Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006648
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2006
In Today's Papers
Ankara Critical of EU Freeze on Turkey Talks, Will Move Forward
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan said the EU decision to
partially freeze entry talks with Turkey was "unfair to Turkey,"
underlining that Turkey had signed the customs union protocol
because there were prospects for ending the isolation of Turkish
Cyprus. Erdogan told AKP members on Tuesday, "We want the EU
members to acknowledge the fact that the Greek Cypriots and Greece
do not want a settlement on the basis of political equality with the
Turkish Cypriots. I hope our friends in the EU will understand that
they have to urge the Greek Cypriot administration for a solution."
The PM added, "Our reform process will continue with the same
decisiveness." Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said the decision
adopted by EU foreign ministers' Monday meeting indicated "a lack of
vision," adding Turkey will move forward with reforms.
Cumhuriyet and Sabah say the European Commission will monitor
Ankara's progress with regard to opening ports to Cyprus in 2007,
2008 and 2009. If Ankara still denies Greek Cypriots access to
Turkish ports by 2009, the negotiations will be fully suspended,
claims Cumhuriyet, whereas Zaman says the EU might resort to
stronger sanctions if the sides fail to move forward on the issue by
2009. Cumhuriyet comments the EU foreign ministers' decision has
put the chances for a settlement in the hand of the Greek Cypriots.
Cumhuriyet also says in a news commentary that "Ankara seems to have
accepted the decision," and is not planning to retaliate.
Evaluations in Ankara with respect to the outcome of the EU foreign
ministers' meeting were that the "EU decision, which was expected to
be negative, came out as least damaging for Turkey," says
Sezer Calls for Early Elections
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said during a meeting Tuesday with
extreme nationalist party MHP that Turkey should go to early general
elections in April. Sezer, whose term in office will end in May,
said early polls would relieve a "deteriorating Turkey." The
President added the Turkish election system did not ensure a fair
representation of voters in the parliament, stressing that the
election threshold should be lowered to seven or eight percent from
the current 10 percent.
Editorial Commentary on Iraq and the ISG Report
Zafer Atay writes in the economic-political daily Dunya: "It is
obvious that the Bush administration's Iraq policy has totally
collapsed. The policy was basically based on two lies: Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction and his collaboration with terrorists.
Iraq's bloody leader Saddam is gone but Iraq has been dragged into a
civil war instead of democracy and stability. The ISG report listed
all the Iraq realities which George Bush has declined to accept.
With the impact of this report, President Bush has started talking
about a strategy change, which is a first on the issue. President
Bush also posed a serious blow to neo-cons by acknowledging the
importance of the report and by taking into account the advice
within. It is likely that Bush will make some other changes in the
administration, even after Rumsfeld and Bolton, hoping to save the
Republican image and prestige, which is doing very poorly nowadays."
Writing in the Mete leftist Birgun, Cubukcu comments: "The ISG
report is clearly an indication of the US coming to the end of the
road in Iraq, providing a last glimmer of hope for stabilizing the
region and Iraq, albeit with a considerable loss. Yet the report
fails to make clear whether the US is looking for stability for
itself or for the region. The report does not come up with a plan B
for Iraq either. We simply don't know what should or could be done
if the listed 79 suggestions don't work. In sum, this is a belated
report even though it contains some new and bold suggestions. The
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US is doomed to be a loser unless it changes its unilateral approach
and favors diplomacy over war. There is an obvious way of
settlement for Iraq -- an immediate end to the occupation and a
conference to gather all elements of Iraq including the insurgents.
The Iraq issue also requires a broader geographic approach that
would include Turkey, Palestine, Iran and Syria."
Iraqi Kurds Object to 'Kirkuk Conference' in Ankara
Cumhuriyet report that the Iraqi Kurdish groups, upset about not
being invited to a conference on Kirkuk to be held in Ankara,
threatened to hold a conference in northern Iraq on Kurdish, Arab
and Armenian minorities' rights in Turkey. The "Kirkuk Conference"
to be held December 15 by the Turkish Global Strategy Institute
think-tank had invited all the groups in Iraq except the Kurds.
Despite calls from the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) for a
cancellation, the Global Strategy Institute said it will convene the
conference. The Iraqi Kurds said such a conference would mean a
violation in Iraq's internal affairs, says Cumhuriyet.
Parliament Speaker Arinc Praises Buyukanit's Loyalty to Ataturk
All papers: Speaking at a meeting of the Foundation for helping the
poor (YOYAV), Arinc responded to the questions of journalists about
his visit to Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. Arinc
said that this was a courtesy visit to wish Buyukanit a successful
term in office. Responding to a question about a letter allegedly
sent to Buyukanit by 20 retired military officers urging him to
weigh in on the presidential election process, Arinc said that
Buyukanit denied receiving such a letter at the very beginning of
their conversation. Arinc quoted Buyukanit saying as "We took a
solemn oath to protect the democracy and the Constitution. Our
understanding of democracy and culture wouldn't allow such a thing.
We haven't received such a letter. But, if such a letter appears,
we'll deal with it." Arinc praised the Chief of General Staff and
the Armed Forces for their staunch loyalty to the principles of
Ataturk and the republic.
Decision on Attack Helicopter Bid Delayed; Purchase of F-16s
Sabah, Vatan, Hurriyet, Yeni Safak and others: The final decision
regarding purchase of attack helicopters has been postponed by the
Defense Industry Executive Committee after the Turkish General Staff
proposed that the helicopters be tested in Turkey's climate
conditions. Yeni Safak reports that the committee approved the
purchase of 30 F-16s and agreed on participation in the project of
Joint Strike Fighter helicopters.
PM Erdogan to Meet Clinton in New York
Cumhuriyet and Zaman: PM Erdogan will travel to the US on December
18-19 for an Alliance of Civilizations meeting. PM Erdogan,
reportedly, will meet with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and with
former US President Bill Clinton.
NTV (7 A.M.)
- The Turkish Parliament will begin debating the budget bill for
2007 on December 15.
- Turkey's TESEV foundation for economic and social research said in
its report "Looking for Kant in EU's Relations with Turkey" that EU
criteria for Turkey's membership were not objective.
- The ruling AKP government has nominated Hilmi Bengi, director of
the semi-official Anatolian News Agency, to head the state-owned
broadcaster TRT. A decree has been sent to President Sezer for
- Iran has reduced natural gas supply for Turkey by more than 80
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percent over the past 10 days over price disagreements.
- The UN commission probing the assassination of Rafik Hariri has
found "significant links" between the killing of the former Lebanese
prime minister and 14 other political assassinations in Lebanon.
- About 1,500 people marched through Kirkuk yesterday to protest the
Iraq Study Group recommending putting off a 2007 referendum on the
future of this oil-rich city.
- The White House said President Bush will lay out his new Iraq plan
to the nation early next year.
- Iranian President Ahmedinejad said Israel would one day be "wiped
out" as the Soviet Union had been.
- A suicide car bomb attack on a crowd of day laborers in central
Baghdad killed 70 and wounded over 200.
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