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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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
FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2006

In Today's Papers

US General Meets with Barzani in Sulaymaniye, PKK Activity
(Hurriyet, Radikal, Zaman): George Casey, the US general
responsible for the multinational forces in Iraq went to Iraq's
Kurdish region to meet with President Barzani on Thursday.
According to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's (PUK) official
website, General Casey and Barzani met in Sulaymaniye but the
posting didn't give details of the meeting. According to Zaman,
General Casey met with Barzani to convey to him Turkish
sensitivities about the PKK. Meanwhile, by means of a diplomatic
note, Turkey urged Baghdad yesterday to close a PKK-affiliated
research center named after jailed terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Radikal reports that responding to a question about whether
Washington could trust Turkey, State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said that 'Turkey is a good friend and ally. Turkey and
the US have the same concerns in the region.' Sabah reports that
PKK terrorists stopped around 200 vehicles on the Van-Hakkari
highway yesterday, gathered all the passengers on the road side,
checked IDs and after a short pro-PKK speech to the crowd allowed
them back to their vehicles. Sabah highlights the fact that such
PKK activities took place in the past when the terrorist activities
were at their highest levels in Turkey.

Columnist Haluk Ulman argues that Turkey is facing a stalling tactic
from the US regarding the fight against PKK presence in northern
Iraq. In the economic-political daily Dunya he writes: "A
diplomatic solution is certainly the most preferable one and in fact
even the worst diplomatic solution is better than a military option.
However when it comes to PKK terrorism in northern Iraq, it is
really difficult to make a similar argument. First of all, a
diplomatic solution requires two sides discussing an issue. There is
no 'side' in Iraq capable of working for a settlement via
discussion. Turkey is forced to think about taking care of the
problem on its own. The Bush administration answers with the
'trilateral mechanism' whenever it feels pressured on this issue.
Let's take a close look at who is who in this mechanism. One side
is coalition forces, i.e. the US, and the other is the government of
Iraq which means the US again. In other words, Turkey's counterpart
on this issue is the US itself. Proposing three party talks is
nothing but nonsense. Washington's problem stems from the fact that
the US does not have control over Iraq, nor does its puppet Iraqi
regime have authority even in the capital Baghdad. Northern Iraq is
fully controlled by Barzani who will not do anything to finish off
the PKK's presence. And the US is obviously not willing to lose
Iraqi Kurds' support - the only support it gets in Iraq. Given the
facts, who will be the counter party to discuss the terrorism issue
with Turkey? The trilateral mechanism is only a pretext to stop
Turkey's possible cross-border operatin."

Israeli Bombings in Lebanon; Turkey Becoes Evacuation Center
All papers: Papers focus on the developments in the situation in
Lebanon while the headlines generally reflected reports about
civilian deaths and humanitarian sufferings. Radikal headlines
"Devoid of Humanity," reporting that the death toll in Lebanon has
surpassed 325 and "hunger has reared its head." Islamist-oriented
Yeni Safak reports that the Israeli air attacks have turned Lebanese
cities into "ghost towns," leaving "neighborhoods previously home to
100,000 people empty." Mainstream Milliyet headlines, "In Beirut
it's the Civilians Who Suffer," explaining that Israeli attacks
though meant for Hezbollah have only hit homes and civilians while
Hezbollah has announced "not one of us has died." Conservative
Tercuman asked "how many more children should die in order to stop
the war?" All papers report that "for the first time in 23 years"
US Marines are back in Lebanon," this time to help with the
evacuation.

Radikal reported that Turkey's southern port city Mersin has become
one of the centers for the evacuation operation from Lebanon.
Turkey's Red Crescent is actively involved in the evacuation efforts

ANKARA 00004251 002.2 OF 003


and providing transportation and supplies. The Turkish Foreign
Ministry is going to evacuate 450 Turkish citizens from Beirut on
Monday. A group of foreigners continue to enter Turkey via ground
from the Syrian border. The USS Nashville will evacuate 1200
American citizens from Beirut and bring them to Cyprus.

According to columnist Hasan Cemal ongoing tension in the Middle
East is going to negatively affect the global fight against
terrorism. In mainstream Milliyet he observed: "Radical Islamic
fundamentalism was one of the main reasons for the start of Iraq war
three years ago. The neo-cons in the US strongly believed that
global war against fundamentalist terror was a must. Seeing the
current picture in Iraq as well as in the Islamic world in a broader
sense, we cannot claim that radical Islam has weakened and terrorism
has declined. We can't argue about the rise of democracy since the
beginning of Iraq war either. Instead what we see is the opening
of Pandora's Box where all the evil has been unleashed. It seems
Washington neo-cons did not learn any lesson as they still suggest
that the war should continue. According to their argument, the
fight with radical Islam requires a global war. Thus the US wants
to spread the war to Iran and Syria and is supportive of the Israeli
attack in Lebanon. I strongly believe in the need to fight against
radical Islam but it should be made through the values of democracy,
human rights and supremacy of law in the Islamic world. This calls
for regime changes in the Islamic world, not for a global war.
Democracy and regime change require patience and time. War is a
destruction of humanity and it always has a backlash. Why is it so
hard to see this fact?"


Council of State (Danistay) Lift Asset Freeze of Al-Kadi
All papers: The Council of State yesterday overturned a government
order to freeze the assets of Yasin Al-Kadi, a suspected Al-Qaida
financier who has close ties with Prime Minister Erdogan and AKP
members. The Council of State said in its decision that no
documental evidence was provided following the Council of
Ministerial decree to freeze the assets. In the absence of a local
court ruling and lack of documented proof against Al-Kadi, the
Council of State said that temporary injunctions on foreign
investors' assets require legl rulings rather than government
orders.


TV Highlights
NTV (8 a.m.)

Domestic News
Q Turkey was disappointed by the Russian decision to exclude the PKK
from its list of terror organizations. Turkey will press Russia to
add the PKK to the list.

Q Turkey has presented a note of protest to Baghdad demanding the
closure of a research center named after terrorist leader Abdullah
Ocalan.

Q Turkey's top administrative court, the Council of State, has
abolished a government decree for freezing the assets of Saudi
businessman Yassin Al-Kadi in Turkey.

Q PM Erdogan phones US President Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan to seek support for truce in the Middle East

International News

Q The Israeli bombardment of Lebanon is continuing.

Q Intense clashes erupt between Israeli forces and Hezbollah
Guerillas on the southern Lebanese border

Q Israel had threatened to launch attacks against Palestinians

ANKARA 00004251 003 OF 003


hiding any missiles in their houses.

Q Kurdish officials in Iraq said that Iran was attacking PKK camps
in Northern Iraq.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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