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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 003544

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, JUNE 15, 2006


In Today's Papers

MFA Denies Turkey Helped CIA Rendition Flights
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman and others: Turkish
Foreign Ministry (MFA) Spokesman Namik Tan said yesterday at a
weekly press briefing that "Turkey has never played a role" in the
covert transfer of terrorism suspects to third countries or US-run
detention centers, in response to a Council of Europe report listing
Turkey among the European countries that helped the US in rendition
flights. Last week's report by Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty
finding a "spider's web" of bases around the world used by the US
for "extraordinary rendition," held Turkey responsible along with14
European countries for violations of the rights of specific persons.
London-based Amnesty International (AI) also said Turkey, along
with Britain, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Macedonia and Bosnia and
Herzegovina, was implicated in six rendition cases. Tan recalled
that in an interview with Turkey's semi-official Anatolian News
Agency in December, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had strongly
denied reports that terror suspects were brought to Istanbul's
Sabiha Gokcen airport and interrogated by foreign officials. Tan
also said it was out of the question that CIA planes might have used
Incirlik Airbase in south Turkey during the transfer of suspects,
without notifying the Turkish government.

Ambiguity over a Possible Gul Visit to Iran
Hurriyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman and others: At a weekly
press conference on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA)
Spokesman Namik Tan denied work was underway to schedule a visit by
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to Tehran. "However," Tan added, "in
the coming days, if it is considered necessary, then such a visit
would be very natural." Tan reminded the press that Turkey was in
close contact with the relevant parties, but underlined that
Ankara's efforts should be considered as something "less than
intermediation." On Tuesday, Hurriyet had claimed that Gul could
stop over in Tehran on his way back from trips to Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan that will kick off over the weekend. The paper said when
in Iran, Gul would meet with Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei. "If it will serve to achieve a result, needless to say I
will go, but we haven't made a decision yet," Gul was quoted as
saying.

Erdogan to Visit Cyprus in July
Bugun, Yeni Safak: Prime Minister Erdogan is planning to pay a
visit to Cyprus on July 20 (32nd anniversary of Turkish Military
invasion of the island) for Peace and Freedom celebrations. While
he is on the Island, Erdogan will urge the world for a concrete
solution.

Turkey, US Stress Cooperation in Central Asia, Afghanistan
Cumhuriyet reports at a meeting in Ankara yesterday, Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul and US Assistant Secretary of State Richard
Boucher underlined ongoing cooperation and common interests in
Central Asia and Afghanistan. Boucher praised Turkey's contribution
to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and stressed that the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to carry Caspian oil to western
markets was an opportunity for the Central Asian countries. Boucher
said the BTC route should also carry natural gas, and that they were
working for more oil to be pumped into the BTC to Turkey.

Pew Survey: Only 12 Percent of Turks Support Global War on Terror
All papers carry a PEW poll carried out in 14 countries including
Turkey, which shows America's global image has again slipped with
support for the war on terror declining even among US allies. The
survey shows that Turkey has the most negative attitudes toward the
US with only 12 percent of Turks favorable. It says that Europeans
and Turks view the situation in Iraq as a bigger threat to world
peace than Iran's nuclear activities. Only three percent of Turks
hold a favorable view of President Bush, the lowest among all the
countries surveyed. Iranian President Ahmedinejad has the support
of 25 percent. More than three-quarters of Turks, 77 percent,

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oppose the US-led war on terror, up from 56 percent in 2004. The
Pew survey finds that the US-led war on terror draws majority
support in just two countries, India and Russia.

US Marine Video Clip Scandal
Sabah, Milliyet, Radikal say that following the Haditha killings,
another scandal broke out when a video clip posted on the Internet
showing a US Marine singing a song called "Hadji Girl," to a
cheering crowd. The song is about massacring a Muslim family when
their daughter resisted him with a gun. The alleged singer,
Corporal Joshua Belile, said in the face of reactions that the song
was a joke, and apologized to the Muslims in the US. The American
Islamic Relations Council demanded an investigation.

FM Gul Praises Turkish Military Support in EU Process
Radikal: Columnist Murat Yetkin reports that Foreign Minister Gul
has said that the government received immense support from the
Turkish military in the EU process. Gul was quoted as saying that
"implementing EU harmonization reforms would be impossible without
the military's support. The Military's strategic vision played an
important role in this process." Gul noted that the change in
Turkey's Cyprus policy would not be possible without the support of
the military. Turkish diplomats coordinated with the military at
every point to determine Turkey's Cyprus policy. Gul stressed that
it would be wrong to attribute the military's support only to Chief
of General Staff Hilmi Ozkok, because the support had come from the
military as an institution. Gul added that the support extended by
the military to the government in the EU membership process was much
stronger than the support extended by some civilian organizations.


Editorial Comment on Palestine
Ertugrul Ozkok commented in mass appeal Hurriyet: "We kept hearing
the same rhetoric following the election results in Palestine: Hamas
is the elected representative of the Palestinian people. Recent
developments in Palestine have proved just the opposite. By making
a decision to ask the people about recognition of Israel,
Palestinian President Abbas took a very realistic and important step
toward ending the chaos and economic strife of his people. And at
this point the so-called elected representatives - Hamas - are now
standing against the idea of getting the people's opinion. Abbas
made a historic decision which may change the entire course of the
Middle East. We should wish him every success in this mission which
will transfer the fate of peace from a terrorist organization
directly into the hands of the people."


TV Highlights
NTV, 8.00 a.m.

Domestic News

- Prime Minister Erdogan told the press aboard the plane returning
home from Macedonia that the current parliament has the
representational capability to elect the next president of Turkey,
and that his party will nominate someone with "leadership
characteristics" for the office.

- The trial of the suspected killer of Andrea Santoro, the Italian
priest murdered at the Santa Maria Church in the Black Sea city of
Trabzon in February, was adjourned until 13 July. The 16-year-old
suspect faces life in prison.

- Turkey said it was likely to seek financial compensation from
Greece following a mid-air collision between two F-16 jetfighters on
May 23. Turkish Foreign Ministry said a
report is being prepared by the authorities, and if it is in favor
of Turkey, compensation will be demanded.

- Turkish troops killed two PKK members during an operation in the

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eastern Tunceli province.

- In May, Turkey's budget showed a surplus for the first time since
1984, said Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, stressing that the
government is determined to maintain financial discipline, and that
no dramatic fluctuations were expected in exchange rate.

- Fitch Ratings said it may revise Turkey's credit rating downward
if the country's economic and fiscal position deteriorates further.
"If there are further policy slippages or negative shocks then Fitch
may revise the outlook on Turkey's 'BB-' foreign currency and local
currency Issuer Default ratings to stable from positive," Fitch said
in a statement.

International News

- Prime Minister al-Maliki has launched a security crackdown against
insurgents in Baghdad, but also extended an olive branch to Sunni
rebels who want to join the political process in an effort to end
violence.

- Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said a new international offer
of incentives to encourage Tehran to stop uranium enrichment was
"very positive" and would be examined seriously.

- Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah's advisor told Haaretz
Hamas is prepared to offer a 50 or 60-year cease-fire if Israel
withdraws to the 1967 borders.

- UNSYG Annan said he was "shocked and saddened" by the latest
Israeli missile attack into Gaza, which killed nine people and
wounded 40.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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