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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006374

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, NOVEMBER 8, 2006

In Today's Papers

State Funeral to be Held for Ecevit
All papers report former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who passed
away over the weekend at age 81, will be laid to rest in a state
funeral to be held in Ankara on Saturday.
The Turkish Parliament held a special session yesterday in honor of
Ecevit. Prime Minister Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AK
Party that the former PM had left "lasting traces in Turkish
democracy, and took his place in the history of politics as a
distinguished person with his knowledge and courtesy." Turkish
General Staff (TGS) Chief General Yasar Buyukanit said after calling
on Ecevit's widowed wife Rahsan that the nation felt deep pain over
losing Ecevit. On Tuesday, many politicians, bureaucrats, and
friends and supporters extended condolences to Rahsan Ecevit, who
reportedly requested that the funeral be delayed until the weekend
to enable civil servants and workers to take part in the event.
Mainstream papers continue to speculate that secular anti-AKP groups
would stage a mass rally following Saturday's funeral at the
Kocatepe Mosque in the Turkish capital. The ruling AKP said its
party congress to be held on the same day will not be postponed.

Bulent Ecevit, born on May 28, 1925 in Istanbul, served as prime
minister from January 1999 to November 2002 as well as on four
previous occasions in the 1970s. Ecevit, also a writer, translator
and journalist, quit active politics in 2004.

EU to Release Turkey Progress Report
All papers report the EU Commission is to release today a progress
report that will shape the future of Turkey's EU membership
negotiations. The report will warn that accession talks would
suffer if Turkey declines to open its ports and airports to Greek
Cypriot traffic. Papers expect the EU Commission to delay a
recommendation on whether to suspend the talks because of the Cyprus
controversy until the beginning of December. Hurriyet says the EU's
next term president Germany, unwilling to deal with the Cyprus
question, insists that the issue be resolved in three weeks. Zaman
comments the approximate one-month period till the EU summit could
be used by "non-EU actors" to influence the developments, saying the
US could step in to seek a breakthrough in Cyprus. Sabah says that
a recent statement of Prime Minister Erdogan concerning possible
changes to Article 301 of the penal code had helped prevent a
head-on collision with the EU. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn
had welcomed the Erdogan statement. According to papers, the report
will also mention that the Turkish judiciary was not independent,
underlining that Turkey had failed to curb the influence of the
military in Turkish politics. Violations of human rights continue.
Non-Muslim minority foundations have been denied property rights,
and Halki Seminary is still closed. There is no mere military
solution to the Kurdish problem, according to the forthcoming report
which also calls for dialogue with the elected local officials in
southeast Turkey.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday ties between Turkey and
the EU were improving, adding he expected no crisis following the
release of the report.

Hurriyet reports the outgoing EU Commission Turkey representative
Hansjorg Kretschmer will be replaced by Ambassador Marc Pierini, who
is expected to present his credentials to President Sezer soon.
Pierini, a member of the European Commission for approximately 30
years, was the EU representative in Morocco, Syria and Tunisia
before being appointed to Turkey.

Turkish Jetfighters Fly Unarmed over the Aegean
Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet and Zaman report that following the official
visit of the Turkish General Staff (TGS) Chief General Yasar
Buyukanit to Greece earlier this month, on Monday Turkish
jetfighters began unarmed flights over the Aegean. The Greek press

ANKARA 00006374 002 OF 003


has welcomed the development as an unprecedented goodwill gesture
made by Turkey. Hurriyet cites the leading Greek daily Ta Nea as
reporting that the unarmed flights by Turkish jetfighters had been
"a first in the last decade," defining it as a "goodwill gesture"
from Turkey.

$ 1 Million from the US for Avian Influenza Preparedness
Yeni Safak reports that in a ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development, US Ambassador Ross Wilson, Minister Mehdi
Eker and World Bank Country Director Andrew Vorkink, signed the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant
agreement in the amount of $1 million for Turkey's Avian Influenza
Preparedness. US Ambassador Ross Wilson stressed that $ 1 million
grant will support development of safer poultry raising practices
that will benefit rural farmers in the country.


Belgian Appeal Court Verdict on Fehriye Erdal and on DHKP-C
All papers report that Gentz Court of Appeals in Belgium revealed
its reasoned verdict about members of the illegal Revolutionary
People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) on Tuesday. In its
250-page reasoned verdict, the court described the DHKP-C as a
terrorist organization and criminal gang and approved the verdict
for Fehriye Erdal and ten other DHKP-C members.

Editorial Commentary on Saddam Hussein, Iraq
Gulay Gokturk argued in the conservative Bugun: "Despite all of his
crimes, Saddam will be recorded in the history books as a leader
hanged by invasion forces in a country under occupation and ruled by
a puppet government. Ironically enough, the US is preparing for the
death by hanging for Saddam on one hand, but at the same time is
looking for a Saddam-like leader in order to keep Iraq territorially
intact. This kind of ending in Iraq is not a surprse at all. It
had to end this way because thre was no way for the invaders or the
supportrs of the invasion to be right. The invasion right from the
start was against all the internationally accepted rules and
principles, and time only proved that once again. It is sadly true
that we shall probably see more lives lost before the world accepts
that imposing social engineering models on others can never work.
Every society has to make progress at its own pace."

Mehmet Tezkan argued in the mass appeal Vatan: "The debate over the
Saddam verdict centers on whether it should be immediately executed
or not. Nobody is questioning whether he is guilty or not. Shiite
Arabs prefer an immediate execution of the death penalty because of
the Dujail massacre while Sunni Arabs feel uneasy about the
execution fearing a civil war. Kurds on the other hand prefer that
other cases against Saddam be taken up before execution of this
verdict. They want to see an official recognition of the Halapja
massacre committed by Saddam, as they believe that it could serve as
a strong card to play in the international political arena. The
truth is Saddam will be hanged sooner or later. But that event will
also be the beginning of colossal turmoil in Iraq. Iraq is already
experiencing a de facto division and Saddam's death will only
accelerate the division process. Realizing its failure in Iraq, the
US started making plans to pull out. This indicates that Washington
acknowledges the fact that Iraq cannot be kept together any more.
An Iraq divided into three is becoming a truth and Turkey had better
make its game plan, acknowledging this very obvious point."


TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero and UNSYG Annan will visit Turkey
on November 11 to join a high-level group meeting of the Alliance of
Civilizations Initiative as well as to meet with Prime Minister
Erdogan in Istanbul on November 12.

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- On November 18, Prime Minister Erdogan will participate in a
meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative in New York
where he will come together with Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero and
UNSYG Annan during his two-day stay in the US.

- Prime Minister Erdogan will travel to Latvia on November 28-29 to
take part in a NATO summit of 26 heads of state and government.

- The main opposition CHP has filed a motion to declare the 13
southeastern provinces hit by flash floods an emergency zone.

- About 20 students were detained in protests against Turkey's High
Education Board YOK at the Black Sea Technical University in the
northern city of Trabzon.

International News

- US voters headed to polls in which some 200 million Americans are
expected to vote for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives,
33 of the 100 seats in the Senate, and 36 of the 50 state governors.


- UN Environment Program executive director Achim Steiner said a UN
team carrying out an environmental assessment of Lebanon after this
summer's Israel-Hezbollah war confirmed that the Israeli forces used
artillery containing white phosphorous.

- New rules go into effect at EU airports according to which
passengers are allowed to take only small amounts of liquids
onboard.

- Mortar attacks on a coffee shop in a Shiite neighborhood in north
Baghdad killed at least 14 people.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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