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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 ANKARA 006670

SIPDIS

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
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
--------------------------------------------- --

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Reid: US Won't Support Process Tied to PKK, Ocalan -
Milliyet
EU Announces Tough Road Map for Ankara - Aksam
EU Urges Turkey to `Move on' with Reforms - Sabah
Terror Strikes Luxury Hotels in Amman - Hurriyet
Al-Qaida Strikes in Amman: 62 Killed - Milliyet
Barzani: Turkey Must Launch Talks with its Kurds - Milliyet
Ankara to Baku: Address Irregularities in Vote - Turkiye
Azerbaijani Opposition Takes to the Streets - Milliyet
Opposition Urges Blair to Step Down - Aksam
US Report Criticizes Turkey on Bahai - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
EU Gives Turkish Reforms Failing Marks - Cumhuriyet
EU Uneasy with Slow Pace of Turkish Reforms - Zaman
Ankara Doesn't Like EU Progress Report - Cumhuriyet
Triple Terror Attacks in Amman - Zaman
Police Suspect al-Qaida in Amman Blasts - Yeni Safak
`Paris Syndrome' Spreading to Europe - Yeni Safak
Azerbaijani Opposition Calls for Continuous Protests - Zaman
Pentagon Admits Fault, Prohibits Torture - Cumhuriyet
CIA Demands Investigation into Leak of `Secret Prisons' -
Cumhuriyet
Bush Suffers Heavy Election Defeat in Virginia - Radikal
Damascus Cooperates with UN - Radikal
HAMAS May Meet with Israel - Cumhuriyet
British House of Commons Rejects Blair's Terror Bill -
Radikal
Saddam Left Without Defense Counsel - Radikal
UN Calls on US to Remove Sanctions on Cuba - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

EU Releases Reports on Turkey's Accession: In two reports
released yesterday concerning Turkey's progress toward
membership in the European Union, the European Commission
warned the Turks to step up the pace of reform and do more
to protect human rights. `Turkey can be regarded as a
functioning market economy, as long as it firmly maintains
its achievements in stabilization and reform,' the
Commission said in its annual Turkey progress report. The
report noted that the establishment of a market economy is a
prerequisite for joining the EU, and will boost confidence
in the Turkish economy, bringing a better climate for
foreign investors. But it also said that the pace of reform
efforts had decelerated over the last year, adding that
human rights violations continue to occur, and that there is
an urgent need to implement legislation. The Commission
also acknowledged that torture cases are still reported in
Turkey, and that more vigorous efforts are required to
penalize those who perpetrate such crimes. It noted that
problems encountered by non-Muslim minorities persist,
adding that there is an urgent need to adopt legislation on
minorities in line with the EU. `Violence against women
remains a matter of serious concern,' the report noted. It
criticized article 301 of the penal code that was invoked
against Orhan Pamuk, journalists Hrant Dink and Emin Karaca,

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and writer Ragip Zarakolu. The report added that the
principle of fair trial had been violated in the Ocalan
case. It noted that the procedures followed in the
appointment of judges posed an obstacle to an independent
judiciary. The EU saw little progress with regard to
women's rights, pointing to domestic violence, `honor
killings,' a high illiteracy rate, and low participation in
parliament, local representative bodies, and the labor
market. It noted that laws obstructing the establishment of
trade unions and associations should be removed. Papers say
that the EU will closely follow improvements in these five
areas. In a press conference announcing the reports, EU
Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said that a country with
the size and population of Turkey is a major challenge for
the EU's absorption capacity. Rehn also warned Turkey to
abide by its obligation to open its ports to Greek Cypriot
vessels. Rehn stressed that Turkey must ratify the
additional protocol and implement it strictly. Rehn added
that there is no link between implementation of the
additional protocol and the removal of sanctions on northern
Cyprus. Rehn declared that the EU has fulfilled its promise
by kicking off accession talks with Turkey on October 3, and
that it is now Turkey's turn. Papers say that the next two
years will be difficult, and Turkey will have to work hard
to attain its medium-term goals for economic and social
harmonization.

Gul on EU reports on Turkey: Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul
said in an evaluation of the EU Progress Report and the
Accession Partnership Document that despite some
`unreasonable' criticism in the EU reports, the `big
picture' puts Turkey in an advantageous light. `Even if we
have certain shortcomings, the reforms we have enacted
constitute a silent revolution,' Gul told a gathering of AKP
members on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Ankara disputed the claim
that it has slowed the pace of reform. Ankara also believes
that the EU demand to open Turkish ports and airports to the
Greek Cypriots is unjustified. The Turks are pleased,
however, that neither of the EU reports mention a need to
recognize Cyprus in advance of full EU membership. Ankara
is also pleased that the PKK is mentioned specifically as an
obstacle to progress in the southeast. Dailies claim that
the EU made no changes in the progress report in response to
objections raised by Turkey.

