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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2006

In Today's Papers

Lebanon
Gul Meets with the Families of Abducted Israeli Soldiers
Hurriyet, Sabah, Bugun and others: In addition to scheduled
meetings with Israeli PM Olmert, FM Livni, and Defense Minister
Peretz, FM Gul met with the families of the abducted Israeli
soldiers during his one day visit to Israel last weekend. Gul
promised the families that he would exert every effort to obtain
information on the soldiers' whereabouts.

Gul in Syria
All papers: During his one day visit to Damascus, FM Gul received
support from Damascus for Turkey's peacekeeping role in Lebanon and
revival of the peace process in the Middle East. Following his
meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Gul told
reporters that Syria would welcome a decision by Turkey to send
troops to Lebanon. Asked about the possible Turkish contribution to
the UN peacekeeping force at a joint press conference with his
Syrian counterpart, Gul said that Turkey still had not yet made a
final decision on the issue.

Advising Turkey to be extremely cautious on the peacekeeping force
decision, columnist Fehmi Koru writes in the Islamist-oriented Yeni
Safak: "Even if the Turkish peacekeeping force won't consider
disarming Hizbullah as part of its mission, Turkish forces would be
vulnerable to provocations. In an event of a slightest provocation,
Israel might interfere in Lebanon despite the existence of a
peacekeeping force. Regarding the role of a peacekeeping force for
Lebanon, Israel and Lebanon have one hundred percent different
expectations. It would be extremely difficult for a UN peacekeeping
force to succeed in Lebanon. If Turkey decides to send troops, then
Ankara would become part of extremely deep-rooted Middle East
conflicts. Turkey has to look for other options in order to
contribute to a solution."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Visit Turkey on September 6
All papers: UN Secretary General Annan is expected to visit Ankara
on September 6 as part of a regional tour, where he will discuss
Lebanon and the Middle East. It is also said that he will lobby for
Turkey's participation in UNIFIL.

The US Army Wants to Carry Out Biological and Chemical Cleaning of
its Tanks in Turkey
Cumhuriyet reports that the US wants to use Iskenderun as a sea base
to carry out the Biological and Chemical cleaning of its tanks to be
withdrawn from Iraq. US officials already inspected the port on
March 2006 and passed their request to the officials in Ankara.

Iran Responses to Nuclear Offer
All papers: Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani hand
delivered Iran's response to the Western Package of nuclear
incentives to Ambassadors of the UK, China, Russia, France, Germany
and Switzerland. According to Iranian officials, Larijani asked for
fresh negotiations with the West on the dispute. Chief of the
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammed Saeedi said on Tuesday
that "Iran's response to the package is a comprehensive reply that
can open the way for resumption of talks for a final agreement."

Columnist Erdal Safak of mass appeal daily Sabah thinks that with
its response to the UN, the Iranian administration tied President
Bush's hands for taking any further action. He writes: "Considering
the fact that the US administration has been applying sanctions
against Iran since 1979 to no avail, no further measures will be a
deterrent for Tehran to change its tactics. Iran always comes up
with counter-proposals to pave the way for future bargaining. By
doing that, Tehran gains time for the continuation of its nuclear
program and thereby hopes to impose its terms in the course of time.
At this point there are only two effective ways to have Tehran give

ANKARA 00004887 002 OF 002


up its nuclear program: an oil embargo, or a military operation.
The former does not seem possible since Russia and China are not
supportive of the idea. Besides, even the Bush administration may
not be sympathetic to an oil embargo option because it will only
help for the acceleration of oil prices towards $100 per barrel. As
for the military option, it only paves the way for colossal chaos
and terror in the world. Given the facts, negotiation seems to be
the only way to deal with the Iran issue, but even so the terms will
be determined by Iran. Apparently, Iran wants to have talks with
the US directly and wants to bring every issue to the table, from
Iraq to Lebanon and from diplomatic relations to its nuclear
program. It remains to be seen whether Iran will be successful
enough to have direct negotiations with the US, but the real
question is whether Bush has some other options unless he opts for a
military solution. Probably not."

Mainstream Milliyet's Sami Kohen considered Iran's response as both
yes and no at the same time: "In the aftermath of the
Israel-Hezbullah war, another danger signal comes from the Middle
East. Tehran's answer to the west's nuclear offer contains both a
yes and a no. Iran seems to be playing games so as to gain time by
not giving a clear no to the UN. The same tactic also goes on the
issue of stopping nuclear program, as Iran did not give a clear yes
to this either. If the answers frm Iran are going to be
interpreted as I see it, there will be a mounting Iran crisis in the
days ahead."

TV Highlights
NTV (7 a.m.)

Domestic News
Q PKK claimed responsibility for forest fires raging throughout
Turkey
Q UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will come to Turkey on September
6


International News
Q A Russian passenger Jet crashed in Ukraine, killing 170
passengers, including 10 crew members.
Q Iraqi Kurdish Leaders' consultant in US Peter Galbraith said that
a Kurdish State in Northern Iraq is inevitable and that Turkey
cannot block establishment of independent Kurdish State.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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