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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002326

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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, SEPTEMBER 12, 2007


In Today's Papers

Police Foil Bomb Attack in Ankara on 9/11 Anniversary
All papers report the discovery by the police of an explosives-laden
van in a parking lot in downtown Ankara has thwarted a "September 11
plot." "A catastrophe has been averted," Ankara governor Kemal Onal
said after police defused the mechanism of about 300 kg of
explosives. The parking lot is located in a busy neighborhood with
thousands of homes and businesses in the surrounding area. Onal's
office said explosives found in the minibus were similar to those
used by the PKK. Several papers, however, believe al-Qaeda is
another probable perpetrator. Mainstream Sabah asks whether it was
a "coincidence" that Osama bin-Laden mentioned Ankara in connection
with a historical event in a tape released recently. Papers also
speculate probable targets were the US Embassy, the Parliament, and
ministry buildings.

Editorial Commentary on 9/11 Anniversary
Nagehan Alci writes in the tabloid Aksam: "On the sixth anniversary,
the painful memories of the victims are no longer the only issue
related to the 9/11 attacks. We also feel sorry for the new victims
who lost their lives because of vengeance and a vindictive attitude.
The US used the attacks of 9/11 as an excuse to act like the
sheriff for the whole world. Looking at the events of the recent
past, it seems the nature of power of the US administration changed
significantly since September 11, 2001. Security has become the
prevailing principle for everything -- a policy that led to
continuous secrecy in government affairs. The US is rapidly losing
its identity as an open society. In short, the US administration
has been in a war situation for the last 6 years. And the US
administration is functioning under rigid secrecy. More secrecy
means less democracy. Given the current psychology in Washington,
there is growing speculation that the Pentagon is planning for an
attack against Iran. That means new victims and new battlefields
are on the horizon. It only looks like a remake of the same
movie."

Embassy Ankara Denies Reports Claiming US Ties with the PKK
Hurriyet, Vatan, Yeni Safak, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, and Yeni Safak
report on US Embassy Ankara's response to the claims put forth by
the British Daily Telegraph that the US supports and maintains
contact with the PKK. Papers cite a statement released by the
embassy saying, "The US does not support the PKK in any way.
Reports to the contrary are fabrications and have no basis in fact.
They are designed to drive a wedge between two allies, the United
States and Turkey." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak says the DT story
claiming armored vehicles were seen in Mount Kandil heightened
concerns that private security contractors are backing the terrorist
organization.

Demonstrations across Turkey against 1980 Military Coup
All papers report protest demonstrations will be staged in Ankara
and other major Turkish cities to mark the 27th anniversary of the
September 12, 1980, military takeover. The demonstrators will
reportedly rally in front of the US Embassy in Ankara.
Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal said ahead of the anniversary on
Wednesday, "Today democracy and our republic have problems but a
military coup can never be a solution".

Iraq Rejects Turkey's Proposal for Cooperation against PKK
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that speaking to CNN Turk in
Baghdad, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari blamed Turkey for the
failure of his country to undertake concrete steps against the PKK.
Zebari complained that Ankara wanted to exclude the Kurdish
Administration in Northern Iraq from the talks with Baghdad and that
is why they did not sign the memorandum of understanding for
cooperation against the PKK drafted during Iraqi PM Maliki's recent
visit to Turkey.

US Ambassador Visits Kocatepe Mosque

ANKARA 00002326 002 OF 002


Islamist oriented Yeni Safak reported that Ambassador Wilson paid a
"surprise visit" to Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara yesterday and met with
chief Imam Ismail Cosar for one hour. Imam Cosar said in answer to
reporters' questions about the visit "we chatted with the Ambassador
and had tea. The Ambassador asked a few questions about the mosque
and the difference in the capacity of the mosque during Ramadan."
Conservative Bugun carried the same story under the headline "Why
did the US Ambassador Visit the Mosque?"

Secretary Rice to Attend Iraq's Neighbors Conference in Istanbul

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Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet: Speaking to press, State Department Spokesman
Sean McCormack said that Secretary Rice is planning to attend the
Iraq Neighbors conference in October in Istanbul. Although no
appointments are set yet, the Secretary might have meetings with
Iranian and Syrian Foreign Ministers, McCormack added.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- President Abdullah Gul went yesterday to Van, the first stop in a
four-day trip to southeast Turkey.

- IMF's Mission Turkey Chief Lorenzo Giorgianni and newly appointed
senior resident representative Hossein Samiei arrived in Ankara
yesterday to hold talks with Treasury Minister Mehmet Simsek on
Wednesday.

- Police defused a PKK landmine planted on a railroad track near
Ergani town in Diyarbakir province.

- The Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts this evening with prayers
in mosques across Turkey.

International News

- Turkish Foreign Ministry officials meet with caution the reports
about postponement of the referendum for Kirkuk until May 2008.
Kamal Kirkuki, the deputy speaker of the Iraqi Kurdish parliament,
rejected reports claiming a postponement.

- The European Court of Human Rights has approved the appointment of
two Turkish Cypriot judges despite the objections of the Greek
Cypriots.

- European Parliament rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten said Turkey
should meet its promises for EU harmonization reforms without
waiting for the approval of the new constitution.

- A group called Democracy in Television wants French media to drop
its addiction to President Sarkozy by not mentioning him on November
30.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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