Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2007
In Today's Papers
Turkey Bombs More PKK Targets
All papers report on the statement from the Turkish General Staff
(TGS), which confirms that Turkish warplanes bombed PKK targets in
northern Iraq on Wednesday. According to the statement, Turkish
military fighter jets successfully hit PKK targets during the early
morning on December 26." Turkish fighter jets destroyed eight caves
and shelters where PKK members were planning to spend the winter.
The TGS said the successful operations demonstrate the Turkish
military's ability to operate during heavy winter conditions.
Papers report the Peshmerge security forces spokesman said the
strike lasted about half an hour in a mountainous border region of
Dahuk province. The spokesperson also said there were no casualties
because the area had been evacuated.
In an additional statement, the TGS reported that inside Turkey, six
PKK terrorists were killed during clashes with security forces in
the Kupeli Mountains in Sirnak province.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports White House Spokesman Scott
Stanzel told a news briefing the US was "helping Turkey and Iraq
counter a destabilizing force." Stanzel added, "we've made it clear
to the Turkish government that anything that could lead to escalated
concerns, or civilian casualties, causes us concern. The Iraqis
don't want terrorists in their country and the PKK is a
destabilizing force in the northern part of Iraq, so we continue to
work collaboratively with Iraq and Turkey on these issues."
Erdogan and Gul on Turkish Attacks on Northern Iraq
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan responded harshly to
charges that Turkey may have made concessions in exchange for US
support in cross-border operations against the PKK in northern Iraq.
"The Turkish Prime Minister is not such a dishonorable person who
makes concessions in exchange for support," Erdogan told Kanal 7, a
private television channel. He continued, "the Turkish military did
what was required to combat terrorism within the scope of
intelligence-sharing with the US." The PM stressed that
cross-border operations would continue.
"Everything is right on track; Turkey and the US are pleased with
the intelligence sharing cooperation," President Abdullah Gul told
the press yesterday. He added, "This is the way it should be; we
could have come to this point earlier." In response to a question
about Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Gul said there was no obstacle
to officially inviting Iraq's President to Ankara. "Talabani is an
elected president of a neighboring country. He can come here, and
we can go there." Meanwhile, papers report Talabani said on
Wednesday that he would "accept with pleasure" an invitation from
DTP to Campaign Against Turkish Operations into Northern Iraq
All papers report that on Wednesday, the DTP (Turkey's mainly
Kurdish party) adopted a plan for demonstrating against Turkish
cross-border operations into northern Iraq. In a statement released
after the party meeting, the DTP criticized the state for abandoning
democratic efforts and political formulas. It said the PKK was a
"political organization" which aims to resolve the Kurdish problem.
The statement emphasized that families with children in the
mountains were especially worried about Turkish operations. DTP is
expected to stage mass protests against the Turkish attacks,
including a march from the southeast region to Ankara, according to
Editorial Commentary on Turkey's Kurdish Problem
Mahmut Ovur commented in the mainstream Sabah (12/27): "Turkey is
going through an historic social and political process as it seeks
to solve the Kurdish problem. As a senior politician says, "the
Kurdish problem is a very complicated problem and common sense is
required in the resolution of the issue." The resolution of this
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problem will affect Turkey, the region, and the world. There is no
single magical formula. The most important thing is to be able to
discuss the issue freely. The best solution is to expand democracy
and strengthen local administrations. We must do this."
PKK May Increase Attacks in Cities
All papers report that 48 vehicles have been torched in Istanbul
over the last 18 days. The Istanbul Governor said security forces
are studying camera recordings of Molotov cocktail attacks on cars
and have identified potential suspects. Papers report similar
incidents were seen in Adana and Hakkari. Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet claims the PKK-affiliated Kurdish Freedom Falcons (TAK)
is behind the arson attacks. Analysts expect the PKK to shift to
attacks in urban areas in the coming days in order to retaliate
against Turkish military operations in northern Iraq.
Kirkuk Referendum Postponed
Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and Yeni Safak report the
parliament of the Kurdish regional administration on Wednesday
approved a six-month delay to the referendum on the fate of the
oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The referendum was due to take place by
December 31, 2007 under Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution.
Editorial Commentary on Kosovo
Sami Kohen observed in mainstream Milliyet (12/27): "The Kosovo
issue has reached a critical point. No consensus was reached during
the UN Security Council meetings, Serbia is intensifying its
campaign to prevent Kosovo's independence, and Kosovo's newly
elected government is prepared to unilaterally declare independence.
The leaders in Kosovo may wait a little while for the UN to make a
decision, but , if no decision is reached by March or April, they
will declare independence unilaterally. If this happens, more
serious problems will develop. For historic, cultural, and
political reasons, Turkey is closely interested in Kosovo and
supports its independence. Turkey wants Kosovo's status to be
resolved by the UN Security Council, but there is no agreement among
the council members. If Kosovo declares independency unilaterally,
Turkey should follow other countries' actions closely before
determining its own stance. There are many reasons for Turkey to be
cautious. The contradiction between the principles of 'sovereignty'
and 'self-determination' can cause problems for Turkey.
Implementing these principles differ from country to country.
Kosovo's independence could establish a precedent on which both
Turkish Cypriots and Iraqi Kurds could use to formulate arguments
for their own independence. Thus, Turkey must act carefully on the
- A 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit Bala in Ankara province around 1:30
a.m. on Thursday. There were no initial reports of serious damage
- New Year's Eve celebrations in Istanbul's Taksim Square have been
cancelled. The cancellation comes as an effort to show respect to
Turkish soldiers killed in operations against the PKK.
- A military hospital in Ankara found Nurettin Demirtas, the
detained leader of the pro-Kurdish DTP, to be healthy and unable to
prove that he once had tuberculosis. Demirtas is accused of
claiming he had tuberculosis in order to avoid his obligatory
national military service.
- Turkey has 13 million people living below the poverty line and
600,000 living under the hunger line, according to Turkey Statistics
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- Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and Iraqi President Jalal
Talabani met yesterday with US Ambassador Crocker and expressed
their anxieties about Turkish military operations in northern Iraq.
Crocker promised to convey the leaders' concerns to Turkey.
- Turkey has officially protested to Greece about Greek boats
violating Turkish territorial waters.
- Georgia's pro-opposition television channel Imedi suspended
broadcasts Wednesday because of the "extremely tense political
situation" ahead of the January 5th presidential election.