Search

 

Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

VZCZCXRO9517
OO RUEHDA
DE RUEHAK #5774/01 2771330
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041330Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9185
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC//PA
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 7488
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTNBUL 1406
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1185
RUEHBSAMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5482
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 5202
RUCNDT/USMISSON USUN NEW YORK 1858
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 005774

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
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2006

In Today's Papers

EU Repeats Reform Demands from Turkey
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman and others:
Under a front page headline, "Turkey Returns to its EU Agenda,"
conservative/intellectual Zaman says prior to the EU Progress Report
to be released November 8 and a looming crisis over the Cyprus
question, the Turkish Parliament will speed up the enactment process
of the Ninth Adjustment Package of EU reforms, and the influential
business group TUSIAD will intensify lobbying efforts in Europe.

The European Commission representative in Turkey, Ambassador
Hansjorg Kretschmer, said when commenting on the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) chief General Yasar Buyukanit's remarks earlier this
week about the fundamentalist threat that the EU had no intention of
dividing Turkey. "EU's position with regard to civilian-military
ties is clear. The role of the military in Turkey is different from
that in European countries. We will see if it changes during the
negotiation process -- I think it's possible," Kretschmer stressed.
Visiting EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn gave "softer"
messages at a joint press conference with Turkish labor union
leaders in Ankara yesterday. "We have great respect for the
professionalism of the Turkish military, but as in any other
European democracy, the military must be under full civilian
control," Rehn maintained. Rehn underlined that Ankara had to lift
curbs on free speech, and particularly abolish Article 301 of the
Turkish Penal Code. He urged Ankara to adopt a draft law on
religious foundations that will allow non-Muslim minorities to buy
property. Rehn said Turkey had put an end to systematic torture in
prisons and police stations. "We can really avoid a train crash if
we have the political will," Rehn emphasized, implying the danger of
a possible suspension of accession negotiations with Turkey.

Bush-Erdogan Meeting - the Aftermath
In the aftermath of Monday's Bush-Erdogan meeting in White House,
leftist/nationalist Cumhuriyet as well as several columnists claim
there is no sign that the meeting has produced a concrete result
regarding the fight against the PKK, ending the international
isolation of Turkish Cyprus, Turkey's drive to join the EU, or
cooperation in the Middle East. Papers say after the meeting with
Erdogan, President Bush merely said that the US was determined to
fight against terrorism, without even pronouncing the name of the
PKK. Aksam and Hurriyet quote Erdogan's advisors as saying that it
was the most "useful" and "friendly" meeting that had been held with
Bush. The pro-AKP government Yeni Safak comments that the visit can
best be described with the remarks of Erdogan who had said the
diversity of the matters discussed at the meeting indicated that the
US was a "strategic partner" of Turkey.
Papers report US Ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson told a press
briefing at the Foreign Press Center in Washington that "Turkey is a
strong, stable, and secular democracy in a part of the world where
many of those things are relatively rare commodities." On the
ongoing debate concerning the threat of fundamentalism in Turkey,
Wilson said there was always "a certain amount of cacophony" in
Turkish domestic politics and in the media. "There's nothing that I
see imminently on the horizon that makes me worried about Turkey's
democracy," Wilson said, adding "the US has strongly supported the
political reforms to strengthen Turkish democratic institutions."
"I continue to be struck by both the political noise and the
political activities by a whole wide range of actors in Turkey,
including people in the military, and by the strength and resilience
of Turkey's institutions to deal effectively with what are very
complicated issues," said the US Ambassador. Wilson noted that
General Yasar Buyukanit would be invited to the US after the visit
of US counterpart Peter Pace to Turkey in March next year, without
elaborating more.

Cengiz Candar comments in the conservative Bugun that for some the
visit "was a complete failure" while others "said entirely the
opposite," but that one of the ways to understand the importance of

ANKARA 00005774 002 OF 003


visits at this level is to "check the Washington Post" to see how
the visit was portrayed: "PM Erdogan's fourth trip to the White
House has actually made news with content. The WP highlighted
Bush's support for Turkey's EU accession and mentioned the
international topics that two leaders discussed. The meeting at the
White House went beyond a protocol visit both in terms of its length
and content. The Turkish PM, following his trips to Washington and
London, must immediately focus on the EU agenda and work on
democratization policies to refresh his political environment. This
will be both good for his political future and for the country's
future."

