Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002741
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2007
In Today's Papers
Erdogan on His Meeting with Bush, Turkish Iraq Incursion
All papers report that Prime Minister Erdogan, visiting Rome as the
guest of Prime Minister Romano Prodi, told a joint news conference
with his Italian counterpart that Turkey might launch a military
operation against the PKK "at any time," reiterating Turkey's
determination to "eliminate" the terrorists operating in northern
Iraq. Erdogan suggested timely intelligence from the United States
could be key to future military operations in Iraq. "Turkey's
patience has run out. We will work to destroy the PKK camps. The
Turkish nation and Turks in Europe expect action on this issue. We
will take the necessary steps, but we will not target civilians,"
Erdogan emphasized. Speaking about his Monday meeting with
President Bush, Erdogan said he was pleased that both Ankara and
Washington see the PKK militants as "a common enemy." "Now, what is
an enemy? An enemy is an element to be eliminated," Erdogan said.
Erdogan added he could not give details regarding military action
against the PKK, because "that would only give information to the
enemy." Turkish papers report expectations in Iraq of a major
Turkish offensive have diminished following Monday's meeting between
Bush and Erdogan, quoting the Kurdish regional administration Prime
Minister Nechirvan Barzani calling on the PKK to lay down arms or
"bear the responsibility of future developments." Addressing a news
conference yesterday, Barzani welcomed what he said were "positive"
messages Erdogan issued after the meeting with President Bush in
Washington earlier this week.
Meanwhile, mainstream Milliyet reports that on Wednesday, Erdogan
met with the heads of Italy's defense and electronics giant
"Finmecanica," helicopter firm "Agusta Westland," and automotive
company "Fiat." Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said Italians
displayed interest in Turkish tenders for 60 cargo helicopters and
the "Gokturk-1" satellite. The Turkish Defense Industry Executive
Committee is to decide on the helicopter bids November 23, reports
Editorial Commentary on US-Turkey Cooperation against Terror
Huseyin Gulerce writes in the Islamist leaning daily Zaman: "The
Bush-Erdogan summit provided a very good opportunity to keep Turkey
away from falling into preset traps and wandering into adventures.
Oddly enough, right before the summit, the overall atmosphere was:
Turkey was talking about the urgent need for a cross border
operation while PKK was working very hard to make it a reality.
Following the positive outcome of the Bush-Erdogan summit, Turkey
will carry out cross border operation in a limited scope with timely
intelligence provided by the US, and this action will not be a
comprehensive military operation. On the other hand, Turkey has to
deal with both PKK terror and the Kurdish problem on its own, not
with the help of the US or the others. This is our problem and we
should be able to handle terrorism and its political side. With its
recent election victory, AKP has an enormous chance to move forward
in this regard. The government should speed up the democratization
and the EU process without any delay."
Ali Bayramoglu comments in the Islamist leaning daily Yeni Safak:
"At the current stage, the possibility of cooperation between Turkey
and the US against PKK camps and activities in Northern Iraq is
stronger than ever before. We have to watch and see if this
cooperation produces any tangible results. However, circumstances
also demonstrate the need for thinking about the second aspect of
the problem, that is, how to end the Kurdish problem in a political
context in Turkey. First of all, Turkey has to normalize relations
with Iraqi Kurds and Barzani. Second, Turkey has to take steps
toward paving the way for the PKK to lay down arms. This does not
mean avoiding military steps, but other steps should go along with
it, including an amnesty. When the political authority shows that
kind of political will, undoubtedly it will be the end of the
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terrorism problem. Spain, Britain and France are good examples on
how to end terrorism and transfer the issue to political arena."
Gul on PKK Terror, BTC, Armenia in Azerbaijan Visit
All papers report President Abdullah Gul, visiting Azerbaijan on an
official trip, told a press conference in Baku on Wednesday that
Turkey is planning to continue combating the PKK but does not plan
to occupy Iraq. Responding to a question whether Turkey will drop
plans to cross into northern Iraq after the US promised to provide
intelligence in the fight against the PKK, Gul said: "Turkey has its
own capacity in the region, which it is going to use if necessary."
