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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 005940

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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
MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2006


In Today's Papers

Turkish Parliament to Discuss France's Adoption of Armenian
'Genocide' Bill
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others reported over the weekend and today that French President
Jacques Chirac had called him to 'apologize' for the Armenian
genocide voting, pledging help in heading off the bill.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told the press before flying to
Luxembourg on Sunday to participate in the Turkey-EU Troika meeting
that the whole international community and the EU circles criticized
the bill. 'France is discredited; I hope French politicians will
become aware of this fact,' said Gul. He said the Turkish
parliament would discuss in a special meeting Tuesday the measures
to be taken following the adoption of the bill. Gul said Turkey
would carry the issue to the European Court of Human Rights when the
French bill enters into effect.

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Papers expect the parliament's tomorrow meeting to publish a
statement accusing France of double standards by defending freedom
of expression while outlawing free speech on the Armenian issue.
The main opposition CHP deputy chairman Onur Oymen said Turkey had
given a weak response to the adoption of the bill in France.
Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk said over the weekend after
receiving the prestigious literary prize that France's adoption of a
draft prohibiting the denial of the Armenian genocide went against
free speech. 'Freedom of expression is a French discovery and this
law is contrary to the culture of freedom of expression,' Pamuk said
from New York. Most of the newspapers over the weekend praised
Pamuk for winning Nobel but several others questioned whether the
decision by the Swedish academy was politically motivated.

Semih Idiz observed in the mainstream Milliyet (10/16): "There is a
general consensus about French Parliament's bill on Armenian
genocide is a stupid move which casts a serious blow against the
freedom of expression. There is even a sheer double standard on the
genocide stance because the very same France, last year was
suggesting to let the historians discuss 'the French genocide
against Algeria' when Algerian government claimed the existence of a
genocide. In any case, this issue does not seem to disappear
regardless of assurances from French President Chirac. Let's not
forget that the two candidates for presidential elections in France
next year, Sarkozy and Royal, are supportive of the genocide bill.
Given the circumstances, there is only one rational way for Turkey
to give a proper response to France which is expansion of freedom of
expression. We should be able to demonstrate that while criticizing
the wrong thing in France, we have the right thing here in Turkey.
That will be best way of reprising France. "

Gul to Join Turkey-EU Troika Talks in Luxembourg
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will take part in the EU Troika
foreign ministers' gathering in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss
EU-Turkey issues prior to the November 8 release of the progress
report on Turkey. On a question concerning Article 301 of the
Turkish Penal Code, Gul said it would be wrong to say that people
can not express their views in Turkey. 'Turkey is aware of its
deficiencies of which we are trying to eliminate because our people
deserve it,' Gul emphasized. Responding to a question about EU term
president Finland's Cyprus proposal, Gul said Turkey welcomed all
goodwill efforts, and would cooperate in all constructive
initiatives. 'It should not be forgotten that the island has two
sides, and Turkey is not a direct party of the problem. For
progress, everybody should talk to Turkish Cypriots,' Gul stressed.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said
the EU was worried over the slow pace of reforms in Turkey, noting
that Turkey's EU accession would take 15 to 20 years.

On the other hand, Radikal and Zaman cite the Greek Cypriot daily
Fileleftheros as claiming the US was working on plans for a

ANKARA 00005940 002 OF 003


'gradual' transfer of the ghost city of Maras (Varosha) to the Greek
Cypriots, quoting unidentified sources. Fileleftheros says DAS Matt
Bryza explained the plan to the attendants to a dinner held the
Greek Ambassador in Washington, Aleksandros Mallias.

Al-Maliki's Turkey Visit Postponed
Turkish televisions reported early Monday that the Iraqi Prime
Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's visit to Ankara scheduled for today has
been cancelled due to a sandstorm. The visit will be held in
November. If the visit had not been put off, papers were expecting
the Turks to urge al-Maliki to crack down on the PKK camps in Mount
Kandil as well as arrest and handover some 150 PKK militants moving
freely in northern Iraq. Cumhuriyet claims al-Maliki had caused
strain before his Turkey visit by saying that Kirkuk was Iraq's own
problem, warning other countries against meddling in the issue.
Dailies expect Ankara to continue pressing for a suspension of the
upcoming census and referendum on Kirkuk next year.

Kamuran Ozbir commented in the nationalist Ortadogu (10/16):
"According to credible Western press sources, such as British The
Times, Iraq is heading toward a division. And this is going to be
the primary suggestion to the US administration for the future of
Iraq in an upcoming report by US Congressional Commission on Iraq.
The issuanceof the report coincides with the period where atacks
against American soldiers in Iraq reachd to a peak level. The US
Congressional Commission, chaired by former Secretary of State James
Baker, is likely to suggest a new model for Iraq under three
autonomous regions -Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds- and lay out this plan
as the most reasonable option for the country's future. This does
not necessarily end up with an actual division of Iraq under three
different entities, but it implies more governing role to the
autonomous regions and limits Baghdad's authority only with foreign
policy, border control and control of oil reserves. Considering the
closeness of James Baker to President Bush, the upcoming report on
Iraq looks like to have a serious impact on Washington."


TGS Chief Buyukanit's Reaction to DYP Leader Agar's Comments on the
PKK
Hurriyet, Sabah, Vatan and weekend papers: The Chief of General
Staff over the weekend harshly criticized the leader of the True
Path Party (DYP) for his remarks on the PKK. General Buyukanit
characterized Agar's call for 'politics on the plains rather than
weapons in the mountains', as a call for general amnesty and said "I
strongly condemn it, how would it be possible for terrorists to get
involved in politics?" Agar, in return, stressed that his call for
"politics on the plain" was an approach aimed at preventing young
people from going up into the mountains any more. Sabah reports
that, on his way to Luxembourg, FM Gul extended support to Agar by
saying "Agar is an experienced politician on the security issues,
therefore, his comments should be evaluated carefully." Vatan
reports that ANAP (Motherland Party) Leader Erkan Mumcu said
"Politicians should be criticized by the politicians only, not by
the military. It is not right for the military and politicians to
enter into polemics. I don't agree with Agar on his comments but I
support him for commenting on the issue."


TV News:
(NTV, 7.00 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Turkish frigate Gaziantep with 19 officers and 203
non-commissioned officers and privates on board, has joined the
international naval force patrolling the coast off Lebanon. Turkish
ground troops will leave the Mersin port on the Mediterranean for
Lebanon on October 19.

- Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan said he will look to the

ANKARA 00005940 003 OF 003


future and seek a normalization of ties with Turkey.

International News

- According to the British Times, Iraq's fledgling democracy is
being challenged by calls for the replacement of the existing
government with a group of five strongmen who would impose martial
law and dissolve the parliament.

- The UN Security Council voted over the weekend unanimously on
sanctions against North Korea in response to its claimed nuclear
tests.

- A suicide attacker exploded a powerful car bomb in the capital
Kabul, wounding at least three people.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

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