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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 006954

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
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
US: We Did Not Urge Denmark to Close Roj-TV - Hurriyet
Rehn Warns Turkey to End Free Expression Violations -
Milliyet
Iraq Oil Flows to US Companies - Sabah
Iraq to Lose 200 Billion USD to Foreign Oil Investors -
Vatan
Annan: Middle East Leaders Concerned About Syria - Sabah
Merkel the Only Woman PM in Europe - Vatan
CNN's `X Files': Starring Cheney - Sabah
Cheney: Former Hawk Has Become an Albatross - Vatan
Woodward: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld Not My Sources - Hurriyet
Bush Plot to Bomb Al-Jazeera - Aksam

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan: Turkey is a Mosaic - Cumhuriyet
Rehn: Rights Violations Have Become the Rule in Turkey -
Cumhuriyet
Semdinli to Complicate Turkey's EU Bid - Cumhuriyet
Iraq Oil to be Turned Over to US, UK Companies - Yeni Safak
Democratization Leads to Corruption in Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Israeli Jets Target Lebanon Again - Radikal
Bosnian Groups in Washington to Discuss Constitutional
Changes - Zaman
CNN `Crosses Off' Cheney - Zaman
Bush, Blair Planned to Bomb Al-Jazeera - Yeni Safak
6 Million Children Die of Hunger Every Year - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

Parliamentary Investigation into Unrest in Southeast Turkey:
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told the ruling AK Party group
meeting yesterday that his government is determined to
resolve the `unpleasant' incidents in Semdinli. The PM was
referring to the November 9 bombings that are being blamed
on members of the security forces. Five persons have been
killed in the unrest so far, while dozens of others,
including several policemen, have been injured. `We will
bring those responsible to justice. This is a matter that
requires solidarity among all political parties,' Erdgan
said. The PM added that `Turkey is a mosaic composed of
diverse elements. We will lose our richness if we leave
aside a part of that mosaic.' Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul
said that Turkey has changed, and that those trying to
conceal irregularities will be sacked. Turkish Parliament
Human Rights Committee chairman Mehmet Elkatmis led a
delegation to Hakkari on Tuesday to investigate bombings in
Semdinli and the nearby town of Yuksekova. On Wednesday,
the parliament will discuss motions submitted by the AKP,
the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and the
Motherland Party (ANAP) in support of a parliamentary
inquiry into the Semdinli affair. Meanwhile, "Milliyet"
reports that the prosecutor in Semdinli has passed the case
file on the bombing to his superiors, with a recommendation
that more serious charges be considered. Such charges could
include the formation of a criminal gang, or even terrorism.
"Milliyet" adds that the bombs found in the car belonging to
the jandarma were identical to that used in the November 9

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Semdinli bombing.

PKK Informant, Village Guard Implicated in Silopi Bombing:
"Sabah" reports that a former PKK member turned government
informer and a village guard have been implicated in an
attempted bombing of a police building in the southeastern
city of Silopi last week. The two men allegedly threw a
grenade into the courtyard of the building. There were no
casualties in the incident.

Acquittal of "Yuksekova Gang": Papers report that five
members of Turkish security forces who had been charged with
a range of crimes including murder, kidnapping, extortion,
and drug trafficking in the southeastern province of Hakkari
in the 1990s have been acquitted by a Turkish court. The
officials had been accused of being part of what became
known as the `Yuksekova Gang.' One former PKK member who
had turned government informant was convicted in the case
and sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Buyukanit on Semdinli Incidents: Turkish Land Forces
Commander General Yasar Buyukanit denied in an interview in
today's "Hurriyet" claims that the military deliberately
flew F-16s over the large crowds attending a funeral for
those killed in recent pro-Kurdish protests in order to
intimidate them. Buyukanit categorically rejected
speculation about the involvement of military officials in
Ankara in the Semdinli affair. He declined to comment
further on the issue, noting that a judicial investigation
is underway. Buyukanit pointed out that security forces had
been attacked with stones, Molotov cocktails, and weapons.
`Turkish flags have been removed, and busts of Ataturk have
been destroyed. Military housing units have been attacked.
PKK flags have been raised, and slogans have been chanted in
support of PKK terrorists. People have died. As a
commander responsible for this region, I have the right to
ask whether the incidents that occurred after the bombing
were legal,' the general said. Buyukanit insisted that the
F-16s flying low over the funeral procession in Semdinli was
`a coincidence,' and that the planes were conducting routine
training flights. He added that there would be no reason to
try to intimidate people attending a funeral. The commander
blamed the PKK for the 16 blasts that have rocked Hakkari
province over the last two months. Buyukanit recalled that
on the same day the blast was reported in Semdinli, three
soldiers had been killed in a landmine explosion in Hakkari.
He refused to characterize recent incidents as a
`rebellion,' stressing that the military is strong enough to
block efforts to partition Turkey. Buyukanit also said he
sees no reason to impose `emergency rule' in the region,
adding that the problem can be addressed by implementing the
necessary measures in the anti-terror law.

MIT Undersecretary Met With Barzani: NTV reported today
that the Turkish intelligence undersecretary traveled to
northern Iraq for a meeting with Iraqi Kurdistan Regional
President Barzani before Barzani's travel to Washington and
Europe. The report was based on an article in yesterday's
English language daily, "The New Anatolian."

Denmark: Roj TV Not Illegal: Ankara has been disappointed
by the decision of Danish police not to bring charges
against Copenhagen-based Roj-TV for its alleged links to the
outlawed PKK, Turkish papers report. Denmark said the Roj
TV broadcasts take place within the framework of freedom of
expression. Dailies speculate that the hard-line attitude
Prime Minister Erdogan displayed when he walked out of a
joint press conference with the Danish Prime Minister last
week to protest the presence of Roj-TV correspondents in the

ANKARA 00006954 003 OF 004


briefing room had no impact on the Danish position.
Commentaries slam Denmark for protecting Roj-TV despite
evidence submitted by Turkey showing the pro-Kurdish
broadcaster'saffiliation with the PKK. Meanwhile, papers
report that the US State Department Spokesman said he had
`no information' about claims that the US had pressed the
Danish Government to close down Roj-TV.

Turks Launch Military Exercises in Cyprus: Turkish forces
stationed in northern Cyprus kicked off the `Toros-2005'
military exercise on land, sea, and the airspace of the
`TRNC' on Wednesday, the semi-official Anatolian News Agency
(AA) reported. Forces from Turkey will not participate in
the exercises this year. Civilians will be allowed to watch
the maneuvers on their final day, November 25. The Toros
exercises are seen as retaliation against the Greek Cypriot
`Nikiforos' exercises that were held last month.

Rehn Warns Turkey on Rights Violations: EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn warned Turkey yesterday to put an end
to ongoing violations of freedom of expression. `Violations
of freedom of expression seem to have become the rule rather
than the exception. These kinds of violations are not to be
expected from a country seeking EU membership,' Rehn said.
The Commissioner reportedly warned that Turkey's EU
accession process could be suspended if Turkey does not
address the situation over next 1-2 years.

ECHR Sentences Turkey Over Killing of Greek Cypriot in 1997:
Turkey has been found responsible in the death of a Greek
Cypriot national who entered the buffer zone in Cyprus
in1997, and has been ordered by the European Court of Human
Rights (ECHR) to pay 43,500 Euros in compensation to the
victim's family. The relatives of Petros Kakoulli claimed
that he had been intentionally killed by Turkish soldiers
near the green line while he was collecting snails. The
Turkish government maintained that Kakoulli had crossed the
ceasefire line and, despite being warned verbally and with
hand gestures, refused to stop. Turkey tops the list of
countries ordered to pay compensation in cases adjudicated
by the ECHR.

Iran to Send Missionaries to US: "Vatan" reports that the
head of the Imam Khomeini Institute, Ayetollah Mohammed
Taghi, a strong supporter of hardliner President
Ahmadinajad, said that 5,000 `Shiite missionaries' will be
sent to the United States. Some one million Iranians live
in the US after having fled the Islamic revolution in Iran,
according to the report.