On another question,
Gul said Turkey's ongoing fight against terrorism will not affect
the security of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. Gul noted
Kazakhstan's involvement in BTC would increase the project's value.
Gul said the ground for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway would be laid
soon, which, together with the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline,
will boost development in the region. Gul also said article 301 of
the penal code damages the image of Turkey and stressed that it
should be amended.
Earlier in the day, President Gul addressed the Azerbaijani
Parliament. Gul said as long as Armenia continues its efforts to
promote the recognition of the 1915 events in the parliaments of
other countries, normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations should
not be expected. Gul said Turkey will not open its border with
Armenia until occupied Azerbaijani lands are liberated.
Barzani to PKK: "Lay Down Arms Immediately"
Mainstream Milliyet reports that at a press conference in Erbil, the
Prime Minister of Regional Kurdish Administration in Northern Iraq,
Nechirvan Barzani, said the "PKK should immediately lay down arms
and get involved in the political process otherwise it will suffer
great damage". Barzani added that "Erbil should be included in the
Washington-Ankara-Baghdad tri-partite mechanism. We are closely
following PM Erdogan and backing his very positive statement in
Washington saying 'instability in the region will not be in
anybody's interest.' Barzani added that they started controlling
the routes through which the PKK may get logistical support and also
started keeping the airport under tight control.
Osman Ocalan: "PKK is becoming Iranian"
In an interview with mainstream Sabah, PKK's former leader Osman
Ocalan said that "with the establishment of PJAK, the PKK has
received many recruits from Iran. Already, 30 percent of the
organization is Iranian. Israel is afraid of improved
Kurdish-Shiite cooperation and is supporting PJAK under cover of the
US. Israel's aim is an Iran-PKK war." Ocalan claimed that Turkey's
declaration of a general amnesty will end the PKK.
Survey: One-Third of Married Turkish Women Beaten by their Husbands
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Aksam Radikal and Cumhuriyet report that
a survey conducted by Istanbul's Bosphorus University and Sabanci
University shows that one third of married Turkish women are
battered by their husbands. 43 percent of illiterate women have
been subjected to domestic violence while 12 percent of educated
women, says the survey, adding that educated women mostly choose not
to report acts of violence against them. More than 60 percent of
the women complained that their husbands beat them because they made
more money. The percentage of illiterate women in central and
eastern parts of the country is 15,5 while this figure soars to 41,9
in east and southeast Turkey, according to the survey which
canvassed the views of 1,800 married women in 56 provinces from
January 2006-June 2007. Sent by BlackBerry Internet Service from
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NTV (7 am news)
- The main opposition CHP filed a proposal for parliamentary inquiry
in connection with international companies' cyanide gold exploration
in Kaz (Ida) Mountains in northwest Turkey.
- Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP is to pick Nurettin Demirtas and
Emine Ayna as its new co-chairmen in an extraordinary congress
Thursday. No foreign guests have been invited to the congress to be
held in Ankara.
- The Turkish Parliament will continue Thursday to discuss a bill
for the establishment of three nuclear plants by 2010.
- Mehmet Agar will run once again for the chairmanship of Democrat
Party (DP). Agar had resigned from DP leadership after his party
failed to enter the parliament in the latest general elections.
- Asma Jahangir, a leading human rights lawyer, has been placed
under house arrest in Pakistan. The police interrupted Jahangir's
interview with Turkey's NTV television.
- Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, has
welcomed the messages of the Turkish government for amending article
301 of the penal code.
- European justice and interior ministers are expected to agree
Thursday that eight ex-Communist nations plus Malta are ready to
join Continental Europe's Schengen system.
- Nigeria is seeking USD 44 billion in a court case against three
international tobacco companies, British American Tobacco, Philip
Morris and International Tobacco Limited, accused of promoting