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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
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2007


In Today's Papers

Peshmerge Tightens Measures against the PKK
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports the Kurdish regional
administration in northern Iraq is tightening security measures
against the PKK "in line with intelligence obtained from the
Americans." The Peshmerge forces patrol Mount Kandil 24 hours a day
and search all cars passing by in order to prevent food and
equipment transfers to the PKK. Following the Turkish military
operation in Iraq this weekend, Peshmerge are reinforced with heavy
weapons, artillery and armored units. Mainstream Sabah, liberal
Radikal and the leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet report the Turkish
military buildup on the border with Iraq continues. Cumhuriyet
predicts the Turkish military presence will be permanent in order to
prevent future PKK infiltrations.

Editorial Commentary on Turkish Iraq Incursion
Cuneyt Ulsever wrote in the mainstream Hurriyet (12/4): "There are
conflicting reports about the military operation conducted on
December 1. According to pro-government journalists, it was 'the
first operation conducted following the flow of intelligence from
the US.' Some TV channels, who have been reporting on a potential
CBO for weeks, stressed their correctness with pride. However, when
we glance at the foreign press, we see completely different
reporting. According to the New York Times, the Washington Post and
others, what happened on December 1 was not any different than
previous operations. Foreign newspapers carried statements from
Iraqi sources that denied the attacks. While Turkish TV channels
make fun of those who claimed it would not be possible to launch an
operation during winter, the Washington Post reports that a military
officer from the region agreed that winter was not a good time to
launch an operation. A high ranked officer from the southeast told
Reuters that 'winter conditions don't allow for a major land
operation. Possible operations in the future will be limited to air
strikes and artillery fires.' I am not criticizing the Turkish
Military for conducting limited operations during winter, or the
politicians who have 'snow policies.' I am irritated by the timing
of the operation. Why did the government authorize the military 47
days after the resolution passed the Parliament? Why was the
government so late to take action, why?"

Muharrem Sarikaya commented in the mainstream Sabah (12/4):
"Following the Turkish General Staff (TGS) statement on the CBO
conducted on December 1, a high level official from the Kurdish
Regional Administration's Peshmerge Ministry said that 'there was no
reference in Iraqi Patrol Command reports that Turkish troops
crossed the border on December 1. The operation might have taken
place in the no man's land and the restricted zone that is not under
our control'. With this information, northern Iraqi Kurdish
officials, for the first time, referred to a 'no man's land and a
restricted zone.' As a matter of fact, on June 8th, Turkey
designated part of the territory as a military zone and restricted
access to this area. Now, there is a similar zone in Northern Iraq
as well. This means that Turkey is fulfilling its desire to
establish a buffer zone along the border. I asked the deputy Prime
Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday to comment on the zone. Cicek said
"the Turkish military knows the region well and will do whatever is
needed" and added that Turkey has agreed on many issues with the
Baghdad Administration. Turkey wants to push terrorism out of its
borders. That is the point where we are now and the rest is
detail."

Kurdish Conference in Brussels
All papers report the "EU, Turkey and the Kurds" conference held in
the European Parliament in Brussels, in which former Kurdish
lawmaker Leyla Zana, the pro-Kurdish DTP leader Nurettin Demirtas,
DTP deputy Ahmet Turk, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Iranian lawyer
Shirin Ebadi, South African cleric Desmond Tutu, Professor Noam
Chomsky, and MEP Joost Lagendijk participated. Mainstream Hurriyet,
Sabah, and Vatan report Zana said a "comprehensive agreement with

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Abdullah Ocalan" was essential for unity and peace in Turkey. Ahmet
Turk asked for a "special status" for the Kurds in Turkey, and like
DTP leader Demirtas, called for no further Turkish operations into
northern Iraq. Lagendijk, co-chairman of Turkey-EU Joint
Parliamentary Commission, urged the PKK to lay down arms
"unconditionally," and the DTP to distance itself from the PKK.
Islamist oriented Zaman and Yeni Safak say Zana's "Ocalan
propaganda" angered Lagendijk. Meanwhile, papers also report Ahmet
Gulabi Dere, a PKK member sought by Interpol, joined the conference.
Two weeks ago, papers reported that Turkey asked Belgium to
extradite Dere on terrorism charges.

Bakoyannis Gives Friendly Messages on Eve of Babacan Visit
Mainstream Milliyet carries an exclusive interview with Greek
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on the eve of her visit with
Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan. "We extend our hand to Turkey; now
it's time to forget the past," she said. Bakoyannis also urged
Turkey to exert efforts to protect regional stability, stressing the
importance of preserving Iraq's territorial integrity. She
reiterated that Greece was definitely against a division in Cyprus.
"There are 35,000 Turkish troops in Cyprus while the international
community can't find 12,000 soldiers for Lebanon," Bakoyannis said.
She reiterated that Turkey's EU membership would boost regional
peace, stability and welfare. Bakoyannis noted Foreign Minister Ali
Babacan would visit not only Athens, but also Western Thrace.
"Turks in Western Thrace study Turkish language in school and enjoy
special quotas in universities and in the public sector. This is
the European way for dealing with minorities," she emphasized.
Bakoyannis also underlined Turkey's reluctance to recognize the
ecumenical status of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and to reopen
the Halki Seminary in Istanbul. The Greek FM said the Patriarch, a
Turkish citizen, would promote Turkey abroad and added that the
recognition of his status would offer a fine example in meeting the
EU criteria.

Poll: The Number of Women wearing Headscarves Increases in Turkey
Mainstream Milliyet carries the second part of a survey on
"Religion, secularism and turban in Turkey" conducted by "Konda"
company, which shows that the rate of women covering their heads for
religious reasons has risen to 73 percent, up from 63.4 percent in
2003. Those believing female public servants should cover their
heads increased to 68.9 percent this year, up from 62.6 percent in
2003. Analysts say the AKP administration is responsible for the
increase.

Wilson: PKK is the Enemy, not Turkey's Ethnic Kurds
Mainstream Hurriyet reports Ambassador Ross Wilson statement on the
embassy website regarding US policy on the Kurds, "We are focused on
working with our Turkish allies and partners in Iraq against a
violent, terrorist enemy. However, it should be made clear that the
PKK is the enemy - not Turkey's ethnic Kurds, nor any other ethnic
group in this diverse country."

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- Turkey's Civil Aviation General Directorate said there is no
evidence of sabotage in Friday's plane crash in Isparta, in which 50
passengers and seven crew members were killed. The first report on
the crash says the plane deviated from its route, but the reason was
unclear.

- The chairman of parliamentary constitutional commission, AKP
deputy Professor Burhan Kuzu, said the new constitution would allow
girls wearing headscarves in universities.

- Center right DP leader Mehmet Agar said his party will hold an
extraordinary convention on January 6 and former parliament speaker

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Husamettin Cindoruk will run for party leadership.

- The Dutch-Turkish company Multi Turkmall will spend 120 million
Euro to build a shopping mall in the mainly Kurdish southeastern
city of Diyarbakir.

International News

- President Abdullah Gul, on an official visit to Pakistan, praised
Pakistan's moves toward democracy.

- The Orthodox Church in south Cyprus is to reportedly develop a
plan for resolving problems on the divided island.

- On Monday, Israel released 429 Palestinian prisoners, a gesture
meant to bolster Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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