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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 005710

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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
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2006


In Today's Papers

Ocalan Calls for PKK Ceasefire
All papers report imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, on
Thursday appealed to the PKK to call a ceasefire in its fighting
with the Turkish security forces. "I appeal to the PKK to call a
ceasefire and not use weapons unless attacked," Ocalan said in a
statement relayed to press by his lawyers, adding such a process was
"very important to building a democratic union between Turks and
Kurds." Ocalan urged Prime Minister Edogan to meet his promises for
making Turkey a model for the whole Middle East. He added that the
EU and the US should support the ceasefire process, warning that the
situation might go out of control if the opportunity for a truce is
missed.

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Papers comment that the new call by Ocalan might kick off a similar
process to the five-year period of non-violence that began with a
call by the same PKK leader in 1999. Sabah regards the call as the
last phase of a "secret state plan" to liquidate the PKK, with an
amnesty to the PKK members not involved in terrorist attacks coming
next.

Prime Minister Erdogan rejected Ocalan's call, urging the terrorists
instead to abandon their fight against security forces. "A
ceasefire is done between states, not with a terrorist
organization," Erdogan said in an interview late Thursday with
Samanyolu television.

'Greater Kurdistan' Map Crisis
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report that on September 15, a map showing "Greater
Kurdistan" carved out of southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria
and Iran was used in a lecture given by US Colonel Peter Faber at
the NATO Defense College in Rome. Turkish officers objected to the
map, and walked out of the room after a brief dispute with Colonel
Faber. According to papers, General Peter Pace has apologized to
Turkish General Staff (TGS) Chief Yasar Buyukanit for the use of the
map. Papers report the US Embassy in Ankara said that the map has
nothing to do with official US policies, but that freedom of
expression in academies cannot be restricted. Zaman reports the
State Department said it did not understand what happened at the
academy, stressing it was in no way possible that the US
Administration would accept the map.

France Raises Armenian 'Genocide' Claims Again
All papers report that France will debate on October 12 once again a
controversial bill for penalizing those who deny the Armenian
genocide. The bill had been shelved last May following reactions
coming from Turkish and French business groups. A Turkish
parliamentary delegation of lawmakers will travel to Paris to
campaign against the motion.

In other news, Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) Spokesman Namik Tan
criticized in a written statement in response to a press question
the removal of Turkish-heritage candidates in the Netherlands from
party lists for general elections for not accepting the genocide of
Armenians at the hands of Ottoman forces in the early years of the
last century.

Patriarch Wants Illegal Armenian Residents Educated in Turkish
Schools
Hurriyet reported on its front page that Mesrob II, Patriarch of
Armenians in Turkey, sent a special letter to PM Erdogan asking him
to allow the 30,000 or 40,000 Armenians living in Turkey with the
consent of Turkish authorities to have schooling at Armenian schools
operated under the Turkish Ministry of Education. Mesrob II also
expressed his discontent with Turkey's stance linking all issues of
the Armenian community with reciprocity principles established
between Turkey and Greece.


ANKARA 00005710 002 OF 003


Erdogan Due in the US
Milliyet and Zaman report that on Friday, Prime Minister Erdogan is
to depart Ankara for New York on a state visit to the United States.
Erdogan will join a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner (iftar) with the
members of the Turkish associations in New York on Friday evening.
Erdogan said in an interview with Samanyolu TV last night he would
ask for "concrete steps forward" from President Bush with regard to
the PKK at a scheduled meeting with the US President at the White
House on Monday. On Sunday, he will deliver a speech, "Turkey's
message for global peace and justice," at Georgetown University in
Washington before giving exclusive interviews to the Washington Post
and Fox TV on the same day. Milliyet claims Erdogan will hold a
"surprise" meeting with the TGS Chief General Buyukanit before the
PM departs for the US early Friday.

