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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 001313

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, FEBRUARY 27, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Turkey, U.S. to sign economic, political, military deals
soon - Milliyet
No anti-aircraft missiles to Kurds - Hurriyet
Constitutional guarantees for Turkomen - Aksam
Turkey's Baghdad embassy evacuated, border closed - Turkiye
Patriots, U.S. cargo vessels in Turkey, - Vatan


OPINION MAKERS
Parliament to vote for `war' - Cumhuriyet
The parliament's ordeal - Yeni Safak
Barzani: U.S. should stop Turkey - Zaman
U.S. to transfer troops to Turkey March 3 - Radikal
TGS considering emergency rule, martial law - Radikal


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Approaching war paralyzes Turkish markets - Dunya
Long-term stay in Iraq for thousands of U.S. troops -
Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: The parliament will reportedly vote on Thursday on the
issue of deployment of foreign troops in Turkey. AKP leader
Erdogan expects 348 deputies to vote in support of the
motion, while some papers expect a significant number of AKP
deputies to stand against it. Erdogan and Prime Minister Gul
will continue efforts to convince MPs. Erdogan has told
deputies that President Bush vowed to give Turkey written
guarantees to secure Turkish support. AKP leaders are
expected to warn deputies that without U.S. support,
Turkey's economy would not be able to carry the prospective
$30 billion burden the war might bring. Papers report
President Sezer as saying during his meeting with the
Parliamentary Speaker Arinc on Wednesday that the parliament
should wait for a new UNSC decision. Reports claim that
Sezer and Arinc prefer two separate motions for discussion
in parliament - one for deployment of foreign troops on
Turkish soil, and the other for sending Turkish troops
abroad. Minister of Defense Gonul said Turkey should take
its place in the operation against Iraq, or face the loss of
U.S. support in seeking EU membership and a solution in
Cyprus. The National Security Council (NSC) will convene on
Friday to discuss Iraq and Cyprus. The government is uneasy
about TGS intentions to declare emergency rule and martial
law in the event of a war. Ankara has agreed with the U.S.
that Kurdish groups will not be given heavy weaponry, and
that Turkish troops will set up a security belt about 20 km
deep inside northern Iraq. The U.S. and Turkey have also
agreed that the Turkomen will be given a role in a post-war
Iraq administration. The deal also foresees $6 billion in
grants for Turkey, and $24 billion in loans. Papers
criticize the government for working out a `feeble'
financial deal with the U.S. If the decree is approved by
the parliament on Thursday, the U.S. will begin deploying
troops and equipment to Turkey on March 3. Patriot defense
missiles have arrived in Turkey from the Netherlands, and
Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador to Baghdad. The border
with Iraq has been closed. (NOTE: Parliament voted on
Thursday afternoon to delay until Saturday the debate on
allowing U.S. troops on Turkish territory. AKP leader
Erdogan had announced yesterday that the issue would be
handled by the parliament on Thursday.)


EDITORIAL OPINION: US-Turkey on Iraq


"Rejection of US troops would still drag Turkey into war"
Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (2/27):
"Characterizing the pending parliamentary decision as a
choice between war and peace is a historical distortion of
the facts. The parliament will vote on whether to allow the
stationing of American troops in Turkey, as well as sending
our troops to abroad. . The fact of the matter is that
regardless of the Turkish parliament's decision, there is no
possibility of stopping the war from happening. Thus Turkey
should ask the following question to itself: Can Turkey stay
out of the war if the parliament declines permission? . I
will be very clear on this matter: The rejection of the
permission by the Turkish parliament will only pave the way
for Turkey's full engagement in the war. When Turkey tries
to stay out of it, developments in the region take place
completely out of Turkey's control and influence, which will
eventually force Turkey to engage in an armed conflict in
northern Iraq. The final chance for Saddam to work for a
peaceful settlement will be available when Turkey decides to
allow the US to open a northern front. This is the only way
to show the insane dictator that the situation is indeed
serious. . If Turkey decides to stay out of it, there will
be a very high cost for us to pay in the next 50 years."


"Turkey's future requires a `yes' to the decree"
Fikret Ertan wrote in Islamic-intellectual Zaman (2/27):
"Evidently the military power that Iraq has built is not
only the responsibility of the US but also the European
countries, mainly Germany and France. Yet that bad record
does not justify a debate on the legitimacy of an operation.
The future of Turkey is a more important and genuine issue
than the legitimacy debate, which remains a theoretical
discussion. . The fact is that Turkey's situation today and
in the future is directly linked with the approval of the
parliamentary decree [allowing US troops into Turkey]. The
parliamentarians should think and act with responsibility."


"We are going to war"
Can Dundar argued in mass appeal Milliyet (2/27): "This is
like raping a girl, i.e. Iraq. And the rapist, i.e. the
US, is trying to convince us about the legitimacy of its
action. We are given assurances that it is going to be
something enjoyable. In fact, our role is like holding the
girl's arms while she is being raped. . It is so sad to see
the AKP leadership working to attain permission for the
deployment of American troops. They are acting under
threats and blackmail from Washington, and threats from
President Bush himself. Bush clearly told Ministers Yakis
and Babacan that without Turkey's permission for US troops,
Turkey would suffer the consequences: the US acting together
with northern Iraqi Kurds; the termination of IMF support;
and the passage of an Armenian resolution in the Congress.
In sum, he advised the Turkish ministers to `go back home
and pass the permission from parliament.' We have been
living under the shadow of the very same blackmail: a
Kurdish state, Armenian resolution etc. The fact of the
matter is that the US will leave eventually, and Turkey will
have to live side by side with Kurds and Armenians. If we
manage to take this trump card from the US hands, we can
possibly overcome this dilemma. It is possible to turn the
region into a center of attraction where everybody -Turks,
Kurds, Armenians and Arabs- live together in harmony and
brotherhood. This is the only way not to bow to the
aggression for the sake of pennies."


PEARSON

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