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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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, JUNE 27, 2007


In Today's Papers

TGS Press Tour to Commando School
All papers report the Turkish General Staff (TGS) has arranged a
press tour related to training given to soldiers fighting against
the PKK in southeast Turkey, in an effort to counter charges that
the military uses inexperienced soldiers to combat terrorists. On
Tuesday, a group of journalists visited Egirdir Mountain Commando
School in the Isparta province. Land Forces lieutenant-general
Necdet Ozel said the school gave physical and psychological training
to 24,000 commandos in the last 33 years. Thus far, 80 of the
commandoes have died in fighting with terrorists.

Papers report Turkey will buy an unmanned aircraft (UAV) as well as
use digital scanners and jammers for fighting against the PKK
militants along the border with Iraq. The Turkish Defense Ministry
has drafted a bill that will permit the military to cooperate with
GSM operators to block the PKK terrorists using mobile devices to
trigger landmine blasts, say papers.

International Energy Conference in Istanbul
Radikal, Sabah, Milliyet and others: Speaking at the opening
session of the "East Meets West: New Horizons in Energy Security"
conference organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Council
(DEIK) and the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), Energy
Minister Hilmi Guler stressed the importance of the transfer of
Caspian natural gas to world markets via Turkey. Guler said "Turkey
is trying to prepare itself for the future by generating projects in
accordance with its strategic position. The Samsun-Ceyhan project
will be finished on deadline, saving the Bosphorus and establishing
a profitable route." When questioned about whether a recent
agreement between Russia's Gasprom and Italian ENI may bypass
Turkey, Guler stressed that each project has its own route and they
all have similar feasibilities. "They are not rivals to each other
but rather complementary," added Minister Guler. When asked whether
the Nabucco project is in danger after the Russian move, Minister
Guler said that Nabucco will not face any threat since it has its
own identity and that will not have any problems carrying Caspian
energy resources to European markets.

Judges in Van Investigated
Bugun, Milliyet, Sabah, Hurriyet and others: The two suspects of
Semdinli case had filed a complaint when two judges from Van Heavy
Penalty Court refused to forward the court file to a military court
as had been ordered by the Court of Appeals. Ministry of Justice
sent inspectors to Van to investigate the Judges. The suspects,
members of the military, were found guilty of bombing Kurdish
bookstore in the southeastern town of Semdinli in 2005.

International Press Reports PKK Active in Northern Iraq
Liberal Radikal reports that at the time the Iraqi government
spokesman Ali Dabbagh and the regional Kurdish administration
security spokesman Cabbar Yavar assured Turkey that they have
prevented PKK activities in northern Iraq, al-Jazeera TV reports and
footage showed the PKK militants training with heavy weapons in the
region. Britain's Daily Telegraph also reported that the peshmerge
warned a British correspondent passing beyond a checkpoint that they
could not guarantee his safety because he was entering the PKK
region.

Editorial Commentary on the Middle East, Turkey-EU Relations
Hakan Albayrak writes in the Islamist-oriented daily Yeni Safak:
"Contrary to common belief, Palestine is not heading toward
disaster. West Bank and Gaza people have strong brotherly feelings
for each other. Moreover the Hamas operation, even though it may
seem tragic, prevented more serious tragic events -- like the death
of thousands -- from happening. The isolation of Hamas and Israel's
favoritism toward al-Fatah will eventually demonstrate the bald fact
that Israel is not willing to fully comply with UN resolutions and
international law under any circumstances. For instance just wait

ANKARA 00001658 002 OF 003


and see if Israel will act in the spirit of reconciliation and agree
to leave Eastern Jerusalem to Palestine and to withdraw settlers
from the West Bank. Neither of these will happen. Once the
illusion about Israel is over, the Palestine reality will be
completely undeniable. Panicking about the division of Palestine is
a false alarm, and time will prove it."

Erdal Safak writes in the mainstream daily Sabah: "Four new
chapters in Turkey's EU accession process have been opened.
However, the media focused on Sarkozy's blockage of the economic and
fiscal policy chapter and brought it up as an indication of how
serious the slow down in the process is. Some commentators even
went further by suggesting the train has already been derailed.
Given some legal and economic facts about Turkey, I tend to disagree
with this argument. First of all, the legal basis of the Turkey-EU
relationship is the 1963 Ankara Agreement which clearly defines full
membership as the final goal. More importantly Turkey is the only
country in the Customs Union system not a member of the EU. It is
fully against the nature of the Customs Union if the EU stands
opposed to economic and fiscal unity. Sarkozy will eventually have
to see the truth. Even if he does not, Turkey has a strong card to
play -- no customs union if there's no economic union - a situation
the EU cannot possibly afford to accept."

TV Highlights
NTV (6 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Meteorologists warn that Wednesday could be the hottest day in
Turkey in 25 years. Temperatures have climbed above 50 degrees
Celsius in some areas and local governors have announced emergency
measures, warning people to stay indoors.

- One Turkish soldier has been killed in Sirnak and another one in
Agri in PKK landmine attacks. Two PKK militants have been killed in
the Diyarbakir province.

- The Court of Appeal (Yargitay) ruled that according to Lausanne
Treaty, the Istanbul-based Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is a
religious body without a legal entity. The Greek Foreign Ministry
said the court decision would not change the Christians' perception
of the Patriarch. "The ecumenical dimension of the Patriarchate of
Constantinople is based on international treaties, the sacred
regulations of Orthodoxy, on history and Church tradition," ministry
spokesman George Koumoutsakos said.

- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has phoned Turkish
counterpart Abdullah Gul regarding the release of a German teenager
detained over charges of sexual assault of an underage British girl.
Gul said Turkey cannot do anything unless the British family pulls
back its compliant against the boy.

International News

- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran,
the Vatican's foreign affairs chief from 1990 to 2003, as president
of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for relations
with Muslims.

- A private Armenian school in northern France will be named after
the slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

- The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warned that Afghanistan,
the world's main illegal opium producer, is capable of processing
the poppy into heroin and morphine on its own territory.

- Iran has launched "Press TV," an English satellite television
channel to counter the West's influence in covering news.


ANKARA 00001658 003 OF 003


WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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