Oktay Eksi observes in the mass appeal Hurriyet that expectations
were at an unrealistically high level for the visit: "We certainly
look for positive and long-lasting results from the Turkish
Premier's visits to foreign countries. However, looking at the
comments and expectations during the Bush-Erdogan meeting, it is
hard to ignore that there was a certain degree of euphoria.
Creating an atmosphere of exuberance over the Bush-Erdogan meeting
and justifying it by highlighting the extended duration of the
bilateral talks is not a realistic approach. There is nothing new
out of the White House talks. Erdogan says he saw that Bush was
very determined about the fight against PKK. This should indeed
come from Bush himself. Regarding the EU, Middle East and Iraq,
there are no new things about which to be overly optimistic and
overjoyed."

Writing in leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet, Cuneyt Arcayurek argues:
"The Turkish Premier was expecting to get some concrete measures
against the PKK, but in the end he had to be happy with the
expression of determination. Our PM is still trying to justify the
fact that President Bush did not mention the PKK during remarks by
saying that we did not want to make propaganda for the organization.
This statement can only be an attempt at humor. Did not we,
Turkey, push for the inclusion of PKK's name in the Strategic Vision
Document and express joy afterwards when it was mentioned? Let's
not forget the fact that President Bush repeatedly mentions other
terrorist organizations, like Al Qaeda, during his remarks almost
every day. Anyway, in the end, Erdogan received praise from Bush as
being a man of peace and a friend. Being praised by a man who is
hated in the world is really something!"

Erdogan Meets Blair in London
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Yeni Safak and
others report en route to Turkey from Washington on Tuesday, Prime
Minister Erdogan stopped over in London to meet his British
counterpart Tony Blair to discuss the EU, Cyprus, Iran, and the
Middle East problem. Turkish papers comment Erdogan went to London
to "bid farewell" to his friend Blair who is to step down as Labor
Party leader in a couple of months. Blair said a crisis linked to
the Cyprus issue must be prevented, and stressed the importance of
Turkey's participation in the international force for Lebanon.
Erdogan thanked Blair for his support regarding Turkey's EU
aspirations.

Draft Dodger Hijacks Turkish Airliner
All papers report that Tuesday night a Turkish man who hijacked a
Turkish Airlines flight carrying 113 passengers and six crew from
Tirana to Istanbul, diverted the plane to Italy before surrendering
to Italian police. Early reports said that there were two hijackers
and they were protesting against the upcoming Pope visit to Turkey,
but the Turkish authorities said the hijacker's aim was to seek
political asylum from Italy. The hijacker was later identified as
Hakan Ekinci, reportedly a convert to Christianity who had written
to the Pope in August, asking for the pontiff's help not to do
obligatory military service in Turkey. Turkish authorities said
Ekinci had been convicted of fraud and pickpocketing. Turkish
papers report a Vatican spokesman as saying the November 28-December
1 Papal trip to Turkey would go ahead.


ANKARA 00005774 003 OF 003


Poll: AKP, CHP, DYP Will Enter Parliament in General Elections
Aksam carries a public opinion survey carried out by the polling
company SONAR which indicates that if general elections were held
today, AKP would lead the vote with 31.24 percent, followed by CHP
with 17.80, DYP 11.77, MHP 8.97, ANAP 7.29, and Kurdish DTP 5.89. A
sound 60.9 percent said they opposed Tayyip Erdogan's presidency
with only 27.7 approving. 65.4 percent said the opposition in
Turkey did not do its job.


TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office has relaunched a lawsuit
related to the dealings of Saudi businessman Yasin al-Qadi, who is
on the UN list of terrorism sponsors.

- The main opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal said the recent
anti-fundamentalist messages given by President Sezer and top
military chief General Yasar Buyukanit should be regarded as
warnings for the future of Turkey, not attempts to suspend
democracy.

- Turkish university rectors warned against fundamentalism at
ceremonies at the opening of the new academic year, saying no
concessions will be made to those who attempt to manipulate Islam
for political ends.

- Mayor Osman Baydemir has defended before a court the speeches he
delivered during the public unrest in the mainly Kurdish city of
Diyarbakir in late March.

- Turkey's Alevis applied to the European Court of Human Rights
against Turkey for violating freedom of religion by enforcing Sunni
religious classes in Turkish schools.

International News

- Secretary Rice said the international community will have no
choice but to impose sanctions if Iran does not halt uranium
enrichment.

- The White House said President Bush and President Putin agreed on
the need to maintain unity in pressing Iran to quit its nuclear
program.

- Moscow has cut all road, air and sea links with Georgia and
blocked money transfers after the ex-Soviet state freed four Russian
soldiers accused of espionage.

- North Korea announced Tuesday it will conduct a nuclear missile
test in the face of an alleged "extreme threat of a nuclear war"
coming from the United States.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>