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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
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2007


In Today's Papers

Erdogan-AKP MPs Gathering Discusses Terror, Northern Iraq
All papers report that Prime Minister Erdogan, during this weekend's
AKP meeting in Kizilcahamam, stated that the fight against terrorism
will be successful only when complemented by efforts to broaden
democracy. Erdogan called on the opposition to support the
government's plan to resolve the PKK problem through "greater
democracy." Erdogan expressed his opposition to the closure of the
pro-Kurdish DTP and criticized the opposition for pressuring the
government toward a cross-border operation into northern Iraq.
According to Erdogan, the government has a year-long mandate and the
decision will be made in consultation with the military.

At the same meeting, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that the
Kurdish administration in northern Iraq is now working with Turkey
to fight against the PKK. Babacan underscored that
intelligence-sharing between Turkey and the US "continues
successfully," adding that a cross-border incursion will be
initiated only when security forces deem it necessary. Deputy Prime
Minister Cemil Cicek signaled the government would soon announce
economic measures to help develop Turkey's impoverished southeast
region.

General Craddock Meets General Buyukanit in Ankara
Over the weekend, all papers reported that General Bantz Craddock,
the commander of the US forces in Europe, came to Ankara on Saturday
for talks with the chief of the Turkish General Staff (TGS), General
Yasar Buyukanit. Reportedly, the generals debated Turkish-US
cooperation against the PKK, including enhanced intelligence
sharing. The TGS, on its website, said the meeting concerned "the
issue of cooperation including intelligence sharing between Turkey
and the United States in the common struggle against the PKK
terrorist organization." The statement noted the meeting was held
within the context of the Bush-Erdogan decision in a White House
meeting earlier this month.

Papers: Turkey Convinces Syria, Saudi Arabia to Join Annapolis Talks

All papers report that Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told reporters
Sunday that he "welcomed the decisions of Saudi Arabia and Syria to
participate in the Annapolis Conference." Islamist oriented Zaman
says that Turkey convinced Syria and Saudi Arabia to join the talks.
Iran is the only nation from the region not participating in the
conference. Although Hamas was democratically elected, they were
not invited to the gathering. The leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
and several mainstream papers do not feel these long-held
disagreements can be overcome during one conference.


Editorial Commentary on Annapolis Conference
Huseyin Bas observed in the leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet (11/26):
"For forty years, no initiatives to resolve the dispute between
Israel and Palestine have been successful. There is not much hope
for the Annapolis conference to bring peaceful results to the
region. Recently, Israeli leader Olmert illustrated that Israel,
supported by the US, is not planning to eradicate all obstacles on
the path of the peace. Peace in the Middle East depends largely on
the US. It is hard to see Bush the Warrior as a peacemaker.
Besides, it doesn't seem possible for one occupier to force another
occupier toward peace. The only hope is for the parties to agree on
the establishment of a Palestinian State.

Ferai Tinc commented in the mainstream Hurriyet (11/26): "The only
result expected from Annapolis is a jumpstart to the Middle East
peace initiative. However, last Saturday, high level leaders of
Hamas and Hezbollah met in Tehran in a counter-Annapolis meeting.
At this meeting, Hamas representative Musa Abu Mazruk argued "the

ANKARA 00002826 002 OF 002


Annapolis Conference is arranged to eliminate the Palestine issue.
It is not going to be successful. The real aim of the conference is
to pull so-called moderate Arab countries to the Israeli side."
Hezbollah's foreign relations Representative Seyh Ali Dagmus said
"Israel is trying to normalize its relations with the Arab
countries." Today, Hamas is arranging an alternative meeting in
Gazza to discuss how to deal with the outcome of the Annapolis
meeting." Already, the following message is on Hamas' website: "in
the process following the Annapolis Conference, it will be witnessed
that the insurgency will increase in the West Bank and Gaza." If
nothing concrete comes out of Annapolis, the ones left out of the
conference will benefit.

Diyarbakir Rally Protests DTP Closure Case, Praises Ocalan
All papers report 48 people were detained in the mainly Kurdish
southeastern city of Diyarbakir. The arrests follow a clash with
riot police during a rally held by the pro-Kurdish DTP on Sunday.
About 5,000 demonstrators shouted slogans in support of the DTP and
Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK. DTP
parliamentarian Selahattin Demirtas said "at this rally, we say
'enough is enough'- enough of denying the Kurds, enough of trying to
solve problems through military operations." On Friday, Turkey's
Constitutional Court agreed to examine a call from state prosecutors
to shut down the DTP.

Papers: PKK Leaders possibly detained
All papers over the weekend report rumors that Iraqi Kurdish leader
Barzani accompanied Murat Karayilan and Cemil Bayik, two PKK leaders
rumored to be apprehended, to a NATO base in Italy. Deputy Prime
Minister Cemil Cicek said that a handing over of some PKK leaders to
Turkey "would not be a surprise."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have arrived in
Ankara for a four-day visit. On Monday they will travel to the
central Anatolian city of Konya to visit the mausoleum of the mystic
philosopher Mavlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi and to watch a performance
by the Whirling Dervishes.

- The Turkish national soccer team will compete against Spain,
Belgium, Bosnia, Estonia and Armenia in Group 5 in the run up to
World Cup 2010.

International News

- British Justice Minister Jack Straw said northern Iraq should not
be used for launching attacks on Turkey.

- Iranian President Ahmadinejad has issued a call for boycotting the
Middle East peace conference in Annapolis.

- President Abdullah Gul will address the general assembly of the
International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) on Izmir's candidacy for
hosting the EXPO 2015 fair.

- Spanish PM Zapatero will be proclaimed the presidential candidate
of the Spanish Workers' Socialist Party (PSOE) on Sunday for the
general elections in March 2008.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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