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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 005883

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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, OCTOBER 11, 2006


In Today's Papers

Reaction to France Continues in Turkey
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan told his ruling AKP group
yesterday that the approval of the genocide bill in France would not
bring any changes for Turkey, but would have 'disastrous
consequences' for France. Erdogan denounced the Armenian genocide
bill, which will be discussed in the French Parliament on Thursday,
as an 'eclipse of reason' marking a 'return to the Middle Ages.'

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Several papers stress that if the bill is passed, French
businesses would be excluded from up to $20 billion in investment in
Turkey. Some French companies were preparing participate in a state
contract for the construction of a USD 5 billion nuclear power plant
in the Black Sea province of Sinop, some others were short-listed in
a bid to purchase of USD 2 billion in subway trains for the Istanbul
Municipality, and the French Eurocopter manufacturers were among the
hopefuls in the helicopter purchases recently announced by the
Turkish Defense Industry Undersecretariat.

Papers report former French culture minister and presidential
hopeful Jacques Lang told Liberation that the Armenian genocide bill
constituted a violation of the French constitution. Yeni Safak
claims Armenian President Robert Kocharian warned President Chirac
during a visit to Paris to withdraw the bill, stressing an adoption
would damage Yerevan's improving ties with Turkey. The paper also
claims the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) would apply to the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in a preemptive effort to
block other European parliaments to follow suit.

The Patriarch of the Armenian community in Turkey, Mesrob II, said
the bill would damage ties between the Turks and Armenians,
strengthening nationalists on both sides.

Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP leader Ahmet Turk said Europe had
weakened initiatives for democratization in Turkey by raising
Armenian genocide claims without waiting for a settlement of the
Kurdish problem in Turkey.

Ralston Due to Visit Ankara
Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Milliyet and Yeni Safak report the US Special
Envoy for Countering the PKK, retired General Joseph Ralston will
visit Ankara on Monday to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart
Edip Baser, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and other officials.
Cumhuriyet reports, citing unidentified security sources, that it
was still unclear whether the Iraqi envoy Shirwan al-Walily will
join Ralston and Baser in Ankara. Ralston and Baser will discuss
the PKK ceasefire decision, says Cumhuriyet, quoting unnamed
diplomatic sources saying the US 'overemphasized' the call by the
PKK, and that Ralston might ask the Turks to take steps in reaction
to the ceasefire. Ralston will ask for an 'integration process' for
any PKK militants laying down arms, and will even offer funds to
facilitate the efforts, according to the paper.

Turkish Military Delegation Visits Beirut
Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Sabah, Yeni Safak, Turkiye and Radikal
report an eight-member delegation from the Turkish General Staff
(TGS) traveled to Beirut to inspect the areas where the first
dispatch of Turkish military engineers will be stationed as well as
to hold talks with the Lebanese authorities. A 260-strong Turkish
contingent is to be deployed soon to the coastal city of Sur to join
UNIFIL. The Turkish Navy's 'TCG Gaziantep' frigate, which left
Turkey for Lebanon on Friday, will assume its duties as of October
15. Turkiye reports that USD 15 million in Turkish aid to help in
the recovery of war-stricken Lebanon continued.

Editorial Commentary on North Korea

Mehmet Barlas wrote in the mass appeal Sabah (10/11): "We are

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living in the 'information and communication' century. Even China
decorates its shelf of communism, not with its nuclear power, but
with its production and export capacity. The atomic bombs they
produced to use against each other, does not give either Pakistan or
India their "Super Power" status in the world politics. Israel's
nuclear power is a serious problem for the Middle East. How could
Iran defend its uranium enrichment program if Israel did not have
nuclear power? While the world recognizes South Korea with the
goods they produce, all everyone knows about North Korea is that
they are a communist regime. While the people in South Korea live a
prosperous life, North Koreans suffer poverty. And now,
additionally, North Korea possesses a nuclear bomb. In short; from
now on, North Korea is a poor and isolated country with nuclear
power. In the end, South Korea's development beats North Korea,
just as the West Germany's development beat East Germany's
ideology."

