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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002408

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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, SEPTEMBER 25, 2007

In Today's Papers

Basbug Warns on Northern Iraq, Constitutional Change in Turkey
All papers report the head of the Turkish land forces, General Ilker
Basbug, issued a "tough warning" to the US related to the activities
of the PKK in northern Iraq. Speaking at the opening of the military
academy's academic year in Ankara, Basbug said now was the time for
action against the terrorists. Basbug pointed to the fact that the
developments in north of Iraq have given "political, legal, military
and psychological strength" to Kurds living in the region. "We must
be careful about the developments in northern Iraq as these may give
some of our citizens a feeling of belonging to this region," said
Basbug. He stressed that the US must understand that the presence
of the terror organization in north of Iraq is a serious threat to
Turkey. "The US must understand that a solution reached without
Turkey's backing in Iraq won't be a lasting one," Basbug added.

Basbug also said the Turkish military cannot be impartial in debates
about secularism, stressing the military has always protected the
structure and the characteristics of the Turkish state. He said
opponents of secularism and Kurdish separatists have the same aim --
"undermining the nation state in Turkey." Basbug said efforts to
advance cultural differences for the sake of boosting freedom might
lead Turkey to polarization. Mainstream papers say Basbug has
warned the ruling AKP not to open secularism to debate and Kurdish
party DTP that the demands of its "political ally" PKK would not be
accepted.

Iraq's Bolani Visits Ankara
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet and Yeni Safak report Iraqi Interior
Minister Jawad Al-Bolani is to visit Ankara on Tuesday to complete
work on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed during Iraqi PM
Maliki's visit to Turkey last month. If the MOU can be converted
into an agreement, Iraq will extradite 150 PKK members, including
Riza Altun, Cemil Bayik, and Murat Karayilan, to Turkey. Mainstream
Hurriyet says Turkey is going to give an updated file on PKK
activities to Bolani which includes the building of 20 new
checkpoints to prevent terrorist infiltration into Turkey from
northern Iraq. The file contains detailed information about PKK
camps in northern Iraq, says Hurriyet.

US Wants Turkey to Find Alternatives to Iran for Energy Cooperation

A column in mainstream Hurriyet says US Under Secretary of Economic,
Energy and Agricultural Affairs Reuben Jeffery spoke to members of
the press in Turkey. Hurriyet says Jeffery, whose visit to Turkey
came just after that of Under Secretary Nicholas Burns, said that
Turkish plans to produce natural gas in Iran should be replaced with
projects with other regional countries, such as Turkmenistan and
Kazakhstan. "There is no shortage of gas in the region. The
question is developing it in a responsible way with states that are
politically stable and responsible to the international community,"
Jeffery said. Hurriyet points to the fact that neither country has
the infrastructure to transport its gas to Turkey.

Barzani Reiterates Kurdish Rights over Kirkuk
Aksam and Yeni Safak report Kurdish regional administration
president Massoud Barzani told "Kurdistan Students Union" in Erbil
that the Kurds would not concede on the Kirkuk question. "We want
our rights over Kirkuk back, and we are ready to pay any price for
it. The problem should be resolved in line with the requirements of
the Iraqi Constitution," Barzani said.

Kurdish Spokesman: PKK, PJAK Illegal Organizations
Hurriyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet and Yeni Safak report the spokesman of
the Kurdish regional administration, Cemal Abdullah, said Monday
they were "doing everything possible to avoid attacks on neighboring
countries from Iraqi territory." "We consider the PKK and its
affiliate PJAK as illegal organizations; they are not part of the
political system in northern Iraq. We are working to promote our

ANKARA 00002408 002 OF 003


already good ties with Turkey," stressed Abdullah.

Meanwhile, Cumhuriyet reports Abdullah also said Iran has closed its
four border crossings except for one with northern Iraq to protest
the detention by Americans of an Iranian in Suleymaniye last week.
Americans claim the Iranian arrested over arms smuggling was a
member of the Revolutionary Guard.

