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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 004853

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, AUGUST 21, 2006


In Today's Papers

Foreign Minister Gul Visits Israel; Discusses Peacekeeping Force
All papers: Foreign Minister Gul visited Israel yesterday to check
the pulse of the Israeli authorities on UN peacekeeping force
deployment. Gul met with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, FM Tzipi Livni and
Defense Minister Peretz and urged them to actively participate in
efforts to bring permanent peace and stability to the Middle East.
Gul also underlined the importance of the concerned parties acting
in accordance with UN resolution 1701. During his visit, Gul urged
all concerned parties to seek ways to solve problems through
dialogue and underlined Turkey's diplomatic efforts for peace and
humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people. Hurriyet reports
that Israeli PM Olmert openly told Gul that Israel would like to see
Turkish troops among the UN forces in Lebanon. FM Gul commented
that the international peacekeeping force would not be responsible
for fighting Hezbollah. After Israel, FM Gul met with Palestinian
leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. In other Middle East-related
news, Aksam and others report that thousands demonstrated in
Istanbul yesterday against Israeli and the US policies in the Middle
East.

Mustafa Balbay, writing in the leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet, warns
that Turkey is making a commitment to the force "without knowing
what the framework is": "Secretary Rice uttered some key words
recently on the Lebanon issue when she called for a new Middle East.
Turkey is certainly a part of this new plan but will be kept out of
the information loop regarding the details and processes. According
to the scenario, co-designed by the US and France, Turkey needs to
know only the part that it will have to play -- not the entire plan.
Moreover there is no guarantee that this scenario will not change
as it moves forward. Turkey's ruling AKP is making a commitment to
participate in the Lebanese peacekeeping force without even knowing
what its framework is. Something is very clear though: the
Lebanese peacekeeping force will be protecting American and Israeli
interests in the region."

On the other hand, Washington-based Omer Taspinar commented in the
liberal-intellectual Radikal that joining the force would
"strengthen Turkey's hand": "The international community, including
Arabs and the US, are expecting Turkey's contribution and we should
not keep Turkey out of this. This is not only a matter of prestige
and historic responsibility for Turkey but also it can offer a
unique chance if we can design the sending force plan with careful
political analysis. By assuming a serious role in Lebanon, Turkey
can ask the US to take concrete steps on PKK and Cyprus issues.
Ankara can also initiate and host a brand new conference on the
Middle East through its influence in the region as well as its
relations with Washington."

National Security Council Meeting Today
Yeni Safak, Zaman, Radikal and others: The National Security
Council (NSC) will convene under President Sezer today. Latest
developments in the Middle East, possible Turkish troop deployment
in Lebanon and the PKK issue will be the major issues of the
meeting. Outgoing Chief of General Staff Hilmi Ozkok will make a
farewell speech and Gendarmerie General Fevzi Turkeri will also bid
farewell at today's meeting.

President Sezer Declines Talabani's Appointment Request
Sabah reports on page one that Iraqi President Talabani sent to
Turkey many requests for an official visit through different
channels, including through the US, urging Turkey to strengthen its
ties with Iraqi leaders. However, despite US pressure, President
Sezer declined to give Talabani an appointment. Sources close to
Sezer said that as long as the PKK's activities continue and Turkish
soldiers are martyred, President Sezer will not consider inviting
Talabani. Iraqi officials reportedly consider this rejection as a
lack of political courtesy.


ANKARA 00004853 002 OF 002


PKK Meets with the US Officials, PKK Attacks
Cumhuriyet, Sabah, Zaman: Cumhuriyet draws attention to a report by
the Turkish security forces in Iraq that Kurdish leaders Barzani and
Talabani have been supporting the PKK and that US officials had been
in touch with PKK militants. According to this report, US majors
and higher ranked military officials have held more than a hundred
meetings with the PKK since the beginning of the year. The report
says the goal of PKK activities is to stir an uprising among the
Kurds. Sabah reports that the PKK launched a bomb attack on the
Iran-Turkey natural gas pipeline in Taslicay, Agri Province. It
took five hours for the fire on the pipeline to be put out. Zaman
says this is the sixth attack on the pipeline by the PKK within the
last seven months. Sabah and Cumhuriyet report that two PKK
terrorists were killed during an operation in a rural area in Sivas
Province.

Writing in the mainstream Milliyet, Semih Idiz argues that a
"dialogue of the deaf is going on between Ankara and Washington" on
the PKK issue: "Given the current atmosphere, it is not a surprise
that Ankara was annoyed by Washington's recent call on the PKK to
disarm. The pending issue of a US coordinator for the PKK has also
become another reason to mistrust the US. The common perception is
that those efforts are unwelcome because both the call for the PKK
to lay down arms and the PKK coordinator are seen as steps toward
making Turkey consider the PKK a negotiation partner. There are a
significant number of Americans who believe that Turkey should sit
at the table with Kurds once the PKK declares that it is giving up
arms and engaging in politics. Given the current psychology fed
with everyday news of PKK attacks and murders, the US seems not to
realize that this is an unacceptable argument for Turkey."

Iranian Planes Searched by Turkey
Zaman, Vatan, Aksam, Sabah and others: Iranian Government Spokesman
Asefi confirmed that Turkey had forced two Iranian planes to land
and searched them for missiles. Although this was a routine
procedure, Iran was disturbed by these searches, when the two
countries enjoy a good relationship such practices are not
appropriate, added Asefi.

TV News:
(NTV, 8.00 A.M.)

Domestic News


There were 47 forest fires in the Aegean and the Mediterranean coast
during last 48 hours. One fire, in Selcuk, Kusadasi, is threatening
the historic home of the Virgin Mary

CHP leader Deniz Baykal warns that Turkish troops sent to Lebanon
could be dragged into the fighting there

International News

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert said that countries that do not have
diplomatic relations with his country should not be allowed to
deploy troops in Lebanon

Heavy fighting in southern Afghanistan leaves 76 suspected Taliban
dead

17 people were killed and over 200 wounded in a major Shiite
festival in Baghdad

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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