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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2007


In Today's Papers

NGOs, Universities Warn AKP on Draft New Constitution
All papers report on the process of drafting a new constitution and
the contents of the draft written by the ruling AKP. Far right MHP
said in a letter to Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan that work for
drafting a new constitution should be carried out in the parliament,
and called for setting up a special commission. Eight leading NGOs
with 13 million members warned the government that the new
constitution currently being drafted should not divide the Turkish
people into rival camps and should not erase the importance of the
country's founder, Ataturk. "Ataturk's principles and the
fundamental characteristics of the republic cannot be amended," said
in a statement Turkish Union of Chambers (TOBB) President Rifat
Hisarciklioglu on behalf of the NGOs.

Meanwhile, Ankara's Hacettepe University rector Tuncalp Ozgen told
an academic year opening ceremony held Tuesday that views of
universities should be taken into account with regard to the draft
new constitution. President Abdullah Gul, present at the ceremony,
said universities cannot remain silent on what is happening in
society. Mainstream papers comment that President Gul struck a
contrasting tone from Prime Minister Erdogan who had said university
chancellors should mind their own business when it comes to the
issue of the constitution and whether the headscarf ban in
universities should be lifted.

Turkish Leaders Continue Talks in US
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan held Tuesday "fruitful and
comprehensive" talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the
sidelines of the UNGA meetings in New York. Sarkozy reportedly told
Erdogan that he plans to send his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
to Turkey in October. Erdogan's meeting with his Italian
counterpart Romano Prodi focused on cooperation and joint projects
in energy and defense.
Erdogan also met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed
Turkey's EU negotiation process and integration of Turkish citizens
living in Germany. Merkel reportedly invited Erdogan to Germany.
Erdogan also held talks with Henry Kissinger and Richard Holbrooke,
papers report.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met with yesterday Iraqi
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on the margins of the summit.
Zebari reportedly told Babacan that the Iraqi administration deems
highly important the upcoming expanded Iraq's neighbors' meeting in
Istanbul in October. Babacan had a meeting with EU's foreign policy
chief Javier Solana, and also came together with foreign ministers
of Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Iraq, Niger, Jordan and Slovakia.
Together with Erdogan, Babacan also attended a round-table meeting
on democracy held under the auspices of President Bush.

Editorial Commentary on UNGA
Sami Kohen writes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "It was nice to
see that the global warming problem has finally become an
internationally recognized issue. The world leaders, although
belatedly, talked at the UN about problems related to climate change
and global warming. Turkey is one of the countries suffering from
the impact of global warming. As UNSG Ban Ki-Moon noted, this is
the time for action and cooperation. It remains to be seen whether
countries with excessive carbon dioxide gas emissions, like the US,
China and India will be able to fulfill their obligations. The
Kyoto Protocol which will terminate by 2012 needs to be replaced
with a new international environmental agreement -- the purpose of
the upcoming meeting in Bali in December. Turkey also demonstrated
willingness to develop a new strategy on global warming as stated by
PM Erdogan during the UN Climate Change meeting. Turkey is ready to
sign the Kyoto Protocol as long as it is listed in the developing
countries category within OECD. According to a leading Turkish
environmentalist NGO, this is a fair condition considering Turkey's
economy but it is very important that for the first time Turkey

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declared its intention to be a part of Kyoto."

Iraq's Bolani in Turkey to Discuss Anti-Terror Agreement
All papers report that visiting Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad
al-Bolani is expected to sign an anti-terror agreement with Turkey
today. Papers say Turkey is mainly demanding the "right of hot
pursuit" into Iraq, but are not optimistic that the agreement would
create a solid legal basis for cross-border military operations.
Mainstream Hurriyet says Iraq was cold to the idea. Hurriyet also
reports that "Blackwater and US-originated weapons falling into the
hands of the PKK" were also discussed. Mainstream Sabah expects the
sides to agree on opening "coordination offices" in Baghdad and
Ankara, increasing the number of Iraqi security forces deployed
between Mount Kandil and Bamerin region, and restricting the
operations of the PKK.

PKK Kills 2 Soldiers in Tunceli and Sirnak
All papers report that on Tuesday, a Turkish gendarme private was
killed and four others were injured when a car bomb exploded at an
outpost in the eastern province of Tunceli. A bread delivery truck
was driven up to the gendarme post in a village in Tunceli and
detonated by remote control, military sources said. In separate
fighting between security forces and the PKK terrorists, a
non-commissioned officer and four militants were killed in the
southeastern province of Sirnak.

Editorial Commentary on Syria, Iran
Cengiz Candar observes in the business daily Referans: "Northern
Iraq or Iraqi Kurdistan is not Turkey's only southern neighbor.
Turkey has to consider Syria as well as Israel regarding its
political strategy assessments. This is simply because these two
are, from international security perspectives, more important than
Northern Iraq. There is not much official information from the
Syrian government but there is also credible information about the
undeclared nuclear activities of Syria. Turkey, as a member of
NATO, will have to live with Iran and Syria as next door neighbors
engaged in nuclear activity. Can we pretend that all is well right
next door? How will Turkey be able to cope with the fact that these
two countries are on the verge of becoming a target of the western
system? Turkey faces an enormous challenge in making its foreign
policy priorities very clear. Even though we continue to bring up
Northern Iraq and the PKK issue at every possible venue vis-`-vis
the US, the genuine international issue is becoming Iran and Syria
and we should realize that sooner or later. All of this calls for
rational foreign policy making which does not seem likely in Turkey
at least for the time being because of ongoing internal debates."

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Government officials and labor unions have failed to agree on wage
hikes in 2008. The final decision will be made by the Council of
Ministers.

- Turkey plans a roadshow in London on Wednesday for the
long-delayed privatization of Tekel Cigarette. The Privatization
Administration (OIB) plans to launch a tender for the former
monopoly in October. British American Tobacco, South Korea's KT&G
and Imperial Tobacco are interested in the sale.

- Ten people are injured as more than 10,000 people rushed at the
opening of the first branch of a German chain store of electronic
goods in Istanbul.

International News

- The European Union has wiped Turkey off the map on its new Euro
coin. "The EU Council is not embarrassed that the new European map

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should include some dictatorships such as Belarus or authoritarian
ones like Russia, but it refuses to feature a democratic country
like Turkey with which accession negotiations are underway,"
European Parliament MPs Marco Cappato and Marco Pannella said in a
statement.

- Iran has confirmed that it shelled suspected PJAK positions inside
Iraq.

- A suicide bomber blew himself up in a Ramadan dinner inside a
Shiite mosque in central Baquba killing 26 people.

- President Bush announced new US sanctions against Myanmar's
military rulers on Tuesday amid Myanmar's biggest anti-government
protests in 20 years.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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