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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006610

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
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2006


In Today's Papers

Erdogan on Turkey's EU Process
All papers report prior to departing for Damascus on Wednesday,
Prime Minister Erdogan told the press that Turkey would wait to see
the decisions to be taken at the EU meetings on December 11 and
December 14-15. "In the worst case, the EU entry process might slow
down, but Turkey will stick to its EU membership goal without
reacting emotionally," Erdogan maintained, adding Turkey had ready
"a Plan B and Plan C" if ties with the European bloc break. Erdogan
slammed the French and German efforts to freeze talks with Ankara,
saying France, concerned about the upcoming general elections, chose
to satisfy its domestic audience by opposing Turkey joining the EU.


Turkey Offers EU to Open Ports, Airport to Cyprus
Turkish and international wire agencies and TVs report Thursday
morning that a spokesman for Finland's EU presidency said Turkey has
submitted to EU an offer to open one port and one airport to Greek
Cypriot ships and planes in exchange for the opening of Ercan
Airport and Maras (Varosha) port in Turkish Cyprus to international
trade. Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) sources stated the proposal
does not include a unilateral opening of ports. TV news broadcasts
reported early in the afternoon that the Greek Cypriot
administration had rejected the offer.

Iraq Study Group Report
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report the Iraq Study Group, led by former Secretary of
State James Baker and former US Rep. Lee Hamilton, presented
President Bush with a report carrying recommendations for US troop
reductions and an international support group for Iraq. The report
suggests that the upcoming 2007 referendum on Kirkuk be postponed in
an effort to block the spread of violence and that the diplomatic
process should include Syria and Iran. It underlines that Turkey
should participate in supporting the process for a solution in Iraq.
Several Turkish papers highlight the report says there is "No magic
formula" for Iraq. News commentaries in Cumhuriyet and the
economic/political Referans point to Erdogan's recent visits to
Tehran and Damascus, the latter occurring on the day when the Iraq
Study Group unveiled its report, speculating that Turkey began to
lay the groundwork for US policies in the Middle East.

Editorial Commentary on Iraq Study Group Report
Washington-based correspondent Rusen Cakir comments in the mass
appeal Vatan that expectations for the report have been raised too
high: "The US and almost the entire world are expecting too much
from the ISG's report, hoping to find a settlement to the Iraq
issue. Following the release of the report those hopes have faded.
There is no miraculous solution offered in this report. The gist of
the report actually presents a strong indication that the US is
desperately seeking a way out in Iraq. The content of the ISG
report suggests a midpoint between Democrats and Republicans and
offers some plans which both parties can agree on, although nothing
is new. On the other hand, the ISG report has a symbolic importance
-- it shows that the US has not won the war in Iraq, and will not in
the future either. This does not mean that Iraq has won the war,
but Iran and Syria are certainly on the winning side of the
equation. Although the report stands against the idea of a divided
Iraq, the reality tells just the opposite. It is hard to predict
what would happen after the withdrawal of American forces, but Iran
and Syria will continue to hold the strings in Iraq as they have
already gained control over Shiites and Sunnis respectively."

In the conservative Bugun, columnist Cengiz Candar points out there
is no "magic formula" for Iraq: "We waited for the report by Iraq
Study Group as if we were waiting for Godot. For me the report has
never been a subject of excitement because the Iraq problem can
never be settled via miraculous ideas. Besides everything about

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Iraq and the possibilities for its future have already been
discussed, debated and speculated on. In other words, there is
nothing left for the ISG to create idea-wise. At this point the ISG
report, regardless of its suggestions, does not have a chance of
implementation. The Iraq issue is directly related to the colossal
transformation process in the Middle East, and by focusing on Iraq
alone we simply cannot see the whole picture. There is no calendar
for pull out even in the Baker-Hamilton report and President Bush is
not going to commit himself to the contents of this report. The
reality is far from a magical formula for Iraq. The US is suffering
from an obvious weakness on Iraq while the violence mounts to an
incredible dimension, and as the potential for a civil war in
Lebanon grows."

Baser and Ralston to Meet on December 11
Yeni Safak, Zaman, Radikal, Milliyet and others: Today's papers
report that Turkey-US cooperation in countering terrorism continues.
Within this framework, Turkish and US special envoys for countering
PKK terrorism Baser and Ralston will meet for the fourth time,
either in Germany or Belgium upon the request of Baser, on December
11.

PM Erdogan's One Day Visit to Syria
All papers report that PM Erdogan paid a one-day working visit to
Damascus. He met with President Assad and PM Mohammed Naji
al-Otari. Syrian PM Otari urged that both countries make joint
investments. Erdogan and Syrian President Assad discussed regional
matters, developments in Iraq and Lebanon, and the Israel-Palestine
conflict. On his return to Turkey, PM Erdogan told the press that
Iran, Syria and Turkey share the same belief regarding protection of
the territorial integrity of Iraq.

Survey on the Plight of Women in Southeast Turkey
Milliyet and Radikal carry a survey conducted with 472 married women
in 97 villages around the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, which
shows 80 percent of the women are illiterate, 58 percent forced into
marriage, 43 percent gave birth at the age of 14 -18, 63 percent
have no social security, and girls are not sent to school. Thirty
percent of the women were married when they were under the age of
15, and 44 percent of them have six or more children. The survey
was conducted by Diyarbakir Municipality's Research Center for
Women's Problems. A social worker from the survey team said people
in the villages live in "stable-like houses" together with their
sheep and cows, citing one example where she saw 24 living in a
single room.

Pamuk to Receive Nobel Prize on Sunday
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Zaman and others report Orhan Pamuk, the
first Turkish novelist to win the Nobel Prize in literature,
Wednesday told around 60 journalists from various countries in
Stockholm that he was pessimistic about Turkey's EU membership
process. "Unfortunately, excitement in Europe and Turkey has been
lost, which makes me sad," he said, noting that Turkey's accession
to the EU would be an example that there is harmony among the
civilizations, not clashes. Pamuk will give a speech on Thursday
and attend a ceremony on Sunday where he will receive his Nobel
Prize worth of USD 1.4 million.


TV Highlights
NTV, 6.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan said developments
leading to divisions in Iraq would be harmful for the whole region.


- Turkish Cyprus leader Mehmet Ali Talat will travel to The Hague at
the invitation of Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot.

ANKARA 00006610 003 OF 003

- Turkish Justice Ministry drafted a bill for the establishment of a
national DNA bank that will facilitate the fight against crime.

- Turkey's Council of State (Danistay) has suspended the decision of
the Privatization Administration for the sale of state-owned
Halkbank.

- Four people have been killed and many others injured as more than
50 cars collided in the heavy fog near Istanbul. Eleven killed and
26 others were injured in another traffic accident on a highway near
the city of Bolu.

International News

- Pope Benedict addressed a reception in the Vatican after his
landmark trip to Turkey, expressing hope that Turkey could become a
"bridge of friendship and brotherly cooperation between the West and
East".

- Defense Secretary-designate Robert Gates said "if the US leaves
Iraq in chaos," a regional conflict would break involving Saudi
Arabia, Turkey, Syria, and Iran.

- Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora has urged the opposition to end
the street protests and return to the negotiating table, stressing
he would stay in office.

- France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Iran will
face UN sanctions for refusing to halt its nuclear program.

- Mortar fire on the Midan district of Baghdad killed 10 people and
wounded another 54.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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