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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 000838

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
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Gul: U.S. stepping up pressure on us - Milliyet
NSC passes the `Iraq ball' to government - Sabah 2/1
Government utters a reluctant `Yes' to U.S. - Aksam
Gul: War inevitable - Turkiye
Gul: Iraq operation after Sacrifice Holiday - Vatan
NSC gives green light for `Northern Front' - Milliyet 2/2
3,000 bombs on Baghdad in 48 hours - Hurriyet
$14 billion to Turkey in return for transit of 50,000 U.S.
troops - Hurriyet 2/1
TGS deploys Hawk missiles to cover airports against Iraqi
attacks - Sabah
Erdogan rejects NSC criticism about Cyprus - Hurriyet 2/2


OPINION MAKERS
Washington impatient, demands immediate authorization -
Cumhuriyet
Washington uneasy with NSC decisions - Cumhuriyet 2/2
Decision week for Turkey - Radikal
Yakis: Turkey asks NATO for Patriot, AWACS protection -
Radikal 2/2
Rice: We'll run Iraq `temporarily' after Saddam - Zaman
3200 American poets declare February 12 `Poetry Day Against
War' - Yeni Safak
UN Cyprus plan to bring $7.8 billion cost - Yeni Safak 2/2
Columbia crashes, U.S. in shock - Zaman 2/2


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Turkey, Syria tie $300 million trade deal - Dunya
Iraq crisis increased Turkey's energy bill by 14 percent -
Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Papers report Prime Minister Gul's announcement of the
government's decision to give support to the U.S. on Iraq.
The long-term interests of Turkey oblige us to provide
support to the U.S., Gul said. He added that the U.S.
wanted to begin upgrading Turkish bases and ports before
February 10, and that a related draft would be submitted to
the parliament in two or three days. If approved by the
parliament on February 6, the government will ask the TGS to
sign a related protocol with the U.S.. The U.S. will step
up pressure on the government for a swift parliamentary
approval, whereas the AKP will delay a decision to avoid
reaction from its grassroots, according to dailies.
Opposition CHP's leader Baykal said his party would approve
deployment of Turkish troops in Northern Iraq, but would
object to the stationing of U.S. troops in Turkey. The
Turkish military's buildup on the Iraqi border continued
over the weekend. Friday's National Security Council (NSC)
meeting advised the government to get parliamentary approval
for deployment of U.S. troops in Turkey, and for sending
Turkish troops to Northern Iraq. Reports speculate that the
government will seek parliamentary approval for war only
after all peace attempts are exhausted and a new UN decision
is reached. Sunday's dailies write that the U.S., unhappy
with the GOT's intention to wait for a resolution by the
UNSC, is urging the Turkish side to make a decision before
the Sacrifice Holiday that begins this weekend.


Cyprus: In an exclusive to "Sabah," U/S of State Marc
Grossman has urged the sides to exert effort for the
approval of the UN-sponsored Cyprus peace plan before the
February 28 deadline. Grossman refrained from criticizing
Denktas. If the Cyprus issue is resolved, Grossman said,
the EU's full membership negotiations with Turkey might even
start earlier than the scheduled date of December 2004.
Grossman made clear that the U.S. would oppose any agreement
that would carry the island back to the pre-1974 situation.
In response to a NSC warning that statements which might
weaken Denktas' hand should be avoided, AKP leader Erdogan
said that Turkey's interests require a compromise in Cyprus,
and that the Annan plan was an opportunity that must be
seized.


Edelman slated as new U.S. envoy to Turkey: Dailies cite a
NYT story which claimed that Vice President Cheney's
advisor, Eric Edelman, was the candidate to replace U.S.
Ambassador to Ankara, Robert Pearson. A specialist on
Russia, Edelman could be assigned to Ankara this summer.


Erdogan critical of autonomous boards: In response to press
reports criticizing the Banking Supervisory and Control
Board (BDDK) protocol with the bankrupt Pamukbank, which
relieves the owner Mehmet Emin Karamehmet of his $5.2
billion debt, AKP leader Erdogan said that the government
had nothing to do with the operation. `We prefer autonomous
boards to be subject to political authority. Bankrupt banks
have already put a $50 billion burden on the economy, and
such moves add to that amount,' Erdogan complained.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"The plans for northern Iraq and Ankara's delay"
Washington correspondent of mass appeal Milliyet, Yasemin
Congar wrote (2/3): "Mark your calendar for the meeting in
Erbil on February 15. The Iraqi opposition meeting will
determine the fate of the Iraqi regime once Saddam is gone.
. Despite the ongoing full-speed planning in Washington
about the future shape of Iraq, Turkey has still not
finalized its decision. The AKP apparently has felt an
enormous burden over its responsibility on this issue, yet
this is only causing Ankara to become less influential on
the process. . The Bush administration is watching the
Turkish parliament very closely. If the AKP administration
decides to call a parliamentary session after the religious
holiday, it might have a negative affect on Washington's
operational plans as well as Ankara's plans about northern
Iraq."


"Matter of weeks, or maybe days"
Hasan Unal wrote in Islamic-intellectual Zaman (2/3): "The
statements of Bush and Blair provide a clear indication
about the timing of the coming war. The US will evidently
not sit and watch after its immense military build-up. The
current conditions indicate the start of a war within the
February-March period. . The war might begin despite all of
Turkey's efforts for a diplomatic solution. Once the war
starts, Turkey will be inevitably on the US's side, yet the
delayed action will prevent Turkey from making its case
about Iraq to its allies. It will not only work against
Turkey's interests, but also bring a lot trouble in the near-
term. In the event that Turkey persists in opposing a war,
the US will act unilaterally, and the reshaping of Iraq will
certainly be against Turkey's interests and security
concerns. . Both of these options are very dangerous for
Turkey. . The best option seems to be Turkey's full
involvement in this affair after very good bargaining with
the US based on Turkey's interests and benefits. Yet time
is running out for us to achieve such a goal. We do not
have the luxury to waste time or consume our energy with
ideological rationale. At least the AKP government should
stay away from the anti-war debates based on ideological
justifications. Otherwise we will face not only undesired
developments in Iraq but also lose America's friendship."


PEARSON

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