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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 004197

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, JULY 19, 2006


In Today's Papers

"War of Words" over the PKK
All papers: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the
United States on Tuesday for tolerating Israel's attacks on its
enemies in Lebanon while refusing to allow Ankara to strike PKK
terrorists hiding out in northern Iraq. Erdogan is under mounting
domestic pressure to get tough with the rebels, who have killed 16
Turkish security personnel in separate attacks over the past week.
Papers quote the Prime Minister as saying, "The way they look at
terror there (in Israel) and in Turkey is not the same. They show
tolerance towards country A and show a different approach to country
B. This is unacceptable." Erdogan also repeated hints that Turkey
might send troops across the border into Iraq to tackle the rebels
if U.S. and Iraqi troops continued to ignore Ankara's demands to
act. "Turkey knows how to take care of itself. The relevant
security institutions are working on this matter," Erdogan told a
meeting of the foreign economic relations council.

Papers also report that US Ambassador Wilson said that Turkey should
not act in a unilateral manner in response to a question on a
possible cross-border operation. Noting that he has read these news
reports, Erdogan stated, ''If it is true, it is a wrong statement.
Mr. Ambassador or other ambassadors cannot make a decision on such a
matter. Concerned institutions of the Turkish government make such
decisions. We give our decisions and put them into practice. But if
there are any related countries, we also wish to make such a
decision together with these countries.''

Opposition parties said they extend support to the government for a
possible cross-border operation. ANAVATAN, True Path Party [DYP],
and Republican People's Party [CHP] noted that Turkey has this right
and called on the government to take action. Zaman reports the
Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwafaq al-Rubai as warning that a
possible Turkish cross-border operation would cause more trouble in
the region.

Editorial commentary on the PKK and US-Turkey Relations
Mehmet Y. Yilmaz, writing in mainstream Hurriyet, recommended that
readers "think first before getting angry at Israel": "Frankly
speaking, it is hard to draw a direct parallel between Israel's
action against Hamas and Hezbollah, and Turkey's possible action
against the PKK. This conclusion simply comes from our past
experience as we know that only air-bombardment will not root out
the terrorists. Turkey can achieve a military success only if a
strike is coordinated with ground forces, which runs the risk of a
hot conflict with the US forces as well as northern Iraqi Kurds.
Yet the current situation brings an undeniable question to one's
mind: Should we wait for the US and Barzani to come to their senses
while we see terrorism causing funerals almost every day? The
Turkish government should do something about this problem, but its
hands are not strong enough. How is the Turkish government going to
explain its cross border operation to the entire world while the
same government stands against the Israeli operation as part of a
fight against terrorism? By showing a harsh reaction to the Israeli
action, even harsher than the Arab world, Turkey narrowed its own
options for action."

Emin Pazarci argued in the conservative Bugun: "Patience ran out
after seeing 14 deaths caused by terrorism in two days. The
government took a harsh stance and it issued a clear message to both
the US and Iraq administrations. Turkey's determination was
expressed as a warning, 'either you take care of the PKK presence in
northern Iraq, or Turkey will take necessary measures alone.' The
Turkish public has now started expecting a cross border operation
since the government positioned itself at a point of no return for
domestic as well as international audiences. First the US will be
deciding whether to take necessary steps, and when it does not
happen, the second step will be taken -- a cross border operation by
the Turkish army. Despite the message issued from the Ankara

ANKARA 00004197 002 OF 003


government, the US did not change its stance. Ambassador Ross
Wilson made statements which we already know by heart. He claimed
that the US shares Turkey's sensitivity and talked about some
measures to fight against PKK, while he also suggested that a cross
border operation will not settle down the PKK issue. Turkey really
has no patience to listen to those words any more. And this
rhetoric is disturbing because everybody knows that the PKK's
strength has increased since US troops were stationed in this area.
Statements from the US that 'we are fighting the terrorists' sound
like a joke when Turkey is seeing funerals everyday."

