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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 000881

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
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Turkey, U.S. agreement on Mosul, Kirkuk - Hurriyet
Critical day: Powell to disclose evidence against Iraq -
Turkiye
120,000 Turkish troops to Northern Iraq to halt refugees -
Sabah
U.S. troops to Iraq via Iskenderun - Aksam
Peace hopes diminishing - Vatan
Baykal warns Gul: Kurdish state must be prevented - Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
Nuclear threat to Baghdad - Radikal
Government to handle war authorization after Sacrifice
Holiday - Zaman
Oil prices will soar if U.S. attacks - Yeni Safak
In war, U.S. will save oil wells first - Cumhuriyet


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Central Bank: Turkey needs 2.5 year for full stability -
Dunya
Inflation on the rise - Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Prime Minister Gul reportedly told opposition party
CHP leader Baykal on Monday that the government would allow
350 warplanes and 40,000 U.S. troops on Turkish territory.
Gul said the issue would be discussed in the parliament
right after the U.S. presents evidence against Iraq to the
UNSC on February 5. Gul emphasized that U.S. offers for
reparation of Turkey's losses were `satisfactory,' according
to the reports. Many AKP deputies are against a war, and
the government is exerting an effort to convince them to
approve the presence of foreign troops in Turkey. "Aksam"
says that Gul has assured Baykal that U.S. troops will only
be given transit passage to Northern Iraq via Turkey's
Iskenderun harbor. "Sabah" reports that Turkey will send to
Northern Iraq about 120,000 troops as a `preventive
measure.' "Hurriyet" reports that Turkey, the U.S., and the
Northern Iraqi Kurdish groups have worked out an
understanding regarding Mosul and Kirkuk. According to the
report, Turkish and Kurdish troops will not enter Mosul and
Kirkuk, the security in that area will be guaranteed by the
U.S., and Turkey will have the right to intervene if the
Kurds attempt to occupy the area.


"Milliyet" on the new U.S. envoy to Turkey: "Milliyet"
evaluates a recent NYT story that U.S. Ambassador to Ankara,
Robert Pearson, will be replaced by Vice President Cheney's
advisor Eric Edelman. The paper criticizes Ambassador
Pearson for denying a Milliyet report accusing the U.S. of
carrying out secret meetings with PKK leaders in Northern
Iraq. The paper denounces former and current U.S. envoys
for launching covert threats to Turkey, and expects the new
ambassador to establish good ties with the Turkish
government on the basis of mutual interest.


Cyprus: Papers carry UK Cyprus envoy Sir Michael Hannay's
warning that a failure to compromise on Cyprus will have a
negative impact on Turkey's EU drive. Following his
meetings at the MFA on Monday, Sir Hannay pointed to the
limited time for substantive changes to the Annan plan, and
added that he has seen signs of compromise on the Greek
Cypriot side. Hannay noted that once the Greek Cypriots
gain full EU membership, it will be more difficult to reach
an agreement that is acceptable to the Turkish side. He
complained about Denktas' efforts to block the discussion of
land issues. Sir Hannay believes the issue of Turkish
troops on the island should be discussed with the Turkish
government.


Economy: The wholesale price inflation figure for January
was 5.6 percent, and consumer price inflation was 2.6
percent, marking unexpected increases in the annual
inflation rates to 32.6 percent and 26.4 percent
respectively. Reports claim that the increase in inflation
for the first time in 12 months has been caused by the
government's indecisiveness and excessive spending. Dailies
call attention to the 40,000 workers who have lost their
jobs in the banking sector. 15,000 of the workers have
applied for just 10 new vacancies at Garanti Bank.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) will
complete production of 30 Cougar AS-532 helicopters in
February, according to press reports.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"For the sake of a lame-duck dictator"
Editor-in-Chief Ertugrul Ozkok opined in mass appeal
Hurriyet (2/4): "Saddam Hussein is a `de facto' lame duck
even as we speak. It will be a miracle if Iraq shows
bravery in the war. Turkey should make its plans based on
real politics and stay away from conventional or old-
fashioned stances. Turkey is a genuine force in this region
and has to have a say in its reshaping. Any policy that
might dilute Turkey's role and influence in the reshaping
process will be costly for Turkey. . Let's all brain-storm a
little: What would Turkey actually prefer in northern Iraq?
Turkish soldiers meeting US forces in northern Iraq, or
Turkish soldiers meeting Saddam's forces there? In which
option will Turkey face a lesser possibility of refugees?
You don't have to be a military strategist to provide
answers to these questions. Turkey should not be engaged
in a war, but should allow American troops and equipment to
pass through the country. Turkish policy cannot be
formulated based on the interests of a lame-duck dictator."


"The calendar "
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (4/4): "The
upcoming war is becoming more apparent every day. It is
inevitable as well as imminent. . The northern front seems
to be the best option, and it is also the US's preference.
Yet the US is determined to open a northern front in any
case with or without the help of Turkey. In the absence of
Turkey's permission, US and UK troops will go ahead through
alternate channels to provide a dual front: one from the
north and one from the south. . Ankara tries to adjust the
`war calendar' based on its own interests, yet the fact of
the matter is that there is very little we can do about it.
Turkey is trapped between anti-war public opinion and
problems related with war, and the reality of the war, which
is imminent. . At the current stage, the argument that we
should stay completely out of it is neither realistic nor
pragmatic. The government will have to seek the
parliament's approval for the modernization of bases, the
transit movement of US troops, and the movement of Turkish
troops to northern Iraq. It is only a matter of timing, and
we better be catching up with the real calendar - that is,
the deadline, which is February 14."


PEARSON

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