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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 11, 2007


In Today's Papers

Human Tragedy on Human Rights Day
Hurriyet, Sabah, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others:
All papers report that yesterday, on Human Rights Day, a small
fishing boat carrying 85 illegal migrants from Iraq, Somalia and
Palestine capsized and sank off the Aegean coast. The boat was
headed from Seferihisar to Greece, and capsized because of a storm
and passenger overload. Hurriyet says 43 bodies, including those of
a woman and a child, were found on the shore. Six survived the
accident. Described by mainstream Sabah as a "crime against
humanity" the paper claims that each person paid 2500 Euro for
passage from Turkey to Greece. Liberal Radikal writes that "in the
last five years, 310,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended"
in Turkey, and opines that this accident "draws attention to the
necessity for an international platform promising to end the market
for human trafficking." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak notes that
"every year there is at least one tragedy" like this, noting that
"on Human Rights Day, these migrants drowned with hope." Illegal
migrants use Turkey as a transfer point to go to European countries.


"Shameful for Us"
Gungor Mengi wrote in the mainstream daily Vatan: "Despite many
statements issued for World Human Rights Day, yesterday's immigrant
tragedy in the Aegean sea came like a punishment for Turkey. Human
trafficking is a shameful crime and Turkey, despite all of its
efforts, fails to come clean in its own responsibilities. The local
Turkish authorities laid the blame for the disaster on the countries
from where the illegal immigrants fled. The fact of the matter is
that we simply cannot get away with this by blaming others. This
unspeakable crime has two pillars in which Turkey is involved.
First, Turkey has become a country of maids and sex workers who come
illegally from former Soviet countries. We all know about this, but
we do not talk about it. Second, Turkey is an important transit
route used by human traffickers. Traffickers provide false promises
of hope as they rob these migrants of their money. Sometimes these
migrants are killed in our land. It is unacceptable to suggest that
Turkey should sit and wait until human traffickers are punished in
their own homelands. As a state, we have to exert our authority.
The laws must be enforced against these criminals until their bitter
end."

President Gul Assigns Prof. Yusuf Ziya Ozcan as YOK President
All papers report that President Gul appointed Middle East Technical
University (METU) Professor of Sociology Yusuf Ziya Ozcan as the
president of the Higher Education Board (YOK). Cumhuriyet says
Prof. Ozcan is known for his opposition to the headscarf ban in
universities and for his closeness to the AKP government. Milliyet
says that, upon Ozcan's assignment, YOK's acting chairman Prof.
Aybar Ertepinar resigned. Ertepinar criticized the choice of Ozcan
as "an initiative to eliminate the effectiveness of YOK. From now
on, YOK will be politicized." Papers also claim that Ozcan is very
close to Prime Minister Erdogan's Chief Policy Advisor, Ahmet
Davutoglu.

France Interferes in Turkey's EU Membership
Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan, Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report, upon France's insistence, the words "membership" and
"accession" were removed from the draft EU Summit declaration on
enlargement strategy, and that the EU changed the title of a meeting
with Turkey and Croatia later this month from a "membership
conference" to an "intergovernmental conference.". French President
Sarkozy claims that Turkey has no place in the EU. On France's
insistence, the EU changed the event name from "membership
conference" to "intergovernmental event." Milliyet posits that the
Turkish government was not pleased with the statement and the
Foreign Ministry issued a written statement expressing Ankara's
displeasure.


ANKARA 00002934 002 OF 003


Families Convince 155 PKK Terrorists to Come Back from the
Mountains
Zaman reports that this year a total of 155 terrorists left the PKK
and returned home after their families' intervention. Meanwhile,
the debate continues concerning the government's strategy towards
the PKK and whether a new type of amnesty will be offered. Hurriyet
says that PM Erdogan has "pushed the button for the return of
terrorists to their homes" while Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek
insists that there are no legal preparations for any new laws
concerning an amnesty. Sabah quotes CHP leader Baykal saying that
"an amnesty law will boost the morale of the terrorists."

Meanwhile, Yeni Safak reports that FM Babacan stressed that "the
strategic partnership between Turkey and the US will continue until
the PKK is finished."

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Kosovo

Sami Kohen commented in the mainstream daily Milliyet (12/11): "The
negotiation process regarding the political future of Kosovo ended
in failure, despite the fact that all possible solution formulas
have been tried. It seems there is no more formula left to discuss.
However, Russia, hopeful for time for more diplomacy, continues to
push for the extension of talks. Time is running out for the UNSC
to finalize a decision on Kosovo. The deadline is set for December
19. Given the current situation, Kosovo's leader Taji is acting
with common sense as he prefers to wait instead of declaring
independence immediately. In any case, Kosovo is moving toward
independence, which brings up some scenarios about the future of
Kosovo. One possibility is the declaration of independence after
waiting for a reasonable amount of time. If that happens, Serbia
will react and possibly close its border with Kosovo. Another
possibility is a Serbian military intervention in Kosovo, which the
NATO army in Kosovo will prevent. Another worst case scenario is
the possibility of a Serbian uprising in Kosovo, which undoubtedly
will be a disaster. The EU, on the other hand, is on the verge of a
serious rift because certain EU members, including Greece, the Greek
Cypriot Administration, Romania, and Spain, are against secession.
Kosovo will remain a hot topic with more possible scenarios in the
days ahead."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

FM Babacan said decisions adopted by PM Erdogan and US President
Bush at their meeting on November 5 are being implemented
gradually.

A lieutenant died of a heart attack during commando exercises in
Isparta.

A survey conducted by Amnesty International shows that 63 percent of
Turkish people have never heard of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights.

One DHKP-C terrorist was killed by the security forces in Ankara and
two policemen were injured.


International News

Greek arsonists burnt five diplomatic cars from Turkey, Italy and
the Philippines.

Libyan leader Qaddafi arrives in France for an official visit, his
first there in 30 years.

Iraqi FM Hosyar Zebari said officials from Tehran, Washington and

ANKARA 00002934 003 OF 003


Baghdad will meet on December 18 to discuss how to end the violence
in Iraq.

Russian President Putin announced that first Deputy PM Medvedev is
his preferred successor.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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