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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
FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2007

In Today's Papers

Turkey Uneasy over Jewish Group's Recognition of Armenian Genocide

All papers report that during a meeting yesterday Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul told Pinhas Avivi, the Israeli ambassador to Ankara, of
Turkey's disappointment over the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL)
decision to call the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish
forces during World War I genocide. Gul urged Israel to use its
influence over the Jewish lobby groups in the US. According to
Hurriyet, Avivi told Gul that Israel was disturbed by the change in
the attitude of the ADL, stressing there is no change in the Israeli
government's position with regard to the incidents of 1915. During
a phone talk with Israeli President Shimon Peres yesterday, Prime
Minister Erdogan expressed Turkey's concern over the ADL decision.
Peres reportedly pledged to do his best in support of Turkey.

Sabah reports that the ADL retreated after Turkey's initiatives and
released a new statement proposing the establishment of a joint
commission for the investigation of genocide claims, "to assist the
parties in achieving a resolution of their profound differences."
Milliyet believes the statement came as a result of Israel's
intervention "to adjust the attitudes of the Jewish lobby."
Cumhuriyet sees the AKP policy in support of Hamas as being the main
reason for the change seen in the attitude of the Jewish lobby
groups.

Editorial Commentary on the Armenian Issue
Ergun Babahan writes in the mainstream daily Sabah: "It is no secret
that Turkey-Iran economic and military rapprochement has created
uneasiness both in Israel and the US. The Iran gas deal was
realized despite Washington's objection. Iran remains the number
one enemy for Israel because of its open support for Hizbullah in
Lebanon. Let's remember that President Bush declared three
countries the 'axis of evil' prior to the Iraq war. After that,
Iraq was invaded, compromise was reached with North Korea and now
only Iran remains. Thus it comes as no surprise that American
Jewish organizations have suddenly changed their stance and started
calling the Armenian deportation genocide. The Jewish community has
lived in this region in peace with Turkey. Given the regional
circumstances, Israel has no friend other than Turkey. Turkey and
Israel are involved in military and strategic engagements. This
current situation will harm Israel more than Turkey as Israel's good
relationship with a non-Arab Muslim country will deteriorate."

Ismet Berkan writes in the liberal-intellectual daily Radikal: "With
the ADL's decision the pending Armenian Genocide Resolution in the
Congress has gained more ground. We have to realize that almost
every negative about Turkey stems from Turkey's lack of strategic
thinking and long term planning. Turkey should have been capable of
handling this issue when it first emerged in early 1970s. If Turkey
had been able to stand up and apologize for the 1915 events and
tragedy during the Ottoman Empire time, the international community
would not be so negative about us. By doing that Turkey would have
been able to debate the issue in a non-emotional, healthy fashion.
On the contrary, Turkey displayed a defensive attitude rather than
strategic thinking. We were captivated by fears, and now we see
that our fears are haunting us. Even if we assume that the entire
world is wrong and hostile, can we still say that Turkey did no
wrong in this situation?"

Iraqi VP Meets Erdogan, Gul during Turkey Visit
All papers report the Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi came
Thursday to Ankara to seek support for resolving disagreements
between the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish group in the Iraqi government.
Hashimi told reporters on his arrival the Iraqi government was
clear in its intention to put into practice the Turkey-Iraq
memorandum of understanding signed during a recent visit to Turkey
by Prime Minister al-Maliki. Hashimi later met with Prime Minister
Erdogan and asked for the PM's help in returning Sunnis to the

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government. Erdogan reportedly declined to put forth concrete
proposals, but said he was ready to help Iraqi groups work out
sectarian differences. PKK terror was not raised during talks with
the Iraqi VP since Hashimi is known to be a figure who shares
Turkey's views. Hashimi leaves Turkey today after a morning meeting
with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

MFA Note to US on Cyprus Oil
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that Turkey gave the US a diplomatic
note to express Turkey's disturbance regarding the US-based Noble
Energy's bid on Greek Cypriot Oil exploration. The US
Administration responded to Ankara's initiative by saying that it
was a business issue and that US companies do not need the
administration's permission to make international bids. Reportedly,
Turkey plans to get in touch directly with Nobel Energy to explain
the Cyprus issue in detail and the drawbacks of engaging in such
exploration.

Reports on Iranian Army Crossing the Border with Iraq
Vatan, Yeni Safak, Cumhuriyet and others: Iraqi Kurdish party KDP's
Peyamner website site claimed that Iranian troops penetrated five
kilometers into Iraqi territory, causing massive material damage.

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- The Turkish Parliament prepares for the second round of voting in
the presidential election on Friday. CHP leader Deniz Baykal said
his party has not decided whether or not to participate in the
presidential oath taking ceremony in the parliament, expected to be
held after the third round August 28.

- The ruling AKP plans special ceremonies to celebrate the
presidency of Abdullah Gul all around Turkey.

- Professor Ergun Ozbudun said a new constitutional draft trims down
the powers of the president and ensures full compliance with EU
standards in basic rights and freedoms.

- The Turkish Contractors' Association said the number of Turkish
contractor companies among the world's 225 leading companies rose to
22 this year.

International News

- President Bush told a group of veterans "a free Iraq" is within
reach and warned that if Americans retreat, death and suffering of
the sort not seen since the Vietnam War would be witnessed.

- French President Sarkozy has completed his first 100 days in
office on Thursday still riding high in opinion polls despite
disappointing economic figures.

- Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Pakistan's exiled
former PM Nawaz Sharif could return home after seven years in exile.


- Turkey has the lowest women's labor force participation rate in
the OECD, at 27 percent, which activists attribute at least in part
to headscarf restrictions.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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