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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 000462

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
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Ankara calls regional countries to peace summit on Iraq -
Milliyet
Ankara to ask NATO for Patriots on Iraqi border - Sabah
Shocking news: Empty chemical warheads found in Iraq -
Hurriyet
Blix warns Saddam for the last time - Turkiye
Safire: Turkey must fulfill requirements of strategic
partnership - Vatan
`Secret voice' Safire angry at Ankara - Aksam
U.S. bombardment will hit historical monuments too - Turkiye


OPINION MAKERS
Ankara concerned about post-Saddam period - Radikal
Safire has gone too far - Yeni Safak
Berlin, Paris cautious about NATO shield for Turkey - Zaman
IMF not convinced about privatization package - Cumhuriyet


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Wertheimer: If Turkey fails, the region fails - Dunya
TUSIAD complains to Krueger about government, IMF, EU -
Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Dailies report that the U.S. Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, will visit Turkey on
January 19-20. After inspecting Incirlik airbase, Gen.
Myers is expected to hold meetings with the TGS, the Defense
Minister, and the Prime Minister in Ankara on January 20.
Papers report that 20 U.S. experts inspected the Yenice
train station in Mersin province. "Hurriyet" emphasizes
Yenice's significance as the main ground route for
transporting military equipment to the front ivia the Mersin-
Baghdad railroad. Reports note that U.S. experts were
denied access to a Turkish military arms storage facility
near Yenice station. Meanwhile, dailies report that the
U.S. Embassy in Ankara has stepped up lobbying efforts on
the Iraq issue, and will brief the heads of some
parliamentary committees and deputies from AKP and CHP.
Ambassador Pearson is expected to host Parliamentary Speaker
Arinc at a dinner at his residence Friday evening. All
dailies carry a William Safire op-ed in the NYT urging
Turkey to allow deployment of U.S. soldiers and to mass
100,000 troops on the Iraqi border as a warning to Saddam
Hussein. Papers carry Safire's strong criticism of the
`government which has Islamic, rather than secular, roots,'
and his reaction to Turkey's reluctance to open a front
against Iraq. Dailies report that President Sezer, Prime
Minister Gul, Foreign Minister Yakis, TGS Chief Gen. Ozkok
and senior officials will meet at the presidency on Friday
to discuss a proposed summit meeting of regional countries
in Istanbul on January 23. MFA U/S Amb. Ziyal discussed the
initiative on Thursday with the ambassadors of Egypt,
Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Gul is due to embark
on a new Middle East tour soon, and papers anticipate that
he will visit the U.S. and EU countries as well.


Visit by IMF's Krueger: IMF's First Deputy Director Anne
Krueger is dubious about the ambitious privatization package
announced by the AKP government, and issued strong warnings
in her discussions in Ankara. Krueger met with bureaucrats
in the economic ministries as well as the Finance Minister,
the State Minister for the economy, the Deputy Prime
Minister, and the Prime Minister on Thursday. Krueger
warned that a prospective tax amnesty would result in lost
revenues, and advised the government not to change the
public procurement law. Krueger also urged the government
to undertake rational moves for strengthening the banking
sector.


QIZ: "Hurriyet" reports Israeli industrialist Stef
Wertheimer's initiative to build a technology park on
124,000 sq. meters in the organized industrial zone of
Gebze, near Istanbul. The U.S. Embassy has told Washington
that Gebze may be the most appropriate location for
implementing a possible U.S.-Turkish deal on QIZs. The new
government is expected to invite Wertheimer to a meeting of
foreign investors in Ankara, according to Hurriyet.
Wertheimer is quoted as saying that he would show assist
small and medium-scale companies in Gebze to gain access to
the U.S. market. Since the U.S.-Turkey QIZ has been
proposed within the framework of the U.S.-Israel Free Trade
arrangement, an Israeli partner enhances Gebze's chances of
being included as a location for the QIZ.


EDITORIAL OPINION:


a) Iraq
b) Cyprus


"The visit of Myers: Are you in or out?"
Kamuran Ozbir commented in nationalist Ortadogu (1/17): "The
visit of General Myers an attempt to get Ankara's response
about cooperation against Saddam Hussein. In fact, the
Turkish military, even in the absence of a political
decision, is rapidly preparing for a war. The Turkish and
American militaries are working on joint operational plans.
Washington apparently considers the decision to allow site
survey teams as a signal for more comprehensive cooperation.
Yet conflicting remarks from government figures continue to
cause frustration in Washington. Therefore, the purpose of
the Myers visit is to ask Ankara whether Turkey is `in' or
`out.' . Turkey's hesitation is fully justified, and it is
the right approach to work for a peaceful settlement. Yet
realism should also be attached to this consideration.
First of all, Saddam Hussein is not part of Iraq's future,
but the United States is. Secondly, the UN embargo
continues, and any bilateral trade agreement with Iraq is
doomed to be futile. Iraq is Turkey's neighbor. However,
it is Turkey and the US which are friends and strategic
partners. Thus it seems against Turkish interests to harm
this partnership by going hand-in-hand with Iraq."


"What has changed in Cyprus?"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (1/17): "The most
significant change in the Turkish side is the explosion in
calls for Cyprus settlement. Recently, 40-50 thousand
people -- one quarter of the total population of northern
Cyprus -- gathered in Nicosia to demand a rapid solution to
the Cyprus issue. Some might interpret this as a result of
manipulation or provocation. However, Denktas and Ankara
should evaluate the demonstration in a cold-blooded manner,
and accept that their wrong policies have contributed to the
increase of tensions in Northern Cyprus. . There are some
changes in Turkey as well. Many circles share the view that
Turkey should undertake more energetic steps for peace.
However, this trend is against official state policy. The
indecision of Turkish officials is clearly seen in
controversial statements made by the government, especially
the Foreign Ministry. Turkey first announced that it was
sticking to its official policy on Cyprus, than said that
there were some changes in its stance, then later explained
that the changes were not related to the fundamental issues.
. There is still confusion in Ankara about the policy
change, but the rhetoric is linked more to Turkey's tactics.
First of all, Turkey will not consider proceeding with the
Turkey-TRNC integration plan if no agreement is reached by
28 February. Negotiations will continue for a while, but
there will be no change in the other elements of the
official policy. The situation in Southern Cyprus has not
changed. In contrast to the wide public support for the UN
plan in the north, the Greek Cypriots are not happy with the
plan because they feel the Turks have been given too many
concessions. Despite the negative public mood, Clerides is
ready to discuss the plan. . The Greek Cypriots and Clerides
might not be willing to change, because in any case they
will soon join the EU. Some observers say that Clerides's
goal is to take his place in history as a politician who
worked out a settlement on Cyprus. . In fact, Southern
Cyprus also needs a change. There will be no breakthrough on
Cyprus if both leaders fail to demonstrate a new approach to
the disagreements at the negotiating table."


PEARSON

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