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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Talabani Pays Surprise Visit to Tehran - Sabah
Zarkawi Allegedly Killed in Mosul - Sabah
Sharon Quits Likud, Will Found Liberal Party - Milliyet
Political Earthquake in Israel - Aksam
US, Mongolia to Become Strategic Partners - Turkiye
Bush Thanks Mongolia for Iraq Assistance - Milliyet
Bush Says Mongolia `Just Like Texas' - Aksam

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OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan Given Cold Reception in Hakkari - Cumhuriyet
Erdogan Consoles Semdinli, Warns Against Supporting
Terrorism - Zaman
Murtha: 80 Percent of Iraqis Oppose US - Cumhuriyet
Biden: Civil Strife in Iraq Not in Turkey's Interests -
Cumhuriyet
Mahmud Osman: Bremer Wasted Kurds' Money - Radikal
Talabani First Iraqi President in Iran for 40 Years -
Cumhuriyet
US Troops Kill Entire Family in Bakuba - Radikal
Rumsfeld: Iraq Pullout Will Only Benefit Terrorists - Yeni
Safak
Bush Pays Visit to Genghis Khan's Descendants - Yeni Safak
Israel Prepares for Elections - Cumhuriyet
Sharon Leaves Likud; Israeli Parliament Dissolved - Yeni
Safak
US Vacates Uzbekistan Military Base - Yeni Safak
Bob Woodward Falls from Grace - Radikal
Non-Aligned Movement Unites against Western Media -
Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Erdogan Pays Visit to Southeast Turkey: Accompanied by his
interior and justice ministers, Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan rushed on Monday to the southeast province of
Hakkari in an effort to address the ongoing unrest in the
region. Tensions have escalated in Hakkari province since
the November 9 bombing in the nearby town of Semdinli, in
which two people died. The bombing has been widely blamed
on members of Turkish security forces. Erdogan told a large
crowd from the balcony of the governor's office in Hakkari
that Turkey has been `paying the cost of terrorism over the
past three decades.' `Terrorism has cost Turkey 40,000
victims over the past thirty years. Killing people will not
yield any results,' Erdogan stressed, warning that
terrorists will try to break up the country if the Turkish
people cannot manage to live in peace. Erdogan noted that
his government opposes all forms of ethnic, regional, and
religious nationalism, and said that people should live as
citizens of the Republic of Turkey regardless of their
ethnicity. Erdogan underlined that the incidents which
occurred several days ago in the region are `under close
scrutiny' by his government. `Let us close this period of
hatred. All must know that if there is wrongdoing, we will
investigate it. We must join hands with you,' he said. The
PM later moved on to Semdinli and visited 67 houses and
shops that were destroyed in a bombing on November 1. Two

ANKARA 00006901 002 OF 004


were killed and 23 wounded in that blast. Dailies comment
that Erdogan was given a `cold reception' in Semdinli, where
he was greeted with placards condemning the involvement of
state officials in the bombings. In Yuksekova, Erdogan held
a meeting with local leaders and NGOs. Erdogan told a group
of 2,000 people who were shouting slogans demanding the
resignation of the provincial governor that `solidarity' is
needed to solve the region's problems. "Zaman" comments
that the PM's `sudden' visit 12 days after the bombings has
revived hopes in the region that the perpetrators of the
November 9 bombing will be found. "Zaman" says that local
people agree that Erdogan is the leader with the greatest
potential to bring a solution to the problem. Papers
speculate that Erdogan's visit had not been announced
beforehand in order to prevent organized protests.

PKK Defector: 500 Informants Work for Jandarma: "Zaman"
carries a story from the weekly political magazine "Aksiyon"
claiming that as many as 500 PKK defectors now work for
jandarma intelligence (JITEM). An informant code-named
Firat said the PKK is not sincere in its stated goal of
expanding `Kurdish rights.' `I worked for long years for
the PKK. Their only goal is to partition the country. We
have sided with the state to protect Turkey. To me, murders
and bombings are an effort to intimidate. They are
necessary for the sake of the state. Nobody is killed
people for nothing,' Firat said.

Pro-Kurdish Demonstration in Mersin: Tensions rose in
Turkey's Mediterranean city of Mersin Monday following the
funeral of Murat Demir, a Kurdish demonstrator killed during
a rally to protest against the Semdinli incident, papers
report. A group of some 1,000 protestors carrying PKK flags
pelted police with rocks on the streets of Mersin, and
damaged cars and shops. Police used tear gas to break up
the protest.

Plastic Explosives Seized in Mersin: In security operations
conducted in Mersin on Monday, police detained 2 suspects
and seized 11 kilograms of A-4 plastic explosives and
electronic circuits used in bomb-making. Police declined to
elaborate on the operation.

US Denies Pressure Urging Denmark to Ban Roj TV: US State
Department spokesmen Sean MacCormack and Adam Ereli denied
Danish media reports that the US had put pressure on Denmark
to close Roj-TV, the pro-Kurdish broadcaster believed to
have ties to the outlawed PKK, the Cihan News Agency
reported on Tuesday. The two spokesmen stressed that the US
has listed the PKK as a terror organization and that the
fight against the PKK is a `continuing factor of US foreign
policy.' Prime Minister Erdogan last week walked out of a
joint press conference with Danish PM Rasmussen in
Copenhagen to protest the presence of Roj-TV in the briefing
room.

Biden Opposes Premature Iraq Pullout: US Senator Joseph
Biden said in response Congressman John Murtha's proposal
for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq that a
premature pullout in the next six months would be `a great
mistake,' Turkish papers report. Biden advised the US
Administration to do `what it did in Afghanistan,' and call
in the regional and international powers in Iraq. `We need
a regional strategy that persuades Iraq's neighbors to wield
their influence with the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds for
political compromise. They will do it, because no one other
than the terrorists has an interest in Iraq's descent into
civil war. Grounds for a settlement must be created, and
reconstruction must begin from that point,' Biden said.

