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Wednesday, 26 July 2006 02:09

World Media Watch for July 26, 2006

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WORLD MEDIA WATCH

1//The Daily Star, Lebanon--TURKISH PREMIER CALLS FOR NATO TO JOIN FIGHT AGAINST KURDISH REBELS IN NORTHERN IRAQ (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for NATO to join the combat against mounting violence by Kurdish rebels holed up in northern Iraq, the Anatolia news agency reported. "NATO, just as it stepped in to join the struggle against terrorism in Afghanistan, should ... perform the same duty here," Erdogan told reporters. Erdogan's call came as Ankara becomes increasingly exasperated by US reluctance to crack down on rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK], based in the mountains of northern Iraq since 1999.)

2//The Gulf Times, Qatar--KURDISH PRESIDENT WANTS OWN ARMY (The president of the Kurdistan region in Iraq Masoud al-Barazani said the Kurdish autonomous province should have an organised army to defend it against interested parties. ... A senior Kurdish official said that the Kurdish leader's call for a fully recognised official army was an "open message" to Iran and Turkey who have recently shelled border villages under the pretext of pursuing following Kurdish rebels.)

3//The Guardian, UK--NEXT STAGE FOR COLLAPSED TRADE TALKS: THE BLAME GAME (Attempts to piece together the shattered global trade talks got off to the worst possible start yesterday as the European Union and the United States blamed each other for the abrupt end to almost five years of hard negotiations. In an atmosphere thick with recrimination, the world's two leading trading blocs sought to avoid being held responsible for what - unless there is a new willingness to compromise - will prove to be the end of the Doha round of liberalisation. Peter Mandelson, Europe's trade commissioner, said Washington was asking "too much from others in exchange for doing too little themselves. This is not my definition of leadership". The United States, Mr Mandelson added, had welched on the deal struck by G8 leaders in St Petersburg nine days ago that all sides would need to concede more to prevent the round from collapsing. The EU and the developing countries had been willing to show flexibility; the US had balked at cutting subsidies to farmers. ... even while the multilateral negotiations were inching forward, smaller groups of countries were cutting smaller regional deals. A fear that the global trading system will fragment was hanging heavily over the WTO yesterday.)

4//The Moscow Times, Russia--CHAVEZ GREETED WITH A SHOT OF VODKA (Oil, tractors, wreath-laying and vodka were on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's itinerary Tuesday as he kicked off his three-day trip to Russia with a visit to Volgograd. ... Arriving mid-afternoon from Belarus, Chavez's previous stopover on a tour of several countries aimed at boosting Venezuela's case for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, he met Maksyuta and LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov, said the spokeswoman, Yelena Shitova. LUKoil and Gazprom already have a foothold in Venezuela, having struck deals with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela to prospect for oil and gas in the country. ... This is Chavez's fourth visit to Russia since becoming president, and Maksyuta has visited Venezuela as Chavez's guest. In an interview ahead of Chavez's arrival, Maksyuta said Russian oil companies were interested in developing fields in Venezuela as it would be cheaper to send oil from there to the United States.)

5//The Turkish Daily News, Turkey--IHLAS SELLS TGRT TO MURDOCH AND ERTEGUN FOR YTL 151 MLN (Turkish television station TGRT was sold to Rupert Murdoch's media company News Corporation and Atlantic Records Chairman Ahmet Ertegun on Monday for YTL 151 million [$97.3 million]. ... News Corporation Executive Vice President and Europe Chairman Martin Pompadur said that they were committed to bringing all of the resources necessary to develop a top-quality television station. TGRT, which broadcasts nationwide, was set up in 1993 and was one of Turkey's first private television networks.)

* * *

1//The Daily Star, Lebanon Wednesday, July 26, 2006

TURKISH PREMIER CALLS FOR NATO TO JOIN FIGHT AGAINST KURDISH REBELS IN NORTHERN IRAQ

By Agence France Presse (AFP)

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for NATO to join the combat against mounting violence by Kurdish rebels holed up in northern Iraq, the Anatolia news agency reported.

