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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Turkey and Iraq

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UNCLAS TOKYO 004872

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - TURKEY AND IRAQ


LEAD STORIES: Most Japanese dailies led with the
cabinet approval and submission to the Diet on
Wednesday evening of new legislation designed to extend
the MSDF refueling operation in the Indian Ocean,
predicting that an interruption of the mission is
unavoidable given the strong opposition to the bill by
the DPJ.

1. "Tension Mounting over Iraq" The conservative
Sankei's Istanbul correspondent Murakami wrote (10/18):
"Concern is mounting over the possibility of further
destabilization in Iraq following the Turkish
parliament's move to grant the country's army the
authority to cross the border and attack PKK rebels
based in northern Iraq. The Turkish people are
supportive of a military offensive, as they have long
suffered from terrorist acts by the PKK. If such
terrorist acts continue, chances are high that the
Turkish Army will launch a military operation even in
the face of US opposition.... Dissatisfaction has been
rising in Turkey over US forces' failure to crack down
on PKK rebels in Iraq. Anti-American sentiment has also
flared up in Turkey in response to the recent passage
by the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs
Committee of a resolution terming the massacre of
Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War I
'genocide.' Washington appears to be losing any
leverage it had to persuade Ankara to refrain from
launching a cross-border attack."

2. "Turkish Legislature Authorizes Cross-Border
Operations" The Cairo-based reporter of the top-
circulation, moderate Yomiuri reported (10/18): "It
remains uncertain whether the Erdogan administration
will launch a major cross-border offensive. Given that
the Iraqi government has sent Vice President al-Hashimi
to Ankara to urge a 'political settlement' and that the
US, UN, and EU are all calling for self-restraint,
Turkey would be isolated in the global community if it
were to launch a military strike in Iraq. As an
international ministerial for Iraq stabilization is
scheduled to take place in November in Istanbul, Turkey
should not take steps to complicate the Iraq situation
at this juncture. An attack might also alienate the
Kurds in Turkey who voted for the ruling party led by
Prime Minister Erdogan in the July general election.
Given the situation, it is possible that Ankara might
be trying to use the possibility of initiating a cross-
border operation to urge Iraq to take enhanced measures
to contain PKK rebels."

SCHIEFFER

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