Viewing cable 07ANKARA1536, ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2007
In Today's Papers
Gul Criticizes Iraqi Reluctance to Act against the PKK
All papers report the second international "Democracy and Global
Security Conference" kicked off in Istanbul Thursday with the
participation of interior ministers, police chiefs and academics
from 80 countries. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul addressed the
conference and said that Turkey tries everything it can to
contribute to the security and stability of Iraq, but Iraqi
authorities "do nothing to prevent PKK activities within their
borders. The PKK's terrorist actions have sped up again, because
this organization finds shelter in the north of Iraq. Turkish
security forces seized two tons of plastic explosives brought in
from Iraq over the past year," Gul emphasized, voicing expectation
that the Iraqi government will control its borders. Gul stated the
coalition forces in Iraq should handle border security in case the
Iraqi government cannot, and if neither side can do it, they should
cooperate with "the countries which can do the job."
Meanwhile, mainstream Hurriyet reports William James (Billy) Hayes,
whose time in a Turkish jail inspired Alan Parker's 1978 movie
"Midnight Express," came to Istanbul. The Turkish Security
Directorate said Hayes, 60, came with a special permission to attend
the security conference and would leave the country June 18.
In addition, Hurriyet reports Lee Baca, the Los Angeles County
Sheriff who released Paris Hilton from prison early, also came to
Istanbul for the conference. Baca told Hurriyet the release of
Hilton was legal, adding that the Daily Mail newspaper which accused
him of having acted inappropriately was "not a real newspaper but
entertainment in print." Baca also rejected charges that he
received financial support for his election campaign from Hilton's
grandfather William Barron Hilton. That's hot.
Erdogan Invites Maliki to Turkey
Mainstream Milliyet reports Prime Minister Erdogan said Thursday he
invited the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to visit Ankara,
adding that he was waiting for a response from Baghdad. Erdogan has
met with Iraq's President Talabani, and said recently he will not
meet Barzani. Erdogan said he had no information regarding
President Bush phoning Barzani on Wednesday, during which, according
to the Turkish press, the President expressed Washington's support
for the democratic process in Iraq. With an invitation extended to
al-Maliki, Turkey's Iraq policy is seen to be "moving from the
border toward Ankara," says Milliyet.
US Helicopters Watch Turkish Moves on Iraq Border
Milliyet, Sabah, Aksam and Zaman report American helicopters watched
Turkish military tank movements on the border with Iraq near the
Habur crossing Thursday, flying low along the border, but without
crossing into the Turkish side.
Meanwhile, papers report the Turkish military has shelled the
southern part of the Cudi Mountain in the Sirnak province, and in
operations backed by helicopters troops were hunting PKK militants
on the Gabar Mountain, the northern part of the Cudi Mountain.
Editorial Commentary on Northern Iraq
Hakan Aygun wrote in the conservative daily Bugun (6/15): "Even
though there is, in fact, a need for a cross border operation in
northern Iraq to eliminate the PKK terrorists, there is the other
side of the coin: terrorists inside Turkey. By pointing out that
Turkey must cope with terrorists inside first, PM Erdogan has become
the most courageous political figure who could break the taboo on
this issue. Whenever we fail to handle an issue, to prevent
rational discussion it has always been the case. Someone says, 'The
problem stems from outside' as the primary tactic for turning a
problem into a taboo. For the Kurdish issue, the same tactical lie
was implemented. 'This is a problem provoked by the US and EU.
Otherwise, we would have no problem with our Kurds' has become a
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prevailing rhetoric. Some wanted the people of Turkey to pretend as
if terrorists are living in the US or in EU countries. The bare
truth is that we cannot gain full control of our borders. Finally
PM Erdogan acted with leadership and expressed the fact that we must
solve the problem inside first."
Ruhat Mengi wrote in the mainstream daily Vatan (6/15): "It was
reported that the US has taken action [regarding the PKK] and
President Bush called Massoud Barzani in that regard. President
Bush in their conversation reportedly talked about bilateral
cooperation against terrorism with Barzani. Barzani in return
expressed his thanks, and he should be very thankful indeed.
Because there seems to be something wrong. If Bush was acting
genuinely, with sincere intentions, he should have called Turkey
instead and express his commitment to fight against terrorism
together. And he should have called Barzani only to say 'stop
sending our weapons to Turkey through terrorists, otherwise, we
can't even save you.' Given the fact that the US provides by air
food supplies to the terrorist organization, it would be very
difficult for President Bush to say that [to Barzani.]"
Zebari Calls for Turkey-Iraq-US Dialogue on the PKK
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari urged Ankara on Thursday for
dialogue to deal with the PKK militants inside Iraq. "This dialogue
should involve the Turkish and Iraqi governments, the US and the
regional Kurdish government in northern Iraq," Zebari told a meeting
of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York. He said
Turkey was reluctant to do that, pushing instead for bilateral talks
with the US on the issue. The Iraqi FM also said he was "really
encouraged" by Prime Minister Erdogan signaling Tuesday that Turkey
should focus on fighting the PKK at home rather than in northern
DTP Concerned of Terrorist Killings, Elections
Radikal, Cumhuriyet and Yeni Safak report a statement released
yesterday by Turkey's main Kurdish party, DTP, claimed that the
recent increase in the funerals of "martyred security forces"
occurred because of non-compliance to the "unilaterally declared
ceasefire." "Operations continue at full speed, bringing the deaths
of young people every day. It is extremely saddening that peace
efforts that had been ongoing for seven years came to this point,"
according to the statement. It also criticized a recent Turkish
General Staff (TGS) statement that invited the nation to display a
united reaction against terror, saying the call will legitimize
lynching attempts against Kurds. The DTP also said the door of
parliament was closed to "left, labor, and the Kurds," voicing
concern that the upcoming general elections will not be held on
"democratic and sound" grounds.
Putin Will Join BSEC Summit in Istanbul
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports Russian President Vladimir
Putin will participate in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
meeting to be held in Istanbul June 25. Armenian Foreign Minister
Vartan Oskanian will also join the meeting. The conference will
debate security, illegal migration and smuggling in the region, and
will deprive the US of its justifications for intervening in the
Black Sea region, according to the paper. President Sezer will host
the summit and the heads of state of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine,
Azerbaijan and Georgia will also participate.
NTV, 7.00 A.M.
- A bomb exploded at a bus station used by military and civilian
buses in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir on
Friday, injuring four civilians and a soldier.
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- Council of State (Danistay) ruled to remove from office Abdullah
Demirbas, the mayor of Sur municipality in Diyarbakir, for using
languages other than Turkish in municipal transactions. The
municipality has been providing services in Turkish, Kurdish,
English and Syriac.
- Turkish Land Forces will buy 336 landmine sensitive NATO-standard
armored vehicles which also have high sensors and radars.
- Selahattin Ozel, the head of Alevi federations in Turkey, says
Alevis will not vote for the AKP because it is working towards the
establishment of an Islamic state.
- In Iraq, 10 Sunni mosques were attacked on Thursday following the
Wednesday bombing of Al-Askariya Mosque, a major Shiite Muslim
shrine in Samarra.
- Nicosia has lodged a complaint against Turkey at the EU, saying
Turkey blocks Greek Cypriot membership in international
- According to newly adopted legislation, travelers entering or
leaving the EU with 10,000 Euro or more in cash will be forced to
declare it at customs.
- The Vatican suspended all financial aid to Amnesty International
for backing abortion, calling on all Catholics to stop donations to