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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
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2006


In Today's Papers

Kretschmer Remarks on Turkey-EU Relations
Radikal reports that in an interview with the BBC Turkish service
Hansjoerg Kretscmer, the outgoing head of the European Commission
delegation to Turkey, said that he did not expect a major crisis
would occur even if Turkey fails to open up its ports and airports
to Greek Cypriot ships and planes by the end of this year. However,
he stressed that Ankara must implement the customs union protocol in
the long run and such a solution is in the best interest of all the
parties. On the role of army-government relations, Kretschmer said
that the EU does not expect any immediate changes and noted that
civilian authority should be above the military as a necessary
component of democracy as well as a criterion for Turkey's EU
membership. Kretschmer expressed belief that an amendment to
Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code before the end of this year is
likely.

Baydemir Urges Ankara to Share Authority
Sabah, Vatan, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman and others report the mayor
of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir told a conference
on 'The EU, Turkey and the Kurds' that local resources such as oil
reserves in the southeastern Turkish province of Batman as well as
hydroelectric power plants should be used by the local
administrations in Turkey. Baydemir told the European
Parliament-sponsored conference in Brussels that each province
should be ruled by a single administrator instead of the existing
system of a governor appointed by the central government in Ankara.
Papers comment that Baydemir was asking for control of resources
worth USD 2.8 billion.

US to Shift Policy in Iraq
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others say a
report drafted by the 'Iraq Study Group' headed by former state
secretary James Baker argues the ideal of establishing democracy in

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Iraq should be abandoned and American troops should be gradually
pulled out to be deployed in bases outside of the country.
According to the British Times, the report finds a total withdrawal
'inadvisable.' It does not recommend a partition of Iraq, but
advises that authority be delegated to autonomous regions, leaving
in Baghdad a 'framework government' responsible only for foreign
affairs, border security and the distribution of oil revenues. The
report is expected to be released following the November
Congressional elections in the United States.

Editorial Commentary on Iraq

Soli Ozel commented in the mass appeal Sabah (10/19): "There might
be some fundamental changes ahead in the US policy for the Middle
East after the upcoming Congressional elections. The fact of the
matter is that the US imperial project, shaped by neo-cons and
symbolized by the war in Iraq, has completely collapsed, and the
administration will have to face that reality somehow. With the war
in Iraq and its aftermath, the US not only engaged in a wrong
project but also pursued a self-destructive policy to eliminate its
global influence. This war, started by the US, only helped Iran to
gain more strength while Israel became weaker and provided a helping
hand for terrorism and other extremism. The American political
system cannot possible bear this burden any longer. A Democratic
majority in the Congress might be the beginning of the US pulling
out from Iraq. The Iraq Working Group has prepared a report on the
situation that will be made to public after the Congressional
elections. According to information leaked to press, the report
clearly suggests a complete change in the current Iraq policy,
including a plan for withdrawal. On the other hand, a sudden US
pull out from Iraq will feed the conditions for civil war and will
create a whirlpool from which Turkey cannot stay away. Therefore,
Turkey must deal with the Kurdish issue domestically and must not
think that the PKK-Iraq connection is the only way to handle the PKK

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problem."

Omer Lutfu Mete commented in the conservative-nationalist Tercuman
(10/19): "The US has always come up with a denial whenever a story
appeared on the American intention eventually to divide Iraq. Now
the denial has reached a crescendo with President Bush also
emphasizing that Iraq should not be divided. Putting all of these
statements together somehow does not jibe with the spirit of the new
Iraqi constitution which was shaped by and under the influence of
neo-con policy. The Iraq constitution foresees a federal system
based on ethnic and sectarian differences and this is what Iraq is
heading toward. If President Bush is sincere in his words, he's
making very contradictory remarks to other policy makers in Iraq,
not to mention Fox Television which is also in favor of a divided
Iraq."

Bush Sets New Space Doctrine
Hurriyet reports citing the Washington Post say President Bush has
signed a new National Space Policy that asserts a right to deny
access to space to anyone 'hostile to US interests.' The document
encourages private enterprise in space and characterizes the US
space diplomacy in terms of persuading other nations to support US
policy. It said 'Freedom of action in space is as important to the
United States as air power and sea power.' The document emphasized
that the US has become increasingly dependent on satellite
communication, as have providers of cellphones, personal navigation
devices and ATMs.

OECD Report Praises Turkey's EconomicPerformance
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Zaman and others report Jose Angel
Gurria, visiting Secretary General of the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD), said at a joint press conference
with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul that Turkey has become the
fastest growing country among OECD members thanks to its economic
program and structural reforms that were enacted after the economic
crisis in 2001. Gurria advised Turkey to reduce interest rates,
encourage direct foreign capital inflow, restrict the unregistered
economy, create new jobs, and render the agriculture sector
competitive. Gurria also released 'Economic Survey of Turkey 2006'
report which said Turkey can achieve sustainable growth if it
continues economic reforms.


TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- A 260-strong Turkish contingent will depart Thursday from the
Mediterranean port of Mersin to join UNIFIL in Lebanon.

- Turkish Cyprus 'Foreign Minister' Turgay Avci is in Ankara to meet
with Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Gul on Thursday.
Avci, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot 'Freedom and Reform Party'
(ORP), became the new foreign minister following the break-up of the
coalition government in north Cyprus last month.

- State Minister for economy Ali Babacan said the block sale of the
state-owned Halkbank would be completed soon.

- Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener said the share of foreign
capital in Turkish banking would increase to 30 percent in six
months.

International News

- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told German lawmakers in
Berlin that even though the momentum for reform had slowed down in
Turkey over the past year, the EU should not forget its commitment
toward Turkey.

ANKARA 00006053 003 OF 003

- The US Congress has approved a planned sale to the Turkish Air
Force of 30 F-16 Block 50 fighter aircraft and related equipment and
services, worth up to USD 2.9 billion.

- Doctors in Gaza have reported previously unseen injuries from
Israeli weapons including severe burning and deep internal wounds,
often resulting in amputations or death.

- A top Russian official said his country would view the planned
deployment of US missile defense components in eastern and central
Europe as a security threat and take retaliatory measures.

- The Guardian reported the Iranian government has banned high-speed
internet links to stifle domestic opposition and combat the
influence of Western culture.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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