Cuneyt Ulsever commented in the mass appeal Hurriyet (10/11):
"North Korea was encouraged by Pakistan's struggle to possess
nuclear power and make world accept it. Now, there is no excuse
left for Iran not to follow North Korea's example. The observers
believe that if the UN Security Council applies political and
economic sanctions against North Korea and Iran, they will be
discouraged to continue their nuclear programs. However, the same
observers believe that Russia and China would not approve such
sanctions. Being aware of the situation, President Bush said 'we
can not keep a blind eye to North Korea selling nuclear weapons to
other countries and organizations', while four years ago he was
saying that 'it is unacceptable for North Korea to possess nuclear
power'. Assuming that the US has lost the power struggle with North
Korea, Turkey should not be happy with these developments. Iran
will be encouraged to produce a nuclear bomb now and Turkey should
consider the dangers of nuclear weapons possessed by Iran and
Al-Qaeda in the Middle East. North Korea's test and it's impact on
the US is an important topic for the entire world. The reaction of
the US will determine the Middle East's future."

Kurdish Party Wants Ethnic Parties Allowed
Following a statement of the True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet
Agar earlier in the week Yeni Safak reports that an amnesty could be
considered for the PKK members to lay down arms and engage in
politics, the Kurdish party DTP has sent a letter to Turkish
Parliament, AKP, CHP, and ANAP asking for removal of the 10 percent
threshold in general elections in Turkey, and the establishment of
parties based on ethnic grounds. Cumhuriyet says Agar's proposal
has been welcomed by AKP lawmakers from east and southeast Turkey,
but that the 'nationalists' in the ruling party have reacted
negatively.

Turkish Teenage Priest Killer Sentenced to 18 Years
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman and others
report a Turkish court on Tuesday sentenced a 16-year-old boy to 18
years in jail for shooting dead an Italian Catholic priest, Father
Andrea Santoro, while he was praying in his church in the Black Sea
city of Trabzon in February. The court in Trabzon said the boy had
been found guilty of 'premeditated murder, possessing a weapon
without a license and endangering public security.' Under Turkish
penal standards, the boy will likely only serve 10 years in prison.


Turkish Embassy Car Burned in Athens
Cumhuriyet reports a guard's car at the Turkish Embassy in Athens
was burned on Monday night. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is to
visit Athens next week. Last year, the mayor of Istanbul, Kadir
Topbas, cancelled a visit to Athens when Greek officials added to
his program a ceremony for the opening of a monument in honor of the
Pontus people who had migrated from Turkey's Black Sea region to
Greece. Also last year, the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis
cancelled his trip to Turkey, drawing criticism from his Turkish
counterpart Tayyip Erdogan.

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TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Turkish associations in Europe will stage protest rallies
against the Armenian genocide bill in Paris.

- One Turkish soldier drowned while trying to rescue two illegal
immigrants in Habur River near the southeastern border town of
Sirnak. The two immigrants went missing.

- Turkish and Syrian electricity institutions agreed to sell
Turkish electricity to Syria.

- A visiting IMF delegation pressed the Turkish government to
stick to its 6.5 percent primary surplus target, giving up subsidies
for state economic enterprises and electricity production.

- Mayor Kadir Topbas said the Istanbul Municipality would kick off
the construction of a third bridge over the Bosphorus in 2007.

International News

- The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said North Korea had
de facto become the world's ninth nuclear power.

- Iranian lawmakers called on President Ahmadinejad to cut
economic ties with Denmark after Danish television showed a cartoon
video on the Prophet Muhammad.

- Iranian officials stressed the European Union had been rigid in
negotiating with Tehran and pressed the EU to resume talks on trade
ties which had been suspended because of the ongoing nuclear row.

- An Italian prosecutor investigating the hijacking of a Turkish
airliner to Italy said it will take about two years to launch a
court case against the suspected Turkish hijacker.

- Iraqi police found 60 bodies dumped across Baghdad, thought to
have been the victims of sectarian death squads.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

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