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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2008

In Today's Papers

Erdogan: "A New Economic Package Is on the Way"
Milliyet, Sabah, Hurriyet, Posta, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni
Safak: Mainstreams Sabah and Milliyet report that PM Erdogan
announced yesterday that the government was preparing a new economic
package to reduce the impact of the global crisis on Turkey's real
sector. On his way to India, PM Erdogan told journalists that the
preparations were underway, but the details would be made public
after he returned from India. The package aims helping the small
and medium scale enterprises in getting credit and preventing the
dismissal of workers. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports that PM
Erdogan called on commercial banks to take careful steps at a time
of global financial crisis. Erdogan said "Some banks are calling
their loans back. You cannot take such actions at such dire times.
Everyone must shoulder part of the burden."

Iraq-Turkey-U.S. Set Up Coordination Board against PKK
Media outlets report the newly-formed Turkey-Iraq-U.S. trilateral
committee released a declaration that called the PKK a "terror
organization" that "threatens Iraq's security and Turkey's
territorial integrity."

Iraqi State Minister for National Dialogue Ekrem al-Hakim, who is in
Ankara to explain the SOFA agreement between Iraq and the U.S., has
confirmed reports that Turkey was given guarantees regarding
cross-border operations against the PKK in northern Iraq.
Mainstream Sabah reports al-Hakim told the press after meeting PM
Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan that the security deal
"aims at preventing terror." He added Kurdish groups had agreed to
declare the PKK a terrorist organization, and that Iraqi Kurdish
leaders' views were taken at all stages of talks with the Americans
over SOFA. Islamist-oriented Zaman, however, reports al-Hakim said
he "did not know the content of SOFA," and what the agreement says
regarding Turkey's possible cross border military operations into
Iraq after January 1. Al-Hakim stressed terror organizations would
not be allowed to use Iraqi territories as a launch pad for attacks
on neighboring countries.

Editorial Commentary on Turkey-Iraq Relationship after SOFA

Ferai Tinc wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "With the U.S.-Iraq
security agreement, the U.S. occupation of Iraq will come to an end
and a new era will start in Turkey as well. Improving relations
with Iraq, America's closest ally in the region and strategic
partner, will be at the top of Turkey's agenda. During this
process, it will be a mistake to address the issue with blinders by
reducing the process down to opposition against Sincari's
participation in the meetings or concern over whether Turkish jets
will be allowed to bomb northern Iraq or not. According to the
agreement, Iraq will be able to have strategic meetings with U.S.
whenever there is an internal or outside threat. This means the
U.S. will stay in Iraq even after the withdrawal and the Iraqi
government will need U.S. support for a long time in order to
resolve its economic problems. Whether this agreement will be
approved by the Iraqi parliament or not, the fact is that a new era
is starting in Iraq at a time when the violence has not ended and
internal peace has not been established. Turkey must cooperate with
Iraq in every field, including security, should be strengthened."

Erol Manisali in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "In 2011, the U.S.
military occupation in Iraq will end but it will be replaced by
'civilian occupation.' The Barzani administration in the north and
the civilian administration in Baghdad will be under the guidance of
the U.S., Britain and Israel. Some among the Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish
and Turkmen groups may ask for help from the West. However, Ankara,
Baghdad and Kurdistan's reins will be held by Washington and the
Pentagon. Under this model, attempts to separate southeastern
Anatolia from Turkey will be intensified. The EU will add Kurdish
genocide resolutions on to Armenian genocide resolutions. Is Turkey

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ready to face this reality?"

U.S. Rejects Erdogan's Mediation Offer
Media outlets report that the U.S. has rejected PM Erdogan's offer,
first seen in last week's New York Times, to mediate between the
U.S. and Iran. Liberal Radikal carries the headline, "U.S.: We
Already Have Contacts with Iran," and reports, "U.S. State
Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said there is already a P-5+1
mechanism in place in order to deal with Iran." Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet reports, "The U.S. Responds to Erdogan's Offer," by
saying, "Stay Out of Our Dealings with Iran." Islamist-oriented
Zaman reports, "The U.S. Rejects Erdogan's Offer to Mediate."
Mainstream Milliyet carries the headline, "A Frosty Response from
the U.S. to Erdogan's Suggestion."

Paper: AKP Could be Go-Between in U.S. Talks with Taleban
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports some in Washington believe
negotiations could be held between Taliban leader Mullah Omar and
former PM Gulbeddin Hikmetyar in the anticipated "process for
settlement" in Afghanistan. Cumhuriyet reports that on November 5,
The Washington Post said the U.S. and Afghan governments could sit
at the negotiating table with Hikmetyar in an effort to reduce
violence in the country. Turkey's ruling AKP's mediation in such
talks is highly possible since Hikmetyar was given a warm welcome by
Tayyip Erdogan, when he was with the Islamist Welfare Party (RP),
during a visit to Istanbul in 1985. Former Afghan Interior Minister
Ali Celali, a lecturer at the U.S. National Defense College, said he
wouldn't be surprised to see Turkey involved in this process.
Celali said all positive Turkish contributions would be "welcomed in
Afghanistan."

