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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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 000122

SIPDIS


DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2003

THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Yakis: Turkey may have rights over Mosul, Kirkuk - Hurriyet
Gul: Peace is not unattainable - Turkiye
Peace partnership with Syria - Aksam
Gul in Egypt: Still a chance for peace - Vatan
Turkish tanks in Iraq - Milliyet 1/5
Turkish buffer zone in Northern Iraq to prevent refugees -
Milliyet 1/4
AKP afraid of Siirt elections - Sabah


OPINION MAKERS
Iraqi people afraid of a massacre - Cumhuriyet
Britain to send 20,000 troops to Gulf - Cumhuriyet 1/5
Bush wants Saddam exiled - Cumhuriyet 1/4
Mubarak supports Turkey's peace effort - Radikal
Damascus says `peace' - Radikal 1/5
Erdogan on Iraq: We don't want blood and tears - Yeni Safak
100,000 human shields against U.S. - Yeni Safak
Blood bath in Israel: 22 dead - Zaman
Best inflation figures of last 20 years - Radikal 1/4


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
U.S. Iraq package: Share from reconstruction of Iraq - Dunya
Iraq war will hit several economic sectors in Turkey -
Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Prime Minister Gul met with Egyptian President Mubarak
and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa on Sunday on
the second leg of his Mideast tour. Gul reportedly said
that Iraq must convince the world that it possessed no
weapons of mass destruction. President Mubarak has pledged
to support Turkey's peace efforts, and announced that he
will soon visit Turkey. Weekend papers report Prime
Minister Gul's visit to Damascus on Saturday. Gul was
received by the Syrian head of state, Bashar Assad, who
reportedly warned the U.S. that an expanded operation
against Iraq would upset the countries in the region. Gul
has eased concern of Arab countries that Turkey wants to
seize Mosul and Kirkuk, papers report. The Syrian foreign
minister is expected in Turkey later this month. Sunday's
"Milliyet" carries photos of over 30 Turkish tanks in
Bamerni, Northern Iraq. Milliyet says that Turkish troops
have been stationed at three different points inside
Northern Iraq in order to prevent a wave of refugees and to
halt terrorist infiltration through the Turkish border. In
a front-page exclusive today, Foreign Minister Yakis told
"Hurriyet" that after feeling the nation's pulse on the
issue, the parliament is unlikely to approve a decision to
support war against Iraq. Turkey has asked for a `modus
operandi' with the U.S. for site surveys, Yakis said,
because U.S. plans for upgrading Turkish bases cannot be
carried out within the framework of NATO. The U.S. does not
really want NATO involved in the process, he added, as NATO
approval would be needed in each new phase of operations
against Iraq. Yakis stressed that if disagreement over the
legal framework of U.S. site surveys is not resolved, the
government might have to seek parliamentary approval. He
reiterated Turkish concerns over the autonomy of Northern
Iraqi Kurdish groups and the status of the Turkomen. Mosul
and Kirkuk belong to the Turkomen, Yakis emphasized, and
Turkey is against the transfer of these oil-rich towns to a
single ethnic group. Ankara is going examining
international agreements to see whether Turkey still has
claims regarding Mosul and Kirkuk, he noted. Ankara has
given the U.S. the message that dealing with Iraq and the
Cyprus issue simultaneously is a tough task, Yakis added.
He said that Turkey has asked for U.S. support regarding
Cyprus.


U.S. promises `share' from Iraq's rebuilding: Monday's
"Dunya" quotes a senior U.S. diplomat as saying that, based
on studies done be leading international investment houses,
reasonable estimates of Turkey's economic losses from a
possible Iraq war range from $4-15 billion. Any U.S.
assistance package for Turkey would be flexible, giving
Turkey additional funds to draw on if losses increase, the
U.S. diplomat said. He added that the U.S. economic support
package aimed to maintain market confidence in Turkey,
thereby minimizing the effects of an economic `shock' from a
possible Iraq operation. The diplomat pointed out that
Turkey would be in a good position to obtain lucrative
construction contracts in a post-Saddam Iraq. The diplomat
cautioned that in the event that Turkey refuses to cooperate
with the U.S., some negative effects in U.S.-Turkey
bilateral economic relations would be unavoidable, Dunya
reports.


Erdogan/Siirt elections: Papers report uncertainty within
the AKP regarding Erdogan's participation in the March 9
Siirt elections. The AKP is afraid that pro-Kurdish DEHAP
might form a coalition with the CHP and, together with the
support from center-right parties, prevent Erdogan from
being elected in Siirt. Consequently, the AKP leadership is
considering having Erdogan run in an election in Gumushane
province, where their party won 42 percent of the vote on
November 3.


Cyprus: Weekend papers report Erdogan as saying that Turkey
prefers a mutually satisfactory solution for Cyprus rather
than a one-sided one, and that negotiations should continue
to solve the `40-year old problem.' `We must act sensibly
for the sake of both peoples on the island,' Erdogan said.
Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas, who threatened to resign at
his meeting with political leaders in northern Cyprus, said
he is encouraged by positive messages issued by President
Sezer and Erdogan, according to papers. President Sezer
said on Friday that rallies in the Turkish sector displayed
the democratic structure of the regime, and that Denktas was
being constructive when he said that the UN plan was
negotiable.


Public Procurement Law: Papers report that the government is
working for changes to the public procurement law, which
took effect on January 1. In the new draft, the ban on
municipal tenders is removed. Contractors will be allowed
to use machinery owned by the state in the construction of
new motorways. Papers express concern that the suggested
changes would weaken the law and serve as a blow to Turkey's
efforts to reach EU standards.
U.S. gives the PKK money: Workers' Party (IP) Chairman Dogu
Perincek claimed that the U.S. has given $125 million to the
PKK, "Cumhuriyet" reports. Basing his accusation on Russian
sources and information provided by Serbian Socialist Party
leader Pavkovic, Perincek charged that the U.S. gave the PKK
$125,3 million of the total $500 million reserved for
organizations in Northern Iraq on December 27, 2002. $200
million went to Barzani's KDP, and $175 million to
Talabani's PUK, Perincek said.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Turkey toughens its stance on US demands"
Sedat Ergin wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (1/5): "AKP
figures, particularly party leader Tayyip Erdogan, initially
gave encouraging remarks to US officials about Turkey's
military cooperation with the US in the event of a military
operation. The US administration was convinced that the AKP
government in Turkey would support its plan for toppling
Saddam Hussein. . Well, that was the picture in December.
Turkey has changed its stance over the past month. The
concrete steps mentioned by Wolfowitz during his visit to
Ankara in early December have not yet been undertaken. . For
instance, Turkey and the US are in serious disagreement
about the legal status of the site survey teams. The delay
in the site survey program and on other issues certainly
have a delaying effect on US military planning, which
originally targeted an operation against Iraq in late
February. . It is not only technical details which delay
the process. The fact of the matter is that the AKP
government is increasingly facing political problems within
the party. The AKP grassroots and AKP deputies are not
willing to support a US military operation against Iraq, and
the government is unlikely to ensure parliamentary support
for cooperation with the US. Public reservation about the
war is also forcing the government to slow down its support
for the US. It is also very likely that the US
administration feels unhappy about the current diplomatic
initiative taken by PM Gul in the Middle East. . The
possibility of opening a military front in the north against
Iraq is declining. The US will have problems in securing
Turkish support on the airbases as well, because the
government has tied such a decision to a second UNSC
resolution. Given these facts, US military strategists
might ultimately decide to plan on using only a single front
in Southern Iraq."


PEARSON

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