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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002063

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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, NOVEMBER 28, 2008

In Today's Papers

EU Draft Report on Turkey
Media outlets report a draft report on Turkey, penned by European
Parliament rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten, criticizes the Turkish
government over the "continuous slowdown" of the reform process,
"despite the ruling government's strong mandate." It highlights
with concern the ongoing polarization within the society and the
main political parties, which "negatively affects political
institutions and the reforms process." The draft calls on the
government to work on a "new, civilian constitution" in a process in
which political parties, civil society, and ethnic and religious
minorities will be involved. The draft urges the pro-Kurdish DTP to
distance itself clearly from the PKK, while calling on the Turkish
government to launch a political initiative for the settlement of
the Kurdish question, and improve the Kurds' cultural rights. The
draft applauds the "communication and cooperation developed over the
last year between Turkey and the Kurdish Regional Government," and
encourages both sides to further intensify cooperation. It also
calls on the Turkish government to improve the rights and freedoms
of Alevis. The European Parliament will begin the debate of the
draft report on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, papers report Hannes Swoboda, acting president of the
European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, told the press
yesterday the Turkish government must "move forward on the Kurdish
issue and on giving Alevis more room to maneuver." Swoboda
criticized the government's failure to act on these two topics even
though it "often sees and speaks about the problem." He also warned
that a closure of the DTP would be a "disaster" for Turkey's image
in Europe, and instead called for criminal prosecution of party
members if they have ties with the PKK. He also called on the DTP
to "cut its ties" with the PKK. "You cannot be in the mountains and
in the parliament at the same time," Swoboda said, "You have to
decide one way or another." Swoboda also voiced hope regarding
opposition CHP's recent registration of women wearing the headscarf
or chador. "It's important that out from spectacular action of Mr
Baykal a reorientation of the CHP comes; I can't imagine CHP will be
successful if it maintains its rigid stance on issues such as the
headscarf," emphasized Swoboda.

Terrorists Hit India's Financial Capital
All media outlets give extensive coverage to the deadly terrorist
attacks on at least ten targets in India's financial capital of
Mumbai killing more than 125 people. Islamist-oriented Zaman
reports in "India's 9/11," that "the attackers targeted tourists,
primarily Westerners including American, British citizens and
Jewish." The paper also focuses on the increased tension with
neighboring Pakistan, "the attacks in Mumbai raised tensions between
the two neighbors; Islamabad and New Delhi," adding "Indian PM
Manmohan Singh criticized Pakistan and said the soil of neighbor
states shouldn't be used for attacks against India." Meanwhile,
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports "Pakistan warned India not to
make accusations without evidence." Liberal Radikal carries the
front page banner headline, "The Day of Terror" as, "Armed
terrorists hit luxurious hotels, hospitals, restaurants and movie
theaters in India's Mumbai." Mainstream Milliyet writes in the
banner headline "They Released Us When We Said 'We're Muslim',"
saying "Turkish tourists survived the terror attack in Mumbai when
attackers learned they were Turks." Mainstream Sabah writes in
"Mumbai Massacre," that "more than 300 people were wounded in the
attacks while Indian military tries to free people trapped by Indian
militants." The paper notes, "The militants knew who they intended
to take hostage, and asked if there were any British or Americans."
Mainstream Hurriyet writes in "They Hit Mercilessly," that "a group
called Deccan Mujahideen said they carried out the attacks."
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak carried the headline, "Dead Visa for
Their Passports," and reports, "The militants killed people after
examining their passports and all hostages were Westerners."


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Editorial Commentary on Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream Milliyet: "As India's trade,
finance, industry, film and tourism center, Mumbai is the window of
developing India. It is not a coincidence that the terrorists
picked Mumbai for their attack. Their aim was to damage this image
and threaten other countries who have close relationships with
India. Although, the "Dekkan Mucahidin" terrorist group claimed the
attack, no one ever heard of this group, including Indian
intelligence. The terror experts believe that this group has close
connections with a more powerful, bigger group or with an outside
terrorist group. Indian PM Manmohan Singh also indicated a foreign
connection at his speech of yesterday. Whether foreign or local,
the fact is that the ideologies and the strategic aims of this group
are obvious: These people are against the political, economic and
social order of the country. Moreover, this attack proves that
after Afghanistan and Pakistan, India has also become a suitable
place for tensions and instability."

PKK Attack Kills two Policemen
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Vatan, Posta, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and
others: Mainstream Milliyet reports that three PKK terrorists came
from the Amanos mountains (in Hatay province) to Iskenderun's
"Bitisik" village at around 11.30 yesterday morning. Carrying
Kalashnikov guns, the terrorists attacked the Municipal Garage at
Denizciler town. They cut the telephone lines, taken a garage guard
hostage, moved to a high point, aimed at police manning a highway
checkpoint and fired. One policeman died and three civilians,
including a one year old baby, were injured in their nearby houses
by stray gunfire from the battle. Meanwhile, a patrolling "Special
Forces" team reached the area and followed the terrorists as they
fled in cars. After a two km chase, the terrorists left their
hostage behind and fled on foot on a mountain path. During the
clashes between the terrorists and the special forces team, another
policeman was killed. Special forces and commandoes are continuing
operations in the area in order to catch the terrorists.

Iraqi Parliament Ratifies SOFA Agreement
Media outlets feature straightforward, low-key coverage of the Iraqi
parliament's approval of the military agreement that will see all US
troops withdraw by the end of 2011. Liberal Radikal carries the
headline, "And Iraq Reaches SOFA," and writes, "after long
negotiations, the agreement was approved by 149 members of the 198
who attended the session." The paper also notes, "Turkish Foreign
Ministry stated that Turkey is pleased with the passing of the
agreement." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports, "PM Nouri
al-Maliki's Shiite-led government succeeded in gathering a majority
to support the historic agreement." The paper also notes the US'
favorable opinion of the passage, "US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan
Crocker and US Forces Commander Gen Ray Odierno hailed the passing
of SOFA."

PM Erdogan Widens Media Ban
Mainstream Milliyet reports that the Prime Ministry's spokesman Akif
Beki, after declining to renew seven press accreditations recently,
has now started intervening with media covering the AKP as well.
Yesterday, Milliyet's AKP correspondent Abdullah Karakus and Vatan's
correspondent Veli Toprak were prevented from covering an event
organized by the AKP Women's Branches at the party headquarters.

Editorial Commentary on US-Russia Relations

Mustafa Balbay in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet: "The US will
continue its interest in Russia's 'backyard,' the Central Asian
countries, even under the Obama Administration. The world is being
rebuilt, and both the US and Russia are determined to strengthen
their presence and increase their global influence. For example,
Russia is changing its constitution for Putin. The Russian
Parliament, the Duma, approved in a 144-1 vote a constitutional
change which extends the term of president from four to six years.

ANKARA 00002063 003 OF 003


This approval opens the way for Putin's reelection."

TV News (CNN Turk)

Domestic

- Prime Minister Erdogan and leading AKP officials will meet in
Kizilcahamam near Ankara over the weekend.

- An Alevi delegation will meet Friday with Parliament Speaker
Koksal Toptan to discuss the problems of Alevis.

- Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkey has not yet reached a deal with
the IMF.

World

- Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and Demetris
Christofias will meet December 2 to discuss federal public
administration and foreign relations.

- The upper house of the Czech Parliament backs US plans to install
part of a missile defense shield on Czech soil.

- Pope Benedict XVI is reportedly considering a visit to Israel and
Palestine next year.

SILLIMAN

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