"NATO, just as it stepped in to join the struggle against terrorism in Afghanistan, should ... perform the same duty here," Erdogan told reporters.

Erdogan's call came as Ankara becomes increasingly exasperated by US reluctance to crack down on rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), based in the mountains of northern Iraq since 1999.

Last week, Ankara threatened a cross-border operation against the rebels who use Kurdish-populated northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks inside Turkey.

(SNIP)

Erdogan said Ankara was willing to take part in such an effort, but stressed it was also prepared to send troops into Iraq if need be.

"It would be good if we could work on a trilateral effort and get results," he said, but added: "If not, we will take care of our own problems." Turkey says thousands of armed PKK militants have found refuge in northern Iraq since 1999, when the group declared a unilateral cease-fire after the capture of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

2//The Gulf Times, Qatar Published: Monday, 24 July, 2006, 11:39 AM Doha Time

KURDISH PRESIDENT WANTS OWN ARMY

BAGHDAD: (DPA) The president of the Kurdistan region in Iraq Masoud al-Barazani said the Kurdish autonomous province should have an organised army to defend it against interested parties.

Speaking after a meeting with the Peshmerga Kurdish militias and the border guards, al-Barzani said the Kurdistan army should be neutral and loyal not to any specific party or leader but to the Kurdish people.

"The Peshmerga have never been belligerent forces but have been and will always be defensive troops," he said.

The Peshmerga are armed Kurdish fighters who fought alongside US troops in the 2003 Iraq War in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Since then, the Peshmerga have taken over security of the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.

The Iraqi constitution gives the Kurdistan province the right to have its own army.

(SNIP)

A senior Kurdish official said that the Kurdish leader's call for a fully recognised official army was an "open message" to Iran and Turkey who have recently shelled border villages under the pretext of pursuing following Kurdish rebels.

3//The Guardian, UK Wednesday July 26, 2006

NEXT STAGE FOR COLLAPSED TRADE TALKS: THE BLAME GAME

Larry Elliott and Nick Watt

Attempts to piece together the shattered global trade talks got off to the worst possible start yesterday as the European Union and the United States blamed each other for the abrupt end to almost five years of hard negotiations.

In an atmosphere thick with recrimination, the world's two leading trading blocs sought to avoid being held responsible for what - unless there is a new willingness to compromise - will prove to be the end of the Doha round of liberalisation. Peter Mandelson, Europe's trade commissioner, said Washington was asking "too much from others in exchange for doing too little themselves. This is not my definition of leadership". The United States, Mr Mandelson added, had welched on the deal struck by G8 leaders in St Petersburg nine days ago that all sides would need to concede more to prevent the round from collapsing. The EU and the developing countries had been willing to show flexibility; the US had balked at cutting subsidies to farmers.

(SNIP)

Not so, said the US. Its mission in Geneva issued a statement calling the EU's accusations "false and misleading". Brussels, the US said, was trying to use "loopholes" to wriggle out of opening up its agricultural market to competition from the more efficient producers on the other side of the Atlantic. "The United States took the leaders' mandates for flexibility in St Petersburg seriously. But the US cannot, and will not, negotiate with itself."

Against that background, it was little wonder that few yesterday shared the view of Pascal Lamy, the World Trade Organisation's director general, that it was not the end of a long and bumpy road from Doha in November 2001 but merely a basketball-style "time out". The Indian industry and commerce minister, Kamal Nath, gave an early indication of the way the wind was blowing when he said his country would be seeking to strike bilateral trade deals with the EU and Japan.

Some see this trend as now inexorable, given that even while the multilateral negotiations were inching forward, smaller groups of countries were cutting smaller regional deals. A fear that the global trading system will fragment was hanging heavily over the WTO yesterday.

Mr Lamy has called for a period of reflection, but there is concern that, in the absence of a deal, the organisation will become the court for settling disputes between increasingly hostile blocs.

