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.

051403Z Mar 03




E.O. 12958: N/A




Erdogan signals a new decree - Hurriyet
Gul: Negotiations with U.S. continue - Hurriyet
U.S. to increase troops in Gulf to 250,000 - Sabah
Bush awaiting Turkey's decision - Milliyet
Bush insists U.S. still hopeful - Turkiye
U.S.: No northern front without Turkey - Aksam
Turkey is cornered on Iraq, EU - Vatan

U.S. gives Stingers, heavy weapons to Kurds - Cumhuriyet
Ankara warns northern Iraqi Kurds - Radikal
Turkish obstacle on the path to war - Yeni Safak
Ankara summit for referendum in Cyprus - Zaman

Tensions ease in markets - Dunya
Iraq war delayed until Spring - Finansal Forum


Iraq: AKP leader Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey could
not afford to remain a passive observer of developments in
Iraq, and signaled that the motion rejected by the
parliament last Saturday would be discussed again soon. U.S.
Ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson, who made a `surprise'
call on Prime Minister Gul on Tuesday, conveyed messages of
hope from President Bush to the Turkish government. Gul
complained to Pearson about insufficient U.S. support, and
demanded a clear response from Washington about the status
of the Turkomen in a post-war Iraq. Ambassador Pearson said
there would be no aid without the approval of U.S. troops,
but added he was hopeful for a second decision. Erdogan's
advisor Cuneyd Zapsu has told American papers that Erdogan
has to strengthen his position in order to convince
lawmakers, and stressed the necessity for new U.S. offers to
Turkey. All papers expect the motion to be discussed by the
parliament in mid-March, after the Siirt by-election on
March 9. Reports see it as possible that the U.S. and
Turkey might work out a new deal with slight changes in the
amount of economic aid and terms of debt repayment.
Comments highlight the fact that after the parliamentary
refusal, the U.S. has started voicing objection to a Turkish
military presence in northern Iraq, and refer to U/S of
State Grossman's warning to Turkey to refrain from
unilateral military action in northern Iraq. "Radikal"
columnist Murat Yetkin talks about how some in the Turkish
Foreign Ministry felt uneasy about Grossman's remarks, which
were interpreted as threatening. Yetkin also points to
Grossman's `evasiveness' when asked by a journalist on
February 23 whether the US would side with the Turks or the
Kurds in the event a choice becomes necessary. Grossman's
response reportedly had a negative impact in the minds of
some parliamentarians. "Milliyet" believes that Turkey's
military is nervous that it may not be able to thwart a new
Kurdish state in Iraq after a war in the absence of an
agreement with the U.S. An Iraqi Kurdish official says that
the U.S. has armed Kurdish military units with Stinger
missiles and heavy weapons in advance of the war on Baghdad,
according to "Cumhuriyet." `This is absolutely a
provocation,' Foreign Minister Yakis said, criticizing Iraqi
Kurds who burned Turkish flags during demonstrations in
northern Iraq on Monday.
Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas arrived in Ankara on
Tuesday for talks on a UN request to hold a public
referendum on March 30 on the revised Annan peace plan to
unite the divided island. Dailies predict tough days for
Denktas as political parties in the Turkish Cypriot sector
as well as the AKP have given a green light to the UN offer.
The EU has told Turkey that full membership in the Union
will be difficult without a solution on Cyprus. `It will be
much more difficult for the EU to begin accession
negotiations with Turkey after May next year, when the Greek
Cypriot side, which is not recognized by Turkey, becomes a
full member of the EU,' said EU enlargement commissioner


"Turkish military is uneasy"
Hasan Cemal analyzed in mass appeal Milliyet (3/5): "The
Turkish military is disturbed by the fact that the
authorization decree (to permit deployment of American
troops in Turkey and Turkish troops in Northern Iraq) was
rejected by the parliament. The military wants to be in
northern Iraq to protect Turkey's national security
interests. With the decree rejected, the Turkish military
presence in northern Iraq has lost its legitimacy. .
Interestingly enough, we keep receiving negative indications
about the Turkish army's intervention in northern Iraq.
Marc Grossman, for instance, emphasized two points as
Washington's view: Turkey should not act unilaterally in
northern Iraq; and Turkey is about to lose its chance to
participate in the Iraq process. . Along with the recent
anti-Turkish demonstrations in the region, we should be able
to read Washington's message as follows: `In the absence of
Turkish permission for a US northern front, the US will not
be helpful to Turkey on northern Iraq.' . Due to these
developments, the Washington-Ankara line for a second
attempt for a parliamentary decision is underway. AKP
leader Erdogan's latest remark to the party members, that
`we cannot afford to sit and watch development' is no

"Bargaining continues"
Zeynep Gurcanli wrote in tabloid Star (3/5): "It is very
realistic to believe that the AKP government is preparing to
sit at the table with the US again, but it will be under
Erdogan's premiership. It is also not a coincidence that
the government imposed additional taxes immediately after
the permission was declined by the parliament. . Most
likely, the second decree will be presented to the
parliament and with the help of Erdogan's pressure upon the
AKP deputies, and it will be accepted with a large majority.
This will also serve Erdogan in his efforts to reclaim his
leadership position. In sum, sooner or later we will see
the American soldiers on Turkish soil."

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