Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

Published: Thu 14 Jul 2005 03:00 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
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Erdogan: Turkey May Launch Cross-Border Operation - Sabah
To Vima: Greek Volunteers Involved in Srebrenica Killings -
British Bombers Were `Gentlemen' of The Neighborhood -
Britain Startled by `the Enemy Within' - Vatan
Insurgents Bomb Iraqi Children - Star
Terror Strikes Children in Baghdad - DB-Tercuman
Iraqi Terror Soars Following Capture of Zarkawi Aide -
Sharon Orders Islamic Jihad Leaders Targeted - Aksam
Ankara Demands Extradition of Turks from Baghdad - Aksam
Blair Determined to Continue Dialogue with Muslims - Zaman
Pakistani Beaten to Death in London - Radikal
Muslim Scholars Strongly Denounce London Killings - Yeni
60 Reporters Killed in Iraq War - Yeni Safak
Iraqi Suicide Bomber Kills 24 Kids Waiting for Candy - Zaman
Suicide Attack in Baghdad: 24 Children Killed - Cumhuriyet
Iraqi Police Kill 11 Sunnis - Yeni Safak
Liberal Dems to Blair: Iraq Was a Huge Mistake - Cumhuriyet
Sharon Issues Assassination Order, Palestine Under Siege -
Washington Increases Pressure on Tashkent - Zaman
Erdogan: Turkey May Launch Cross-Border Operations Against
PKK: Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told CNN-Turk yesterday
that, if it becomes necessary, Turkey may launch a cross-
border operation against the terrorist PKK. Asked to
comment on claims that the US was opposed to a Turkish cross-
border operation against the PKK, Edogan said he did not
anticipate opposition from the Americans. `International
law grants Turkey the right to cross-border operations, and
if conditions necessitate it may happen,' Erdogan said. He
warned against the support the PKK has been receiving from
`outside.' `You cannot fight terrorism by merely putting a
terrorist organization on your terror list. I'm saying this
not only in connection with the United States, but in
connection with European countries as well,' Erdogan
emphasized. The Turkish prime minister criticized European
politicians for visiting eastern and southeastern provinces
in Turkey rather than Ankara. `They go to Hakkari,
Diyarbakir, and Mardin. Fine. But what is their reason for
going there? If they want to talk to us, they must come to
Ankara,' Erdogan said.
Meanwhile, CHP leader Deniz Baykal slammed the AKP
government for being `incapable' of taking `cross-border
measures' against terrorism. Baykal pointed to rising
terror in east and southeast Turkey, and said that it was
the responsibility of the United States, Britain, and the
Iraqi government to take measures against the PKK presence
in northern Iraq, from where militants infiltrate into
Turkey for attacks. Baykal also said that the government
had not shown sufficient determination to counter terrorism
after al-Qaeda's terrorist bombings in Istanbul in November
2003. `Hizbullah-style terrorism has become a tradition in
Turkey,' Baykal said. `This terrorism follows the path of
al-Qaeda terrorism. A recent provision on illegal religious
schools and several other adopted laws have fed terrorism in
Turkey,' Baykal noted.
US Official: Security Operations Against PKK is Turkey's
Right: An unidentified US official is reported by papers as
saying that Turkey has the right to launch military
operations against the PKK within its own borders, providing
it brings no large-scale violation of human rights. The
official noted that US attitudes may change if violations of
human rights increase, but added that under the present
circumstances, the US has no objections to Turkish measures
against terrorism. Most dailies comment ironically that
Turkey should be `grateful' for the `approval' given by the
US for internal military operations. Analysts see no change
regarding US `inaction' against the PKK presence in northern
Iraq. They quote past US remarks stating that the priority
of coalition forces is to fight insurgency in Iraq, and
that the PKK presence in northern Iraq, a relatively stable
part of the country, will be eliminated at a suitable time.
