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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 007014

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
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
CIA Plane Arrives in Istanbul - Aksam
Erdogan: Terrorism not Compatible With Islam - Vatan
`TRNC' to Take Down `Berlin Wall' in Cyprus - Milliyet 11/26
Arabs' No-Show in Barcelona Disappoints EU - Hurriyet
Allawi: Situation in Iraq Worse than Saddam Era - Sabah
Rumsfeld: Al-Jazeera Broadcasts `Erroneous, Ugly' - Sabah
Ramsey Clark Joins Saddam's Defense Team - Sabah
Bosnia, EU Kick Off Membership Talks - Milliyet 11/26
Scotland Demands Independence - Vatan
British Marines Abuse Recruits - Hurriyet
Poland Reveals Warsaw Pact's Nuclear Secrets - Hurriyet
11/27
Dervis May be Picked to Succeed Annan - Hurriyet 11/27
Nobel Peace Fund Invests in US Weapons Companies - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
EU-Mediterranean Summit to Discuss Terrorism - Radikal
Spain: Turkey a Good Model for Muslim World - Zaman 11/27
To Vima: CIA Planes Landed in Athens, Cyprus - Radikal
EU: US Has `Gitmo-Type' Prison in Kosovo - Yeni Safak 11/27
Armenia Approves Critical Constitutional Changes - Zaman
Sharon's New Party to Radicalize Israeli Right - Cumhuriyet
Mubarak: Sharon is a Man of Peace - Cumhuriyet
Israel Has 500 Nuclear Warheads - Yeni Safak
Israel Gradually Occupies East Jerusalem - Zaman 11/26
Palestine Votes for Al-Fatah's Barguti - Radikal 11/27
Palestinians Rush to Rafah Border Crossing - Yeni Safak
11/27
Zarkawi Aide Killed in Ramadi - Yeni Safak 11/27
Ahmadinajad: West Must Account for its Crimes - Radikal
11/27
Polls: 6 of 10 Americans Do Not Trust Bush - Cumhuriyet
Britain Fails Xenophobia Test - Cumhuriyet
`Fixed' Elections in Chechnya - Yeni Safak
Abortion Claims 68,000 Lives Every Year - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

`CIA Planes' Land in Istanbul: Dailies carried extensive
reports over the weekend claiming that a `CIA plane' landed
in Istanbul on November 15, and stayed for 27 hours. The
Minister of Transportation, Binali Yildirim, told the press
that a CIA plane had landed at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen
Airport to refuel during a `routine flight.' Yildirim said
that the plane `had only a crew, and no passengers.' The
Minister later clarified that the Government had not known
whether the plance in question belonged to the CIA. A
column in Sunday's "Sabah" claimed that before November 15,
another `mysterious' CIA plane had stopped over in Istanbul
while en route to Canada. Many commentators pressed the
Turkish Government to demand answers about the alleged CIA
flights from the US.

Sakka Lawyer Claims His Client Interrogated By US: The
lawyer for Syrian al-Qaida ringleader Louai Sakka, currently
in a prison in Istanbul for his alleged role in the November
2003 bombings there, claimed that a team including two

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Americans interrogated Sakka on November 15. The
interrogators allegedly offered to resettle Sakka in a
country of his choice on the condition that he testify
against the Asad regime in the investigation of the
assassination of former Lebanese PM Hariri. The lawyer
claimed that the interrogators threatened to kill Sakka if
he refused to cooperate. Turkish Justice Minister Cemil
Cicek denied the report on Monday, saying that no foreigners
had been involved in Sakka's interrogation.