US Consul Ried Visits Sirnak: The US Consul in Adana,
Walter Scott Ried, told members of the pro-Kurdish party
DEHAP that Washington will not support the involvement of
the outlawed PKK in any efforts at a solution to Turkey's
Kurdish problem, "Milliyet" reports. Ried met with Izzet
Belge, the provincial head of DEHAP in the southeastern city
of Sirnak on Wednesday during calls in the province. `We
will never accept a solution process tied to Abdullah Ocalan
and the PKK,' Ried said, stressing that problems should be
resolved through democratic means. Belge countered that
Ocalan should not be disregarded, warning that the
democratic process will be harmed if he is not taken into
account.
Fried on Turkey, Islamic Regimes: Dan Fried, US State
Department Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia, said
that the improvements brought by the ruling AK Party toward
a center-right democratic course in Turkey are a sign of
liberalization in the Turkish political arena, the semi-
official Anatolian News Agency (AA) reported on Thursday.
Fried told journalists at a meeting in Washington yesterday
that the US will continue to support democracy in the
Broader Middle East region. Responding to a question
regarding the position of Islamic regimes, Fried stated that
Islamic parties can advance on the path to democracy if they

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distance themselves from radical approaches.

US Report Mentions Bahais in Turkey: The 2005 US
International Religious Freedom Report pointed to some
restrictions against Muslims, Christians, and Bahais in
Turkey for alleged proselytizing or holding unauthorized
meetings, "Sabah" reports. There are approximately 10,000
Bahais in Turkey, according to the report, but they face
suspicion and mistrust due to the fact that the Turkish
state does not recognize Bahaiism as a religion. The
Bahais' Turkey representative, Suzan Merter, said that
Turkey is the only country to reject Bahaiism. `We are not
allowed to write Bahai on our identity cards issued by the
state. Court rulings after 1990 allow us only to identify
ourselves as `nonreligious' on our ID cards. Such a wording
has a negative effect on our children's morale,' said
Merter. Turkey's Bahais mostly live in cities such as
Antakya, Adana, and Iskenderun.

Nationalist Turks Protest against Patriarchate in Istanbul:
Turkish extreme nationalists, accompanied by the Independent
Turkish Orthodox Church and families of security forces
killed by terrorists, gathered in front of the Greek
Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul early Thursday to protest
against an invitation by Patriarch Bartholomew I to Greek
Cypriot bishops to visit Istanbul to discuss problems among
the Greek Cypriot clergy, the Anatolian News Agency (AA)
reported. A spokesman for the group, Kemal Kerincsiz,
accused the Patriarchate of attempting to establish a
`religious government' such as the Vatican. Kerincsiz noted
that his group launched a signature campaign 10 days ago
aimed at `moving the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to Greece,
as it is acting against the Lausanne Treaty.'

Turkey Condemns Amman Hotel Bombings: The Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA) strongly condemned the terrorist bombings
that killed over 60 in the Jordanian capital of Amman last
night. The statement noted that Turkey feels `deep sorrow'
over the attacks, adding that the assailants must be brought
to justice as soon as possible. `The attacks staged in
Jordan have once again showed the need for international
cooperation against this global scourge,' the MFA stressed.

Ankara Urges Turks in France to Remain Calm: Dailies report
that Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) Spokesman Namik Tan said
at his weekly press briefing yesterday that the Turkish
Embassy in Paris has condemned acts of violence in France
and called on Turkish nationals living there to remain calm.
`Our nationals try to stay away from the riots in France,
and are ready to cooperate with local authorities,' Tan
said. Tan added that as the riots could spread to other
European countries, Ankara has also called on Turks living
elsewhere in Europe to remain calm.

US Source: Plame Visited Turkey Several Times: An
unidentified US intelligence source told a "Hurriyet"
correspondent in Washington that Valerie Plame had paid
several visits to Turkey under the guise of an `energy
consultant.' The source claimed that Plame was working in a
CIA department related to the proliferation of nuclear
weapons. Plame allegedly visited Turkey along with nuclear
energy officials from various countries, according to the
report.

Barzani Advises Turkey to Launch Talks with its Kurds:
President of the Kurdistan regional administration Massoud
Barzani said that the Turkish government should acknowledge
the existence of Kurdish people in Turkey and start talks
with their political representatives, "Milliyet" reports.

ANKARA 00006670 004 OF 005


He warned that unless this happens, PKK violence will
continue. Barazani also claimed that the PKK emerged
because of the `wrong policies' pursued against the Kurds by
Ankara.

Religious Tolerance Conference Ends in Istanbul: The second
Peace and Tolerance Conference, held in Istanbul under the
auspices of European Commission President Jose Manuel
Barroso, Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, and New
York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation President and
Chief Rabbi Arthur Schneier, ended on Wednesday. President
Bush had sent a message to the opening of the conference on
Tuesday. The conference aimed at inter-religious
cooperation for peace in southeastern Europe, the Balkans
and Central Asia. Religious leaders brought together from
around the world issued messages of peace and tolerance.
Previous conferences had brought together religious leaders
in Vienna, Istanbul and Switzerland. In 1994, the
representatives adopted the Bern Declaration, which stated
that a crime perpetrated in the name of religion constitutes
the biggest crime against religion.

