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



Condoleezza Rice to Erdogan: We'll launch an operation
against Iraq with or without your support - Vatan
Erdogan might go to referandum about a war against Iraq -
The Last Supper - Hurriyet
Turkish Day in Copenhagen - Sabah
Erdogan to Denktas: Do not stay away from talks - Hurriyet
Democratization package passed by Parliament-Hurriyet

Turkey's Longest 48 hours - Radikal
Cyprus is the key to accession talks in 2003 - Cumhuriyet
Denktas won't be able to attend Copenhagen summit - Zaman
Denktas: We cannot sign the UN agreement - Cumhuriyet


Iraq: "Milliyet" reports that after his meeting with
President Bush, AKP leader Erdogan said that the chance of
an operation against Iraq was high, and that the Turkish
government may consider a public referendum as part of it's
decision-making process. Erdogan drew attention to Turkey's
economic losses after the Gulf War, and stressed that a new
operation's impact on Turkey would be severe. Erdogan said
that in his meetings with US officials, he was offered the
`comical' sum of $1-2 billion for Turkey's potential losses
in a military operation.

EU Summit: All papers give extensive coverage to the EU
summit that begins today in Copenhagen. "Hurriyet" reports
that the summit will formally begin this evening with a
dinner of EU leaders, and questions whether it will be a
`christians only' supper like `the last Supper' of Jesus, or
whether there will be a muslim at the table! Turkey and the
EU will drift apart if Turkey is not given a date for
accession talks in the near future. "Turkiye" claims that
the summit will be a test for EU sincerity and goodwill.
All papers agree that Turkey's goal will be to start the
accession talks in 2003, and note that the German and French
formula for 2005 is not acceptable. Meanwhile, papers
report that the US has intensified its efforts in support of
Turkey. President Bush has called several EU leaders,
including Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen and French
President Chirac, following his meeting with Erdogan.
"Radikal" columnist Murat Yetkin cites Secretary Powell's
interview with French TV-2, in which Powell urges that an
accession date be given to Turkey at the Copenhagen summit'.
Cyprus: "Sabah" reports that the outcome of the EU summit
depends on TRNC president Denktas. Denktas' refusal of
discussions will benefit the Greek Cypriots. Despite many
objections by some Greek Cypriots, Clerides has already gone
to Copenhagen to sign the UN agreement. Due to medical
problems, however, Denktas will be coming to Ankara for
treatment. Erdogan reportedly convinced Denktas to send his
Foreign Minister to Copenhagen, but Denktas insists that the
Minister will attend the summit as an `observer' with no
authority to sign the UN plan. "Vatan" reports that the
TRNC will negotiate the Annan plan if Turkey is given a date
for EU accession.

Constitutional Reforms: All papers report that the first
harmonization package, which removes some restrictions in
the political party and election laws and extends freedoms,
was approved yesterday in parliament. However, the second
harmonization package, which included articles on re-trial
and disciplinary pardons, was postponed to a date after the
Copenhagen summit.


"The Washington Visit"
Cengiz Candar, one of the travelling press with Erdogan,
wrote in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (12/12): "The
agenda for the Bush-Erdogan meeting was predominantly Iraq.
Bush clearly asked Erdogan for Turkey's acceptance of US
demands presented earlier by Wolfowitz. The nature of some
of these demands is preventing Turkey from giving a quick
response, particularly the stationing of around 100,000 US
troops in Turkey. . It seems that Erdogan did not make any
binding commitments for Turkey during his discussion with
President Bush. This is because Erdogan himself finds it
difficult to characterize Turkey's possible role and stance.
He also finds difficult to say `no' to the US. He
appreciates the importance of Turkish-US relations, and
values the treatment given him at the White House. . Erdogan
cannot pronounce a clear-cut `no' to the US demands, even in
a lowered voice. Yet he feels it very hard to explain and
justify possible Turkish-American collaboration against Iraq
to the Turkish public. Therefore, the current picture
presents a deadlock in Erdogan's view. In fact, he hopes to
overcome it by taking his time to respond to the US."

"US shows the stick, and gives no carrot"
Zeynep Gurcanli wrote from Washington in tabloid Star
(12/12): "Following the meetings in Washington, Erdogan and
his party believe that a war in Iraq is inevitable, and is
just a matter of time. . The US message to Erdogan and his
party was clear enough: `Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
pose a serious threat, and are more of a threat to Turkey
than to the US. Thus, we expect Turkey to support us.' .
The threat factor, or the `stick' if you will, worked fine.
Erdogan seemed convinced about the seriousness of Iraqi
threat. However, he was also expecting to see a `carrot'
along with the stick. . Erdogan described the huge losses
that Turkey suffered during the Gulf War, mentioning the
figure of 100 billion dollars. However, the figure given in
return by American officials to compensate Turkey's losses
in the case of a new war was simply annoying. Erdogan
confirmed his disappointment later, saying that `comical
amounts' such as 1 or 2 billion dollars had been discussed.
. Because of this approach, Erdogan is now trying to
establish some new obstacles vis--vis a military operation
against Iraq. Now he talks about the need for `convincing
the public,' and calls for an Arab coalition to include
Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia being drawn into the game."


© Scoop Media

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