Turkey May Launch Cross-Border Incursions into Iraq:
Saturday's "Aksam" reported that at a security summit last
week in Ankara, Turkish officials discussed preparations for
a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq to pursue PKK
militants if KDP leader Massoud Barzani fails to cooperate
with Turkey. The paper regards the recent visit to
southeast Turkey by TGS Chief Ozkok, Land Forces Commander
Buyukanit, and Jandarma Commander Fevzi Turkeri as a
preparation for a possible cross-border operation.
Meanwhile, Saturday papers cite a report by the "Kurdistan
Observer" website claiming that President Talabani had
offered to close down PKK camps in northern Iraq in exchange
for a financial contribution to his Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK). A PUK spokesman denied the report. The
website report claims that Barzani rejected a similar
Turkish offer, and gave Ankara the message that he will move
against the PKK only if he is acknowledged by Turkey as the
regional President of Iraqi Kurdistan. `Reliable KDP
sources' said that this was Barzani's only condition to
normalize ties with Turkey. The sources said that Barzani's
nephew Nechirvan will pay a visit to Ankara before the
upcoming Iraqi elections on December 15. A news-commentary
in "Radikal" quotes unidentified Turkish Foreign Ministry
(MFA) sources as saying that if the US decides to remove the
PKK presence in northern Iraq, it will use the Kurds rather
than its own troops in the region.

ITF Chairman Meets With FM Gul: Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF)
Chairman Saadettin Ergec said after meeting with FM Gul in
Ankara over the weekend that he was pleased to still have
Turkey's `full support.' Ergec denied press reports that he
is uncomfortable with the meeting held between Barzani and
Turkish intelligence Undersecretary Emre Taner in the
northern Iraqi city of Salahaddin earlier this month.
During the meeting, Barzani had reportedly stressed to Taner
that it is necessary to find a `democratic solution' to the
PKK problem, and that the Iraqi Kurds will establish an
independent state `if it becomes necessary.' The Turkish
General Staff (TGS) announced in a statement on Friday that
press reports claiming that two Turkish generals
participated in Taner's meeting with Barzani are false.

Erdogan on TGS Change of Command, Semdinli Incidents:
Monday papers report that Prime Minister Erdogan has
rejected speculation that the ruling AK Party government is
bothered by the fact that Land Forces Commander General
Yasar Buyukanit will become the new Chief of the Turkish
General Staff (TGS) in August 2006. The pro-Government
"Yeni Safak" carried the story with a front-page headline
saying `we have no prejudice against Buyukanit.' The PM also
denied that the AKP was seeking to extend the mandate of the
present TGS commander, General Hilmi Ozkok. Erdogan said he
had never claimed that Buyukanit would not replace Ozkok as
the chief of the TGS as scheduled, or that Ozkok would be
supported by the AKP for the Turkish Presidency. Regarding
the ongoing probe of the Semdinli bombings, Erdogan said
that people in the region are afraid of speaking out against
the PKK. `People coming from different ethnic groups in
Turkey cannot be asked to reject their background,' the PM

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said, stressing that all groups in Turkey should be united
`under the Turkish flag.'

Parliamentary Investigation into Semdinli Bombings: A
delegation of the Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights
Committee, in Semdinli to investigate the alleged
involvement of security forces in the bombing of a bookstore
in the mainly Kurdish town on November 9, said over the
weekend that the bombs used in the attack on November 9 had
been produced by the Turkish arms producer MKE. Military
officials have told the commission that the Semdinli
incident may be part of a rivalry between the PKK and groups
controlled by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader
Massoud Barzani. Hakkari mayor Metin Tekce said over the
weekend that the suspects in the Semdinli bombings are being
protected by `high-level Turkish officials.' Tekce noted
that the main suspect in the bombing, jandarma officer Ali
Kaya, remains free even though he has also been charged in
anotehr case for intimidating Kurdish businessmen in
Diyarbakir. `I am a Kurd, not a Turk, but I am proud to be
a Turkish citizen,' Tekce said.

EU Parliament Not Satisfied with Turkey's Performance: The
European Commission criticized Turkey for stalling on the
implementation of reforms, Sunday papers reported. The
report, drafted by Christian Democrat lawmaker Elmar Brok,
welcomed recent comments by Prime Minister Erdogan on the
Kurdish problem in Turkey. It also urged Turkey to open its
ports and airports to Greek Cypriots. The report called on
Turkey to give priority to freedom of expression and
worship, independence of the judiciary, the prevention of
torture, the potection of women's rights, and the
preventio of domestic violence. It expressed concern about
the rise in violence in southeast Turkey. The EU Parliament
will discuss the report in December. The EU Commission
Representative in Turkey, Ambassador Hansjorg Kretschmer,
complained that Turkey had not set up a single institution
to coordinate EU accession negotiations. Kretschmer told FM
Gul earlier this month that the EU had `doubts about the
efficiency of the negotiating structure' announced by
Turkey's chief negotiator, Economy Minister Ali Babacan.
Turkish diplomats said that is is `not fair' to criticize
the negotiating structure, given that the negotiations
started just two months ago.

