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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.




E.O. 12958: N/A




Ankara wants U.S. troop numbers below 10,000 - Hurriyet
Ankara to U.S.: Three bases are sufficient - Milliyet
Gen. Myers: We prefer a peaceful solution - Turkiye
Gul: No war for the sake of economy, humanity - Sabah
Bagistani: U.S. met with PKK six times - Milliyet

Gen. Myers: No lack of cooperation with Turkey - Radikal
Gen. Myers: We aim to guarantee stability - Cumhuriyet
Gen. Myers: We are strategic partners with Turkey- Zaman
Ankara finds Washington's demands excessive - Yeni Safak
Iraq promises UN full cooperation - Yeni Safak
Bargaining for venue of Iraq summit - Zaman
Gul letter to Bush: Turkey's economic program will continue
uninterrupted - Radikal

War risk has not halted investors - Dunya
Gul wants a smaller budget - Finansal Forum


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General Myers visit: Dailies report that Ankara asked
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Myers, to
reduce the U.S. request for the number of U.S. troops to be
deployed in Turkey to no more than 10,000. Turkey's
decision regarding the other demands of the U.S. will be
made after the release of the UN arms inspectors' report on
January 27. Reports claim that Gen. Myers bargained for the
use of eight Turkish bases, three ports, and transit passage
for 80,000 U.S. troops. Ankara prefers that 30,000 U.S. be
sent to Northern Iraq, and 10,000 deployed in Turkey. In
his meetings with the TGS and MOD, Gen. Myers said the U.S.
supports Turkey's regional peace initiative. Reports claim
that TGS officials told Gen. Myers that Incirlik, Batman,
and Diyarbakir bases would be sufficient for the U.S. in a
war with Iraq. The TGS believes that international
legitimacy is essential for military action, and the two
sides have agreed to get a NATO decision for the operation.
Reports suggest that Ankara has agreed to allow the
stationing or transit of 15,000 U.S. troops, and that the
issue will be discussed at the January 31 National Security
Council (NSC) meeting in Ankara. In a press conference
before departing Turkey, Gen. Myers stressed that the
President of the U.S. has not yet made a decision for war.
The U.S. is massing troops in the region to show support for
the UN, and to show determination to destroy Iraqi WMD.
Iraq: Ankara has started preparations for holding a regional
peace summit meeting in Istanbul, but Syria insists that the
venue should be Damascus. Papers add that Syria, Iran,
Saudi Arabia and Jordan have agreed that the summit should
be held at the foreign minister level. Turkey says that
Baghdad should be urged to abide by UNSC resolutions, while
Iran and Syria want to add to the final communique a warning
against `the hostile policy pursued by the U.S.' Diplomatic
observers believe the prospective meeting of foreign
ministers could fail if no compromise is worked out today.
Some papers see the main problem as being the competition
between the regional countries for the leading role in the
Middle East. Meanwhile, papers report that AKP leader
Erdogan is to meet with Secretary Powell at the World
Economic Forum meetings in Davos January 23-28. Papers
expect Secretary Powell to urge Erdogan to push Ankara for a
fast decision on Iraq.

Prosecutor demands 10 years for Fethullah Gulen: An Ankara
State Security Court prosecutor has demanded a ten year
prison sentence for Islamist leader Fethullah Gulen, and has
asked for his arrest in absentia. Gulen is charged with
attempting to replace the secular state with a religious
one, according to Turkish dailies. The prosecutor said that
the Gulen group aimed to launch a Holy War (Jihad,) which
should be considered within the concept of terrorism.
Gulen's attorneys have requested that the arrest warrant be
waived, saying that their client is undergoing medical
treatment in the U.S. The judge turned down the arrest
warrant, and postponed the hearing.

Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas claimed on Monday
that remarks by Greek Cypriot leader Clerides have been
reflected in the UN peace plan. Clerides has said that the
Greek Cypriots' accession to the EU would render Turkey's
guarantor status over Cyprus totally ineffective, Denktas
noted, a statement that is repeated in the Annan plan. The
plan preserves the former and current status of the Greek
Cypriots, Denktas complained. Denktas also slammed the U.S.
for offering money for the displacement of 200,000 Turks.
`Congressional approval for such a fund may take years. How
can we solve the problem of a new settlement for those who
will lose their homes,' Denktas asked. He proposed instead
a payment to Greek Cypriots to remain in their homes instead
of moving to the Turkish sector.

U.S. meets with the PKK: "Milliyet" quotes the manager of a
UN human rights project in Northern Iraq, Davut Bagistani,
as claiming that U.S. officials have met six times with the
PKK, the last meeting being held one and a half months ago.
Bagistani said he personally organized the non-official
meetings between the PKK and U.S. officials. The two sides
have agreed that in return for the PKK abandoning its armed
struggle, the U.S. would pressure Turkey for democratic
improvements, Bagistani noted. Bagistani said that the
Kurds cannot trust the U.S., since PKK leader Ocalan was
handed over to Turkey by the Americans. At the same time,
Bagistani added, Kurds cannot dare to defy the superpower.
Bagistani claimed that U.S. supports the Kurds as part of a
huge American project for the Middle East. The project
allegedly includes Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central
Asian republics as well.

"Saddam and peace are incompatible"
Hasan Cemal wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (1/21): "Saddam
and peace are completely incompatible with one another,
because Saddam Hussein represents trouble and instability.
Those who rush to Baghdad in the name of peace might
unwittingly fall into the traps of war. They may in fact be
a comrade of a bloody-handed dictator even without realizing
it. . In fact, nobody in this region will mourn for Saddam,
yet it is also impossible to argue that getting rid of
Saddam is a piece of cake. This brings up the worry of the
post-Saddam aftermath, and the related fear of `opening
Pandora's box' in the region. Due to the fact that certain
worries remain unanswered, war in and of itself is a reason
for fear. All of this provides a justification for the
ongoing peace efforts to continue to the bitter end."

"Nothing new in the northern front"
Murat Yetkin analyzes the Myers visit in intellectual-
liberal Radikal (1/21): "Those who expected US General
Richard Myers to hold a `war summit' in Ankara and to force
Turkish officials to make a `final decision' about Iraq have
got it wrong. The Turkish government continues its
diplomatic initiatives, so it would be unrealistic to expect
any radical decision from Ankara at this stage. General
Myers told reporters that the impression about the US being
impatient is wrong. However, his statement does not reflect
the approach of the `hawks' in Washington, which interpret
Turkey's limited support for the US as a refusal to
cooperate. . At every opportunity Ankara is reminding the
US that Turkey's support is subject to parliament's
approval, and there is still a possibility that it will be
rejected by the Turkish parliament. The US is not pleased
with this message, but trying to understand where Turkey
stands. . A similar message was also given to Myers. The
visit of Myers showed that the Turkish military is ready to
discuss the details about Iraq. This means that the US has
been given a positive response about its request for
cooperation, i.e. making preparations for a conflict. The
permission for that request was granted to the US side on
January 15. However, both Turkish and American officials
note that this permission was not politically binding,
because the parliament will have the final say about the
deployment of foreign troops in Turkey. . The Turkish
support to the US at this stage can be characterized as
`nonbinding support,' or support `in principle.' . The US
officially supports the Turkish initiative for holding a
regional summit with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and
Iran, so regional countries will be able to give the message
that they have exerted every effort to prevent the war. If
their efforts produce no results because of Iraq's refusal
to comply, it will be easier for the parties involved to
have their parliaments pass the necessary decisions for
cooperation with the US."

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