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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002461

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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, OCTOBER 3, 2007


In Today's Papers

Party Leaders Speak Out on Terror
All papers report that political party leaders spoke out at their
party group meetings in the parliament Tuesday. Opposition CHP
leader Deniz Baykal, recalling a recent terrorist attack in the
southeastern province of Sirnak that claimed the lives of 12
civilians and yesterday's blast in the Aegean city of Izmir killing
one and injuring 11 people, said terror in Turkey continued at full
speed. Baykal said the recent counter-terror agreement signed
between Turkey and Iraq was a "comedy." He said, "We made a grave
mistake during those negotiations, and asked to use the hot pursuit
right which does not require the consent of any country, and which
was granted to Turkey by the UN with Iraq's consent. Although it's
clear that Iraq is not keen on taking measures against PKK
terrorism, our government still relies on them." Baykal also
recalled Iran's bombing of northern Iraq against terrorists,
underlining the inaction of Iraqi authorities against the Iranian
attacks. The CHP leader also opposed education in languages of
Turkey's ethnic groups, saying that would be like "planting a bomb
under Turkey's unity."

Far right MHP leader Devlet Bahceli called on the parliament to
authorize the Turkish military's right of hot pursuit into northern
Iraq.

Ahmet Turk, leader of the Pro-Kurdish DTP, said in reply to Turkish
General Staff (TGS) chief Yasar Buyukanit's recent speech calling
for "measures" against the DTP for refusing to declare the PKK a
terror organization, that "Buyukanit is targeting both the DTP and
the parliament." Turk also said Prime Minister Erdogan's statements
that Turkey's Kurds were not a minority but rather a part of the
majority were similar to the statements of the PKK's imprisoned
leader Abdullah Ocalan. "If we are given guarantees, attempts could
be made to see the PKK lay down its arms in two months," Turk said.


Meanwhile, liberal Radikal quotes President Abdullah Gul as saying
en route to Strasbourg yesterday, "Everybody should openly reject
terror. A new period has commenced, and everybody has come to the
parliament. It would be a pity to harm this development."

Gul on EU Reforms, Article 301, Terrorism
All papers report that on Tuesday, President Abdullah Gul spoke with
reporters aboard his plane en route to Strasbourg where he will
visit the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in
his first trip abroad. Gul stressed that Turkey needs a stronger
focus on EU reforms. "Reforms can be fast or slow, but the
important thing is that the trend is positive. The government will
carry out the necessary steps with regard to Turkey's membership in
the EU, and I will act as a leader of the effort," Gul said. Gul
noted that Turkish enthusiasm for EU reforms has declined in
reaction to the negative attitude of Europe. Gul also acknowledged
that penal code article 301, making it a crime to "insult
Turkishness," was one of the shortcomings in Turkey's EU drive, but
expressed confidence that the parliament will raise the
controversial provision. Gul emphasized that in the "new period"
Turkey has entered, people would be able to express even the most
radical views. He warned against attempts to harm this new period,
urging all to distance themselves from terrorism and violence.

Bombs Kill 1, Injure 11 in Izmir
All papers report that two bombs exploded in Izmir yesterday with a
three-and-a-half hour interval. The first bomb exploded near a
garbage bin and the second was planted on a stolen motorbike. One
person died and 11 were injured. Police believe that the bombs were
planted by the PKK terrorist organization.

Armenian Genocide Resolution (AGR) in US Congress
Sabah, Milliyet, Radikal, Zaman: Islamist oriented Zaman's

ANKARA 00002461 002 OF 003


Washington correspondent reports that the AGR will be on the US
Congress' agenda on October 10. Mainstream Milliyet and Sabah
highlighted the fact that the countdown started at the Congress on
the Armenian resolution and that PM Erdogan and President Gul are
considering calling President Bush separately to ask his support and
initiative to prevent proceeding of the AGR in the Congress.
Liberal Radikal says that the resolution first will be debated at
the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Congress on October 10 and
the following week it will be carried to the full commission.

Sami Kohen comments in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "It seems the
Armenian Genocide Resolution will be taken up by the US Congress
next week. Due to strong efforts by Nancy Pelosi, it is almost
certain that the resolution will pass in the House. The only hope,
though very dim, is that the resolution may be re-edited or put on
hold at the very last minute. In fact the supporters of this
resolution are facing pressure from outside, including from the
administration as well as from the State Department. The very
latest example was the joint letter to Pelosi signed by eight former
Secretaries of State against the passage of a resolution. Even

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though it did not get very much attention in the Turkish media, this
letter alone is a very important development as US Secretaries of
State of both Republican and Democrat administrations have clearly
demonstrated a common stance and reminded the House of the
consequences of passing the resolution. The members of the House
have to make a choice between their domestic concerns, such as
Armenian-American votes, and the importance of America's ally as a
regional player."

Editorial Commentary on US-Turkey Relations and the Fight against
the PKK
Yilmaz Oztuna observes in the conservative daily Turkiye: "The
recent meeting between the Turkish Foreign Minister and the US
Secretary of State was like an insensitive joke. Regarding Turkey's

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fully justified cause on the PKK, Secretary Rice mentioned to
Minister Babacan that the US has been combating the PKK in Northern
Iraq and now wants to finish this up by extending the struggle
against the PKK throughout the world. Given her good diplomatic
skills, her remarks can only be regarded as a joke. Yet she has to
realize that Turks cannot tolerate jokes on such a sensitive matter.
Turkey, on the other hand, will very soon regret signing a security
agreement with Iraq which basically ruled out the hot pursuit option
against the PKK in Iraq. The Interior Minister of Iraq who signed
the agreement is nothing more than a puppet of Barzani as well as
the US. Overall, the US continues to bear a grudge against Turkey
because of the rejection of the March 1 [2003] parliamentary motion,
and in return, asks Turkey to accept its Iran policy with no
objections. Otherwise, the US hints, the Kurdish issue and the
Armenian issue will be used against Turkey. The sooner we realize
that the better."


TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Speaking to his ruling AKP group, Prime Minister Erdogan called on
the nation to vote "yes" in the upcoming referendum on October 21
which will decide whether or not presidents will be elected by
direct popular vote.

- Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Farming Minister Mehdi Eker and
State Minister Mehmet Simsek visited Beytussebap in Sirnak province
to offer condolences to the families who lost relatives in a recent
PKK attack which claimed 12 lives in the region.

- Women's organizations announced Tuesday they will resist
constitutional reforms harming the principle of gender equality in
the existing constitution.

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- The Turkish Central Bank governor Dursun Yilmaz warned that
statements made by government officials on monetary policies were
harming the autonomy of the Central Bank.

International News

- On Tuesday, the Iraqi Parliament unanimously voted to issue a
statement condemning the US Congress' "non-binding" resolution
calling for the division of Iraq along ethnic lines.

- European Parliament's foreign affairs commission is to vote on the
Turkey report written by Ria Oomen-Rujiten.

- Israel has acknowledged that Israeli warplanes hit a "military
target" deep inside Syrian territory on September 6.

- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made a surprise visit to
Iraq at the same time as announcing he hopes to bring 1000 soldiers
home before Christmas.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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