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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2007


In Today's Papers

Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari Calls for the PKK to Leave Iraq
All papers report international wire services quote Iraqi Foreign
Minister Zebari as urging the PKK to "leave Iraqi territories at
once" and not to bring more problems. Zebari said the Turkish
Parliament's cross-border operations authorization was "like a sword
hanging over the head of Iraq." Mainstream Hurriyet says Zebari's
statement came after a meeting of Turkish Ambassador in Baghdad
Derya Kanbay, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and Iraqi security
minister Shirwan al-Waili. Zebari also said he does not expect a
major offensive by the Turkish army into northern Iraq soon, but air
attacks against the PKK bases are possible.

On the other hand, papers report Turkish troops near the Iraqi
border, especially around Sirnak province, are readying for an
operation. The land forces commander General Ilker Basbug is
inspecting the troops. Tabloid Aksam claims US helicopters were
conducting reconnaissance flights between the border and the town of
Zaho.

Papers also report peaceful protest demonstrations against a Turkish
attack were held in the towns of Erbil and Dohuk in northern Iraq
with demonstrators calling on Turkey to resolve the PKK problem "at
home."

Editorial Commentary on Turkish Iraq Incursion
Taha Akyol comments in the mainstream Milliyet: "The armed struggle
and cross-border operations against the PKK are not wrong but, while
we are pursuing the military struggle, we should also be thinking of
ways to prevent people from joining the PKK. That is the main
issue, otherwise, even though more terrorists are killed, new ones
will replace them immediately. Every incident escalating Turk-Kurd
tension is feeding the political, social and physiologic factors of
the PKK. Hostile remarks made with nationalist sentiments hurt our
innocent Kurdish-origin citizens and encourage ethnic divisions.
The solution to countering terrorism lies with the economy,
democracy and the state's armed struggle against terror."

Hasan Mesut Hazar writes in the conservative-nationalist Turkiye:
"After waiting for a long time for the US and Iraq to take some
concrete steps against the PKK and showing great patience, Turkey
decided to take this decision [passing the parliamentary motion for
a cross-border operation]. Now, Turkey is asking the US to choose
between Turkey and the Kurds in Northern Iraq. Is asking the US to
choose the right approach? Aren't we wrong by not talking to
Barzani, who fought against the PKK in the past together with Turks?
Why would it be wrong for Turkey to form its Iraq and Middle East
policies by remaining friends with the Kurdish administration in
northern Iraq? Turkey should take actions with common sense and
consider having direct dialogue with the Kurdish leaders in northern
Iraq."

Armenian Genocide Resolution in Congress
All papers report US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was "reconsidering"
her pledge to force a vote on the Armenian genocide resolution, and
that the US media believes approval of the resolution by the House
is unlikely. In a letter to Pelosi, 49 representatives asked for
the blockade of the resolution. Mainstream Sabah quotes US
Representative Robert Wexler as saying the resolution would hardly
be approved by the House. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak comments
that US lawmakers pulled back support for the resolution due to
Turkey's determination in passing a critical motion for a
cross-border operation against the PKK in Iraq. Meanwhile, in
Ankara, Turkish Ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy told members of
the Turkish Parliament's foreign affairs commission that the
resolution will not be approved. Sensoy said he will go back to
Washington on Sunday.

Kurdish Politicians under Investigation

ANKARA 00002633 002 OF 002


Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak and others report
Turkey's Council of State (Danistay) has approved an earlier
decision of the Interior Ministry to sack Abdullah Demirbas, the
mayor of Sur, a town in Diyarbakir province, for providing
municipality services in Kurdish. Liberal Radikal reports a lawsuit
-- the fourth in three days -- has been filed against Diyarbakir
Mayor Osman Baydemir for making a statement to the press that his
municipality was not given its share from the national budget. The
prosecutor said Baydemir's public statement "instigates hate and
enmity and jeopardizes public safety," asking for 4.5 years in
prison for the mayor. The Diyarbakir prosecutor has also asked for
the revoking of parliamentary immunity of the pro-Kurdish DTP
lawmaker Aysel Tugluk for a speech she delivered in Diyarbakir in
July. Prosecutor asks for five years in prison for Tugluk.

Turkey to Hold Referendum on Constitutional Reforms
All papers report Turkey will go to a referendum on constitutional
reforms on October 21. The referendum calls for general elections
once in every four years instead of five, the president to be
elected by popular vote, and the presidential term to be reduced
from the current seven years to five with a second term in office.
The ruling AKP and pro-Kurdish DTP support the vote whereas
opposition CHP and MHP called for a rejection.

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- On Thursday, the Syrian head of state Bashar al-Assad said in
Istanbul that an independent Kurdish state would be like a "bomb
that would blow up the Middle East." Assad also stressed the Iraqi
government should be given a chance to meet the Turkish demands
regarding the PKK.

- Energy Minister Hilmi Guler accused environment conservationists
of working for "foreign intelligence services," saying these groups
object to gold exploration in Kaz (Ida) Mountains because they do
not want to see a rich Turkey.

- Ankara and London are to sign a strategic cooperation agreement
during the visit of PM Erdogan to Britain on October 22-23.

- The government raised the lowest salaries for civil servants to
812 Turkish Lira (USD 665) a month and eyes USD 7,000 per capita
income next year.

- Turkey's first high-speed train will start operation between
Ankara and Eskisehir on November 8.

International News

- Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto ended eight years
of self-exile last night, making an emotional return to Pakistan.
More than 120 people were killed when two bombs exploded near
Bhutto's truck during her homecoming parade.

- Blackwater USA, whose private security forces were involved in the
fatal shooting of civilians in Iraq last month, will reportedly
leave the country once its contract to escort US diplomats expires
in May.

- Turkey and Iran will sign an agreement for electricity cooperation
in the end of October.

- France's train, bus and subway services were paralyzed yesterday
due to a one-day national strike by public transport workers.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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