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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2008

In Today's Papers

Turkey and Iraq Discuss Strategic Cooperation against the PKK

Media outlets report that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will
meet with Prime Minister Erdogan in Ankara today in order to discuss
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's four-point plan for strategic
cooperation against the PKK. Talabani outlined his plan in an
interview with CNN Turk on Monday evening, during which he called
for a cessation of attacks launched against Turkey from Iraqi soil,
PKK disarmament, the declaration of the PKK as an illegal
organization, and amnesty for PKK members who wish to disarm and
return home to Turkey. Yesterday Prime Minister Erdogan responded
to Talabani's plan by saying, "Amnesty is not a new approach to this
issue," and "we've already discussed this plan during Talabani's
visit to Ankara and during my visit to Iraq." Mainstream Milliyet
reports the pro-Kurdish opposition party DTP had positive responses
to Talabani's statements on CNN Turk. Mus DTP Deputy Sirri Sakik
noted, "The proper place to address the Kurdish issue is in the
parliament." Siirt DTP Deputy Osman Ozcellik said, "We are hopeful
and we believe the PKK is ready to disarm." Sanliurfa Deputy
Ibrahim Binici said, "Talabani's statement is a step closer to
peace." Meanwhile, opposition MHP Deputy Chair Oktay Vural called
Talabani and the DTP, "The mediators between the AKP party and the
PKK."

Mainstream Sabah reports Erdogan emphasized, "Turkey's main goal is
to end terror in Turkey," while leftist Taraf says "Erdogan's
comments signal an openness toward a new amnesty law," for PKK
members who disarm and want to return home. In addition, Taraf
reports "The PKK has extended the ceasefire that began during the
Feast of the Sacrifice, despite the continued Turkish air strikes in
northern Iraq."

Editorial opinion on the Kurdish Issue; PKK

Murat Yetkin wrote in Liberal Radikal : "During Interior Minister
Besir Atalay's visit to Baghdat on November 19th, the Turkey-US-Iraq
trilateral cooperation was established. KRG representatives also
attended these meetings and through this, KRG President Massoud
Barzani showed that he won't be a part of the problem any longer but
will exert efforts toward a solution regarding the PKK issue.
Talabani's four-point suggestions, and Erdogan's response, signal a
turning point in discussions between Turkey and Iraq regarding the
PKK. It should not be ignored that James Jeffrey, who coordinated
the three-party mechanism on behalf of the US, was assigned as the
Ambassador to Turkey during that time."

Fikret Bila wrote in mainstream Milliyet : "If a trilateral plan is
agreed upon, the PKK must not be included in the negotiations.
Ankara, directly or indirectly, cannot engage in political
bargaining with the PKK. The strong ties between the PKK and the
DTP indicate the PKK will not decide to lay down their arms until
after they reach their political targets."

Ergun Babahan wrote in mainstream Sabah: "Following the US
timetable for a troop withdrawal from Iraq, efforts have increased
in the region to eliminate terror. Talabani's recent messages
indicate that the pressure against the PKK to disarm will increase.
It is an important step for the Iraqi Administration to stand by
Turkey against terrorism. But Turkey should realize that the
Southeast region faces more challenges than terrorism, and the state
must take necessary steps to address these challenges.

TESEV Report on Kurdish Issue

Mainstream Sabah and liberal Radikal report that the Turkish
Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) released a report
concluding "The Kurdish issue in Turkey should not be linked to the
PKK issue." The goal of the report, according to Sabah, was to

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"voice the views of the Kurds," who want the state to take measures
regarding language and cultural rights. In addition, the report
notes that the state must reform its approach to the village guard
system, mine sweeping, and discrimination against Kurds. Liberal
Radikal points out the report's key messages are "there is no
military solution to the Kurdish issue," and "Turkey needs a new
civilian constitution that adopts the Venice Criteria regarding
banning political parties." TESEV official Dilek Kurban said that
the root of the Kurdish problem is the state's inability to
recognize the Kurdish identity, and the PKK emerged as a result of
this. Kurban also noted that the Kurdish issue would remain even if
the PKK were liquidated, and the state must differentiate between
the PKK and the Kurdish issue. Finally, she pointed out that the
government's policy of isolating the DTP in parliament only fuels
political tensions. Sabah notes that influential journalist Cengiz
Candar called the report, "a milestone in understanding Kurdish
demands." In Candar's column in Radikal today, he says,
"Recognizing the Kurdish language is vital to recognizing the
Kurdish identity."

