Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2006
In Today's Papers
Erdogan in New York
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan told a news conference at
UN headquarters in New York that Iran and Syria "fully agree on the
protection of the territorial integrity of Iraq, therefore, any
possible division of Iraq is not something that Turkey, Iran or
Syria would view positively," while commenting on his recent visits
to Tehran and Damascus. Agreeing with the Iraq Study Group's
assessments, Erdogan said carving up the country "would increase the
level of civil war that is taking place." Erdogan complained that a
UN-sponsored plan to reunite Cyprus has been "shelved" despite the
fact that Greek Cypriots rejected the plan in a 2004 referenda, with
Turkish Cypriots and Ankara backing the blueprint. Responding to a
question, Erdogan said Turkey is composed of "many ethnic groups who
live together harmoniously." "I am a Turk from the Black Sea
region, my wife is an Arab from Siirt, but there is no problem," he
said. Erdogan meet with the recently elected UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-Moon for half an hour at a meeting closed to the press. He
also met with President Clinton to discuss Cyprus, Turkey's EU
process, and the shape of things in Iraq.
'Suleymaniye Incident' from an American Viewpoint
The mainstream Hurriyet follows up on yesterday's reporting of
comments made by a Turkish commander involved in the July 4, 2003,
incident in which US troops briefly detained a group of Turkish
special forces in the northern Iraqi town of Suleymaniye. The
unidentified "US team leader" told Hurriyet that two US special
teams of over 60 troops raided the Turks' headquarters after
"bribing the Arab-looking watchmen hired by Turks," detaining the
soldiers inside the building. Turkish troops didn't have time to
react, said the US leader. He noted that the raid was conducted
because the US had learned that the Turkish troops were to take part
in a plan to assassinate the newly elected Governor of Kirkuk.
Editorial Commentary on Elections in the Middle East
Hakan Celik writing in the tabloid Posta, warns that hoping for
reform in Iran based on the recent election results is
"unrealistic": "The results of the recent Iranian elections for the
Municipal Councils and the Assembly of Experts seem to have
strengthened hopes that reformists in Iran are prevailing. This
interpretation stems merely from the fact that Rafsanjani has a
reputation for being a moderate reformist. However, his election
victory is not good enough to believe that the reform winds are
blowing in Iran, mainly because of the strength of the mullah
regime. The Islamist regime in Iran has powerful roots. Seeing
Ahmedinejad soften his fundamentalist attitude due to an election
outcome is unlikely to happen. Ironically enough, Ahmedinejad is
gaining more strength from the tension with the Western world.
Given the facts, hoping for a reform process in Iran is not
realistic at this point. "
Commenting on the prospect of early elections in Palestine, Sami
Kohen writes in the mainstream Milliyet: "Palestine President Abbas
considers an early election to be a way of getting rid of political
tension and conflicts. However Hamas thinks entirely differently,
Prime Minister Haniyah included. The current ceasefire is not a
guarantee and the ongoing armed tension is not a good sign either as
the election debate now becomes one of too many conflicts in
Palestinian politics. All of this is about a power struggle and
ideological war between Hamas and Al Fatah. In the end, the poor
Palestinian people pay the bill while the two sides fight with each
other continuously. In addition to that, the Palestinian people
have been suffering from the economic embargo for a year. Let's
assume that early elections were held in the end and Hamas became
the winner again. What would happen then? Would Palestine be able
to establish political stability? Would the economic embargo be
lifted after the elections? This poses a serious impasse for the
Western world, the defender of democracy. British PM Tony Blair,
just like President Bush, has said in Palestine that the struggle in
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the Middle East goes on between the extremists and the moderates,
adding that moderate forces have to be supported. The fact of the
matter is that ballot boxes do not always come up with moderate
figures. What happens if extremists win a democratic election?"
DTP Members' Peace March to Ankara
Radikal and Milliyet report that the peace march Democratic People's
Party (DTP) started from Diyarbakir, ended in Ankara yesterday.
TGNA Speaker Bulent Arinc refused to give an appointment to the
group led by DTP Vice Chairperson Aysel Tugluk and Diyarbakir Mayor
Baydemir. DTP leader Ahmet Turk gave a speech saying that both the
premier and the parliament speaker are insensitive and indifferent
to their efforts for permanent peace in the country.
NTV, 6.00 A.M.
- Monday's anti-terror board meeting chaired by Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul discussed strategies for combating terrorism in 2007.
- The co-founder of Atlantic Records, music industry legend Ahmet
Ertegun was laid to rest in Istanbul after passing away in New York
last week at age 83.
- Opposition CHP lawmaker Mehmet Sevigen sparked a controversy in
the parliament by saying Prime Minister Erdogan had no right to
become president because he was given a 10-month prison sentence for
violating forest regulations during his time as mayor of Istanbul.
- Representatives of several Turkish NGOs and human rights
organizations sent letters to Prime Minister Erdogan and Parliament
Speaker Arinc demanding the abolishment of F-type prisons.
- The latest "Eurobarometer" poll shows support for EU accession in
Turkey has dived to 54 percent.
- Iranian President Ahmadinejad reportedly has suffered a "decisive
defeat" in nationwide elections last week.
- Disturbed by the recommendations by the Iraq Study Group to put
off a Kirkuk referendum, Kurdish parliament members have warned that
any postponement could drag northern Iraq into chaos.
- British Prime Minister Blair has met Palestinian president Abbas,
backing Abbas' call for new elections after rival parties Fatah and
Hamas faced a political deadlock.
- The fifth round of six-nation talks on dismantling North Korea's
nuclear program begins in Beijing, following a 13-month impasse.
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