Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
DE RUEHAK #2813/01 3251324
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211324Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4419
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8507
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3557
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2472
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6272
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6078
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2670
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002813
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, NOVEMBER 21, 2007
In Today's Papers
US Generals Pay 'Surprise' Visit to Ankara
All papers report the Vice Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff
General James Cartwright and the Commander of the Multinational
Forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, paid a "surprise" visit to
Ankara on Tuesday for talks with Deputy Chief of the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) General Ergin Saygun.
The US generals and their Turkish counterparts discussed the latest
measures taken against the the PKK in northern Iraq and ways to
share real time intelligence. Mainstream Milliyet says that, in the
meeting, the Turks asked the US to share satellite images showing
activities at PKK camps. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak claims
General Saygun said both sides worked on the coordination of
cross-border operations. According to mainstream Sabah, new
security measures, applied after the November 5 meeting between
Erdogan and Bush, were discussed. An unnamed senior Turkish
official said the measures were below Turkish expectations, adding
that it was not possible to see immediate results. Sabah reports
General Petraeus' special envoy General Michael Barbaro went to
Erbil to discuss measures against the PKK with Kurdish Regional
Authority head, Necirvan Barzani. Several papers note that the
separate statements issued from the US Embassy in Ankara and TGS
emphasized that the PKK was a "mutual enemy." Yeni Safak says
Prime Minister Erdogan and TGS chief General Yasar Buyukanit will
meet Wednesday to evaluate developments.
Erdogan, Baykal, Bahceli on DTP, the PKK
All papers report that opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal in a party
group meeting on Tuesday characterizes Prime Minister Erdogan's call
for the PKK's 'laying down of arms' as "the rhetoric of the PKK."
"Now they make demands against our national unity. We see a typical
disintegration period. We have seen this movie before," said
Baykal. The far right MHP leader Devlet Bahceli, addressing his
party group, lashed out at Erdogan for "hiding his true intentions"
for an amnesty for the terrorists. "They have been gradually
calling for political amnesty to include the Imrali murderer
[Abdullah Ocalan]. The DTP is the Ankara branch office of Mount
Kandil," Bahceli stressed, criticizing the ruling AKP government for
remaining silent in the face of "DTP challenges against the state,
constitution and laws."
"There's no general amnesty in our agenda," Erdogan responded to
Baykal and Bahceli in a meeting with his ruling AKP group. "We are
not going to take orders from the CHP or MHP regarding a
cross-border operation; our government and military will determine
the time for such an action. We are not cowboys with guns in hand,"
Erdogan emphasized. Erdogan also called on the DTP to "choose
either arms or democracy."
Turkish al-Qaeda Suspects Escape from Abu Ghraib
Mainstream Milliyet's front page story claims that two al-Qaeda
suspects, Burhan Kus and Sadettin Aktas, blamed for twin suicide car
bomb attacks in Istanbul in November 2003, escaped from Abu Ghraib
prison. The two escaped as they were being transferred to another
prison. Kus and Aktas were arrested in Iraq and put in Abu Ghraib
in 2005. A team of Istanbul police went to Abu Ghraib the same year
to interrogate the suspects. US officials confirmed to the Turkish
Foreign Minsitry (MFA) that the two suspects escaped, says Milliyet.
12 Turkish Firms on CPI's UFO List for Iraq
Yeni Safak's front page story reports on the recent report by the US
Center for Public Integrity (CPI) on contracting in Iraq and
Afghanistan. According to the paper, in the last three years, the
majority of contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan were awarded to only
100 companies, with "US VP Cheney's Halliburton" taking the lead
with $16 billion. Security firms such as DynCorp and Blackwater -
ANKARA 00002813 002 OF 003
companies held responsible for civilian deaths - are also high in
the list. $20.4 billion in contracts went to "UFO companies"
(unidentified foreign organizations) of which twelve are Turkish,
says Yeni Safak.
Editorial Opinion: Turkish Domestic Politics/PKK
Managing editor Ismet Berkan of liberal-intellectual daily Radikal
wrote: "When the American black community fought for equal rights,
Martin Luther King Jr. emerged as a great leader for the movement.
His 1964 'I have a Dream' speech became the cornerstone of the civil
rights movement. Because of MLK's leadership, the movement pursued
peaceful civil disobedience and never engaged in violence. At that
time, there were other groups who believed in achieving the same
goal through violence, such as the Black Panthers. However, MLK's
powerful movement left the Black Panthers on the sidelines. The
essence of Turkey's Kurdish problem is an equality issue. Some in
the Kurdish community do not feel they have equal civil rights under
the law. Some have chosen to fight this fight as PKK terrorists.
During the last 23 years, we've lost nearly 40,000 lives, and most
of them were Kurds. And yet, during the last 23 years, no leader
like MLK has emerged from the Kurdish community. Today, we
desperately need a Martin Luther King figure for Kurds who can
denounce violence and work effectively for civil rights. The
pro-Kurdish party DTP had the chance, but they simply ignored it."
Okay Gonensin argued in mainstream daily Vatan: "Turkey can talk
about a comprehensive amnesty plan for the PKK when and if the PKK
disarms and disbands. The implementation of an amnesty program
cannot and should not cover those who engage in drug trafficking and
murder. Those who can leave their arms with no blood on their hands
deserve an amnesty. In any case, Turkish people cannot digest any
amnesty plan unless the main preconditions of disarmament are met.
At this point, Turkey should do everything possible to encourage
peace and democracy. Turkey must refrain from any step which might
play into the PKK's violent tactics."
- In Ankara on Tuesday, Turkey and Iran signed an agreement for
electricity cooperation, despite warnings from the US. Turkish
Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said that, despite US reactions, Turkey
and Iran would sign further agreements for cooperation in oil and
- Joost Lagendijk, the co-chairman of the Turkey-EU joint
parliamentary commission, warned that the lawsuit to ban pro-Kurdish
DTP will harm Turkey's EU entry drive.
- The opposition Freedom and Democracy Party (ODP) leader Ufuk Uras
has submitted a proposal to parliament for Turkey to sign the
Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture.
- German migration minister Maria Bohmer will visit Turkey on
Tuesday for a three-day visit to discuss the integration of the
Turks living in Germany with State Minister Nimet Cubukcu, Labor
Minister Faruk Celik and State Minister Said Yazicioglu.
- PM Erdogan and his ruling AKP MPs will gather in Kizilcahamam over
the weekend to discuss constitutional reforms. The AKP is expected
to make its constitutional draft public on December 15.
- Washington makes the last preparations for the November 27
Annapolis conference for Middle East peace to which 49 countries,
ANKARA 00002813 003 OF 003
including Turkey, have been invited.
- Kurdish regional government officials in northern Iraq said they
have tightened measures against the PKK terrorists.
- The US State Department has dropped plans to force diplomats to
serve in Iraq now that it has found enough volunteers for vacant
- A helicopter of the US-led coalition forces crashed near Baghdad
on Tuesday, killing two soldiers and wounding 12.