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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 004754

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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
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2006


In Today's Papers

Turkish Troops to Lebanon
All papers report that on Monday top Turkish civilian and military
officials convened at the Prime Ministry in Ankara to discuss the
possible deployment of Turkish troops to south Lebanon. Prime
Minister Erdogan met with Chief of Turkish General Staff (TGS)
General Ozkok and Land Forces Commander General Buyukanit to discuss
a possible Turkish troop deployment in the south of Lebanon. A
statement after the meeting said Turkey welcomed the ceasefire
implemented on Monday morning, but decided to await a new UN
decision before sending peacekeeping troops to the region. At the
same time, Sabah reports that, according to military and diplomatic
sources, Turkey would send 600 soldiers to Lebanon. Turkey also
stressed that it would be sending increasing quantities of
humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people. On Tuesday morning, Foreign
Minister Gul was to discuss the troop deployment issue with
President Sezer and opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal. CHP MP
Cevdet Selvi warned the AKP government against sending troops into
"the Lebanon swamp." Cumhuriyet says parliamentary approval would
be needed to send Turkish peacekeepers to Lebanon. Turkish
Parliament's summer recess will end on October 1, but papers
speculate that an extraordinary session could be held on September
19. Zaman reports Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is expected to visit
Syria, Lebanon and Israel on Wednesday to test the ground for a
possible deployment of Turkish peacekeeping troops to south Lebanon.

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Fikret Bila commenting in the mainstream Milliyet explains why
Turkey is holding off on making a decision on participating in a
peacekeeping force: "According to Justice Minister Cemil Cicek there
are three reasons why Ankara is waiting: 1) the UN resolution
doesn't openly say 'ceasefire' but says 'ending clashes;' 2) the
positions and attitudes of the countries involved are not clear; and
3) the purpose and size of the force the UN will request is still
not clear. It is obvious that Ankara would prefer to wait for a
second and more concrete UN resolution before reaching a decision on
troop deployment to Lebanon. It seems Ankara would prefer to
participate diplomatically and professionally in regional and
international issues, rather than militarily."

Writing in mainstream Sabah, Yilmaz Ozdil questions Turkey's
participation: "Will the troops sent there protect Lebanon or
indirectly protect Israel by stopping terrorist infiltration from
Lebanon? Do we send our children to military service to protect our
borders or Israel's borders? As a UN member if we need to comply
with the UN decisions, then, how come no one ever thought of asking
the UN where they were when the PKK was coming through Lebanon's
Bekaa Valley to attack Turkey?'

Rahim Er argues in favor of participation in the daily nationalist
Turkiye, noting that "people in the Middle East will trust Turkey":
"Israel's one month long massacre ended yesterday with a UN
decision. Now, the issue is the deployment of a 15,000-strong
peacekeeping force in the region. There is no doubt that Turkey
will send troops to this peacekeeping force and that the government
is just waiting for a more concrete road map from the UN. When all
is confirmed, Turkish troops will be sent to Lebanon as they were
sent to Korea, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Turkish troops' success in
these peacekeeping forces is a well known fact globally. Turkey
should take the lead in this peacekeeping force in Lebanon because
we share almost the same culture and the same religion with this
region. The people in the Middle East will trust Turkish troops and
trust is everything."

Ceasefire in Lebanon
All papers say both sides in the Lebanon conflict claim victory
despite the devastation.
All papers report that Hezbollah leader Nasrallah said we have won

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"a great victory" over Israel. Several papers note Israel is
debating the reasons for its failure. Thousands of Lebanese
displaced by war are returning home. Yeni Safak says Israel
withdrew unsuccessfully, leaving behind 1,200 killed and 7,500
devastated buildings.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's scheduled to visit Turkey at
the end of this month has been cancelled. Israeli sources said
Olmert has cancelled all his visits to foreign countries because of
the ongoing war in the region, regardless of the declaration of a
ceasefire. Two small groups of intellectuals and writers held a
peaceful demonstration in front of the US missions in Ankara and
Istanbul to protest against Israel. A mass anti-Israel rally will
be held in Istanbul on August 20 with participation of NGOs,
academics, and labor unions.

Erdogan Marks AKP Fifth Anniversary
All papers report Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issues
political messages at a press conference held yesterday to mark the
fifth anniversary of his ruling AK Party, saying Turkey was
determined to fight PKK terrorism, also warning that Turkey's
patience in this issue should not be tested. He warned the
international community not to provide shelter to the terrorist
organization. Erdogan said AKP had started a new era for Turkey
over the last five years. The PM also shrugged off criticism that
his government had "sold" Cyprus. "We gave away nothing in Cyprus;
on the contrary, Turkish Cyprus has gained prestige with us."

Diyanet Opens Family Advice Offices
Milliyet reports the state body overseeing religious affairs, the
Diyanet, will open 20 family advice offices across Turkey to offer
religion-based solutions to family problems. Diyanet officials said
six offices currently working to resolve conflicts between husbands
and wives, offering psychological treatment if necessary as well as
advise on issues such as honor killings had already drawn
considerable interest. An official said in conservative societies,
the best way to reach out to people would be through clerics.


TV Highlights
NTV (8 A.M.)

Domestic News

- The ruling AK Party government submitted to President Sezer's
approval a proposal to award outgoing Chief of Turkish General
Staff, General Himi Ozkok, with state medal of honor. Ozkok will be
the third Turkish top military commander to receive the medal.

- Iranian Petroleum Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh and an
accompanying delegation arrived in Ankara Tuesday morning to meet
with Energy Minister Hilmi Guler to discuss Iran's exports of
natural gas to Europe via Turkey.

- Former UN spokesman Timur Goksel said Turkey should send to
Lebanon a battalion of military engineers instead of peacekeeping
troops.

- Three people were injured in a small blast on Monday in the heart
of Istanbul's main tourist district of Sultanahmet. The blast was
caused by an explosive substance left in a bag under a park bench in
the district.

International News

- The UN Human Rights Council is to send a special commission to
Lebanon to investigate Israeli war crimes against civilians.

- The PKK opened a new office in Baghdad after the terrorist
organization's extension Democratic Solution Party was closed down

ANKARA 00004754 003 OF 003


by Iraqi authorities.

- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected claims that Iran's
nuclear program was at an impasse.

- An American reporter and another unidentified journalist, both
from Fox News TV, have been abducted in Gaza by unidentified gunmen.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

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