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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

Published: Fri 29 Dec 2006 11:13 AM
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
In Today's Papers
A Message from the NSC to the EU
All papers: National Security Council (NSC) for the first time
relayed the message that negotiations may not continue if the
European Union (EU) continues to make Cyprus a condition in Turkey's
negotiation process. The NSC statement said the EU employed a
"double standard" and noted that "Turkey does not expect obstacles
which have nothing to do with the membership process." This was
interpreted by the press as a warning to the EU, saying "remove the
Cyprus condition from the table." The NSC also stressed that Turkey
was devoted to the EU process. Other important NSC agenda items
were terrorism and Iraq.
Presidential Debate
All papers: In an interview with NTV, Speaker of the Parliament
Bulent Arinc commented that comments by others about the number of
vote necessary for the presidential election process "were extreme
views" and that the rules were "very clear for the Presidential
elections," adding that on the day of the election he would allow
voting to begin as long as there were 184 MPs in the General
Assembly. When asked whether he would run, Arinc responded that he
would make an announcement on April 16. Meanwhile, following the
leade of main opposition party CHP, opposition party ANAP also
announced that they will not participate in the voting if PM Erdogan
decides to run for the Presidency. The Turkish Confederation of
Employers Union chairman Tugrul Kutadgobilik reacted to the
possibility of Erdogan's candidacy for President saying that "the
president should be objective, above all the parties and should
represent all of Turkey."
EDITORIAL OPINION: Turkish Diplomacy in 2006
Calling 2006 a year of challenges, Sami Kohen commented in the
mainstream Milliyet: "The year 2006 has been very active for Turkish
diplomacy, including challenges as well as engagements. Even though
we cannot talk about success in every field in which attempts were
tried, the overall performance rating was good enough. In 2006
Turkish diplomacy dealt with four main topics. They are, EU, US,
Cyprus and the Middle East. Turkish diplomacy made the EU accession
process a priority but the current situation can be defined as a
love-hate relationship. The negotiation process still continues
under the Greek Cypriot shadow. Turkey and the US intensively
worked on repairing the bilateral relationship during 2006. There
is a strategic vision document, but the PKK issue remained a major
concern as well as a source of disappointment vis-`-vis the US. The
appointment of a 'coordinator' has not brought any concrete results
yet. Regarding Cyprus, 2006 has become a period of wait and see.
Greek Cypriots managed to a certain degree to push the EU to get
involved in the issue by pushing the UN aside. In today's picture,
the unification of Cyprus has only become a dim chance and the
division of the island has become almost an accepted reality. The
situation in Iraq and the Middle East in general was one of the most
important issues for Turkish diplomacy. Turkey went through some
tension with the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq and failed
to establish a working dialogue with it. Regarding Iran, Syria,
Lebanon and Palestine, Ankara developed some new strategies which
were different from US policy. Those approaches were criticized by
the western world but Turkey continued to pursue them."
Controversy Over F-16's Modernization
Radikal reported that AKP deputy Vahit Erdem criticized the F-16
modernization agreement signed with Lockheed-Martin as saying that
modernization of the F-16s should be done in Turkey rather than in
the US for a very high price.
Meanwhile, Turkish wire service Anatolian Agency (AA) carried a
statement, issue by Turkish Ministry of Defense addressing some
press reports that the modernization contract was awarded to a
company that retired General Joseph W. Ralston, the US Special Envoy
for countering the PKK, is managing. AA covered the Defense Ministry
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statement saying that "There is not a direct agreement between
Lockheed Martin and Turkish National Defense Ministry regarding
modernization of 216 F-16 war jets," said a statement of the
Ministry. The statement continues, "The mentioned project is being
carried out with the US government within the scope of foreign
military sales, and the related agreement was signed by the U.S.
government and Turkish government on April 26th, 2005. This
agreement was signed by National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and
then US ambassador Eric Edelman," it said. "The agreement mentioned
in the media was between the US government and Lockheed Martin firm,
and related with the modernization of jets. So, there is not any
direct agreement between Lockheed Martin firm and Turkish National
Defense Ministry. The U.S. government signed a contract with
Lockheed Martin, the only producer of F-16 planes and the only place
for their modernization. Therefore, it is not right to associate the
mentioned project with retired general Ralston, who is a member of
the Executive Board of this company. The intergovernmental agreement
was signed 16 months before Ralston was assigned to this position
(August 28th, 2006)," the statement pointed out.
The statement noted that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is also
a sub-contractor of the project.
Dog Fight in the Aegean
Radikal reports that Greek F-16s harassed Turkish F-16s flying over
the Aegean International air space during training flights.
Experts Report Alarming increase of Drugs in Schools
Cumhuriyet reports that Green Crescent Association presented the
Parliamentary Commission to Research Violence in Schools with a
report saying that the use of ecstasy in the high schools of
Istanbul increased by %300 and the use of heroin increased by %100,
during last three years.
TV Highlights
NTV (6 a.m.)
Domestic News
- The Parliament yesterday adopted the draft bill on Intellectual
Property Rights
- A group of 100 people gathered yesterday in Beykoz-Istanbul to
protest illegal construction in forests
- 15 suspects, including teachers, doctors and lawyers, have been
taken to custody in operations against child pornography in seven
provinces
- 6.4 million counterfeit dollars were seized yesterday in Istanbul
International News
- US soldiers serving in Iraq are posting videos and photos of the
war on Internet sites like YouTube, Liveleak, military.com and
GreenMarines.
- 27 people were killed and many others injured in three bomb blasts
in Baghdad on Thursday
Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/
WILSON
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