Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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



Bush to Erdogan: We are shoulder to shoulder with you -
EU Support from Bush - Hurriyet
President Bush: Operator, connect me to Berlin - Sabah
Turkish People Deserve EU entry - Hurriyet
EU Stubbornness-Turkiye
Top Level summit at Cankaya - Milliyet
Annan offers new Cyprus plan - Hurriyet
Parliament Clears Obstacles in front of Erdogan - Milliyet

Cooperation for Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Bush: Shoulder to shoulder for EU entry - Radikal


Erdogan-Bush Meeting/EU: Today's papers give extensive,
front-page coverage to AKP leader Erdogan's US visit and to
the Erdogan-Bush meeting at the White House. Erdogan was
welcomed by President Bush with the words `Welcome to the
home of Turkey's closest friend and ally'. All papers
report that the US President has extended support to
Turkey's EU entry by saying that `we are shoulder to
shoulder with Turkey in their struggle to enter the EU'.
"Aksam" reports that Erdogan was briefed for 2 hours by
DepSecDef Wolfowitz and U/S Grossman prior to his meeting
with President Bush. "Hurriyet" reports that top-level US
officials, including SecState Powell, Condoleezza Rice,
Wolfowitz and US Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson,
attended the meeting at the White House. "Sabah" reports
that President Bush promised to call EU capitals to lobby
for an early accession date for Turkey.

"Turkiye" reports that despite all the efforts exerted by
Turkey, EU countries stubbornly insist on delaying the start
of accession talks until 2005. Britain, Spain, Greece,
Italy, Portugal, Ireland, and Belgium want to begin the
accession talks in 2003. However, 8 countries led by France
and Germany insist on 2005. In a banner front-page
headline, "Hurriyet" says that the Turkish people deserve EU
entry because Turkey has carried out reforms to meet EU
standards. "Milliyet" reports that Ankara is planning
responses to a possible negative outcome in Copenhagen.
Options under consideration include rejecting Annan's Cyprus
plan, imposing economic sanctions on selected EU countries,
and rejecting automatic EU access to NATO resources.

Cankaya Summit: "Milliyet" reports that a `security summit'
was held at the Presidential Palace yesterday with the
participation of President Sezer, PM Abdullah Gul, and chief
of General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok. EU accession, Cyprus,
and Iraq were the top issues of yesterday's meeting, and
three decisions were taken : 1. The 2005 proposal for EU
accession talks is unacceptable, 2. The EU demand for
evaluating the Turkish government's performance over the
next six months is acceptable, 3. A deal on Cyprus cannot be
signed before or during the EU summit. General Ozkok
reportedly submitted an evaluation report on the Annan plan.
PM Gul will present the report to EU leaders in Copenhagen.

Cyprus: All papers report that Annan has presented the new
Cyprus plan. "Hurriyet" reports that Annan's revised Cyprus
Plan does not differ very much from the initial plan, and
does not meet Turkish demands for equality and sovereignty.

Constitutional Amendments: "Milliyet" reports that the
parliament amended article 76 of the constitution to clear
the way for the premiership of AKP leader Erdogan. CHP
reportedly tried to keep the obstacles in front of Erdogan,
but to no avail. In the end, most CHP deputies voted in
favor of the amendments.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Turkey-EU and Erdogan's Washington visit

"Plan A: 2003; Plan B: 2004"
Zeynep Gurcanli wrote in tabloid Star (12/11): "The worst-
case-scenario in Ankara's mind is to be given a negotiation
date in 2004. This date seems to be the upper `acceptable'
limit for Turkey. . AKP leader Erdogan underlined the EU
issue as the major topic to discuss with President Bush
prior to his meeting at the White House. He believes that
Turkey's chances to get a negotiation date within the
acceptable parameters will increase at least 50 percent more
after meeting with Bush. Erdogan hints that he expects
President Bush to exert even more pressure on European
leaders. This support, of course, comes with a price.
Erdogan and his staffers believe that the price will be
Turkey's support for the Iraq operation. However, there
might be another bill attached to it: Cyprus. . It is very
likely that President Bush will promise to increase pressure
on the EU but also exert pressure on the Turkish side on the
Cyprus issue. The revised Annan plan on Cyprus will most
likely be presented to Erdogan while he is in the United
States. Turkey is rapidly moving toward a `take-it-or-leave-
it' position on the Cyprus issue. The visit of Erdogan to
the US might be a breakthrough in Turkish foreign policy."

"The last 24 hours"
Zafer Atay wrote in economic-political Dunya (12/11): "It
seems there are two main scenarios for Turkey's membership
procedures. First is the positive scenario, i.e. giving
Turkey a negotiation date as early as 2003, or setting a
time in 2004 for giving a date. The so-called French-German
formula regarding a 2005 plan is the worst scenario. The
approval of this formula has the potential to undermine
Turkish-EU relations dramatically. It would provide the
anti-EU lobby in Turkey clear and undeniable arguments. .
Time is running out, and in only a few days we will see the
outcome. Yet whatever the decision may be, we should never
think about giving up our efforts to meet the Copenhagen
criteria. These are indispensable elements for Turkey and
Turkish society, and we better continue these reforms
whether or not we are admitted to the EU."


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