`TRNC' Launches Peace Attack in Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot
authorities have begun to take down the barricades dividing
Lefkosa's (Nicosia) main avenue, Ledra Street, weekend
papers report. Turkey has donated 500,000 Turkish Lira to
the `TRNC' to carry out the project. Greek Cypriot
authorities pledged to remove barricades on the Greek side
of Ledra Street as well if they are convinced that the move
will cause no security problems. Papers comment that the
Turkish Cypriot move has boosted hopes for a settlement in
Cyprus. The new initiative is expected to revive trade and
visits between the two sides on the eve of Christmas.
"Milliyet" reports that the Turkish Cypriots are preparing
to open a new passage to the south in the Green Line buffer
zone dividing the island. There are already five crossings
connecting the two sides. Dailies also report that Turkish
Cypriot authorities are preparing for another `surprise step
forward' to return assets in the north to their Greek
Cypriot owners. According to a draft bill, Greek Cypriots
will be allowed to take back immediately assets in the north
that are not being used by Turks. Final decisions with
regard to the transfers will be made by the `Compensation
Commission' set up in 2003. The bill will go into effect
once it is approved by the Turkish Cypriot `parliament.'
Papers expect the new regulation to relieve Turkey of

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property disputes being carried to the European Court of
Human Rights (ECHR) by Greek Cypriots.

Police Violence against Teachers: Thousands of teachers and
education workers gathered in Ankara from around Turkish
provinces were barred from entering the capital by riot
police, Sunday papers report. Police intervened to disperse
the rallies of several small groups in the city, injuring 18
teachers and detaining scores of demonstrators. Television
news showed demonstrators being beaten with truncheons and
sprayed by water cannons. Egitim-Sen labor union chairpman
Alaattin Dincer lashed out at the government for the
brutality of the police against the demonstrators, and
demanded the resignation of Education Minister Huseyin
Celik. Papers criticize the excessive violence used by riot
police against peaceful demonstrators, and noted that it was
likely to draw fresh criticism from the EU.

PKK Kills Two Hostages: PKK terrorists killed two persons
they had abducted in Dortyol, the southern province of
Hatay, on Sunday. Halil Mese, a village guard, his friend
Metin Durbak, and a third person were taken hostage by PKK
terrorists in the Domuzdami region. The terrorists
eventually released one of the hostages, but killed the
other two.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Israel; CIA Planes

"Peretz, Kadima and Washington"
Washington-based Yasemin Congar wrote in the mainstream
"Milliyet" (11/28): "The upcoming Israeli elections on March
28 will mark a first in Israeli history: a majority in the
Knesset will support a withdrawal from the West Bank and the
two-state formula, which means an independent state of
Palestine. The Bush administration showed strong support for
the Likud government under Sharon's leadership. The neo-
cons in the US administration felt close to Likud but more
importantly Sharon's support of the two-state formula meshed
with President Bush's personal beliefs. If Sharon becomes
prime minister again, he might unilaterally pull out of the
West Bank. Therefore he and his party, Kadima, are viewed
positively in Washington. A possible coalition government
between Sharon and Peretz is also considered as a positive
option here in Washington."

"The Rhetoric of Skies"
Mim Kemal Oke commented in the conservative "Tercuman"
(11/28): "The CIA use of planes for torturing people is a
clear crime against humanity. When the US wanted to deal
with Al Qaeda suspects outside of international law, the
entire world was against it. The use of CIA planes is
apparently a US tactic to overcome world anger by taking the
outlaw practices into the skies. If the allegations are
proved correct, it would be a tragic measure of humanity in
the 21st century. It will also show much about how
civilized the US is. The neo-con mentality which roared in
the aftermath of 9/11 is drawing a very different picture of
nationalism and religion. The mentality encourages
intolerance and deals with issues in the same spirit as a
lynching."

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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