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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 7630
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RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1399
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5603
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RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 5323
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1984
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
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RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006599

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, DECEMBER 6, 2006

In Today's Papers

Turks Defy EU Efforts for Suspending Talks
All papers report France and Germany are seeking a specific
timetable, an 18-month deadline, for Turkey to open its ports and
airports to Greek Cypriot traffic, although leaders Chirac and
Merkel have been forced to moderate their hard line positions.
Prime Minister Erdogan phoned Merkel, telling her to avoid a
historic mistake by making new demands on Turkey, adding that the
European Union has more to lose than Ankara if relations worsen.

A senior source from the Turkish government told Radikal that like
the EU, Ankara is preparing to put the brakes on relations, planning
to slow down progress on political issues if there is no easing of
the partial suspension of negotiations at the upcoming EU summit on
December 14-15.

"The negotiation process will be impacted but will continue," said
visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt after a meeting with
his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul yesterday. At a joint press
briefing with Gul, Bildt said, "Turkey's modernization is the most
significant process that Europe has. We all know that it is not
completed; there are still steps to be taken." Bildt noted, "Turkey
is not a neighbor of Denmark and Sweden. Turkey is situated in a
volatile and strategically significant region." Gul said, "We think
that in the end everybody will consider Turkey's membership talks
from a strategic perspective."

Papers carry an open letter sent by eight members of the House of
Lords to The Daily Telegraph, which said, "The partial suspension of
Turkey's accession to membership of the European Union is insulting
to the Turkish people. Turkey, a secular state and significant
member of NATO, is now being driven away from Europe and toward
Islamic fundamentalism." Zaman says the MPs also asked the British
government to launch direct flights to Turkish Cyprus, urging for an
end to the international isolation of the north.

Editorial Commentary on Turkey-EU

Murat Yetkin commenting in the liberal-intellectual Radikal notes
that Turkey has plans of its own for the direction of its EU entry
process: "The EU leaders' latest decision on postponement of the
negotiations encouraged the government to be prepared to put the
brakes on the EU-Turkey relationship. Sources say that there is
still debate in the government as to whether to announce these
measures at the end of the summit on December 14-15, but they add
that these measures will be noticed when they are implemented.
Turkey's reaction to the possible postponement decision at the
summit already worries the EU commission, and some leaders are
already advising Turkey to continue the negotiations and to not
react harshly, regardless of the decision coming out of the summit.
It is hard to guess whether it is going to be in Turkey's interest
if the government decides to put the brakes on the EU-Turkey
relations, but the issue is already n the government's agenda."

Erdal Safak writing in the mass appeal Sabah suggests Turkey play
the energy card: "One of the priority items on Merkel's agenda when
she takes over the term presidency of the EU is the energy issue.
Because the EU has to develop a concrete partnership with the
countries who produce energy and who transfer it. Azeri and
Kazakhstan oil and natural gas can be transferred to Europe either
through Russia or Turkey. After last winter's problems with Russia,
the EU prefers Turkey to be the transit country. The energy issue
is covered in the negotiations under chapter 15 and this chapter is
not included among eight chapters to be postponed. So why doesn't
Turkey use this chapter 15 in response to the EU decision to
postpone eight chapters and say 'I am postponing the energy
integration with the EU'? Maybe, this will resolve the issue."


ANKARA 00006599 002 OF 003


Opposition, Business Circles Negative on Erdogan as President
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and Yeni Safak: On
Tuesday, the Turkish opposition parties urged Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan to call an early general election, saying this would
help defuse strains over secularism and the troubled ties with the
EU. "I urge Erdogan to display an honest and democratic attitude,"
said Deniz Baykal, leader of the main opposition CHP. Baykal said
he would not object if the general elections are in April and if the
AKP wins again, Erdogan could move on to get elected president by
the parliament in May. Mehmet Agar, leader of the center-right DYP,
also urged Erdogan to call an election in the spring. A leading
Turkish industrialist, Mustafa Koc said Erdogan's presidency
abandoning AKP would create "serious consequences" for his party,
lining up behind earlier remarks by another top businessprson,
Guler Sabanci, who had said Erdogan staying in active politics, i.e.
not the presidency, would be better for Turkey.

Baser, Ralston to Meet in Europe
Sabah reports Turkish and American special envoys for countering the
PKK, retired generals Edip Baser and Joseph Ralston, are to hold
"The PKK and Europe" meeting in a European city this month. US and
European terrorism experts will participate in the meeting.

Pamuk Due in Sweden to Receive Nobel Prize
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal and Cumhuriyet report Turkish
novelist Orhan Pamuk will fly Wednesday with his daughter to
Stockholm where he will be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
Pamuk said before departing for Sweden that he would deliver a
speech on Wednesday before receiving the prize Sunday. The Turkish
embassy in Stockholm is to host a luncheon and a reception in honor
of Pamuk to which Turkish and Swedish media members, politicians and
businessmen will be invited. Sabah reports a sign posted on
Stockholm streets, bus stops and commuter vehicles welcomed Pamuk,
saying, "Dear Mr. Pamuk, as a small token of appreciation, we've
registered pamukforpresident.se for you."


TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- On Wednesday, Prime Minister Erdogan will travel to Syria for a
one-day visit to meet with the Syrian Head of State Assad and Prime
Minister Otri.

- Turkish religious affairs Diyanet head Professor Ali Bardakoglu
said when asked whether he could respond to the goodwill gesture of
Pope Benedict XVI by crossing himself in a church, that he could
visit a church as a tourist, not as a worshiper.

- Turkish security forces on Tuesday killed five PKK militants in
clashes in the mainly Kurdish border province of Sirnak where two
soldiers were also killed by a landmine blast. The security forces
confiscated nearly four tons of food supplies, weapons and materials
used in mine construction from a cave used as a winter base by the
PKK.

- Turkey has been fined by the European Court of Human Rights to pay
Euro 183,748 in compensations in 17 different cases of torture,
mistreatment and rights violations in the country.

- Turkey's Constitutional Court is considering a request for the
annulment of social security reforms.

- State Minister Ali Babacan said inflation would be curbed to
"single digits" by the end of the year.

International News


ANKARA 00006599 003 OF 003


- President Bush said during a meeting with Shiite leader Abdul Aziz
al-Hakim that Washington was not satisfied with the pace of progress
in Iraq.

- Iraqi President Talabani and Kurdish leader Barzani agreed in a
recent meeting that resolving the Kirkuk problem was their top
priority.

- Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said the shape of ties
between Turkey and the EU had an impact on Turkey-Greek relations.


- Greek Cypriot leader Papadopoulos maintained UNSYG Annan blamed
both sides for the deadlock in Cyprus.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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