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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
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
MONDAY, JULY 2, 2007


In Today's Papers

Defectors Claim US Arms to PKK in Northern Iraq
All papers report four PKK defectors -- three men and one woman --
who escaped from the PKK camps in northern Iraq and turned
themselves in to the security forces, claimed they had witnessed two
US armored vehicles bringing weapons to the PKK camp in Kandil
Mountain in northern Iraq. The PKK members told reporters at the
gendarme station in Sirnak's Silopi township that the possibility of
a Turkish cross-border incursion against the PKK camps in the region
caused panic among organization members and that camps were
evacuated. The PKK militants also said the organization has been
acquiring remote-control landmines and explosives from northern
Iraq. Papers report the US Embassy in Ankara said in response to
the charges, "The PKK is a terrorist organization, and we do not
hold contacts with the PKK."

Gul on Possible Turkish Incursion into Northern Iraq
Hurriyet and Zaman report Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Ankara
wouldn't seek approval from the US when it feels its own security is
at risk. Gul said Turkey has a deep historical friendship with the
Iraqi Kurds, yet complained that this friendship has been "taken
hostage" by PKK terrorism. He noted the image of the US has been
deteriorating in Turkey, a fact which eventually affects some other
state institutions as well. "This can be seen as a success of the
PKK," Gul emphasized. Gul also noted Turkey was not obsessed with a
cross-border incursion, adding Turkey sees Iraq's stability and
territorial integrity as a high priority: "Harming the stability of
Iraq is against our interests. We never wish for instability in
Iraq's north."

Gul Denies Baykal's Accusation of Secret Deal with US Over Iraq
Vatan, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Zaman and others: Foreign Minister Gul
denied CHP leader Baykal's claim that the Turkish government had
made a secret deal with the US over northern Iraq. Main opposition
party CHP leader Deniz Baykal recently claimed that Turkey and the
US agreed on a deal in Dubai in 2003, in which Turkey would receive
$1 billion if it promised not to intervene in northern Iraq. Baykal
claimed State Minister Ali Babacan signed the deal. FM Gul
explained that after the first Gulf War some regional countries that
suffered damages were compensated. When the US offered compensation
to Turkey Ankara initially agreed. However, when the US Senate
added the condition that the assistance would be cut in case of a
Turkish military intervention into Iraq, Ankara rejected the
assistance.

Erdogan and Bahceli Exchange Remarks over Ocalan Execution
All papers report over the weekend and today that the leaders of the
ruling AKP and extreme-right MHP, in separate election rallies held
Saturday, engaged in a war of words over who was responsible for not
carrying out the death sentence given to Abdullah Ocalan, the
imprisoned leader of the PKK. On Saturday, Prime Minister Erdogan
criticized the MHP for not carrying out Ocalan's execution. In
response, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli, at an election rally in
Erzurum, addressed Erdogan by saying, "Can't you afford to buy a
hanging rope?" and threw a rope to the crowd. Another reply came
from Erdogan at an election rally in Mersin, asking the MHP leader,
"The death penalty was still legal in your time; why didn't you hang
him?" On Sunday the MHP announced it would be exposing the names of
the AKP members who voted in favor of a proposed amendment that
would abolish the death penalty for all crimes including those of
terrorism. MHP Deputy Chairman Mehmet Sandir said the MHP was the
only party in parliament that had voted against the bill to abolish
the death penalty in 2002, when a coalition government between the
late Bulent Ecevit's DSP, the MHP and the Anavatan was in power.

Hrant Dink Murder Case Begins in Istanbul Today
Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak, Radikal and others: Papers report that the
Hrant Dink murder case will begin in Istanbul heavy penal court
today. Liberal Radikal and Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak report that

ANKARA 00001693 002 OF 002


defendant Yasin Hayal sent a letter to the prosecutor claiming that
a group within the Turkish police guided the accused, arguing that
the state should defend them as they had been used by the state.

Editorial Commentary on Turkish Elections
Gungor Mengi writes in the mainstream daily Vatan: "In this election
there will be two main problems shaping the people's party choice,
namely unemployment and terror. The ruling AKP has failed to
decrease unemployment significantly, nor has it managed to develop
programs in support of more production. However those
insufficiencies will not necessarily lead to AKP's defeat as its
rivals have also failed to come up with realistic solutions to those
problems. In terms of the economy, the ruling AKP, despite some
setbacks is still the front runner in the eyes of electors. Open,
as well as indirect, support from the business community is another
factor in AKP's election performance. As for terrorism, AKP is not
doing very well. The growing number of terrorism victims is putting
AKP into a panic while nationalist MHP is gaining more ground during
the election rallies. The most recent controversy between the two
parties over hanging [jailed PKK leader] Ocalan, is a strong
indication that even PM Erdogan is confident that MHP will pass the
10 percent threshold."

TV News:
(NTV, 8 A.M.)
Domestic News

- CHP leader Deniz Baykal said at an election rally in Edirne that
Prime Minister Erdogan is not aware of the role of northern Iraq in
the rise of terror attacks in Turkey.

- Three PKK suspects preparing for bomb attacks have been captured
by police in Istanbul.

- On the genocide statements made by Greek President Karolos
Papoulias during a visit to Armenia, Turkish Foreign Ministry said
Greece has no right to make recommendations to Turkey after the
massacres carried out in Anatolia during the Turkish liberation
struggle.

- Former British Prime Minister Blair, Russian President Putin,
German Chancellor Merkel and former US VP Al Gore are expected to
participate in the World Chambers Federation congress to be held in
Istanbul on July 4-6.

International News

- Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Iraq will disintegrate and
turn into a safe haven for al-Qaeda, worse than Afghanistan before
the fall of the Taliban, if American troops withdraw prematurely,
adding another risk was a regional war, pointing to Turkey's troop
build-up on Iraq's northern border.

- Portugal took over yesterday the rotating EU term presidency from
Germany.

- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met Iran's Ahmadinejad to discuss
energy and trade ties between the two countries in a visit he said
was aimed at defeating the "imperialistic'' policies of the US.

- The US embassy in Cyprus issued a public appeal on Sunday for
information on the whereabouts of its Defense Attach Thomas Mooney
who has been missing for three days.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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