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 001074
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
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2003
THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
Turkey and the US reach agreement on Military and Economic
US Finds the Turkish requests too much-Sabah
Here is the "B" Plan- Turkiye
US Will not start Renovation of bases and the ports until
Parliament decides - Milliyet
Papadopulos Knot in Cyprus!-Milliyet
Elections in Cyprus bring uncertainty to Cyprus plan-
AKP's Bargaining on Iraq -Cumhuriyet
Turkey extends its last offer to the US, US Warships Waiting
for final decision-Zaman
US Challenges Turkey-Radikal
Iraq: The overall tone of press coverage is that time is
running out, and that the US is becoming impatient about the
delayed decision by parliament. US sources are saying that
"Turkey better come up with a decision on whether to allow
US troops, or we will implement a Plan B." Mass appeal
Hurriyet's Washington reporter also quotes a "high level and
very important US official" as saying that Turkey will have
to pay the consequences if it fails to permit US troops, and
that the US will never forget Turkey's decision. Turkish
officials are reportedly "waiting for the right time" to
make their case to the parliament. Most papers conclude
that Turkey has forwarded more demands to the US in order to
satisfy Turkish public opinion.
"Hurriyet" outlined an agreement which is "close to being
concluded" between the US and Turkey regarding possible
military cooperation. Turkey will keep 15,000 soldiers in
the oil-rich areas of Iraq in order to establish a buffer
zone. Another 25-35,000 Turkish troops will be joining US
troops for joint action elsewhere in northern Iraq. There
will be a co-command authority, with one Turkish and one US
general, Hurriyet reports.
Meanwhile, all papers and TV channels cover the ongoing
discussions between the US and Turkey on political, military
and economic issues. "Zaman" reports that after parliament
speaker Bulent Arinc announced that the decision regarding
US troop deployments in Turkey would not be discussed in
parliament today, concerns have been raised about US-Turkish
ties. Most weekend papers evaluated FM Yakis and State
Minister Babacan's sudden trip to the US as a "fruitless
visit." Both ministers stated on their return that no
agreement had been reached on the economic package, even
after a meeting with President Bush. "Yeni Safak" reports
that Turkey had asked the US for written guarantees on
political, economic and military issues. The US'
unwillingness to make any commitments about Turkish losses
caused deep concern on the Turkish side.
Cyprus: All papers cover the election results in Cyprus.
"Vatan" says that the Turkish Cypriots are upset about the
election victory of Tasos Papadopulos, a former EOKA
activist. "Milliyet" reports that the victory of
Papadopulos had caused worries about the future of the
Cyprus talks. "NTV" quoted TRNC president Denktas as saying
that "the solution to the Cyprus issue can hardly can be
worked out with Papadopulos, who already declares himself
president of the whole island."
EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq
"US: Better make up your mind immediately"
Mehmet Ali Birand noted in mass appeal Posta (2/18): "After
spending some time in Washington, it seems to me that the
Bush administration is very determined to go ahead with the
Iraq operation with or without another UN resolution. It
does not matter how strongly the Europeans oppose the U.S.,
and it does not matter whether Turkey is involved or not.
The Iraq operation will be carried out and Saddam will be
toppled. . Given the circumstances, the nature of the
Turkish parliament's decision becomes historically important
regarding Turkish-American relations. The US
administration, feeling stabbed in the back by France and
Germany, is now keeping a keen eye on Turkey. Americans are
clearly warning that `time is almost up,' and that Turkey
should come up with a decision. The Americans view it this
way: `We did our best to meet Turkey's expectations, and
that's it.' It seems that Ankara will have to produce a
parliamentary decision in the end whether it likes it or
"The American megalomania"
Ahmet Tasgetiren argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak
(2/18): "Turkey is facing a US threat based on messages
coming from Washington: `Unless the Turkish parliament
approves US military movements from Turkey to Iraq, a Plan B
will be implemented.' If this message is about `paying the
consequences,' it is not only Turkey but also the US that
will pay a price. The US is currently facing a world-wide
`common sense' opposition, and Washington has been aiming to
tarnish Turkish common sense and pride."
"Puzzle-ridden bargain between the US and Turkey"
Sedat Ergin reviewed the latest developments in the US-
Turkey negotiations under the following categories:
A) Political document
Turkey and the US are now debating a critical text related
to the future of Iraq.
Turkish and US officials continue to make adjustments in the
draft. The document will contain a series of principles
regarding the structure of a post-war Iraq. The document
will regulate critical issues like the political and
constitutional structure of Iraq, the status of the
Turkomen, control of oil-rich areas, and the transfer of oil
to international markets. It is not yet clear whether the
document will come into effect through an exchange of
letters between the US President and the Turkish Prime
Minister, or will be prepared as a memorandum of
B) Economic agreement
This document will include pledges for the compensation of
possible Turkish losses in the war by the US administration.
There are serious differences between the parties on this
issue. The US has increased the amount of proposed grants
for Turkey from $4 billion to $6 billion. Half of this
amount will be used to erase Turkey's military debt. In a
meeting with Turkish ministers last week, President Bush
stressed that the possible grant figure cannot go beyond the
current US proposal. In addition, Washington is considering
a proposal to give Turkey credits instead of grants. The US
has offered to give Turkey up to $15 billion in credits.
However, Turkey is cool to this formula because it would
place an additional burden on the shoulders of Turkish
taxpayers. Ankara is pushing for an increase in the grant
figure. The US says that the Turkish estimate of $80
billion in losses for a five-year period after the war is
C) Agreement about the deployment of troops
This agreement is related to the stationing of US troops in
Turkey, their transition to northern Iraq and cooperation
between Turkish and US troops in northern Iraq. The number
of US troops to come to Turkey and the command of US and
Turkish troops in northern Iraq is under discussion within
D) Other protocols
In addition to the main agreements, there is also bargaining
about some other protocols as well as certain secret
documents to be signed by the two parties. All the
agreements are linked to each other. Progress in one of the
issues might positively impact the others. If Turkey is not
satisfied on the political issues, it might decline to meet
US demands for military cooperation.
E) Parliamentary permission
The most important move to influence the outcome of the
complicated bargaining is the pending parliamentary
permission for the deployment of US troops in Turkey. The
permission will come to parliament's agenda if a
breakthrough is achieved in the bargaining process. At the
same time, the parliamentary permission for the deployment
of US troops will help progress on the other issues.
F) US vessels waiting off Turkish territorial waters
US vessels waiting off Turkish waters are an element of
pressure in the bargaining.
Washington says that the vessels will be sent to the
southern front unless the Turkish parliament issues the
necessary permission for the deployment of US troops today.
Ankara assumes that the US cannot afford to abandon its
plans for fighting on a northern front, and that the US is
bluffing in its threat to send the vessels to the Persian
Gulf. Turkey is using parliamentary permission for the
deployment of US troops to exert pressure on the US. .
In sum, the point where the parties stand right now
indicates a deadlock."