Search

 

Cablegate: Turkey: Media Coverage of Military Operation In

VZCZCXYZ1359
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #0417/01 0631458
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031458Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5449
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD IMMEDIATE 1142
RHMFISS/39ABG CP INCIRLIK AB TU IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/425ABG IZMIR TU//CC// IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU//TCH// IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA//
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS ANKARA 000417

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS MARR PTER TU IZ
SUBJECT: TURKEY: MEDIA COVERAGE OF MILITARY OPERATION IN
NORTHERN IRAQ

REF: A. ANKARA 0389 AND PREVIOUS
B. ANKARA 0398

1. (U) Summary: Civilian and military officials have had to
respond to criticism from the opposition, reflected both in
the mainstream and opposition press, that Turkey bowed to
U.S. pressure to withdraw its troops from northern Iraq. The
withdrawal occurred the day after Defense Secretary Gates'
February 28 visit to Ankara. At the same time, there was
media speculation that the Turkish General Staff (TGS) did
not inform President Gul and PM Erdogan of the troop
withdrawal until it was underway, and indeed after Iraqi
sources had announced it. Opposition figures also criticized
the government for pulling out the troops before all
objectives were accomplished. End Summary.

2. (U) All media outlets covered the withdrawal of Turkish
troops from northern Iraq, with much speculation focused on
the role the US played in the timing of the pullout.
Mainstream Vatan criticized the government, noting that "the
withdrawal came in the aftermath of US warnings for an end to
the operations." In their view, that signalled "speculation
that Turkey was acting according to US influence."
Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal, in a TV interview, also
suggested the withdrawal was due to US pressure when he asked
rhetorically, "Has the decision to withdraw been taken
independent of the US, if so, when?" Mainstream Hurriyet
noted CHOD Gen Buyukanit's statement that one third of
Turkish troops had already left before Defense Secretary
Gates held meetings in Ankara. In an interview with
mainstream Milliyet, Buyukanit noted the timing of the visit
was "out of our control," adding, "We make decisions
according to military expediency. I mean, we do not factor in
whether Gates is coming here or not...Our withdrawal was
perfect, smooth as silk. Am I going to give away clues about
the operation?" Islamist-oriented Zaman quoted CJCS Admiral
Mullen as saying "The US did not give Turkey any dates for
withdrawing from Iraq."

3. (U) Some commentators reported the government was kept out
of the loop on the decision to withdraw from northern Iraq.
Leftist Taraf reported the withdrawal of troops was a
surprise to PM Erdogan and that the government was notified
of the withdrawal only after it was completed. Mainstream
Aksam added Erdogan had no time to make adjustments to his
address to the nation on February 29, in which he said
operations were still continuing in northern Iraq. The topic
was brought up to CHOD Gen. Yasar Buyukanit in his interview
with Milliyet, to which he reportedly replied, "It (the
government) may not be aware of every minute. But in general
terms they knew what was going on." He added, "Of course he
(PM Erdogan) knew there would be a withdrawal. But
naturally, he would not know what is happening from one
minute to the next...But in my opinion, what he said in his
address to the nation about the operation continuing was
correct in terms of operational security." Islamist-oriented
Zaman quoted President Gul who echoed Gen. Buyukanit, saying,
"Of course I knew about the withdrawal...The operation ended
the way it was planned. Talking publicly about military
plans would have jeopardized our troops in northern Iraq."

4. (U) A number of media outlets were critical of the
decision to withdraw troops and speculated that cross border
operations have only been stopped temporarily. Zaman
columnist Yavuz Baydar wrote, "Some retired commanders openly
regretted the troop pullout on Friday, calling it premature
because the strategically important Zap area was not placed
under the control of the Turkish Army." Similarly, Vatan
editor Bungor Mengi said, "The statement released by the
General Staff shows that the continuation of operations would
have been useful." Adding to speculation of operations still
to come, Vatan reported Justice Minister Sahin as saying that
Turkish troops would go to northern Iraq again if necessary,
while Milliyet wrote that activity at the border continues
despite the withdrawal of troops. Opposition CHP leader
Baykal was also critical, telling a TV station, "the results
are pleasing but targets that would provide a lasting
solution could not be reached in 8 days."

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey


WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: