Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8, 2007
In Today's Papers
Turkey-Iraq Sign MOU against Terror during Maliki Visit
All papers give extensive front-page coverage to the Ankara visit of
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with a high level delegation.
Papers have mixed reactions to the visit, with the Islamist papers
viewing the signing of a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU)
regarding cooperation against PKK activities in Iraq as a "positive
development." Mainstream papers as well as Cumhuriyet and Radikal
claim Turkey and Iraq have failed to sign an "agreement" to combat
terror, but "signed an MOU" instead, with some claiming the
president of the Kurdish regional administration, Massoud Barzani,
"intervened to prevent an agreement." Cumhuriyet says that "once
again, Turkey sees no forward steps from Iraq against the PKK."
Papers note Erdogan and Maliki agreed to sign an agreement with
regard to cooperation against terror "in two months." Responding to
press questions after meeting with Erdogan, Maliki said the
agreement covered "the Iraqi Kurdish administration as well."
Papers also report the two delegations signed another MOU on
economic cooperation, according to which Turkey would build power
plants in Iraq, and Iraqi natural gas to Europe would be routed
through Turkey. Papers and television reports say if finalized,
the deal would help Turkey become an effective energy center.
Editorial Commentary on Maliki Visit
Business daily Referans columnist Cengiz Candar observes: "The
Maliki visit to Turkey is not a 'dramatic' moment in history.
Turkey can never achieve tangible and meaningful results unless
Ankara develops a direct relationship with the Iraqi Kurds, and puts
the PKK problem within the framework of that context. The most
striking lesson of the Maliki visit for Turkey should have been that
Turkey can neither solve the PKK problem nor emerge as a regional
power in the Middle East without ending its obsession of basing its
foreign policy as well as ties with the US solely on the PKK
In tabloid Posta Mehmet Ali Birand notes the "chaotic" political
situation in Baghdad, saying it would not be realistic for Turkey to
expect Maliki to take effective measures against the PKK: "In talks
with visiting Iraqi PM yesterday, Ankara will ask Maliki to persuade
Massoud Barzani to move against the PKK in northern Iraq. Maliki,
however, is in no position to ask anything from the Kurds due to the
Kirkuk referendum controversy... Barzani bargains with Turkey saying
the PKK will be controlled if Turkey stays out of Kirkuk and does
not intervene into northern Iraq militarily. Turkey should
understand the tough situation Maliki has been going through, and
should not expect much."
In tabloid Star columnist Nasuhi Gungor praises the AKP government
for taking "bold forward steps" with regard to the Kurdish problem,
establishing ties with the leading Sunni groups in Iraq and also
telling the Iraqi Shiites that " Iran is not your only door to open
to the world." Gungor continues: "the presence of FM Zebari and
Baghdad's anti-terror envoy al-Waili in the high-level Iraqi
delegation visiting Turkey shows Turkey's determination in the fight
against terrorism. There are, however, no easy solutions; if Turkey
wants to take significant forward steps, it needs to abandon some
political habits such as turning a blind eye to some developments in
Iraq. The July 22 elections were actually an expression of this
Uncertainty over Presidency Causes Controversy
All papers continue speculation with regard to the names the AKP
will nominate for parliamentary speaker and president. Former
Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc implied at a press briefing Tuesday
he wants the post of Justice Minister in the new cabinet. Arinc
said he won't run for Parliament Speaker. Mainstream papers say
Koksal Toptan has emerged as Erdogan's favorite candidate for the
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Hurriyet claims Prime Minister Erdogan plans to give the presidency
to an AKP deputy whose wife does not wear the Islamic-style
headscarf, rather than offer it to Abdullah Gul. Hurriyet, Radikal
and Cumhuriyet claim some AKP members believe Gul would be a very
successful president, but that a new, compromise candidate would be
better in avoiding new tensions. They expect Gul not to run.
Milliyet notes that the presidential issue might lead to a rift
between Erdogan and Gul. Vatan speculates Erdogan does not want Gul
confined to the presidential palace, but wants to share government
responsibilities with him. Supporters of Gul, however, say that Gul
has to follow the preferences of voters who showed powerful support
for the AKP in the elections. Yesterday Arinc said, in remarks
interpreted by mainstream press as a warning against Gul, all party
members should help facilitate the PM's tough job now.
Violence in Southeast Turkey Continues
All papers report that the funeral of the officer who was killed in
a PKK landmine blast in the Diyarbakir province was held in Ankara
Tuesday, with the participation of President Sezer, Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul, some cabinet ministers and military commanders.
Papers report Gul remained silent when the wife of the martyred
officer said she didn't want to see any AKP members in the funeral.
Another lieutenant killed by a PKK landmine in Hakkari was laid to
rest in Istanbul.
Greek Lobby Introduces Anti-Turkey Bills to Congress
Hurriyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet and Radikal report the Greek lobby in
the US has introduced to the US House two separate bills demanding
Turkey pull back its troops from Turkish Cyprus. The bills say
Turkey has "invaded" Cyprus, and US weapons were illegally used in
the invasion. Hurriyet says the Greek lobby "routinely" introduces
anti-Turkey bills into Congress on the eve of the anniversary of the
Turkish military operation against Cyprus and during US election
NTV (7 A.M.)
- Main water pipelines have burst in Ankara, causing floods which
damaged more than 100 shops and houses in the Yenimahalle district.
- Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP acknowledged in an evaluation of
July 22 election results that the party has failed to bridge the
peoples of Turkey.
- Former AKP MP Ertugrul Yalcinbayir said the AKP administration was
unfair in picking members of delegations traveling abroad on
- Turkish GSM operator Turkcell plans to join mobile license tenders
in Iraq and Kuwait.
- The Pentagon said the US has around 162,000 troops in Iraq now,
more than at any previous time in the war.
- President Karzai said the Taliban is a danger to children, aid
workers and other innocent people, but is a "defeated" force that is
not a threat to the government of Afghanistan.
- Tbilisi handed the Russian Embassy a note of protest on Tuesday
concerning the violation of Georgian airspace and the bombardment of
the Gori district by unidentified aircraft that flew from Russia.
- The British government confirmed Tuesday a second outbreak of foot
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and mouth disease in a herd of cattle in southern England.