Hasan Mesut Hazar commenting from Washington in the conservative
Turkiye points out that Turkey needs the US as an ally in the
region: "The US is on the eve of an election, complete with heated
debates as well as harsh criticism from Democrats of the Bush
administration on international issues. Given the current
atmosphere in Washington, the US administration is in need of Turkey
more than before. Turkey is the only channel for the US
administration to reach out to the region - a region where two
countries, Iran and Syria, have already been included in the axis of
evil. Therefore the US should pay more attention to Turkey's
sensitivities and priorities in this region. The upcoming meeting
between PM Erdogan and President Bush at the White House is very
important for advancing the bilateral ties and also for advancing
Turkey's regional influence. Developments in Turkish-American ties
not only serve bilateral interests but also are an assurance for the
protection of world peace and stability."

Muharrem Sarikaya also comments on the Prime Minister's Washington
visit in Sabah, arguing that there are many factors that are
"casting a shadow" over the trip: "Unlike during his previous trips
to Washington, PM Erdogan does not enjoy full popular support this
time as he travels to the US. There are many factors casting a
shadow over his trip, such as the recent warnings from the army on
fundamentalism, the lack of support from the Jewish lobby due to the
Hamas and Al Kadi incidents as well as growing anti-Americanism in
Turkey with no interference to change this trend from the ruling
AKP. In general, there are paradoxical situations on both sides
which prevent Turkish-American relations from getting fully on
track. The recent map crisis at a NATO seminar is only one of the
many examples where one can see harm done regardless of apologies or
official statements for explanation. Washington, on one hand,
expresses discontent due to Ankara's inefficient cooperation in
preventing anti-Americanism in Turkey. But on the other hand, the
very same Washington takes some action through northern Iraq as if
to provoke anti-Americanism even more in Turkey. The Ankara
government fails to take measures to properly deal with such crises,
and only gets engaged in the situation once the damage is done."

Baykal 'Booed' at Meeting with University Students
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal was "booed" at
a meeting with university students at Kocaeli University in a
program televised live Thursday night on Kanal-D TV. Baykal
received great applause when criticizing the US and EU, but was
booed when he defended Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code, related to
freedom of expression, and remarked on Turkey's Kurdish question.
"It is mainly due to you and your ilk that Turkey is in this
situation," one student yelled at Baykal, drawing the strong
reaction of CHP members in the room when he shouted at Baykal to
quit the party.

Erdogan Supports Internet, Computer Campaign
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Yeni Safak report Prime Minister Erdogan
joined a campaign launched by Turkish IT companies, including
Microsoft Turkey, aimed at achieving Internet connection and a

ANKARA 00005710 003 OF 003


computer for every household in Turkey. Erdogan said the "honest"
use of the Internet would help support global peace whereas the
"dishonest" use would support global terrorism. Internet usage in
Turkey climbed to 2,5 million as of 2006 from slightly over one
million in 2002, and that 16 million had computers.

TV Highlights
NTV (8 a.m.)

Domestic News

- Turkish Air Forces Commander General Faruk Comert warned at the
opening of the academic year at the Air College in Ankara that
approaches which feed fundamentalism and terrorism will take the
nation to catastrophe.

- The chief Turkish EU negotiator Ali Babacan said after meeting
with the Italian Foreign Minister D'Alema in Rome that new forward
steps with regard to Cyprus might be taken before the end of the
year.

- Restaurant and bar owners in Istanbul's tourist district
Sultanahmet say they had been asked by the municipality to stop
serving alcohol.

- Independent MP Emin Sirin has joined controversial businessman Cem
Uzan's Genc Party (GP).

- The number of foreign companies operating in Turkey is estimated
13,000.

International News

- European Union foreign policy chief Solana said he failed to reach
a deal with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Larijani concerning
Tehran's nuclear aspirations. State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack warned sanctions would not be the first choice but they
could go down that path if that's what the Iranian regime wants.

- Israeli Prime Minister Olmert said he hoped to meet Palestinian
President Abbas soon for a summit meeting that could help revive
peace talks.

- A suicide car bomb attack killed two and injured another five in
the oil-rich northern Iraqi town of Kirkuk.

- Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq al-Masri calls in an Internet audio
message for explosives experts and nuclear scientists to "join the
holy war against West."

- Russia called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council
to address Georgia's arrest of five Russian officers on charges of
espionage.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

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