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




War at doorstep: Bush gives Saddam a week - Sabah
World leaders to Bush: Let's see the evidence - Milliyet
War scenarios at NSC - Hurriyet
A-bombs in Incirlik - Aksam
Bush says `War' - Turkiye
Bush signals war inevitable - Vatan
NSC uneasy over Erdogan's Cyprus remarks - Milliyet

Bush to disclose evidence at UNSC next week - Cumhuriyet
U.S. Iraq war plans depend on Turkey - Yeni Safak
Turkish buildup on Iraqi border - Zaman
De Soto: Denktas should not avoid negotiations - Radikal
Erdogan alone on Cyprus - Cumhuriyet

U.S. wants modernization of Turkish bases - Dunya
Bush: Saddam a liar - Finansal Forum


State of the Union Address: Dailies regard President Bush's
address to the nation a declaration of war against Iraq.
President Bush has given Iraq a week to fully unveil its
WMD. If Iraq does not obey, papers argue that war is
inevitable. Persuaded by the Bush speech, France and Russia
voiced readiness to join the international coalition if
there is sufficient evidence about the Iraqi threat. `We
will continue consultations. But if Saddam does not fully
disarm for our nation's security and for global peace, we
will lead an international coalition to disarm him,'
President Bush said.

Iraq: In a statement on Wednesday, the TGS said that troops
and military equipment have been sent to the Iraqi border to
enhance the readiness of Turkish military units in the
region. The statement noted that the military buildup
should not be seen as a sign of Turkey's willingness to
enter war with Iraq. The MFA Spokesman on Wednesday urged
the U.S. to disclose evidence regarding Iraqi WMD, and noted
that Turkey may review its Iraq policy after seeing the
proof presented by the U.S. "Hurriyet" reports that U.S.
experts have presented Turkey new demands regarding the
modernization of Turkish airbases, including the enlargement
of runways and improvements in radar and air traffic
security systems. "Aksam" claims that the U.S. will
transfer troops directly to Mosul and Kirkuk if Turkey
denies transit passage. An Aksam article draws attention to
LA Times reports that the U.S. has 20 nuclear bombs on
Incirlik airbase, and would not necessarily wait for Iraq to
launch a chemical or nuclear attack before using them. Such
press reports have not been denied by the U.S.
Administration, the paper notes. "Milliyet" says that
Turkey and the U.S. have already agreed to transfer 20,000
U.S. troops to Iraq across Turkish territory. Milliyet
highlights a statement by the Iranian Ambassador to Ankara
that Turkey can prevent the U.S. from waging war against
Iraq. The Iranian Ambassador noted that it would be risky
for the Americans to launch an attack without Turkish
support. January's National Security Council (NSC) meeting
on Friday will discuss several war scenarios, according to
press reports. The NSC will discuss ways to tackle the
uncertainty that might prevail in the region in the face of
a U.S. failure, and how to handle a possible civil war or
rebellion by the Kurds.

Cyprus: President Sezer and military members of the National
Security Council (NSC) are expected to issue warnings to the
government about AKP leader Erdogan's remarks concerning
Cyprus and Denktas at the Council's monthly meeting on
Friday. The military is expected to warn the government
that Erdogan, a figure with no official status in the
Government, should refrain from making statements that cause
trouble for Turkey. The MFA Spokesman on Wednesday denied
reports about tension between Denktas and Erdogan, and said
that Turkey has made a significant contribution to the
strategy followed by Denktas. UN Cyprus envoy De Soto, who
met Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, complained about
Denktas' unwillingness to attend negotiations, and stressed
that a new plan could be prepared that might fit his
expectations. Some papers speculate that Foreign Minister
Yakis, who has chosen to make statements that contradict
Erdogan on Cyprus, might lose his post in a cabinet
reshuffle when Erdogan becomes Prime Minister. Dailies say
that theAKP administration was angered at Yakis for voicing
open support to Denktas while Erdogan has blamed the Turkish
Cypriot leader for the deadlock. "Cumhuriyet" claims that
Erdogan has been `left alone' on the Cyprus issue. The
paper notes that even Prime Minister Gul told the UK PM
Blair on the phone the other day that Turkey would not
accept the Annan plan without changes.

EDITORIAL OPINION: State of the Union

"The war message"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (1/30): "The State
of the Union address can be summarized into one message: war
is coming. Although President Bush did not declare a war or
give an ultimatum to Saddam, his approach to the Iraq issue
as well as his harsh rhetoric clearly indicated Washington's
determination to strike Iraq. . It seems that right after
the presentation of new evidence about Iraq, the US will
seek a second UNSC resolution. Yet even in the absence of
another resolution, the military option will be implemented.
President Bush seems determined to go ahead with his
`unilateralist doctrine' if and when he feels necessary."

"Bush pushed the war button"
Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in sensational-mass appeal Posta
(1/30): "The gist of President Bush's message was as
follows: war is inevitable. The US will act, unilaterally
if necessary, in order to finish Saddam Hussein. President
Bush is on the path of no return. Regardless of popular
reactions or even in the absence of a second UNSC
resolution, Washington will topple Saddam. . The State of
the Union also provided a calendar of events: February 15,
UNMOVIC's follow up report; February 20, UNSC's second
resolution debate; and in March, the military operation will

"Defying the world"
Mustafa Balbay wrote in social democrat-intellectual
Cumhuriyet (1/30): "The state of the union has turned into a
state of defiance to the whole world. The US seems very
determined to launch a military operation against Iraq. The
debate within the administration now centers on `how to
handle the aftermath' instead of `shall we do it or not.' .
Bush claims that Iraq has a huge variety of weapons, and the
US intends to present evidence to the UN. The information
must have been provided by multi-national companies which
engage in arms deal with Iraq. . The US did not present any
tangible evidence on the eve of the Afghan operation, and
this time the same thing seems to be happening. Most
likely, the US will present `something' in the name of
`proof' and we will all have to see it that way."


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