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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006043

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 18, 2006


In Today's Papers

The US - Organization of Islamic Conference to Cooperate
Zaman reports that Undersecretary Nicholas Burns said in a letter to
the Turkish Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, that the US wanted
cooperation and dialogue with the OIC. Burns met Ihsanoglu on the
sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, and
expressed an interest in launching joint projects with the
prestigious Muslim organization. Ihsanoglu said a first such joint
project could be a conference on rising 'Islamophobia' organized by
the OIC and to be held at Georgetown University in 2007. Burns
promised he would look into the project, according to Zaman. In the
letter he later sent to Ihsanoglu, Burns also mentioned 'cultural
exchange' programs for Muslim academics to visit the US for
consultations.

Erdogan Faints, Rushed to Hospital
All papers report Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was rushed to
hospital on Tuesday after fainting possibly due to his keeping the
Muslim fast during Ramadan. Doctors said Erdogan's blood sugar
level fell because of his fasting and extreme exhaustion. Erdogan
has had a busy schedule in the past few weeks, visiting the United
States, Britain and Saudi Arabia. Erdogan was released after
spending nine hours in the hospital.

All papers report that while Erdogan lay unconscious in the back
seat, his driver panicked and accidentally activated the car's
automatic locking mechanism. The doors closed, trapping Erdogan
inside for eight minutes. His guards eventually took him into the
hospital after breaking the armored glass with a sledgehammer.
Papers strongly criticize the 'awkwardness and unprofessional
conduct' of the PM's guards, saying it was a 'security scandal.'

EU-Turkey
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, after returning from the EU
Troika meetings in Luxembourg, said that the mood of the talks was
different from that of previous ones. Gul said Turkey would watch
the implementation of the controversial Article 301, and would make
amendments if necessary. Cumhuriyet expects the EU to release a
tough message at its December meetings if Turkey fails to take
forward steps on allowing Greek Cypriot traffic into Turkish ports
and airports. The paper quotes unidentified sources who predict
that the negotiations with Ankara might be suspended. Meanwhile, EU
Commission Turkey representative Hansjorg Kretschmer said 'There
will be no train crash in Turkey's EU membership process,' noting he
was confident a compromise will be reached concerning Cyprus.
Kretschmer also said the French adoption of an Armenian 'genocide'
bill should not be used as a pretext to legitimize Article 301
restricting free speech. Kretschmer also underlined that the
position of the civilian authority vis-`-vis the military was one of
the most difficult issues Turkey has to resolve.

Bush Opposes a Divided Iraq, Hosts 'Iftar' Dinner
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak and others
report President Bush told Fox News that he would reject any
disintegration of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines. 'The Kurds
will then create problems for Turkey and you have got a bigger mess
than we have at this point,' Bush said. Papers also report the
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki expressed opposition to dividing
the country.

Several papers report President Bush hosted, for the sixth time, an
Iftar dinner at the White House for the diplomatic representatives
of Islamic countries and the leaders of the Muslim community in the
United States. Secretary Rice also took part. The majority of the
terror victims around the world have been Muslims, said the
President at the Iftar.

ANKARA 00006043 002 OF 003

Zabari Suggests 'Dialogue' to Solve the PKK Problem
Cumhuriyet reports the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zabari told
the northern Iraqi daily Nwe that under existing conditions, it was
not possible for the US or Iraqi forces to fight against the PKK,
since such a move would require a relocation of security forces from
south and central Iraq to the north of the country. 'Our priority
now is to end the ongoing violence in Iraq,' said Zabari, stressing
that dialogue was preferred instead of military action to resolve
the PKK problem. Zabari also noted that the Mahmur camp in northern
Iraq would not be closed, and that 'not a single' asylum seeker
would be extradited, unless they want to go back.

Editorial Commentary on North Korea

Columnist Zafer Atay thinks that the North Korean regime will be
very careless about international sanctions. He wrote in the
economic-politic Dunya: "The unleashing of North Korea's nuclear
program through the recent nuclear test once again brings to light
some peculiarities about this country. This very poor country is
ruled by Kim Jong-Il, who calls himself 'Marshall' even though he
never served in the army. North Korea maintains diplomatic
relations with a very limited number of countries, and North Korean
diplomats serving abroad are usually subject to deportation because
of their involvement in drug and arms trafficking. The recent
nuclear test by North Korea drew angry responses from all over the
world, including China and Russia -- Iran was the only exception.
Iran hopes that if North Korea gets away with its nuclear program,
this will benefit Tehran's desire to maintain its own nuclear
weapons program. The fact of the matter is that international
sanctions, including an embargo, cannot deter the North Korean
regime. The Kim Jong-Il regime does not even care about feeding its
own people. Therefore they think that nothing can harm them as long
as the North Korean army remains powerful. And military action
against North Korea will not be an easy thing to do either, because
the country possesses intercontinental ballistic missiles."


TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) warned that a Turkish boycott
of French products would not be helpful in the short term, and would
lead to troubles in the long term.

- The mayor of the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, Osman
Baydemir, attended a conference on 'EU and the Kurds' in the
European Parliament, calling on Ankara to share its authority with
local administrations.

- Two suspects throwing eggs at Prime Minister Erdogan during a
visit to Mersin have been given 14.5 months in prison, and seven
others have been given eleven-month prison sentences.

- An Istanbul court kicked off the first hearing of Noam Chomsky's
Turkish publishers, charged under Article 301 for 'insulting the
Turkish identity and the Republic' in the Turkish translation of
'The Manufacture of Consent' written by Chomsky and Edward S.
Herman. The prosecutor asked for prison sentences of up to six
years for the publisher and translators. Defense counsel said the
publisher and translators cannot be held responsible for the views
of the authors.

- An OECD report urges Turkey to reduce the minimum wage, increase
retirement age to 65, and cancel the payment of retirement
compensations.

- US Citigroup Inc. has agreed to buy 20 percent of Turkey's Sabanci

ANKARA 00006043 003 OF 003


family-owned Akbank for USD 3.1 billion, in a deal seen as a
'strategic partnership.'

International News

- The British Independent described Turkey as 'a prize slipping
away' for the EU.

- EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's spokesman said the
view of Barroso that Turkey cannot be expected to become a member in
less than 15 to 20 years was not new.

- About 500 Sunni Arab tribal representatives said at a meeting in
Kirkuk they were committed to the unity of Iraq, demanding the
immediate release of Saddam Hussein.

- President Bush has signed controversial legislation authorizing
tough interrogation of terror suspects and opening the way for
trials before military commissions, calling it a vital tool in the
war on terror.

- Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Muslim immigrant women
should not be totally 'hidden' behind veils if they want to
integrate and become part of Italy's future.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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