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WikiLeaks: 2007-12-03: 07ANKARA2877: Ankara Media Reaction Report

by WikiLeaks. 07ANKARA2877: December 03, 2007.

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 08:14 PM UT


Viewing cable 07ANKARA2877, ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ANKARA2877 2007-12-03 14:27 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Ankara
VZCZCXRO2162
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FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4518
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC//PA
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8527
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3584
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2494
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6290
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6104
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2690
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002877 
 
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 
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2007 
 
In Today's Papers 
 
Turkish Military Launches First Cross Border Operation into northern 
Iraq 
All papers report Sunday and today that, according to the Turkish 
General Staff's (TGS) statement on its webpage, Turkish forces 
inflicted heavy casualties on PKK militants in northern Iraq on 
Saturday.  This development came one day after Prime Minister 
Erdogan announced the cabinet gave the military authorization for 
such operations on November 28th.  "The first operation was carried 
out on December 1, and operations will continue according to the 
intelligence provided," TGS said, adding "the operations that will 
be carried out only target the PKK and not the people living in 
northern Iraq, as long as they are not hostile to Turkish forces." 
 
 
On Sunday, Government Spokesman Cemil Cicek said, "the terrorist 
organization is our target; we have no intentions for Iraq's riches. 
 TGS will decide the time of the operations and is in constant 
cooperation with the government."  Mainstream Sabah reports today 
that on Sunday, Turkish F-16s taking off from Diyarbakir attacked a 
PKK camp in Hakurk in northern Iraq, and adds that Turkish forces 
based in the border province of Hakkari were shelling the PKK 
positions in Dola Mir and Dola Merge in the region.  Sunday's 
Hurriyet and Vatan report the Turkish military dealt a heavy blow to 
the PKK, thanks to the "hot intelligence supplied by the US." 
Several papers say the US extended support to the Turkish 
operations, quoting Pentagon Spokesman Almarah Belk as saying, 
"Turkey has the right to defend itself."  White House National 
Security Spokesman Gordon Johndroe linked the Turkish cross-border 
operations against the PKK to efforts to boost the cooperation 
established by President Bush and Prime Minister Erdogan in their 
November 5th meeting.  Monday, papers also report Deputy Secretary 
of State John Negroponte told a news conference that the PKK should 
not be allowed to stage attacks against Turkey from Iraqi territory. 
 
 
Abducted Syriac Priest Released Unharmed 
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak 
and others report over the weekend and today that Daniel Savci, a 
Syriac Christian priest kidnapped last week in Mardin, was released 
unharmed on Friday.  Police captured five suspects in connection 
with the kidnapping.  Savci's car was ambushed on Wednesday as he 
was traveling to the Mor Yakup Monastery near the town of Midyat. 
The kidnappers were reported to have demanded a ransom of 300,000 
Euro.  Papers report an official said the kidnapping was not 
religiously motivated. 
 
Turkey-Greece to Exchange Goodwill Measures during Babacan's Visit 
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Zaman, Yeni Safak and others report over 
the weekend that Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will pay an official 
visit to Greece on December 4-5 in order to discuss security in the 
Aegean.  Cyprus will also be discussed, but no one expects a 
breakthrough before the February 17th Greek Cypriot elections. 
Turkey and Greece are expected to make mutual good-will gestures 
over minority foundations.  Mainstream Sabah says the Greek 
government submitted draft legislation seeking the return of assets 
to the Muslim Turkish minority foundation in Western Thrace.  In 
addition, the Greek Parliament is expected to approve a bill for the 
establishment of a Turkish university in Western Thrace.  The Greek 
media reports Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will visit Turkey on 
January 18-19.  Sabah says that before the Karamanlis visit, the 
Turkish government is expected to reopen Halki Seminary in Istanbul, 
as well as approve a critical bill about non-Muslim foundations. 
 
Investigation of Plane Crash in Isparta Continues 
All papers continue the coverage of the crash of an MD-83 civilian 
plane carrying 50 passengers and seven crew members.  The flight was 
in the process of landing at the Isparta airport when it crashed 
into a mountain reaching 1830 meters high.  Sunday papers say the 
 
ANKARA 00002877  002 OF 003 
 
 
plane crashed because the pilot tried to compensate for a delay and 
shifted its route to make a shortcut landing.  Papers say that the 
airport in Isparta, like Van and Diyarbakir airports in Turkey, was 
not equipped with ILS automatic landing system.  According to 
papers, the airport also lacks a radar system, so the control tower 
in Isparta did not notice that the plane deviated from the landing 
route. 
 
