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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 001386

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, MARCH 4, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Grossman: Turkey losing its chance - Turkiye
Grossman warns: Turkey to miss Iraqi train - Aksam
Threats did not work, but U.S. could not discard Turkey -
Sabah
Upgrading of Turkish bases suspended - Hurriyet
Kurds burn Turkish flags in Erbil - Vatan
Cost of decree refusal: Government levies new taxes -
Turkiye
New tax `missiles' launched by government - Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
Government seeks new bargaining with U.S. - Radikal
Barzani has gone too far - Yeni Safak
Barzani-Talabani solidarity - Zaman
TGS Chief: We'll never allow a Kurdish state - Cumhuriyet
Newsweek: Bush starts his day with religious texts - Zaman
Weston: Erdogan gave assurances on Cyprus - Cumhuriyet


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
IMF likes the austerity package - Dunya
Turkey, U.S. Chamber of Commerce in NY - Dunya
Babacan: War fear obliged us to introduce new taxes -
Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Analysts emphasize that the political cost to
Washington is high if it attacks Iraq without the support of
Turkey, for the American `Plan B' for striking Iraq solely
from the south does not promise success. This view follows
the rejection by the Turkish parliament of a decision for
foreign troop deployment in Turkey. In an interview with
the Turkish news channel NTV, Undersecretary of State
Grossman voiced disappointment with the rejection of the
decree, but stressed that Washington respected the decision
adopted democratically by the parliament. All papers carry
Grossman's remarks extensively, and put the focus on his
warnings that Turkey might miss the opportunity for playing
an active role in the restructuring of a post-war Iraq and
the region. Grossman issued messages of hope with elements
of threat, and warned Ankara to refrain from unilateral
action in northern Iraq. "Radikal" carried the comments of
AKP officials urging Washington to take a step forward to
help the government convince parliament and the electorate
regarding permission for foreign troop deployments on
Turkish soil. Parliamentary speaker Arinc said that the
motion permitting U.S. troops must not be presented to the
assembly again in the same form. U.S. teams in Turkey for
modernization of air bases and harbors have suspended work
until permission is voted by the parliament, papers report.
Diplomatic sources think that if a second vote by parliament
is delayed, the U.S. might merely ask the GOT to use bases
and airspace. `Negotiations with the U.S. continue. The
parliamentary decision is merely a stage in this open-ended
process,' Foreign Minister Yakis said. Meanwhile, thousands
of Kurds staged an anti-Turkish rally in Erbil on Monday,
burning Turkish flags and chanting "`Yes' to U.S. troops,
`No' to Turks." Papers quote a high-level MFA official as
saying that a sovereign Kurdish state would be regarded by
Ankara as a cause for war. "Hurriyet" recalls that in March
1991, it was Turkey that provided 500,000 fleeing Kurds
shelter and food while the international community chose
only to observe the tragedy. "Radikal" claims that
`diplomatic sources' have said that the U.S. participation
in the latest Iraqi opposition meeting held in northern Iraq
encouraged the Kurds to display this kind of reaction to
Ankara.


Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas has urged the UN to
draft a new Cyprus plan through consultations with the two
sides on the divided island. Denktas said he was in no
hurry, since the Greek Cypriots would join the EU in any
case. He is expected to visit Ankara this week before
meeting with Annan and Papadopoulos at The Hague on March 10
to discuss the referendum issue proposed by the UN Secretary
General. Reports comment that Ankara was skeptical about
the referendum issue as well. As a guarantor state, Turkey
is concerned about putting a `reluctant signature' on the
ambiguous document. "Cumhuriyet" cites the Greek Cypriot
daily "Fileleftheros" interview with Tom Weston, in which
the U.S. Special Coordinator for Cyprus voiced satisfaction
about the attitude of Ankara, and particularly of AKP leader
Erdogan, regarding the Cyprus problem.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq/Turkish parliament's decision


"The Ankara-Washington line for a second decree"
Hasan Cemal wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (3/4): "It seems
that the AKP administration is going through a kind of brain-
storming to determine the best possible atmosphere to re-
introduce the authorization decree to the parliament. There
is speculation about a second decree to be introduced in the
event that certain steps are taken by the Bush
administration with respect to the Turkomen and Iraqi Kurds,
as well as some new economic gestures. Another fact here is
that the Turkish military is unhappy about the denial of
permission by the parliament. . The chances for introducing
a second decree are very small prior to the election in
Siirt province on March 9. Yet the fact of the matter is
that the chances might be completely gone if Washington
closes the door to Turkey."
"A proud yet strategically short-sighted decision"
Erhan Basyurt commented in Islamic-intellectual Zaman (3/4):
"The parliament made a proud decision, yet it also contains
the risk of being short-sighted in terms of Turkey's
strategic interests. The decision validates Turkey's
concerns about northern Iraq. The recent anti-Turkey
demonstrations and other signs indicate that the Iraqi Kurds
will focus more on achieving independence. . It would be
wrong, however, for the government to produce a similar
authorization decree in the short term. Leaving it to the
flow of time and waiting until certain issues are clarified
looks like a more reasonable approach at this stage. In
that respect, Turkish parliamentary approval for the second
decree might be an easier task if the UNSC passes a second
resolution on March 7."


"Who is behind the anti-Turkish sentiment: Kurds or the US?"
Fatih Altayli argued in mass appeal Hurriyet (3/4): "The US
has started playing its `Kurdish card' in an ugly way. It
is the US who deliberately provokes the anti-Turkey
sentiment in northern Iraq. Evidently this is part of US
planning, but the demonstrations went beyond the limits by
burning the Turkish flag. The timing of these events is
worth thinking about. . Oddly enough, the Turkish
parliament's decision prevents an American-Turkish
intervention in northern Iraq, and this is exactly what the
Kurdish groups want. Thus they should be thanking the
Turkish parliament instead of burning the flags. . The US is
playing a dirty game in northern Iraq."


PEARSON

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