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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, SEPTEMBER 27, 2006

In Today's Papers

Talabani Threatens Turkey with Supporting Illegal Elements
All papers report Iraqi President Jalal Talabani "threatened" that
Iraq could cause trouble for Turkey as well as Iran and Syria by
supporting "the opposition" in their countries, if they do not stop
interfering in Iraq's internal affairs. "We can try to make trouble
for Iran, Syria and Turkey as they are doing for us, but we are not
doing it," Talabani told the National Public Radio in Washington.
The word "opposition" in Talabani's statement implicitly refers to
the outlawed PKK based in northern Iraq, according to Turkish
papers. Papers note that only a couple of days ago Talabani was in
New York for UN General Assembly meetings, telling Newsweek that he
had persuaded the PKK to announce a ceasefire soon. Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA) sources in New York said the statement was
unacceptable. MFA Spokesman Namik Tan said in a statement, "Turkey
maintains contacts with all political groups in Iraq, working toward
Iraq's stability in a constructive manner. Turkey will continue to
stand with the Iraqi people in resolving their problems and
establishment of peace and stability."

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Commenting in the mass appeal Hurriyet, Oktay Eksi concludes that
Talabani has "joined the US" in "distracting Turkey" on the PKK
issue: "Although he has had the title of president of Iraq since
March of last year, Talabani comes with a history of easily telling
lies and spinning the truth. Just two days ago he was speaking
about the PKK decision to declare a ceasefire, and now he is talking
about supporting opposition groups in Turkey. First of all, his
statement about a PKK ceasefire shows nothing but his friendly
relations with the PKK. It is also true that he was not telling the
truth when he promised Turkish officials in Baghdad he would not
allow any terrorist elements against Turkey to operate in Iraq.
Talabani and the Iraqi government have made similar promises before.
Recent events indicate that Iraq has joined the US in the process of
distracting Turkey's attention, as they continue to fool Turkey.
Given the facts, there is absolutely no way to be hopeful about
Talabani."

Turkish Parliament Delegation Visits Northern Iraq
All papers report a Turkish parliamentary delegation, including MP
Turhan Comez, from the ruling AKP, and MP Orhan Diren, from the
opposition CHP, arrived in Erbil city late on Monday for a four-day
visit to northern Iraq. The delegation's convoy was stopped at the
entrance of Kirkuk due to landmines planted on the road, and moved
on after US troops cleared them. At a meeting with the head of the
Kirkuk local assembly, Comez reacted to an antique map on the wall
depicting southeast Turkey and Kirkuk as parts of Kurdistan, by
saying official institutions should have official maps. Visiting
Turks are scheduled to meet with the head of the Turkmen Council as
well as the governor of Kirkuk during their stay.

Kurdish Mayors Defend Free Speech at Court
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report 56
Kurdish mayors stood trial Tuesday in Diyarbakir, accused of charges
of helping terrorists by asking in a letter to Danish Prime Minister
Rasmussen not to take off the air the Copenhagen-based pro-Kurdish
Roj TV. The mayors defended their letter as free speech. "We are
standing behind each of the 405 words in our letter. It points to
the need to tolerate opposition and the establishment of a
democratic system," they told the court. A prosecutor demands up to
15 years in prison for the mayors. The trial was adjourned until
November 21.

Kurdish Organization Charged with Article 301
Yeni Safak reports Ankara Press Prosecutor's Office has launched a
lawsuit against the Ankara-based Kurdish Democracy Forum and
Academic Research Association for violating Article 301 by "not
including" in its regulations any provision pertaining to
"Turkishness." The chairman of the association, Feridun Yazar, said

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their regulations carried not a single article which would be
interpreted as "insulting Turkishness." "Our regulation claiming
the existence and improvement of Kurdish language and literature has
been perceived as an insult to the Turkish identity. Following the
same logic, you can say that Kurdish broadcasts on the state TV TRT
constitute an insult on the Turkish identity," Yazar said.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Erdogan pledged to make adjustments to
Article 301 if the provision restricts legitimate rights and
freedoms while fighting against crime. The opposition CHP leader
Baykal rejected the call of Erdogan saying Italy, Germany, Austria,
Spain, the Netherlands and France had provisions similar to Article
301. "Erdogan wants a partner in crime to set free insulting the
Turkish identity," Baykal said, adding CHP would not support such
moves.

Editorial Commentary on the Situation of Minorities in Turkey
Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in the tabloid Posta (9/27): Forgetting the
ignorant masses, some of the things our well-educated people write
and say are enough to demonstrate the presence of a secret enmity
toward minorities in Turkey. There are those who claim that the land
of the country is supposedly being sold to foreigners almost free of
charge. Some claim that property returned to Turkey during the
population exchange with Greece in the 1920s is to be given back.
Still others claim that associations in the future will turn into a
political power, and there are those who even assert that non-Muslim
citizens could take over Hagia Sofia and set up a religious state
such as the Vatican. It is simply unbelievable. The worst is that
this view is held by the opposition CHP. The whole thing reflects
absolute ignorant behavior. We should be able to realize that where
Turkey stands now. While trying to create a country proud of its
minorities regardless of their religions and a country enriched by
its minorities, we ended up living with small-minded administrators
afraid of their own shadows and too blind to realize the country's
greatness. What a shame."

Greek Coast Guard Dumps Immigrants Off Izmir Coast
Sabah, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Radikal and Zaman report a Greek Coast
Guard boat took some 40 illegal immigrants before they landed on the
Greek island Chios back to the Turkish territorial waters before
dumping them overboard in the sea off the city of Izmir on the
Aegean coast. Three Tunisians, one Palestinian, one Algerian and
one Iraqi drowned while trying to swim to the shore.


TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Professor Ali Bardakoglu, the head of Turkish Religious Affairs
(Diyanet) has expressed content with Pope Benedict XVI' expression
of regret for his statements infuriating the Islamic world and the
pontiff's comments highlighting the importance of dialogue between
religions.

- Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul continues his visit of the United
States to join the meetings of the UN General Assembly until
September 29.

- State Minister Ali Babacan will travel to Italy to participate in
a conference held by Morgan Stanley in Rome where he will also meet
with Prime Minister Prodi and Foreign Minister D'Alema.

- Seven suspects preparing for terrorist attacks have been captured
in Diyarbakir and Istanbul.

- Cisco Systems says it would invest up to USD 275 million to
promote technology projects in Turkey over a five-year period.


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International News

- During the Iraqi parliamentary discussions of a draft bill on
federalism, some MPs objected to a map drawn up by the Kurds in
northern Iraq, which showed the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk as
part of the Kurdish area.

- The European Commission put on a green light to the EU accession
of Bulgaria and Romania on January 1 next year.

- President Bush said it is naive and a mistake to think that the
war in Iraq has worsened terrorism.

- A Taliban leader denied a French daily reporting Osama bin Ladin
was dead, saying the head of al-Qaeda is alive.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

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