Poll on Headwear Usage in Turkey 
Mainstream Milliyet reports Turkey's prestigious survey company 
"Konda" held a public opinion poll on "Religion, secularism and 
turban in Turkey."  The survey shows that over the last four years, 
the period after the AKP swept to power in 2002, the number of women 
covering their heads increased from 64.2 percent to 69.4 percent; in 
2003 the number of women covering their heads was 13 million, while 
today the number reaches 14 million.  The survey shows that there is 
a significant rise in the rate of women wearing "turban" as a 
"political symbol":  Four years ago, 3.5 percent of Turkish women 
were wearing the turban.  Today, that figure reaches 16.3 percent. 
The percentage of Turkish women wearing the folk-style headgear has 
dropped to 51.9 from 59.5 in 2003.  In 2003, 56.3 percent of the 
women living in urban areas covered their heads; the same figure 
stands at 64.9 percent in 2007.  The survey has canvassed the views 
of 5,289 people in 41 provinces from September 8-9. 
 
Editorial Commentary on Kosovo 
Ferai Tinc commented in the mainstream Hurriyet (12/3):  "During his 
visit to Turkey, Serbian President Tadic said that an independent 
Kosovo will create chaos.  While Kosovo is not discussed much 
lately, the crisis is right around the corner.  Kosovo's separation 
from Serbia carries more risks than Slovenia's separation from 
Croatia.  Moreover, the risk is not limited only to Serbia and 
Kosovo.  From Turkey's perspective, the first risk is extreme 
nationalism, which could create problems between Turks and Albanians 
in the sensitive geographical region of Kosovo.  There are many 
Turks from Kosovo residing in Turkey, with some of these Turks being 
of Albanian origin and others of Turkish origin.  Therefore any 
problems between these two parties will reflect on Turkey as well. 
Of course, from a wider perspective, there are more serious risks 
which threaten the region.  The peace in the former Yugoslavia was 
established with the cooperation of the US and Russia.  But now, 
there is not such an environment of cooperation.  On the contrary, 
Kosovo is where the US and Russia clash openly and clearly - the 
Bush Administration supports Kosovo's independence, while the 
Russian leader Putin stands against it.  Another risk is Bosnia. 
The politicians in Serbia stated that, if Kosovo's independence is 
recognized, they will have the right to separate from the Republic 
of Bosnia. All these developments are being followed closely by one 
hundred fifty thousand Muslims, who returned to their villages only 
after the Dayton agreement.  Turkey's stance is not very clear, but 
it is widely believed that Turkey is supporting independence.  As it 
was in the past, in the future also, Turkey will always be 
interested in Kosovo." 
 
TV News: 
NTV 
 
Domestic News 
 
- Two PKK terrorists were killed in clashes during security 
operations in Sirnak province on the border with Iraq. 
 
- Swedish Ambassador Christer Asp criticized the pro-Kurdish DTP for 
their reluctance to call the PKK a terror organization.  He also 
noted that Europe is now better able to understand Turkey's 
challenges in the fight against the PKK terror. 
 
- The EU Parliament will hold a conference on "EU, Turkey and the 
Kurds."  Former Kurdish MP Leyla Zana, the pro-Kurdish DTP leader 
Nurettin Demirtas, DTP deputy Ahmet Turk, journalist Ali Bayramoglu, 
 
ANKARA 00002877  003 OF 003 
 
 
Nobel Peace Prize-winning Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, South African 
cleric Desmond Tutu, Professor Noam Chomsky, Turkish novelist Yasar 
Kemal, and MEP Joost Lagendijk are to join the conference. 
 
- Opposition party CHP will set up a special committee to monitor 
progress in the Southeastern Anatolia (GAP) project. 
 
International News 
 
- President Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party wins a landslide 
victory in the Russian elections. 
 
- Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, 
said Saturday the Americans were "working hard" to boost cooperation 
with Turkey in the fight against the PKK. 
 
- Khalid Al Batsh, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, 
said all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and al-Fatah, would 
come together soon to meet in Egypt. 
 
- An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook Indonesia's 
Java Island on Sunday.  There were no immediate reports of damage or 
casualties. 
WILSON

 



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