(SNIP)

The first attempt to salvage something from the wreckage will come on Friday when Tony Blair holds talks in Washington with George Bush. Having invested considerable political capital in a successful conclusion to the Doha Round, the prime minister will tell Mr Bush that the multilateral trading system is being put in jeopardy by a squabble over a few billion dollars. And that the absence of a deal will mean putting the interests of agriculture - a small percentage of global trade and an even smaller percentage of the US and European economies - before those of the bigger manufacturing and service sectors.

(MORE)

4//The Moscow Times, Russia Wednesday, July 26, 2006. Issue 3461. Page 5.

Chavez Greeted With a Shot of Vodka

By Anna Smolchenko, Staff Writer

Oil, tractors, wreath-laying and vodka were on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's itinerary Tuesday as he kicked off his three-day trip to Russia with a visit to Volgograd.

Local dignitaries, including Volgograd Governor Nikolai Maksyuta, met Chavez at the airport, and Cossacks warmly greeted him with bread, salt and vodka.

NTV television showed Chavez drinking a shot of vodka from a glass balanced on a saber. On Chavez's previous trip to Volgograd in 2001, he was made an honorary Cossack.

To the sound of an accordion, Chavez grasped the saber at both ends and carefully emptied the glass without spilling a drop, then clapped his hands. Several women in Cossack costume danced nearby while men sang.

"It was a very warm meeting," said a spokeswoman for the Volgograd region administration.

Arriving mid-afternoon from Belarus, Chavez's previous stopover on a tour of several countries aimed at boosting Venezuela's case for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, he met Maksyuta and LUKoil president Vagit Alekperov, said the spokeswoman, Yelena Shitova. LUKoil and Gazprom already have a foothold in Venezuela, having struck deals with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela to prospect for oil and gas in the country.

Chavez was also scheduled to meet with Dmitry Pumyansky, chairman of pipe manufacturer TMK.

Shitova said Chavez would lay a wreath at Mamayev Kurgan, the landmark monument to the battle of Stalingrad, and visit the city's tractor factory, which also produces tanks and other military equipment.

This is Chavez's fourth visit to Russia since becoming president, and Maksyuta has visited Venezuela as Chavez's guest.

In an interview ahead of Chavez's arrival, Maksyuta said Russian oil companies were interested in developing fields in Venezuela as it would be cheaper to send oil from there to the United States.

(MORE)

5//The Turkish Daily News, Turkey Tuesday, July 25, 2006

IHLAS SELLS TGRT TO MURDOCH AND ERTEGUN FOR YTL 151 MLN

TDN/Referans

Istanbul -   Turkish television station TGRT was sold to Rupert Murdoch's media company News Corporation and Atlantic Records Chairman Ahmet Ertegun on Monday for YTL 151 million ($97.3 million).

The News Corporation and Ertegün will pay YTL 127.2 million to buy a 56.5 percent stake in the network from ?hlas Yay?n Holding, the media arm of the ?hlas Group.

(SNIP)

News Corporation Executive Vice President and Europe Chairman Martin Pompadur said that they were committed to bringing all of the resources necessary to develop a top-quality television station.

TGRT, which broadcasts nationwide, was set up in 1993 and was one of Turkey's first private television networks.

The News Corporation, with businesses including the 20th Century Fox film studios, the Fox News channel and newspapers in the United States, Britain, Australia and several other countries, is already present in the Turkish outdoor advertising sector.

?hlas Holding shares trading on the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) gained 6.35 percent in value after the statement about the sale was released.

Ertegün said in his written statement that he was very happy to have formed a new venture with his friends Rupert Murdoch and Martin Pompadur in News Corporation. "Also, I would like to congratulate the ?hlas Group for finalizing this agreement and facilitating the arrival of an important American investor like the News Corporation to Turkey. We hope to offer world-class entertainment and programs to the Turkish audience." 

Copyright 2006, Gloria R. Lalumia

WORLD MEDIA WATCH