ANKARA 00006901 003 OF 004

TNA: Ankara-Barzani Seek New Ties: A column in the English-
language daily "The New Anatolian" (TNA) claims that Massoud
Barzani, regional president of Iraqi Kurdistan, held a
meeting with a top-level official from the Turkish National
Intelligence Organization (MIT) before the Kurdish leader
flew to Washington late last month to meet President Bush at
the White House. The meeting aimed to establish a new
dialogue between Ankara and the Barzani administration. The
US and UK have told Barzani to tone down his Kurdish
nationalist rhetoric on the Kirkuk issue in order not to
offend Turkey. Turkey claims that the Kurds are trying to
change the demography of Kirkuk to the disadvantage of the
Turkmen living in the city. Kurds say the province should
be a part of the Kurdistan federal entity. They want a
referendum for the people of Kirkuk to decide the future of
the province. The new constitution stipulates that such a
referendum should be held by 2007. The US and UK are urging
the Iraqi Kurds to at least contain the PKK and not allow
PKK militants free movement in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
The Kurds say an independent Kurdistan is a `dream' for them
but stress that both in practical and political terms, it is
impossible to achieve. Turkey views the Kurdish leaders as
`a reality of Iraqi politics,' and understand that the
Kurdistan region has become a legitimate entity under
international law. Ankara is seeking a new approach on the
issue, and wants to turn a new page with the Kurds, the
column claims.

EU Delays Financial Aid to North Cyprus until December: The
foreign ministers of European Union member countries
discussed the issue of financial aid to Turkish Cypriots in
Brussels yesterday. Following the April 24, 2004 referndum
on the island, the European Commission prepared a financial
aid package of 259 million USD and proposed direct trade
between the north and EU member countries. However, these
proposals were rejected because of Greek Cypriot objections.
120 million USD of the initial aid package will be lost if
the proposal is not approved by the end of the year.

RSF Criticizes Turkish Court Decision against Journalist:
The Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) criticized a
decision by Turkey's Supreme Court upholding a 20-month
suspended prison sentence against Burak Bekdil, editor of
the English-language "Turkish Daily News" (TDN) for
`insulting state institutions.' Bekdil was sentenced after
the paper carried a column on August 27, 2001 exposing the
failings and inconsistencies of the Turkish legal system.
Bekdil will face a full jail term if he repeats the offence
between now and July 2007. `An ordinary Turk has a one in a
million chance for a fair trial if he is foolish enough to
trust Turkish courts and judges,' Bekdil wrote in his
column. RSF said that the sentence `shows again the flaws
in the new Turkish criminal code that allow the authorities
to suppress media by using vague formulations according to
whim. Such practices are utterly inconsistent with the
norms of free expression within the European Union,' the RSF
said. Bekdil's lawyer has decided to appeal the verdict to
the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).


EDITORIAL OPINION: Israel; US-Turkey-Iraq

"The Surprise Move from Sharon"
Sami Kohen argued in the mainstream "Milliyet" (11/22): "The
most recent developments in Israel are like a political
tremor. This tremor will not only change the political
equilibrium of the region but also will have some after-
shocks, which could have the effect of putting things in

ANKARA 00006901 004 OF 004


order. Opinion polls indicate that the Likud party as it
becomes more extreme is losing strength, and Sharon's brand
new center-right party is expected to take the lead against
Likud. But Perez's Labor Party is expected to emerge as the
strongest force. In any case, after the elections a center-
left coalition with Sharon and Perez is the most likely
scenario. An Israeli government of this kind will likely be
helpful for the Middle East peace process. If the upcoming
Palestinian elections in January result in some positive
developments, we might be talking about a `Middle East
Spring' after the month of March."

"Observation in the US"
Cuneyt Ulsever observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet"
(11/22): "After meeting some people in Washington D.C., my
observation is that there is a division in the Bush
administration regarding its Turkey policy. The State
Department sees a considerable improvement in Turkish-
American ties since June, while the Pentagon largely
believes that the AKP government is a `lost cause' as far as
US policy for the Middle East is concerned. In addition, the
neo-cons in the Bush administration seem to be lost in
current events and don't know what to do. Even Republicans
are showing support for the Democratic efforts to leave
Iraq's security to the Iraqis in 2006. Nobody takes the
Greater Middle East project seriously anymore. American
officials were annoyed by the sudden visit of Turkish
Foreign Minister Gul to Damascus."

"Once the Beads Scatter Around."
Haluk Ulman wrote in the economic-political "Dunya" (11/22):
"The US occupation of Iraq not only pulled the country into
a circle of violence but also started affecting the
stability and the political future of the countries in the
region. It seems that, because of the policies of Bush and
his team, the post-occupation Middle East is going to be
very different than the pre-occupation Middle East. The
beads have already been scattered around; only God knows
what kind of picture will come out after they are re-strung.
Despite all the efforts of the US, stability has not been
established in Iraq. Iraq has been divided between the
Kurds and the Shiites. The Sunnis, angered by this
division, continue the insurgency with bloody terror
attacks. Over 2,200 American soldiers have lost their lives
in Iraq and countless civilian lives have been lost as well.
Iraqi President Talabani stresses that the establishment of
an independent Kurdish State in Iraq is not possible. But
Barzani says he will announce the region's independence if
there is a civil war in Iraq. Whether a civil war erupts
or not, Barzani is determined to establish an independent
Kurdish state in the region. In fact, this is the only hope
for the US to remain in the Middle East, particularly after
the failure in Iraq."

MCELDOWNEY

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