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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001755

SIPDIS

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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
TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2007

In Today's Papers

Iraq, the US, Turks on Possible Turkish Incursion into Iraq
All papers report the Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari said there are
around 140,000 Turkish troops massed at the border with Iraq. "We
understand Turkey's legitimate concerns, but still think that this
matter can be negotiated. The best solution would be the withdrawal
of Turkish troops," Zebari said. He also noted Turkey, Iraq, and
the US have a joint security committee, adding Iraq would be willing
to host the committee activities and urged Turkey to send a
representative.

Papers quote State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack as saying in
response to a question that "it's not unusual that Turkish troops
are conducting wide-ranging operations against the PKK" in the
southeast of Turkey. Papers quote Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman
as saying the US believes "Turkey has legitimate concerns" about the
PKK but that a military incursion is "not the way to solve the
problem." Papers also quote White House Spokesman Tony Snow as
saying "we are certainly concerned about the PKK and other terror
organizations but protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq is
also important."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said during a TV interview,
"Turkey has the right to demand the US cooperate since it's the US
that is controlling Iraq now. We have told the US it is not enough
to merely recognize the PKK as a terrorist organization." Prime
Minister Erdogan said for now the government did not have on its
agenda a request for a parliamentary resolution for an incursion.
"But that does not mean it cannot happen; we will take any step we
see necessary," Erdogan maintained.

Editorial Commentary on Impact of Northern Iraq on Turkey-US Ties
Yilmaz Oztuna comments in the conservative-nationalist Turkiye:
"The bombing in the Turkmen town Tuzharmatu which killed at least
150 innocent people; sending suicide bombers to Istanbul and Izmir;
and 'science fiction' movies showing the US distributing weapons to
the PKK -- all these actions have one main target: to damage
Turkey-US relations to an extent that cannot be improved for years
and encourage an armed clash between the two countries. The Turkmen
massacre took place just to provoke Turkey against the US. We
should remember that it is inevitable that the Kurds will do
something before the US withdraws from Iraq."

Can Atakli writes in the mainstream Vatan: "PM Erdogan has stood
against TGS Chief General Buyukanit's request for a cross-border
operation into Northern Iraq for a long time. After more than two
months, PM Erdogan said 'we are waiting to hear from the US, after
that I will talk with President Bush, and then, we will do what is
necessary.' What will Bush say? More important than this is what
our government's stance to these developments would be. There are
rumors that the government will convene the parliament
extraordinarily just a week before the [July 22] elections to have
the motion for a cross-border operation into Iraq approved. No
doubt that the parliament will pass the motion. But, what will
happen after that is anyone's guess. Some say that just a few days
before the elections the order will be given for an operation into
Iraq and by doing that, the AKP government will benefit from this
'brave atmosphere' and will get more votes. Some others say that
the government will get the authorization and will hold on to it
until after the elections, allowing tensions to escalate, without
taking any action for a cross-border operation."

Turkish Leaders on Presidential Elections
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan said Monday that after the
July 22 general elections, he will be ready to seek a compromise on
the presidency and prepare a list of candidates to discuss with
other parties. He said the authorities of the president will be
restricted and a "strengthened" prime ministerial system will be
implemented, "as in Austria or Finland." The main opposition CHP

ANKARA 00001755 002 OF 002


leader Deniz Baykal said his party will not accept one of the
candidates named by Erdogan, followed by MHP leader Devlet Bahceli
who said the PM was "not sincere." Baykal suggested a candidate who
is not a member of the parliament be selected. Mainstream papers
predict Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will not be among Erdogan's
candidates.

State of Education Deteriorating in Turkey
All papers report the results of the High School Entrance
Examination (OKS), taken by 824,676 eighth graders competing to get
into Turkey's top schools, saying the results point to a deepening
divide reflecting regional and financial disparities and the
shortcomings of primary education in Turkey. The number of students
who got a "zero" on the exam was 27,277. Private schools did
significantly better than public schools in this year's OKS. The
mainly Kurdish southeastern province of Hakkari was on the bottom of
the list with the eastern and southeastern provinces of Sirnak,
Ardahan, Agri, and Kars close to the bottom. Teachers' union
Egitim-Sen said the results were a striking reflection of the
increasing divide between the rich and the poor in the education
system, underlining that only children from well-off families are
able to enroll in private tutoring courses which help them score
well in these exams and thus win a place in prestigious high
schools.

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- A Turkish soldier has been killed by a PKK landmine blast in the
southeastern border province of Sirnak.

- Hrant Dink's lawyers have filed objections to a court decision to
release four suspects arrested in connection with the murder of the
Armenian journalist.

- Harriet Schmidt, director of the UN office for developing
countries, told a conference of the least-developed nations in
Istanbul if the force of globalization continues on the path of the
last 30 years, it would completely sweep away the least developed
countries.

- A consortium of Malaysia Airports Holdings, India's GMR
Infrastructure and Turkey's Limak, secured on Monday the rights to
Istanbul's second airport with a 1.9 billion Euro bid, and will
spend about USD 250-300 million to build a new international flights
terminal in Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Anatolian side of the city.


International News

- Southern Cyprus's governing alliance was on the verge of
dissolving on Monday after communist AKEL, the largest party in the
three-way coalition, announced plans to field its own candidate in
presidential elections in February.

- The Wall Street Journal reported Monday the US government is
studying the possibility of signing a formal peace treaty with North
Korea after more than 50 years of standoff.

- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said unless supported by
Serbia, any resolution on independence for Kosovo will fail in the
UN Security Council.

- French president Sarkozy will not give a traditional Bastille Day
pardon to thousands of prisoners in the country's overcrowded jails,
raising fears that disappointed inmates could riot.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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