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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 000914

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
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Cheney to Gul: Hurry up! - Vatan
Brits planning to divide Iraq into three - Milliyet
`War cabinet' of 10 ministers - Aksam
Early response from Saddam: No Al-Qaeda connection - Turkiye
Erdogan asks AKP deputies to approve war - Sabah
Erdogan, Gul say `War' - Vatan
U.S. to send AWACS, Patriots - Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS
Cheney calls Gul: Direct pressure from White House -
Cumhuriyet
Cheney: Time is short - Radikal
Erdogan the warmonger - Cumhuriyet
Surprise Northern Iraqi meeting in Ankara - Radikal
Erdogan: Iraq crisis at critical level - Zaman
40 Nobel prize holder Americans against Iraq war - Zaman
Those deciding war will bear responsibility - Yeni Safak
Cyprus envoy brings new maps - Cumhuriyet


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Lion's share in U.S. budget goes to fight against terror -
Dunya
Powell's upcoming UNSC address rockets gold prices -
Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Dailies give extensive front-page coverage to the
phone conversation between Vice President Cheney and Prime
Minister Gul on Tuesday. Cheney urged Gul to secure swift
parliamentary approval for the deployment of U.S. troops in
Turkey. Gul said that the issue would be discussed in
parliament on February 18. Gul told Cheney that the issue
of modernization of Turkish bases and ports would be
approved by the parliament before February 11, the Sacrifice
Holiday. "Radikal" believes that U.S. and Turkish officials
are about to reach an agreement on the legal framework of
cooperation regarding Iraq. Meanwhile, President Bush's
Iraq advisor, Zalmay Khalilzad, arrived in Ankara for talks
with Northern Iraqi Kurdish groups and Turkoman
representatives on Thursday. MFA officials will also attend
the meetings to explain Turkey's expectations concerning
regional ethnic groups. Secretary Powell's address to the
UNSC on Wednesday might speed Ankara's Iraq decision,
according to press reports. Prime Minister Gul is expected
to address AKP deputies right after Powell's speech to urge
them to approve the drafts for cooperation with the U.S.
Gul will also explain to cabinet members at the council of
ministers meeting today the necessity to cooperate with the
U.S.-led international effort in order to protect Turkey's
interests. Speaking to his party group on Tuesday, AKP
leader Erdogan said that a parliamentary decision approving
Turkey's involvement in a war could contribute to peace.
`We might not be allowed to influence developments later if
we stay out of the calculations in the beginning,' Erdogan
said. "Zaman" estimates that about 50 AKP deputies will
vote against the bill to allow modernization of Turkish
bases. The paper expects the bill to be approved with the
votes of at least 300 AKP deputies. A "Yeni Safak"
commentary carries a January public opinion poll by the ANAR
company which shows 94 percent of Turks opposed to U.S.
intervention in Iraq. 78 percent of respondents are against
Turkey's involvement in a war either by sending troops or
opening Turkish bases to the United States. "Hurriyet"
claims that the U.S. will send early warning AWACS planes
and Patriot defense missile systems to Turkey from U.S.
bases in the Netherlands next week.


Parliamentary Speaker on by-elections: Commenting on the
Siirt elections on March 9 in which AKP leader Erdogan will
have an opportunity to run for parliament, Parliamentary
Speaker Arinc noted that the Constitution has a clause which
authorizes parliament to postpone elections for up to a
year.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq
"Being emotional is not helpful when war is inevitable"
Mehmet Barlas commented in mass appeal Aksam (2/5): "Turkey
is clearly under US pressure for a clear decision on Iraq.
Reports also note that the US has already formulated a `Plan
B' in the absence of Turkey's permission for the deployment
of US troops for a northern front. . The latest comment by
AKP leader Erdogan was realistic, as he was defending
Turkey's involvement in what has become an inevitable war.
This message was especially meant for the AKP deputies.
They better think about the cost of being left out in the
post-war period. That requires a cool-headed thinking, an
analysis free from anger and emotionalism. Belated
decisions are sometimes regarded as if they never existed."


"Bush should ask for Congressional authorization for Turkey"
Sedat Ergin wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (2/5): "The most
critical part of the ongoing US-Turkey bargaining is about
the nature of the US commitment to address Turkey's losses
during the coming war. The issue centers on whether US
promises will turn into binding commitments. It remains to
be seen whether President Bush will seek Congressional
approval for compensation plan for Turkey. . The Egypt case
stands as a good example. During the Gulf war, the US
administration obtained an authorization from Congress to
eliminate Egypt's FMS debt in order to entice the Egyptians
to participate in the international coalition against Iraq."
"The northern front issue"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (2/5): "Turkey
should take into account US plans to open the northern front
at all costs. By permitting the transit movement of US
troops from Turkey, Ankara will actually have a chance to
control northern Iraq together with Washington. Refusal to
cooperate, on the other hand, will create huge troubles for
Turkey. .A military source from Washington says that the
operation could be launched at the beginning of March, and
that the US needs two or three weeks for site preparations.
The Turkish government will fall short of US expectations by
delaying its decision until the end of the holiday. .A
source close to the government says that the government
wanted to exhaust all peaceful means before sending to
parliament a decision for the deployment of US troops in
Turkey."


PEARSON

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