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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
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2006

In Today's Papers

Iraqi Prime Minister Cancels Scheduled Visit to Turkey
All papers report the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki cancelled
his scheduled trip to Turkey at the last minute due to a sandstorm
at the Bagdhad airport. Vatan and Cumhuriyet think there were other
reasons for the cancellation, that Maliki could not leave Iraq at a
time of growing debates regarding a partition of Iraq; that the US
authorities in Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdish groups are concerned
that while in Turkey the Iraqi PM could make pledges impossible to
meet; or that President Talabani, being denied by Ankara an official
visit to Turkey, blocked al-Maliki from going.

Gul on Article 301, Cyprus
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal,, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told the press en route to
Ankara from Monday's Turkey-EU Troika foreign ministers' meeting in
Luxembourg that Turkey will revise the controversial Turkish penal
code's Article 301, which is seen as restricting free speech. EU
Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn during a joint news conference
with Gul yesterday said that 'Accession negotiations are not just a
technical exercise, but a political process; and progress depends
first and foremost on reforms.' Rehn said he hoped there would be
'concrete results' before the report is published on November 8,
adding that
'Turkey will not repeat the mistake made by France.'

Rehn also described Finnish proposals on Cyprus as being 'balanced
and realistic,' stressing that they could be a 'last window of
opportunity' on the divided island. Finland has proposed a two-year
solution to the Cyprus problem focused on Turkey opening its ports
and airports to Greek Cypriot vessels and airplanes. Ankara
proposed a four-way summit with the EU, Greek and Turkish Cypriot
representatives to negotiate the matter.
Gul's conditions for debating the EU plan are that the control of
Cypriot ports should be given to the UN instead of the EU, and the
issue of the ghost-city of Maras (Varosha) should not be taken up as
a separate issue.

Turkish Peacekeepers to be Deployed in Shadiyah in Lebanon
Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the United
Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Turkish delegation
have agreed that Turkish troops would be deployed in Shadiyah
village near the southern Lebanese city of Tyre. Papers say the
previously agreed area of Baqbuq to the north of Tyre was 'unsafe,'
and relocated the Turkish military engineering contingent of 261
personnel to Shadiyah village.

The Vatican Confirms Pope Benedict Visit to Turkey
Sabah, Milliyet, Radikal, Zaman and others report Monday the Vatican
press office announced that Pope Benedict XVI will pay an official
visit to Turkey November 28--December 1. The Pope will arrive in
Ankara, then move on to Izmir and Ephesus on November 29, ending up
in Istanbul where he will participate in the Saint Andreas feast on
November 30 at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. In Ankara, Benedict
XVI will call on the head of Turkish Religious Affairs Diyanet
Professor Ali Bardakoglu, in a 'gesture' regarded by Turkish papers
as an effort to reduce negative reactions towards the pontiff over
his recent controversial statement about the Prophet Muhammad and
Muslims.

US Army Commander to Visit Turkey
Sabah reports US Land Forces Commander General Peter Schoomaker will
come to Turkey on October 26-27 to discuss military ties as well as
the recent situation with the PKK and Iraq. Schoomaker will meet
Land Forces commander General Ilker Basbug and the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) chief General Yasar Buyukanit.

Washington Times Predicts that the AKP Will Loose the Majority in

ANKARA 00005992 002 OF 003


the Next Elections
Sabah, Radikal: A recent Washington Times article argued that the
AK Party could lose its parliamentary majority in Parliament after
the next general elections and could receive around 25 percent of
the vote. As a result of this, a coalition government could be
established. The piece also argued that the result of next year's
elections may well determine whether Turkey remains a friend of the
West, or slips deeper into a hostile Islamist Middle East.
Commenting on the terrorism threat Turkey faces, The Washington
Times argued that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has won the
support of the people because the AKP has failed to deal with the
PKK. The paper added that the PKK issue has proven to be one
obstacle in restoring the US-Turkey relationship that soured in 2003
when Turkey denied the US use of its territory during the war in
Iraq. Radikal reports that, in an interview, PM Erdogan
acknowledged the fact that support for his party has declined to 27
percent. The AK Party received 34.4% of the votes at the last
elections.

Iraq Becomes Hope for the Unemployed
Milliyet cites a report published by the Employment Association as a
source in saying that the number of Turkish workers who went to Arab
countries like Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Qatar, increased
noticeably in 2005. According to the report, over sixty thousand
Turkish workers went to foreign countries in 2005 to work. Despite
the security risks, the number of Turkish workers who traveled to
Iraq, increased 68% in 2005, from4,900 Turkish workers in Iraq in
2004 to 8,237, in 2005.


TV Highlights
NTV (8 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Professor Erdogan Tezic, the chairman of the Turkish High
Education Board YOK returned his Commandeur Chirac medal to the
French Embassy in Ankara in protest over the French adoption of a
bill concerning Armenian genocide claims. The Turkish parliament
will hold a special session on Tuesday to discuss the approval of
the controversial bill by the French Parliament. Lawmakers are
expected to draft a strong response to France, including a trade
boycott.

- The New York Times describes the Nobel-winning Turkish novelist
Orhan Pamuk as "a writer above politics."

- A Turkish pilot died on Monday when his F-16 jetfighter crashed in
the mountainous province of Bitlis in southeast Turkey, Turkish Air
Force said.

- The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
World Investment Report for 2006 released yesterday said Turkey
moved up to 22nd place on the index of countries receiving direct
foreign investment with USD 9.7 billion of direct investment.

International News

- An unidentified French Foreign Ministry official said President
Chirac did not promise to block the genocide bill from becoming law
in a recent phone talk with Prime Minister Erdogan.

- Greek and Greek Cypriot papers claim the US intervened to forge a
compromise over a Finnish formula on Cyprus on the eve of the
release of a EU Commission report on the divided island.

- The OECD will release two major reports: one on corporate
governance in Turkey and the other an economic survey of the
country, during an upcoming visit to Istanbul and Ankara by the
Organization's Secretary-General, Angel Gurra on October 17 and 18.

ANKARA 00005992 003 OF 003

- On Monday, 91 people were killed in sectarian fighting between
Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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