A New Climate Between Turkey and Armenia
Liberal Radikal and Islamist-oriented Zaman report Armenia's
National Security Council Secretary Artur Bagdasaryan underlined the
importance of normalization of ties with Turkey. "We cannot remain
enemies forever," said Bagdasaryan, adding "normal ties" with Turkey
would help Armenia's economic development and infrastructure
modernization. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is expected
to host his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbantyan in Istanbul on
November 24. "We aim are aiming towards full normalization of ties
with Armenia. We have a new climate for settlement. We need mutual
forward steps, but the sides must hurry up," emphasized Babacan.

The Pirate Dilemma
Media outlets continue to feature sensational stories related to
Somali piracy, including debates surrounding possible international
military action against the pirates and concerns that piracy is
already too much a part of Somali society, no matter how unstable of
a country it is. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports in "A Pirate
Confession," that U.S. Pentagon Spokesperson Geoff Morrell said,
"There is no military solution - stability in Somalia will
contribute to solving the problem of piracy," and the paper also
noted, "Russia wants to join NATO and other forces that are making
plans to use force against the pirates." Leftist Taraf says "The
Pentagon is not hopeful that a solution can be found to the pirate
problem." In "Russia Wants Land Operations against the Pirates,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "Russia is prepared for
joint military actions" against the pirates, but the Pentagon
"responded to Russia's suggestion by saying, 'A military solution is
not going to solve this problem.'" Islamist-oriented Zaman reports,
"Yesterday in Cairo there was an emergency meeting among Arab
countries regarding the threat of piracy in the Red Sea," and plans
were discussed, "to establish an observation center in Cairo that
could act as an early warning system to warn ships of approaching
pirates."

Meanwhile, mainstream Sabah reports in "With the Spoils Comes A
Luxurious Life," that "the town of Eyl benefits from the money the
pirates make from ransom payments," and one pirate named Yusuf
explained, "the first thing we do with our money is pay off debts,

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then we purchase imports, and then we invest our money in banks in
Dubai, Nairobi, and Djibouti."

Editorial Commentary on AFRICOM

Mehmet Yilmaz wrote in Islamist-oriented Zaman: The new U.S.
strategy in Africa is AFRICOM. The U.S. and the EU are leading the
countries investing in Africa, with other countries like China,
Russia, Japan, and India just behind them. China, in particular,
has made a series of investments in Africa over the last ten years.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman recently warned the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China was beginning to pose
a threat to U.S. interests in Africa. While the U.S. military
established AFRICOM in order to 'provide security, promote peace,
and encourage development,' the Chinese have been using their 'soft
power' through economic investments in Africa. However, it appears
AFRICOM seeks to secure sources of oil in the region and fight
against terror. For example, the U.S. last year increased its oil
imports from the Gulf of Guinea by 20%. In the last seven years the
U.S. has used its power in order to fight terrorism, but in the case
of Africa, they are focusing on diplomacy. Barack Obama is just the
right person to carve a new strategy similar to this, but maybe the
pirate situation is creating new opportunities in the region...

Editorial Commentary on Domestic Politics; Kurdish Problem; Erdogan
Visits India

Mustafa Unal in Islamist-oriented Zaman: "Many circles see Deniz
Baykal allowing women in veils into the CHP as a political maneuver
on the eve of the forthcoming municipal elections. Why should it be
disturbing if a party surrenders its rigid ideological stance and
begins reaching out to the women who wear headscarves and veils?
The CHP's acceptance of the headscarf is a small step for Turkey,
but a huge step for the CHP. You can see this clearly from the
uneasiness of the ideologues in the CHP. Baykal should continue to
move forward and not backpedal."

Cengiz Candar wrote in liberal Radikal: In order for Turkey to
tackle the Kurdish problem, it is important for KRG President
Massoud Barzani to be positive, but more importantly, the Kurds
themselves need to be willing to seek a solution.

Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "PM Erdogan's visit to
India is important because this is the first visit by a Turkish PM
to India since 2000. A large number of businessmen accompanied PM
Erdogan to India. The two countries are willing to realize new
projects in the fields of energy, technology, and trade. This visit
is important from the political angle as well. This is a new
approach that falls within the framework of a multi-dimensional
foreign policy. India plays an increasingly effective role in world
politics and the global economy. Also, India will be an important
partner for Turkey in its efforts to diversify its foreign
relations."

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Gendarme private Fevzi Gungor, who was killed in a clash with PKK
militants in Diyarbakir, was laid to rest yesterday in his hometown
Bitlis. It was reported that Fevzi's brother Ferdi joined the PKK
last year.

- Ahmet Ertak, the pro-Kurdish DTP mayor of Sirnak, was issued a
15-month prison sentence for 'making PKK propaganda' during an
interview with the French television station France-24.

- On Friday, Turkey's state-owned TRT television will launch
webpages in 30 different languages. Kurdish is not included among
the languages in TRT's new web service.

ANKARA 00002025 004 OF 004

World

- Greek Cypriot President of the House of Representatives Marios
Karoyian said "It is time for the international community to step up
pressure on Turkey regarding the Cyprus issue."

- EU Commissioner Olli Rehn said Turkish workers might not be
granted the right of free movement in Europe if Turkey becomes a
member of the EU.

SILLIMAN

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