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 001332
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, FEBRUARY 28, 2003
THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
Government shies away from responsibility on Iraq - Milliyet
AKP group unconvinced, decree delayed - Turkiye
Erdogan's tough time to convince his deputies - Vatan
UNSC says `No' to war - Hurriyet
Saddam agrees to destroy Al-Samud missiles - Sabah
Bush: Our struggle for the future of Muslims - Sabah
Arafat next after Saddam - Aksam
Annan effort to by-pass Denktas - Hurriyet
Decree struggle between government and presidency - Radikal
Government takes refuge in NSC - Cumhuriyet
AKP MPs: U.S. disloyal - Yeni Safak
Bush: Democratic Iraq will pave way for Palestine state -
Kurdish leaders acting provocatively - Cumhuriyet
Annan gives Turks, Greeks ten days - Zaman
Government's economic performance victimized by war - Dunya
U.S. oil reserves diminishing, prices up to $38.66 -
Iraq: The government has decided to wait for Friday's
National Security Council (NSC) meeting before taking the
decree for foreign troop deployment in Turkey to the
parliament on Saturday. President Sezer's warning about
the lack of international legitimacy for an Iraq operation
has forced the government to seek the counsel of the NSC.
"Cumhuriyet" and "Milliyet" blame the government for `hiding
behind the NSC' after having failed to obtain solid
guarantees from the U.S. Papers say that the U.S. has given
Turkey no guarantees of blocking the establishment of a
Kurdish state, and reports suggest continued ambiguity
regarding the economic aid package. "Vatan" claims that the
voting was delayed due to strong opposition among AKP
deputies. Dailies expect 38,000 of the total 45,000 U.S.
troops deployed in Turkey to pass into northern Iraq, with
the remaining 7,000 to be stationed on Turkish soil. 60,000
Turkish troops will set up a 30 km security zone inside
northern Iraq. Northern Iraqi Kurdish groups, upset by the
fact that Turkey and the U.S. are close to a compromise,
staged protest demonstrations against Turkey in Erbil. KDP
leader Barzani reportedly said at the Iraqi opposition
conference in Sulaimania that Turkey should not interfere in
the Kurds' internal affairs. Meanwhile, the MFA has issued
a warning for Turkish citizens to leave Iraq in order to
avert `likely risks.' Some NGOs and labor unions will stage
a large rally against the war in Ankara on Saturday.
Cyprus: UN Secretary General Annan, in Cyprus for talks, has
suggested that Papadopoulos and Denktas take the third plan
to a referendum on March 30, and he invited the two leaders
to The Hague on March 10 to sign an agreement. Denktas
rejected Annan's offer, saying that the new plan has many
`traps.' "Hurriyet" believes that Annan, seeing Denktas as
the largest obstacle to a compromise, intended to by-pass
the Turkish Cypriot leader. Papers report that about 70,000
Turkish Cypriots attended a rally against Denktas, with some
demonstrators carrying placards saying `Rescue us, Annan,'
`We are all Cypriots, let's unite,' and `Give peace a
EDITORIAL OPINION: US-Turkey on Iraq
"There is a chance to delay the war"
Fehmi Koru suggested in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak
(2/28): "Even the founding principles of the Turkish
republic have been forgotten. Oddly enough, Turkey debated
the possibility of preventing a war during the Gulf crisis.
. There is not much difference regarding the essential
principles and sensitivities about the situation today and
the 1990s. Yet I am still looking for an authorized
representative who will stand up and ask the very basic
question: What has Turkey got to do with somebody else's
war? . The parliamentarians better listen to the warning of
President Sezer very carefully and wait until international
legitimacy has been ensured. The authorization debate at
the parliament must be postponed until the next UN
"The US weighs the importance of Turkey and the Kurds"
Sedat Ergin analyzed the reasons for the anti-Turkish
sentiment among some Iraqi Kurdish groups in mass appeal
Hurriyet (2/28): "There are certain factors and reasons for
the hostility, which can be listed as follows:
1) the Barzani factor: The threatening, anti-Turkish
remarks mostly come from KDP leader Barzani, not from PUK
leader Talabani. This is explained by the fact Turkey's
border are is under the control of Barzani.
2) the psychological factor: Kurdish groups will be
uncomfortable if the Turkish army enters northern Iraq. They
will consider the presence of a colossal foreign military
force -- around 40,000 -- in their territory as a threat to
their aspirations for sovereignty.
3) Domestic policy considerations: The Kurdish leaders
might be trying to address the public at home by making
threatening remarks against Turkey.
4) the Turkey-US deal: The timing of the Kurdish threats
is also very important.
They came after details about the political and military
agreements discussed by Turkey and the US were leaked to the
press. It is clear that Kurdish leaders were disappointed by
the guarantees given by the US to Turkey.
5) the federation problem: Kurdish leaders might be
disappointed by the references to a federation in the
political agreement between Turkey and the US. Barzani was
planning to form a federation on an ethnic basis in the post-
war era. He may very well be disappointed to see the
obstacles placed in front of his goal.
6) the future of the peshmerges: Once the unified Iraqi
army is formed, both Barzani and Talabani will have to
dissolve their local forces. The Kurdish leaders must have
been bothered by the fact that after the war the US is
planning to take back the weapons distributed to the Kurds,
and by the fact that this operation will be carried out the
observation of the Turks. The Iraqi Kurds are uneasy with
the control mechanisms set up by Turkey.
7) the deterrent effect of Turkish troops: The Turkish
army says it will go into Northern Iraq for humanitarian
activities. The Iraqi Kurds, however, see the situation
differently. They know that the Turkish army will be present
in northern Iraq to avoid `undesirable developments.' The
presence of the Turkish army will restrict the movements of
the Kurds and will block their aspirations for independence
or for acquiring control of oil-rich regions.
8) Turkey-US plan not compatible with Kurdish plans: The
plans for a post-war Iraq designed by the US and Turkey are
not compatible with the plans of the Iraqi Kurds. The Kurds
will have to give up certain privileges they acquired during
as a result of the power vacuum, including de-facto
sovereignty status, since 1991. Ironically, they might even
prefer that Saddam Hussein stays in power.
9) Bargaining tool: It is possible that the Iraqi Kurds
are deliberately aggravating the tension with Turkey in
order to win more support from the US. They hope to change
the balances in their favor after the war.
10) Suspicions about US intentions: Just like Turkish
decision-makers, the Kurds might be suspicious about US
intentions in a post-war Iraq. They are afraid that the US
will abandon the Kurds by giving major concessions to
11) The US needs the northern front and wants to increase
its strategic cooperation with Turkey to topple Saddam
Hussein. Thus, the strategic importance of Turkey weighs
more than the importance of the Kurdish groups in the eyes
of the US. Nevertheless, Turkey should not forget the
possibility that the situation might change after the war."