Ankara Officially Demands Extradition of Istanbul Bombers:
Ankara announced on Wednesday that it had asked Iraq on
June 13 to extradite Burhan Kus and Sadettin Aktas, two
Turkish fundamentalists suspected of taking part in the
November 2003 bombings of synagogues and British interests
in Istanbul, papers report. Kus and Aktas are reportedly
being held in Abu Ghraib prison. Dailies also report that
Muhammet Tokac, another suspect in the Istanbul bombings,
has been captured by US troops in Baghdad. A Turkish
Justice Ministry official said that Iraqi officials had not
yet replied to the extradition request, and that the return
of the suspects might be delayed if American or Israeli
intelligence agents want to interrogate them before they are
deported. Otherwise, the extradition procedures will be
concluded within a month. Some papers claim that the Iraqi
Supreme Court will decide on the extradition. The US
Embassy in Ankara declined comment, saying that the issue
would be dealt with between Iraq and Turkey. Turkish
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan said yesterday that
Turkey has always sought help from the US in preventing
terrorism, so it would be `only natural' for Washington to
help secure the speedy return of the two suspects. In
Istanbul, the suspects' lawyer applied to the authorities
yesterday for his clients' extradition to Turkey.
Turkey Hosts `Secret' Iraq Meeting: "Radikal" claims that
representatives of ethnic groups in the Iraqi parliament and
Iraqi Kurdish constitutional law experts met with Turkish
diplomats in Abant on Tuesday to discuss the draft Iraqi
constitution, which is to be finalized by August 18. Among
the Iraqi participants who met with Turkey's special Iraq
envoy Osman Koruturk and MFA Iraq Desk Director Huseyin Avni
Botsali were Shiite lawmaker Abbas Beyati, Turkmen lawmaker
Riyas Sarikahya, Justice Ministry U/S Ismet Abdulmecit,
formerly exiled MP Gassen Atiye, and representatives of
Shiite leader Muktada al-Sadr. The Turks told the Iraqis
that Kirkuk should be given a special status, that elements
which may divide Iraq should not be included in the
constitution, and that the Turkmen should be included among
the `main elements' of the country along with Kurds and
Turkey Not Among al-Qaeda Targets in Short Term: A
commentary in today's "Cumhuriyet" claims that Turkey is
unlikely to be targeted again by al-Qaeda in the short term,
but that there is a long-term potential threat due to
`sleeper cells' in the country. Turkish al-Qaeda members
have retreated underground, the paper argues, pointing out
that there are some 10,000 Turkish Hizbullah members across
the country who can be easily used by al-Qaeda. Turkey's
decision to refrain from giving direct support to coalition
forces in Iraq, and the Turkish public's reaction to the
killing of civilians in and around Baghdad will keep al-
Qaeda's `death trucks' away in the short term, according to
the commentary.
Lawmakers Searched by US Security Before Traveling to US:
Opposition CHP lawmaker Yakup Kepenek submitted on Wednesday
an inquiry to the Minister of Transportation asking whether
searches of bags by Turkish travelsers going through the VIP
lounge by security guards hired by Americans was allowed by
an agreement with the United States. A group of ruling AKP
and opposition CHP lawmakers and their wives were reportedly
searched at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport before departing for
the US to attend an OSCE summit meeting earlier this month.
`Diyanet' Reaction to London Bombings: "Zaman" reports that
Professor Ali Bardakoglu, head of the Turkish Religious
Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), said that the bombers in last
week's attacks in London had betrayed their own religion.
Bardakoglu warned that the attacks in London will damage the
interests of Muslims living in European countries. `Some
mosques have already become targets of attacks. Troubles
await Muslims living in Europe,' he said. "Yeni Safak"
carries remarks by Islamic scholars from around the world
condemning last week's terror attacks in London. The
clerics said that Islamic law forbids the killing of
innocent people even during times of war.
Italian FM Visits Turkey: On Wednesday, Italian Foreign
Minister Gianfranco Fini met with President Sezer, Prime
Minister Erdogan, and Foreign Minister Gul during his two-
day state visit to Turkey. At a joint press conference with
Gul, Fini called for `maximum cooperation' against terror,
adding that Turkey's role in such cooperation would be
important. Fini stressed that targets like synagogues were
deliberately picked by terrorists for their symbolic
significance. Gul said that trade between the two countries
had reached 11.5 billion USD, not to mention a 2 billion USD
of Italian investments in Turkey. Gul thanked Fini for
Italy's support for Turkey's EU membership, and voiced the
belief that President Azeglio Ciampi's state visit to Turkey
scheduled for November will further strengthen ties.