Foreign Companies Interested in Buying Sabah, ATV
All papers report News Corp, ProSiebenSat.1, RTL Group, Czech CME
and Greek Antenna TV are interested in buying Turkey's major daily
Sabah and top-rated entertainment channel ATV, State Deposits and
Insurance Fund (TMSF) said on Monday. TMSF seized the media assets
in April and plans to auction the restructured company on November 7
with a minimum price set at USD 1.1 billion. Foreign companies will
have to find local partners to bid with as a law restricts foreign
ownership of broadcasters to 25 percent in Turkey.

Editorial Commentary on Moderate Islam; US Foreign Policy
Under the headline "The US and Moderate Islam," Milliyet columnist
Can Dundar writes: "Richard Holbrooke, probably the next US
Secretary of State, listed Malaysia and Turkey as moderate Islamic

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countries, adding that this is what the US wants to see in the
Islamic geography...this leads to suspicion about US intentions for
Turkey... A comprehensive search of US documents and reports shows
that moderate Islam is a long-term US strategy. Rand Corporation, a
powerful think tank in shaping American foreign policy suggested in
1990 that US administrations engage in close relationship with
moderate figures of Islamic tendency....the State Department, in the
1999 religious freedom report, mentioned Fethullah Gulen by name as
a moderate Islamic leader. This was followed by a report by Cheryl
Barnard, the wife of former US Ambassador to Iraq Khalilzad. She
was clearly advising US foreign policy makers to form alliances with
moderate Islamists, depicting them as the best ally for US interests
compared to secularists and fundamentalists. In other words, US
policy is not coming out of the blue - there is a strong basis for
seeing it as a long term strategy."

Kubilay Celik observed in the nationalist daily Tercuman:
"Interestingly enough, the US administration, while occupying itself
with 'war with Iran' scenarios, did not prevent the Iranian leader's
entrance into the country. The permission was for the UN summit but
past events remind us of the fact that the US denied visas to
Iranian leader Ahmedinejad and some others even to the UN. Despite
protests by some groups, Ahmedinejad is also going to make a speech
at Columbia University. His speech will be closely watched by the
Bush administration and may even pave the way for bringing the two
sides to the negotiation table. As for Syria, another interesting
development is that Syria was invited to the US. It is very
important that Syria is to be a part of the Middle East Quartet
meeting in November. It seems the US, in the absence of
international support as well as in an effort not to repeat the
mistakes in Iraq, may be thinking of ways to find reconciliation
with both Syria and Iran. The US may be looking for ways to drag
them both to the negotiation table rather than focusing on anti-Iran
or anti-Syria scenarios. This development will be very interesting
to watch."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- Prime Minister Erdogan addressed UN climate change conference,
saying if its requirements are met, Turkey would sign the Kyoto
Protocol.

- Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan told a ceremony in Istanbul's
Yildiz University that the new constitution will not make
concessions on the main characteristics of the secular republic.

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- Ankara University Rector Nusret Aras said if the headscarf is
allowed in universities through constitutional changes, the next
step would be removing headscarf restrictions in high schools.

- The Turkish Parliament will kick off the new legislative year on
October 1. President Abdullah Gul will address the parliament to
mark the beginning of the new legislative year to be followed by a
reception hosted by Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan the same day.


International News

- Secretary Rice said Syria could attend an upcoming Middle East
peace conference in Washington as part of an Arab League committee.


- A survey showing an eight percentage point drop in Nicolas
Sarkozy's popularity suggests the French President's post-election
honeymoon period may be coming to an end.

- Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki said the shooting deaths of
civilians and other prior incidents involving US security contractor
Blackwater pose "serious challenges to the sovereignty of Iraq" and
cannot be accepted.

- Newsweek reports Vice President Cheney has considered provoking an
exchange of military strikes between Iran and Israel in order to
give the US a pretext to attack Iran.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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