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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 04 ANKARA 001359

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, MARCH 3, 2003

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Powell eases Turks' concerns - Milliyet
Erdogan: No damage in relations with U.S. - Milliyet
U.S. is shocked - Milliyet 3/2
Arinc target of AKP administration - Sabah
AKP: No decree in foreseeable future - Hurriyet
Disillusionment and hope in Washington - Hurriyet 3/2
Arinc speaks like opposition member - Hurriyet 3/2
Gul warns Saddam: Don't exploit the parliamentary refusal -
Turkiye
Europeans praise Turkish Parliament - Turkiye 3/2
Powell: No break in our economic cooperation - Vatan
Government seeks new guarantees before new decree - Aksam
Annan: Lack of compromise would doom peace effort - Hurriyet
3/1
Annan is fed up: Accept plan, or I'll withdraw - Milliyet
3/1


OPINION MAKERS
Early crack in AKP - Cumhuriyet
Parliamentary refusal a heavy blow to Bush - Cumhuriyet
Peace wins - Cumhuriyet 3/2
Erdogan, Gul at odds over decree - Cumhuriyet 3/1
Democracy wins: Refusal upgrades Turkey's democracy - Yeni
Safak
Parliament says `Peace' - Yeni Safak 3/2
World says `No' to war - Yeni Safak 3/1
AKP shelves decree until after March 9 - Radikal
NSC denied government support on decree - Radikal 3/1
Tough week for markets - Zaman
Wolfowitz admits U.S. did not meet past promises - Zaman 3/1


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Anatolian businessmen: Iraq war's yearly cost $15-20 billion
- Dunya
IMF holds $1.6 billion loan tranche until April - Finansal
Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: The parliament has voted on Saturday to reject a
government decree for deployment of foreign troops on
Turkish soil. Although 264 lawmakers voted for the bill and
250 against, the motion was rejected for failing to secure
an absolute majority of 267. 19 MPs abstained in the
voting. Dailies point to the fact that the number of
deputies supporting the bill was below the required
threshhold for a vote of confidence. Prime Minister Gul
said on Sunday that the government would respect the
decision. AKP officials view as unlikely the possibility
that parliamentary will take up to the issue again this
week. Papers expect the AKP to wait for the by-election in
Siirt on March 9 before a new decree is submitted.
"Radikal" suggests that if the party opts to wait until
Erdogan is Prime Minister and a new government is formed,
disccussion of a new decree could slip to at least March 20.
98 AKP deputies either voted against the bill or abstained,
and the government is seeking to avoid further steps that
could increase tension in the party ranks. The Siirt
elections will prove advantageous for AKP, according to
reports, because for the government will win a new vote of
confidence and gain time to see the attitude of the UNSC.
PM Gul said on Sunday that the bill would not be taken to
the parliament again unless Turkey is given guarantees
regarding the rights of the Turkomen and the weapons to be
given to the Kurds. Monday's "Cumhuriyet" argues that the
motion was rejected due to the rivalry between Erdogan and
Gul, the negative stance of Speaker Arinc, and the NSC's
failure to provide guidance regarding deployment of foreign
troops at last week's meeting. Some columnists see a kind
of parallel between the attitudes of Arinc and Gul. They
blame the U.S. for refusing to concede in political and
economic negotiations, and for alienating Turkey from
debates regarding the future of Iraq. They also note the
fallacy of Erdogan's assumption that he was in firm control
of the AKP parliamentary group, and his underestimation of
Speaker Arinc's influence in the party. Comments stress
that the U.S. will not easily forget Turkey's refusal, and
many expect a gradual decline in Washington's support: The
Congress might shift to a hard-line position against Ankara,
and it will be tougher to stop initiatives like the Armenian
genocide issue. The refusal of the motion has stripped the
Turkish military of a legal framework for an incursion into
northern Iraq, and Turkey is afraid that the U.S. will now
seek closer cooperation with the Kurds. Observers claim
that TGS Chief General Ozkok and Prime Minister Gul explored
the possibility of an extraordinary NSC meeting this month
during Ozkok's call on Gul on Sunday. Monday's papers
report Secretary Powell as saying that the U.S. will
continue its economic support for Turkey, as well as
consultations between the two countries about the future of
Iraq. "Milliyet" says Powell's statement has eased concerns
in Turkey. AKP leader Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that
his government is reviewing its options to allow U.S. troops
into the country, but did not rule out a second attempt to
win permission. Erdogan said Turkey's relationship with the
U.S. is strong enough to ride out the problem. Erdogan also
appealed to financial markets for calm on Monday. Prime
Minister Gul said on Sunday that parliamentary refusal to
allow U.S. troops in Turkey would not damage friendly
relations with the U.S. Gul also warned Iraq not to exploit
the Turkish parliamentary decision as encouragement to delay
cooperation with UN arms inspections.
Cyprus: Weekend papers report that UN Secretary General
Annan will meet with Cypriot leaders Denktas and
Papadopoulos at the Hague on March 10 to get their final say
about taking the third UN plan to a referendum on March 30.
If his proposal is rejected, Annan threatened to withdraw
from the Cyprus negotiations. Although Annan said he has
received positive signals for a referendum from Athens and
Ankara, Denktas and Papadopoulos indicated they would go to
The Hague but would not accept the proposal. Annan's
revised Cyprus plan, which envisions two founding states on
Cyprus, is regarded by the mainstream media a significant
step forward in favor of the Turks.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq/Turkish parliament's decision


"The voting at the parliament"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in mass appeal-conservative Turkiye
(3/3): "The parliamentary vote is a reflection of the
national will, but we should not refrain from interpreting
the decision. . It is possible to sum up the criticism of
the parliament's decision as follows: The decision does not
reflect Turkey's future interests, nor does it shape a
perspective based on Turkey's future security requirements.
The government failed to enlighten the parliamentarians
about the facts. The Speaker of the Parliament acted as if
he were the opposition leader. The president made certain
discouraging remarks, and the National Security Council did
not take an active position on a very crucial matter. . We
were all caught very unprepared. This decision will
certainly have an impact domestically as well as
internationally."


"The decree crisis"
Hasan Unal advised in Islamic-intellectual Zaman (3/3): "The
parliament's decision deserves respect, but it is not exempt
from criticism. Unfortunately, the AKP party board handled
the issue badly, and failed to control its own members after
carrying out an intense negotiation process with the US.
The parliamentarians should think of the issue in a very
broad perspective. Their action will not be enough to stop
the war, and if Turkey stays uninvolved in an inevitable
war, it is to our harm. Foreign policy should not be
formulated by ideological considerations, or by looking at
reaction in the streets."


"Turkey's decision"
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (3/3):
"The Turkish parliament was asked for permission for the
deployment of foreign troops, while the people of Turkey
stand against the war by almost one hundred percent. What
is peculiar is not that the permission failed, but the fact
that the request was brought before parliament in the first
place. . Turkey's decision enhances the values of democracy
and boosts hope for a settlement without war. Let's hope
that now the US begins to think with common sense, and acts
under the principles of international values, human rights,
and the supremacy of law."


PEARSON

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