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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002846

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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 28, 2007

In Today's Papers

Congressman Shays Meets Kurdish Politicians in Ankara
All papers report that Tuesday, US Ambassador Ross Wilson met
Kurdish lawmakers at a working breakfast for Congressman Shays to
discuss ways to improve Kurdish democratic participation and to
eliminate the PKK. According to reports from mainstream Hurriyet
and Islamist oriented Zaman, parliamentarians from the Kurdish DTP
and far right MHP were not invited. AKP parliamentarians Ihsan
Arslan, Abdurrahman Kurt and Afif Demirkiran participated in the
meeting. In addition, Sertac Bucak, leader of the pro-Kurdish party
Hak-Par and Serafettin Elici, leader of pro-Kurdish KADEP, and
former parliamentarians Hasim Hasimi and Mesut Deger participated.
Liberal Radikal, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet and
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak report the meeting sought to "take the
pulse" of the Kurds in Turkey.

According to Islamist-oriented Zaman and mainstream Hurriyet, the
meeting addressed increasing democratic rights and freedoms for the
Kurds and eliminating the PKK in the region. The ruling AKP
lawmakers said they were working to add provisions to the new
constitution in order to protect the rights and freedoms of the
Kurds. Hurriyet reports that Ambassador Wilson said the Kurdish
issue could be resolved through democratic and peaceful means, but
that the PKK is the obstacle blocking efforts for normalization in
the region. He stressed that a democratic structure had to be
introduced in the region, and there would be no place for the PKK in
this structure. "The PKK is our common enemy and must be
eliminated," Wilson said. Hurriyet, Vatan, and Zaman report
Congressman Shays' comments that the DTP's presence in the
parliament is a major opportunity for Turkey. Also, Shays
continued, the DTP should be given a chance to launch initiatives
for solving the Kurdish issue, even though the party has failed to
play a positive role in efforts so far. Mainstream Cumhuriyet says
that, when Shays expressed his desire to visit the family of a PKK
terrorist, the participants asked him to visit the family of a PKK
victim as well. All papers report that Kurdish parliamentarians
also said a Turkish cross-border operation into northern Iraq "would
not help" solve the problems. They opposed the efforts for the
closure of DTP, noting that it would only benefit the PKK.

Editorial Commentary on the PKK/Counterterrorism
Sami Kohen commented in the mainstream Milliyet (11/28): "About two
weeks ago, it was not possible to see pictures of US troops and
Peshmerge working together in northern Iraq to secure the border
region. The US and the Kurdish Administrations used to ignore
Turkey's calls on the PKK issue. Turkey's parliamentary resolution
on a cross-border operation, the military's intense activities and
the long awaited Erdogan-Bush meeting changed the opinions of the
US, Iraq, and the Kurdish Regional Administration. Ankara is
pleased with these positive developments, but awaits concrete
developments in order to meet Turkey's expectations. Turkey gained
international support for a possible cross-border operation through
diplomatic measures. However, the most important development in
this issue is the change in Washington's strategy that transpired
following the Bush-Erdogan meeting. The US did not only reactivate
its cooperation with Turkey against the PKK, but pressured the
Barzani administration to act in conjunction with Turkey and the US.
This opens up a new perspective. After showing its determination
with its intense military activities, Turkey was able to launch
pick-point operations across the border. Also, a more comprehensive
military operation remains on the agenda. According to some
observers, everyone is aware that Turkey will launch a military
operation if PKK attacks continue and if Turkey's expectations are
not fulfilled. Perhaps this will act as a deterrent and allow
Ankara to benefit from more concrete steps."

Abdulhamit Bilici wrote in the Islamist oriented Zaman (11/28):
"People are wondering why the world is so understanding regarding a
possible cross-border operation against the PKK. How, and why, is

ANKARA 00002846 002 OF 003


the elimination of the PKK discussed so openly in the international
arena, even by some countries that supported the PKK in the past?
My opinion is that the recently implemented democratic reforms play
a great role in this change of opinion. Turkey's efforts toward
democracy during the last five years are being noticed by the
international public. The sincere democratic efforts of the
government are protecting Turkey against terrorism. The same
countries that used to dismiss Turkey, on the basis of its prior
poor human rights records, are now criticizing the PKK. Don't
listen to allegations that democracy will increase security risks in
Turkey. Democracy is the only way to economic prosperity and
political stability."

The Annapolis Summit for Middle East Peace
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others cover the Annapolis summit talks for the Middle East
peace process. Papers see the conference as one more attempt at
peace, and note that expectations were not high about the outcome of
the meeting. Papers report Foreign Minister Ali Babacan stated a
"cautious optimism" over the summit. Nationalist Cumhuriyet,
liberal Radikal , mainstream Milliyet and others say even though the
talks announced a "peace partnership," the critical problems such as
the return of Palestinians from exile and the status of Jerusalem
were not addressed. Reports note that Israel and Palestine have
agreed to begin work in an effort towards peace before the end of
2008, and a "steering committee" would gather December 12 to that
end. Several papers point to the Hamas-al-Fatah division and the
"weak" position of Prime Minister Olmert in Israel, adding that it
won't be easy for Washington to push Israel far enough for a
settlement in an election year.

Papers report that addressing the summit, Foreign Minister Babacan
said "two democratic states" should live side by side "within
recognized and secure borders." He told Turkish reporters that
Turkey had four main principles which are "political dialogue in
resolution of problems, security for all, economic relations, and
the preservation of the multi-cultural structure of the region." On
the attitude of Iran and Hamas toward the process, Babacan said, "It
is not possible to obtain a result through violence and extremism.
Many countries and international organizations attended this
conference, which proves that the international community supports
this process." Pointing to Ankara's efforts on building an industry
zone in Palestinian land for the use of Israel and Palestine,
Babacan said he proposed the establishment of a medical university
and a hospital for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Guler on Shah Sea Natural Gas to Europe
Liberal Radikal, Islamist-oriented Zaman and others report that
Energy Minister Hilmi Guler told the press Tuesday that if EU
countries do not want Russian or Iranian natural gas, Shah Sea
natural gas could be transported to Europe. Guler said that Shah
Sea natural gas was an alternative to Turkey-Bulgaria-
Romania-Hungary-Austria gas pipeline project and pointed out that
gas coming from Shah Sea started flowing to Europe through the
Turkey-Greece pipeline inaugurated on November 18.

TV Highlights
NTV

Domestic News

- The ruling AKP presented a new proposal to parliament debating,
without delay, requests for lifting the immunities of lawmakers
charged with crimes against the unity of the state.

- Huseyin Kalkan, the Kurdish mayor of Batman, said the closure of
the pro-Kurdish DTP would force people to go to the mountains.

- The Turkish military is to buy 468 armored MRAP (Mine Resistant
Ambush Protected) vehicles against the PKK landmines.

ANKARA 00002846 003 OF 003

- The 2007 UN Human Development Index shows Iceland has overtaken
Norway as the world's most desirable country to live in. Of the 177
countries on the list, Turkey is number 84.

International News

- With less than a week before legislative elections, a Russian
court has rejected an appeal to the five-day jailing of Russian
opposition head and former chess champion Garry Kasparov.

- The EU has warned Turkish Cyprus against adopting the Euro as
official currency without receiving the approval of Brussels.

- On Tuesday, Greek journalists joined thousands who were marching
through central Athens protesting country's pension system.

- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says embargoes
imposed by the UN Security Council after the end of the Cold War had
been "ineffective."

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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