Calling on all parties to think rationally, Hasan Cemal wrote in the
mainstream Milliyet: "It is undoubtedly a sign of a double standard
when the US supports Israeli action because it serves its interests
and at the same time says no to Turkey. It is a right for us to
criticize this approach and remind the US that it must take steps
against PKK as Turkey's friend and ally. On the other hand,
international politics is about double standards. Everybody looks
at an issue based on his own perspective and interests. The PKK
issue is not one-dimensional. Even though we have the right to
self-defense and are capable of conducting a cross-border operation,
we should also think first in a rational manner: What tangible
results were achieved from Turkey's past cross-border operations?
Is this kind of operation really needed since we will definitely
receive opposition not only from the US but from the EU, Iraqi
Kurds, Iraq and even from some Arab countries? We should not neglect
the economic cost of such a military operation either. After taking
all these points into account, we should also remember the lesson
that we should be taking so far. Fighting against the PKK cannot be
about military measures only, and it is not. Fighting PKK terrorism
is certainly a just and legitimate cause, but it is very wrong to
limit the issue to the military dimension and ignore the democracy,
human rights and economic welfare dimensions."


Barzani Wants Friendly Ties with Turkey
Hurriyet quoted Iraqi Kurdistan region's Prime Minister Necirvan
Barzani quoted as saying yesterday that "we won't let anybody harm
our neighbors from our territory. Turkey is an important neighbor.
The PKK issue cannot be resolved only with military measures.
Turkey, without any question, can take measures within its territory
to ensure the security of the country. We want to continue our good
relations with all our neighbors, including Turkey."

Westerners Flee Lebanon after Israeli Offensive
All papers reported that while Israel continued attacks against
Lebanon, Hezbollah retaliated with hundreds of missile attacks on
Israel. Westerners and local people continued to evacuate Beirut
yesterday amid continued Israeli attacks. Vatan reports that
Finland, Sweden and Ukraine have already evacuated their citizens
from Beirut. The US forwarded its fleet from the Mediterranean to
Lebanon to evacuate 25,000 Americans from Beirut. Yesterday evening
a Greek military ship evacuated 400 Greeks from Beirut to Southern
Cyprus. Some of the local and foreign families in Southern Lebanon
also fled north toward the Syria border. Sabah reported that a
Turkish truck was hit yesterday during an Israeli missile attack on
Bekaa Valley. Driver Musa Sevim survived the attack and was sent to
Turkey through Turkish Embassy in Damascus.

A New Investigation into Author Hrant Dink
Bugun and Cumhuriyet reported that Sisli prosecutor has initiated a
new investigation against Hrant Dink in connection with reports that
Dink had discussed Armenian Genocide in an interview with Reuters.
Dink was tried previously for "insulting Turkishness" and his 6
month prison sentence was postponed.


TV Highlights
NTV (7 a.m.)


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Domestic News

- Turkey sent 35 trucks carrying 630 tons of flour to the
Palestinians on Tuesday, a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said,
adding the Turkish Red Crescent would provide 10,000 more tons.
Turkey will also send food aid worth USD 1 million through the UN
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees as well as donate USD
1 million by the end of 2006 for the development of small and medium
scale industries in the Palestinian territories, according to the
statement.

- Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat received DAS Matthew Bryza
on Tuesday. Talat's office said after the meeting Bryza raised no
new proposal or initiative, adding that the US has reiterated
several times its support to all efforts under a UN framework.

- Prime Minister Erdogan received on Tuesday Lebanese lawmaker Saad
Hariri, the son of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in Istanbul.
No statement was made after the meeting which lasted for nearly two
and a half hours.

- Turkish jandarma seized 46 kilogram of A-4 explosives and 70 hand
grenades in the southeastern province of Sirnak.

International News

- Israeli jetfighters bombed Lebanon on Tuesday, killing at least 50
people. Prime Minister Olmert vowed Israel will continue to "target
every terrorist" in its military campaign. Lebanese Prime Minister
Siniora said Israel has inflicted billions of dollars of damage to
the country's infrastructure and is trying to set the country back
50 years.

- The President of the regional Kurdish administration, Massoud
Barzani, said the Kurds had the right to establish their own state,
and that these aspirations would be made a reality "at the
appropriate time."

- A report by UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said 5,818 civilians
were killed and 5,762 wounded during May and June 2006 in the
war-ravaged country.

- A policy editorial in The Los Angeles Times sharply criticizes the
Bush Administration for pulling back the US Ambassador in Yerevan,
John Evans, for backing Armenian genocide claims.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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