Erdogan on Foreign Investments in Turkey: `Turks have more
confidence in themselves today. We are working day and
night to inform world leaders about Turkey,' Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan told a conference held by Turkey's Foreign
Capital Association (YASED) in Istanbul yesterday. Erdogan
said that full membership negotiations with the European
Union will attract dozens of foreign investors to Turkey.
He stressed that more foreign investment in Turkey will help
create more jobs, and encourage competition to the benefit
of consumers. Erdogan recalled that before the November
2002 elections won by his party, there were only 5,584
companies owned by foreigners in Turkey. `In the past three
years, the number of foreign-owned businesses in Turkey has
jumped to 11,622,' Erdogan said.

Former DEP MPs Establish New Party: Former Democracy Party
(DEP) lawmakers Leyla Zana and and her colleagues
established the Democratic Society Party (DTP) in Ankara on
Wednesday, papers report. The co-chairs of the newly
established party, former MP Ahmet Turk and Abdullah
Ocalan's lawyer Aysel Tugluk, told a press conference that
the DTP will work to find a solution to the Kurdish issue
through dialogue. The founders of the party include former
lawmakers Leyla Zana, Orhan Dogan, Selim Sadak, Hatip Dicle,
and chairman of the Democratic People's Party (DEHAP) Tuncer
Bakirhan. The emblem of the party will be a red rose on a
yellow background.

Arinc Criticizes Sezer Over Headscarf Ban at Receptions:
Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc lashed out at President
Ahmet Necdet Sezer for `denigrating Turkish women' by
banning headscarves at gatherings at the presidential
palace, papers report. `I find President Sezer's illegal
rules applied against the headscarf at receptions wrong, and
I see them as a degrading treatment of Turkish women,' Arinc
said. Arinc pointed out that Sezer's two predecessors, the
late Turgut Ozal and Suleyman Demirel, imposed no such ban.
`After Sezer has completed his term, no president will
follow such a practice. I am sure of that,' he emphasized.
Because of the ban, none of the wives of Turkey's cabinet
ministers attended Sezer's October 29 Turkish National Day
reception. Sezer backs a constitutional ban on wearing
Islamic headgear in public buildings, viewing it as a threat
to Turkey's secular system.

Bomb Kills Two in Semdinli: A bomb explosion in a bookstore
in Semdinli in southeast Turkey on Wednesday killed two and

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injured six others, papers report. After the blast, a group
of locals tried to lynch a person suspected of planting the
bomb. The group chanted slogans in support of the PKK,
claiming that the car belonged to a security official.
Police detained the suspect and seized three Kalashnikov
assault rifles found in a nearby car. On Thursday, some
1,000 protesters pulled down power lines and set up
barricades in Semdinli, and threw Molotov cocktails at a
police checkpoint on the edge of the town to protest the
bombing. Several papers claim that the undercover security
officials are suspected of having played a role in the
bombing. Last week, a car bomb was detonated in front of a
security headquarters in the same town, wounding 23 people
and damaging 67 buildings. The PKK was blamed in that
incident.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Paris Burning

"Conflict of Civilizations is Underway"
Cuneyt Ulsever wrote in the mainstream daily "Hurriyet"
(11/10): "The true explanation of France in flames is
related to economic and social issues, because those who
suffer from economic isolation and social alienation are one
and the same -- Muslims. Continental Europe has been trying
to overcome its economic problems for a long time.
Decreasing productivity and a growing rate of unemployment
in Europe are making things more difficult than before.
Muslim workers from third world countries made significant
contributions to Europe's wealth from 1960-1980, but their
presence is perceived by Europeans as a thorn in their side
now that European economies are no longer growing. As the
pie gets smaller, the fight for each slice becomes more
intense. . Unfortunately, this fight is also provoking a
conflict of civilizations. This conflict is clearly visible
when we see the difference in reactions between Muslim
immigrants and East Europeans. . The events in France are
very much related to Al-Qaeda, and must be taken very
seriously."

"How to be Positioned in Europe?"
Soli Ozel wrote in the mass appeal "Sabah" (11/10): "The
uprising in France is going to incite xenophobia in other
countries as well, and will have negative effects on
Turkey's EU process. Moreover, all of these incidents will
make life difficult for the Turks residing in Europe.
Turkey should be cautious in formulating its policies during
this period of racial tension. It will not serve to
Turkey's interest to filter political issues through a
religious perspective. The problems of Turks living abroad
should be viewed as a human rights issue and a problem of
adaptation in the societies in which they live. After all,
hypocrisy makes no discrimination. It exists everywhere in
the world, both among Muslims and non-Muslims. The
continuing silence of the entire Muslim world in the face of
ethnic cleansing in Sudan's Darfour region is proof of this
fact."

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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