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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 03 ANKARA 000031

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
THURSDAY, JANUARY 2, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Turkish trade delegation to Baghdad - Hurriyet
Ankara believes `Swiss model' fit for Iraq - Milliyet
Critical visit: Gen. Myers to Turkey - Turkiye
Erdogan tough on Denktas - Sabah


OPINION MAKERS
Military build up on Iraqi border - Cumhuriyet
Heavy Iraq traffic: Gul to Mideast, Myers to Turkey -
Radikal
Turkey, U.S., Israel exercise `Reliant Mermaid' - Zaman
Parliamentary Speaker mediates to end hunger strikes in
prisons - Yeni Safak


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
U.S. considers $61 billion in aid for Iraq's neighbors -
Dunya
2003 predictions: $1=TL2 million, inflation 25 percent,
interest rates 40 percent - Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Dailies report increased Turkish military activity
near the Iraqi border. The U.S. is preparing to transfer an
additional 50,000 troops to the Gulf region, papers report.
Reports claim that the Iraqi embassy in Ankara has presented
a note to MFA, protesting Prime Minister Gul's comments to
media representatives last week in which he referred to
Saddam Hussein as a `ruthless dictator.' The Iraqi embassy
and MFA have denied these reports. Turkey's Foreign Trade
Minister Kursat Tuzmen is due to visit Baghdad with 150
businessmen and MFA officials on January 10. Tuzmen will
convey a letter from Gul to Saddam Hussein, and discuss
trade issues with the Iraqi Administration. In a front page
commentary, "Milliyet" speculates that Ankara prefers a
`Swiss model' for a post-Saddam Iraq, where Kurds, Arabs and
Turkomen would have their own cantons tied to a central
authority in Baghdad. Ankara believes that this model could
prevent the disintegration of Iraq. "Radikal" quotes a
`U.S. source' saying that the U.S. was not against a `modus
operandi' for site surveys on Turkish bases, but that
details of an agreement still needed to be worked out. The
source said that the US expected a response from Ankara
regarding transfer of U.S. troops to Iraq via Turkey before
January 26, when the initial report by UN arms inspectors
will be unveiled. Whether Turkey will ultimately decide on
full or limited support, the U.S. needs to know about
Ankara's decision in order to shape its own policy, the U.S.
source reportedly said. Radikal believes that recent
developments and the latest NSC decision indicate that
Ankara will provide partial support to the U.S.


General Myers' visit: Papers report that U.S. Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, will visit
Turkey on a regional tour of eight countries in January.
Gen. Myers will meet with Chief of Staff Gen. Ozkok, and
explore possibilities for using Turkish airbases and
harbors, according to reports.


Erdogan on Cyprus: AKP leader Erdogan said that Cyprus is
not Denktas's personal issue, and that the AKP government
would not stick to Turkey's traditional Cyprus policy.
Erdogan noted that while Denktas believes that the UN-
sponsored Cyprus plan is negotiable, he views the Greek
Cypriots as unreliable. `We must put aside suspicions, and
begin negotiations for compromise,' Erdogan noted. The
recent protest demonstration against the status quo by
30,000 Turkish Cypriots indicates that northern Cyprus is
`heading somewhere,' Erdogan said, and he warned of grave
difficulties if a solution is reached before February 28.


President approves constitutional changes: President Sezer
approved a package of constitutional reforms which pave the
way for Erdogan to run for parliament in the new election in
Siirt. Sezer had earlier vetoed the amendment package on
the grounds that it was tailored particularly for Erdogan.
The High Election Board (YSK) announced on Wednesday that
the election in Siirt will be held on February 9.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"The Swiss Model for Iraq"
Fikret Bila wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (1/2): "Turkey
remains firmly opposed to a Kurdish state in Iraq. Turkey
has given this warning as part of a strong message to the
US. The message also included Ankara's concern about the
possibility that Iraq's oil-rich regions could fall under
the control of a particular ethnic group or the US. Such a
scenario would be totally unacceptable for Turkey. . Turkey
has been working on several scenarios for Iraq in the post-
operation era. An Iraqi `federation' is not Ankara's
immediate preference. Turkey's preference for Iraq is a
Swiss-style system based on cantons. Turkey believes that a
cantonal structure would not only serve the interests of
Kurds and Turkomans, but also make them attached to a
central authority, which will prevent the dismemberment of
Iraq. The plan is supported by the Turkish military as well
as the Foreign Ministry. Ankara remains in close contact
with the US on the Iraq issue, and hopes that its views and
proposals for the future of Iraq will be taken into account
by Washington."


"The reason for saying NO to war"
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (1/2):
"The drawing of borders in the Middle East and the regimes
that were put in place there all resulted from the demise of
the Ottoman Empire and decisions made by the Western powers.
The western powers defined and designed the status quo in
the region based on their interests. Today they are once
again trying to redesign it based on their current needs and
interests. Turkey has been the loser from the last
century's imperial plans. And today once again the western
powers want Turkey to fall into this trap. This is exactly
why the people of Turkey are loudly saying NO."


PEARSON

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