Editorial Opinion on the Neighborhood pressure
Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist oriented Yeni Safak : "People who are
disturbed by neighborhood pressure can start to change the
atmosphere they created themselves. A democratic country requires a
free public."

Mehmet Yilmaz wrote in mainstream Hurriyet: "People who don't fast,
who smoke in public, and who keep their restaurants open during the
day during Ramadan definitely become the target of neighborhood
pressure. This shows how wrong the people are who think that
political Islam and democracy can exist together."

Turkish and Georgian Prime Ministers Discuss Caucasus Stability

During a press conference in Ankara on Tuesday, Prime Minister
Erdogan and his Georgian counterpart Grigol Mgalobishvilli
emphasized the need to resolve the conflicts in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia within a framework that respects Georgia's territorial
integrity. Erdogan noted, "The stability of the South Caucasus
region is of great importance to stability to the entire Eurasia
region." Erdogan also noted the bilateral discussions addressed
other issues such as trade and energy security.

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

? Former chief prosecutor Sabih Kanadoglu says political parties can
request the annulment of a regulation that led to a suspicious
increase in the number of newly-registered voters.
? 3.7-magnitude quake is reported in Sanliurfa.
? Security officials seize a vehicle carrying PKK bombs and
explosives in Diyarbakir.
? The opposition party CHP's administrative board will hold a
meeting to discuss the fate of CHP deputy Canan Aritman.
? Georgian Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili urges Turkish
businessmen to make investments in his country.
? Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will wait to see the results
of public opinion polls before nominating an AKP candidate for the
post of Ankara Mayor.
? President Abdullah G|l plans to go to Baghdad in January 2009.
? Culture Minister Ertugrul G|nay joins the opening of Alevi
Institute, and apologizes for the massacre of Alevis in Madimak,
Maras and Gorum.
? Many PKK activists are taken into custody in during operations in
Britain.
? The head of DTP branch in Y|ksekova, Vahit Sahinoglu, is taken
into custody regarding a top-secret investigation.
? The AKP seeks support to increase the number of female candidates

ANKARA 00002172 003 OF 003


running in the municipality elections.


International News

? Austrian, German and Swiss export insurer offices announce they
will stop offering export risk insurance for the Ilisu dam project
for 180 days because the project is not fulfilling World Bank
requirements in the areas of environment, relocation and the
protection of cultural heritage.
? A Turk and four other Muslim men are convicted by a US federal
jury for plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix Army base in New
Jersey.
? The founder of an investment fund that lost millions to Bernard
Madoff was found dead at his office of a possible suicide.
? One person was killed during a youth demonstration in Senegal.
? Officials in Kirkuk start to use the Turkish language as official
language together with Kurdish and Arabic.
? Arabs and Iranians should sit together to try to resolve regional
disputes, including the Persian nation's nuclear ambitions, the head
of the Arab League says.
? The Malaysian government decides to recognize Kosovo passports.
? A 5.3-magnitude earthquake strikes near the Italian city of Parma,
but is felt in cities from Milan to Florence.
? The West African state of Guinea plunges into turmoil when a
senior army officer declares the dissolution of all state
institutions, hours after the death of veteran President Lansana
Conte.
? The Iraqi parliament's speaker resigns, opening the way for the
approval of a resolution allowing thousands of British and other
non-US troops to stay until 2009.


JEFFREY

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