Arinc, Erdogan Due in Spain: Turkish Parliament Speaker
Bulent Arinc will travel to Spain to attend the 5th
Conference of the Euro-Mediterranean Speakers of Parliament
in Barcelona from November 24-27. Arinc will chair a
session on `society, culture, and dialogue among
civilizations.' Arinc will also hold a bilateral meeting
with Speaker of the Bulgarian Natinal Assembly, Georgi
Pirinski. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will travel to
Spain November 26 to attend the high-level group meeting of
the `Alliance of Civilizations' project with Spanish Prime
Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Turkey-Greece Natural Gas Pipeline: A planned natural gas
pipeline between Turkey and Greece will be completed by
November 2006, international wires reported on Tuesday.
Greece and Turkey agreed last year to build the 300 million
USD, 285 km pipeline as part of plans to transport natural
gas from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East to Europe. The
Turkish state pipeline company, BOTAS, has invited separate

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tenders for land and sea pipelines after a previous tender
was cancelled due to claims of corruption. The initial
volume of gas flow is put at 750 million cubic meters (bcm).
The project will eventually pump up to 11 billion bcm of gas
a year -- 3 bcm for Greece and the rest for re-export to the
rest of Europ. Earlier this month, Italy and Greece signed
an accord worth 950 million Euros to extend the pipeline
from Greece to Italy. The 200 km pipeline between the
coasts of Italy and Greece will be built by Poseidon, a
joint venture between Edison and the Greek gas firm Depa, at
a cost of 350 million Euros.

Gul Meets Konare: Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on
Tuesday at a joint press conference with visiting African
Union Commission Chairman Alpha Qumar Konare that Turkey is
very interested in a solution to the political problems in
Africa, the Anatolian News Agency (AA) reported. Gul
recalled that Turkey had declared 2005 `The Year of Africa,'
and added that the Turkish International Cooperation Agency
(TIKA) had opened an office in Addis Ababa. `Turkey will
contribute to the solution of humanitarian problems in
Africa. Turkish troops were assigned to peacekeeping
missions in several African countries,' Gul said. Konare
noted that Turkey has been active in economic and security
issues in African countries. Turkey joined the African
Union in 2005 as an observer. Turkish Foreign Ministry
(MFA) Spokesman Namik Tan said at a weekly press briefing
that Turkey will do everything it can to assist African
countries in efforts to bring a solution to the continent's
`chronic' problems. `To this end, Turkey has given 1.8
million USD to the World Food Program (WFP). The money will
be sent to Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Sierra
Leone, and Guinea,' Tan said.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Dayton Anniversary; Merkel/Germany

"Dayton Lessons"
Sami Kohen wrote in the mainstream "Milliyet" (11/23): "Even
ten years after the Dayton accord, Bosnia-Herzegovina
continues to feel the impact of civil war. The accord's
spirit of `unification within disintegration' has been
adopted as disintegration. Currently Bosnians, Serbians and
Croats are living separately and even sending their children
to different schools. Observers note that the people in
this area prefer to identify themselves along ethnic and
religious lines and that micro-nationalism is prevails. In
its 10th anniversary, the Dayton Accord should be considered
as a success of diplomacy. But it will take a long time to
go for Bosnia to recapture its multi-cultural mosaic
character."

"Prime Minister Angela Dorothea Merkel"
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (11/23):
"Angela Merkel never yielded and she finally got the prime
ministerial seat. Her success was a first in German
history. After experience in various strata of politics and
a long standing political struggle, Merkel reached the
premiership as she turned out to be a trustworthy figure for
both business circles domestically and in the US. There are
certain similarities between British PM Margaret Thatcher,
the Iron Lady, and German PM Merkel, who seems determined to
adopt Thatcher style politics. In Turkey she will be
closely watched due to her comments on Turkey and the
European Union. She is not alone in this matter, as there
are quite number of people in the EU who agree with Merkel
regarding Turkey's EU membership."

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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