Ankara Condemns Attack in Netanya: The Turkish Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) condemned the terrorist suicide attack
in the Israeli resort of Netanya on Tuesday, which killed
several Israelis and injured many more. `Such terrorist
actions are aimed at disrupting peace at a time of
increasing efforts in that direction,' the MFA said in a
statement. The MFA appealed for calm in the face of
`terrorist provocations.'
Fighting Puts off Investments in Southeast Turkey:
"Cumhuriyet" reports that Sahismail Bedirhanoglu, head of
the southeastern industrialists' association, GUNSIAD,
claimed that some 130 million USD in foreign investment
projects in southeast Turkey had been shelved because of an
upsurge in separatist violence in recent months. `We can't
expect foreigners to invest here under the present
conditions,' Bedirhanoglu said. He called for an immediate
end to the fighting.
"Is There The Possibility of War With the US?!"
Sami Kohen wrote in the mainstream daily "Milliyet" (7/14):
"According to a survey carried out by the Ari Movement, 35
percent of the Turkish people believe that Turkey and the US
are moving closer to a war. Could bilateral relations
really be so bad that a significant number of Turks are
convinced that there is a good chance of war with America?
The survey shows that there is some anti-American sentiment
in Turkey, but the respondents attribute this sentiment more
to President Bush and his policies than to the American
people. In general, Turkish people still have positive
views about the American lifestyle, culture, education,
etc.. But they strongly oppose President Bush's policies in
Iraq and the region. The concerns about a possible war with
the US indicate that there is serious mistrust and fear
among the Turkish public. One reason for this could be
disinformation and the populist actions of the government
and its politicians. All of this has led the people to
demand changes in Turkish foreign policy. The Turkish
people favor a more determined policy that does not give
concessions to outsiders. There are many lessons that
politicians and especially the Government could learn from
this survey. As former President Suleyman Demirel said in
the past: `those running a State should never yield to the
feelings of people in the street. If and when it is
necessary, those in power should face the public and explain
the truth."
"Learn to be Grateful for Even This Much"
Oktay Eksi commented in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (7/14):
"According to the Anatolian News Agency, an anonymous
American official graciously acknowledged that it is the
right of the Turkish Armed Forces to conduct military
operations against the PKK within Turkish territory. As you
all know, the US is very sensitive (!) on the issue of human
rights. So this same official did not hesitate to add that
this permission could be revoked if there are large-scale
violation of human rights by the Turkish Armed Forces. It's
as if this official believes that torture centers like
Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib, and the prisons in Afghanistan are
run by the Turks.According to AA, US officials are stressing
that the US considers the PKK a terrorist organization, but
because of the limited number of US troops in Northern Iraq,
the US cannot take necessary steps against the PKK there.
The officials believe, however, that the PKK will not be
allowed to survive in the region. Who is kidding whom?
Didn't the US, during the Clinton Administration, urge all
countries to coordinate in fighting terrorism no matter
where the terrorists are? Didn't we all witness the
countless times that President Bush has guaranteed the
elimination of terrorists? How many years have passed since
the US announced that the PKK is a terrorist organization?
The US promised to Turkey before and after the operation
against Iraq it would cooperate with Turkey in the fight
against the PKK. We all remember that Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, during her visit to Turkey in February
2005, said that there are many non-military ways to deal
with the PKK, and that the organization's financial
resources could be eliminated through Turkey-US cooperation.
But then it took over four months for the US Administration
to send a treasury undersecretary to discuss the issue.
Didn't the US Administration order its forces in Iraq to
arrest 150 PKK members? When is Turkey going to understand
what our strategic partner (!) is trying to tell us: `we are
not going to do anything for you on this issue. Take care of
the problem for yourselves.'"
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