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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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 31, 2007


In Today's Papers

Erdogan on the PKK Terror, Meeting with Bush
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan told his party group
meeting Tuesday that Turkey, facing the PKK terrorism, would use its
rights stemming from international law.
Erdogan said Barzani was harboring terrorists and that international
law has clearly outlined the response to such acts. He added that
Turkey would make the necessary assessments before taking "a real
effective step" forward in order to crush terror.

Papers highlight Prime Minister Erdogan as stressing that in his
November 5 meeting with President Bush, he will ask for a "roadmap"
with regard to the fight against the PKK terror. Erdogan said the
US has acknowledged that the terrorists have US-made weapons, and
that he will raise such issues during his meeting with President
Bush. He noted Turkey would discuss its problems with other
countries, and if they remain silent, it would "move alone." Papers
note Erdogan will make clear in the US that the fate of the region
and bilateral ties depend on "the PKK test." Papers also expect
Erdogan to ask Bush to help cut the money gained from drug smuggling
from going to the PKK.

Editorial Commentary on the Upcoming Bush-Erdogan Meeting
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative daily Turkiye (10/31):
"The visit of PM Erdogan to Washington on November 5 is very
important. Erdogan will clearly ask President Bush about stopping
the PKK in Iraq. Yet it seems like President Bush, in response,
will continue to play with words without presenting any tangible
action plan. In fact, this is the worst case scenario: President
Bush talking about PKK, labeling it as a terrorist organization and
advising us to be patient. This will be an obvious effort to stall
Turkey."

Murat Yetkin observed in the liberal-intellectual daily Radikal
(10/31): "Given the current developments vis-`-vis Northern Iraq,
the PKK, the US and Turkey, there are many questions that come to
one's mind. Barzani seems to be playing with fire as he tries to
bargain with Turkey through a terrorist organization. The visit of
Secretary Rice is very important to show the US's view of Turkey as

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its strategic partner. When I asked PM Erdogan whether he received
a call from Secretary Rice recently, he said he did not. When I
pressed him with more follow up questions, he said, 'we are going to
the US anyway.' Does this mean PM Erdogan has already given up hope
from Secretary Rice visit? Something is clear that given his party
group remarks, Erdogan gave enough indication that the relations
will be at a cutting-off point if he cannot get he wants during his
meeting with President Bush on November 5."

President Gul on the Kurds-US-Turkey
All papers report that President Abdullah Gul, in a reception
marking the Turkish National Day in the presidential palace Tuesday,
said the US should support Turkey's fight against terror. "This is
not a favor, but a responsibility of the US," Gul said. The
President also recalled that Turkey was the leading investor in
northern Iraq, noting, "The Iraqi Kurds are relatives of the Turks;
we have always kept our doors open for them in times of distress.
The terror organization, however, harms the good ties between Turkey
and the Iraqi Kurds." Gul warned that the US would sooner or later
leave the region, while Turkey will always stay here.

DTP is Asking for Autonomy
All papers: Mainly Kurdish party DTP held a convention in
Diyarbakir with a theme of Democratic Society. The final
declaration issued after the convention noted that the centralized
nation-state system created major imbalances and that rather than
Republic, it caused an oligarchic structure. The declaration said
"we want democratic autonomy in which every region will have its own
color and symbol". It noted that every region should have its own
parliament and referred jailed PKK leader Ocalan as the "leader of

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the Kurdish people". It also urged Ocalan be transferred to a
prison other than Imrali. On the citizenship issue, declaration
said that the term "Turk" should be replaced by "from Turkey".
Papers report that Diyarbakir State Prosecutor initiated an
investigation against the DTP for referring jailed PKK leader Ocalan
as "the leader of the Kurdish people" in its declaration.

A Joint Message to the US from Barzani and Talabani
Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Radikal and others: KDP and PUK
officials met in Northern Iraq under Barzani. The joint statement,
issued after the meeting, said that they do not support the PKK and
added that they are ready to take necessary measures along the
border, together with the Iraqi central government and the US, in
order to prevent all kinds of activities that would endanger the
security of their neighbors. In an interview with Milliyet , Iraqi
President Talabani said that PKK is betraying the Kurdish cause and
hurting both Turks, Kurds and DTP. He referred to PKK's acts as
terrorist acts and noted that it should either lay down weapons as a
whole or declare unconditional open ended ceasefire.

EU Commission's Draft Turkey Report
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the EU
Commission's draft Turkey report criticizes Ankara for failing to
implement the EU customs union protocol in a way to cover Greek
Cyprus, and for doing nothing for the normalization of ties with the
southern part of Cyprus. The report also draws attention to the
strains between Turkey and the Greek Cypriots with regard to oil
exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The report evaluates in detail the April 27 memorandum by the
Turkish military, criticizing the army for its involvement in
politics. The report praises the government for solving the
presidential crisis in Turkey within the framework of democracy. It
lauds the economic performance of Turkey while criticizing about
article 301 of the penal code, incidents of torture, the Kurdish
question and the high election threshold.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal said Turkey would lose its
deterrent power if it abstained from intervention in northern Iraq.


- Deputy Prime Minister Hayati Yazici has shrugged off as "bluff"
the threats of Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to cut oil supply for
Turkey.

- Naval forces of the United States, Germany, Spain, Canada, the
Netherlands, Denmark, Romania and Britain will participate in
Turkey's "Eastern Mediterranean 2007" military exercise to be
performed from November 1-10 in the Aegean Sea and the East
Mediterranean waters.

- The ruling AKP government plans to create 425,000 new jobs in
2008. The government intends to reduce the cost of recruiting
workers and will launch measures for fighting against unregistered
economic activities.

International News

- US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former counter-terrorism
coordinator Joseph Ralston have joined a reception hosted by the
Turkish Embassy in Washington to mark the 84th anniversary of the
founding of the Turkish republic.

- Kurdish regional authority leader Massoud Barzani said the Kurdish
parties in Iraq have established a commission to tackle the PKK

ANKARA 00002684 003 OF 003


issue in the Iraqi parliament.

- Cem Ozdemir, a Turkish-heritage MEP, said the PKK ban was not
tightly implemented in European countries.

- Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has urged Turkey to
cooperate in the fight against illegal migration.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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