Radikal reports, "News
that an American plane had violated Iranian airspace created
excitement in the media yesterday," but notes, "Iranian state news
agency El-Alem later confirmed the plane was Hungarian and had no
American passengers on board." Islamist-oriented Zaman reports in
"Iran
Brings down a Plane Carrying U.S. Generals," that "it
was later confirmed that the plane was not a military plane, but was
carrying Hungarians who were on their
way to Afghanistan for humanitarian missions."
Mainstream Sabah reports in "A Forced Landing Crisis,"
that "The plane took off from Turkey and entered
Iranian airspace without permission," and noted, "the
Fars news agency created tension by reporting that Iran
had forced down an American plane."

CNN Report Called "PKK Propaganda"
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports in, "According
to CNN, the PKK is a Feminist Organization," that CNN correspondent
Arwa Damon is depicted in a video on
CNN's website in a report from the Qandil Mountains. Cumhuriyet
writes, "Some of the opinions related to
the story (that are posted on the website's blog)
show sympathy for the PKK terrorists."
Islamist-oriented Zaman reports in "PKK Propaganda
from CNN," that "CNN recognized the PKK as an
organization that is fighting for women's rights."

Here is a link to the CNN video:
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/1 0/06/
damon.lok.pkk.camps.cnn?iref=videosearch

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- On Thursday, several cabinet ministers and military
and security officials will gather at the Counter
Terrorism High Board meeting under the chairmanship
of Prime Minister Erdogan.

- On Wednesday, TGS chief General Ilker Basbug will
pay a courtesy visit to opposition CHP leader Deniz
Baykal.

- 311 parliamentarians use their mobile phones to
make donations to various associations.
Parliamentarians' mobile phone bills, however, are
paid by the state.

International News

- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Turkey

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might help Yerevan in restoring Armenia's blocked
relations with the external world.

- Kurdish regional administration leader Massoud
Barzani said the death of 17 Turkish soldiers in
Aktutun would not help the efforts for the
resolution of the Kurdish question.

- UNSYG special envoy for Cyprus Alexander Downer
will meet Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Talat
and Christofias in the divided island on Friday.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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