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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 001461

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
THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2003

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Military Decree-Hurriyet
TGS Chief Ozkok Supports the Decree-Sabah
Gen.Ozkok: We share view of the Government regarding the
decree-Turkiye
Approval from the military for a Northern Front-Aksam
Gen.Ozkok: The worst alternative is to remain out of
developments-Milliyet
Denktas will go to The Hague to say No-Milliyet
Denktas: Annan Plan Can Not be completed by March 30-
Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS
5 Historic Messages from TGS Chief Ozkok-Zaman
Triple Veto to the US-Yeni Safak
Does the US Know Something We don't?-Radikal
Support for the Government from the Military-Cumhuriyet
Denktas: Annan Plan is a Fait Accompli


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Morale boost to the Markets by General Ozkok-Finansal Forum
PM Gul: Iraq Should increase Cooperation with the UN-Dunya


BRIEFING


Iraq: Turkish Chief of General Staff Hilmi Ozkok expressed
full support for the operational plans that were rejected by
the parliament last weekend. General Ozkok clarified
charges that `the Turkish military is not supporting the
northern front option at this stage' by saying `the Turkish
military's view is the same as that expressed in the
authorization decree.' The General's statement became the
headline story in every Turkish paper. He approached the
Iraq issue as follows: "The Turkish military is also against
the war, but we should act realistically and take the side
of the US in the name of national interests and to
compensate Turkey's losses." General Ozkok also emphasized
that staying out of the inevitable war will only ensure that
Turkey will not receive any compensation for its losses and
will prevent Turkey from having a say in the post-war
period.


General Ozkok's remarks were well-received by the AKP
government. AKP party officials commented that the
clarification of the military's position on the issue will
be very helpful in passing the authorization decree from the
parliament. The timing of the second decision from
parliament receives a lot of speculation in the Turkish
press. Papers mostly have reached a consensus that the
issue will be taken up by the new government right after the
March 9 special election, under Tayyip Erdogan's
premiership. There is no set date for this action, however,
and Erdogan said that the party will wait to see a second
UNSC resolution as part of the evaluation process.


Stories also highlight that markets are calm now as the
Turkish parliamentary approval is expected following the
announcement of support by the military. "Radikal" features
the continuing base modernization efforts on Turkish bases
and ports, and asks the readers: "The US is continuing its
efforts and military work in spite of the Turkish rejection
of troop deployments. Is there something the US knows that
we don't?" A story in "Radikal" talks about MFA work on
minor revisions to the current authorization decree, which
might reduce the duration for U.S. troops from 6 to 3
months, and decrease the number of American soldiers in
Turkey. In the meantime, "Hurriyet" carries an analysis
highlighting the dialogue between Turkey and the US. There
is even an alternate plan in the absence of Turkish approval
for US ground troops, "Hurriyet" writes. The story claims
that Ambassador Pearson mentioned to Prime Minister Gul the
possible use of air bases only. Depending of the outcome of
the Turkish-American dialogue, Ankara might host a
delegation from the State Department next week.


"Yeni Safak" writes that due to the Turkish parliament's
denial of permission for US ground troops, the Bush
administration is sending a Congressional delegation headed
by Representative Wexler to Turkey for a series of high-
level appointments. The story reminds readers that Wexler
was among the group of 38 congressmen who wrote a letter to
PM Gul asking Turkey to approve the deployment of ground
troops on Turkish soil.


Cyprus: "Milliyet" reports that Denktas arrived in Ankara
for meetings with Turkish officials prior to his trip to the
Hague. Denktas will hold a summit meeting today at the
Presidential Palace with Turkish officials to discuss the
revised Annan plan and the `March 30 Referandum offer.'
Responding to questions of journalists yesterday, Annan was
quoted as saying that `The new plan is a fait accompli.
Annan told us to go to the Hague whether we have a positive
or negative response. Therefore, I am going to the Hague to
say `no' and to explain the reasons for it.' Meanwhile,
"Milliyet" reports that during his meetings in Ankara,
Denktas will exert efforts to secure support for the
economic aid package. Denktas says that the goal of the
package is to give support to Turkish Cypriot youth. It is
reported that Denktas will meet with parliamentary speaker
Arinc and with PM Gul. He will also address the parliament.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Washington's calendar"
Cengiz Candar of conservative "Dunden Bugune Tercuman"
details the timing of the US operation plans (3/6): "The
latest information coming from General Myers shows that the
upcoming Iraq operation, from the standpoint of military
tactics, will be very different from the Gulf war. . Leaked
information indicates that 3,000 guided missiles will begin
the strike, followed in 48 hours by a massive air
bombardment and an immediate ground operation. General
Myers confirmed the use of a northern front, which will
happen with or without Turkey. . Currently the number of US
troops stationed in the Gulf is 200,000. This force will be
enhanced with an additional 60,000 now on their way to the
region. Myers is now ready to take the action, and is
waiting for the order from President Bush. The order could
come at any time. General Tommy Franks has already presented
the final plan to President Bush. Washington sources tell
me that next week the US will declare a 2 or 3-day deadline
to Saddam Hussein. During that period, the UN inspectors
and the press corps will be able to leave the country so
that the operation can begin sometime between March 12 and
13. Based on this calendar, we can conclude that the US
might not even wait for the second decree to be presented
for Turkish parliamentary approval."


"Clarification of the goals"
Sami Kohen analyzed in mass appeal Milliyet (3/6):
"According to recent statements coming from Iraqi opposition
figures, their main goal is to preserve Iraq's territorial
integrity and form a democratic and federal structure.
Seeking to address Turkish concerns, they are also denying
any intention of establishing an independent Kurdish state.
It is now Ankara's turn to clarify what are the acceptable
and unacceptable limits in Iraq for Turkey during the post-
Saddam era. This should be a very clear message. We all
know well Turkey's objection to an independent state.
However, the Turkish policy on a federal structure in Iraq
requires clarification. . Ankara should formulate a policy
based on realistic assessments. During this assessment
procedure, it is absolutely necessary to maintain channels
of dialogue with Kurdish and other Iraqi groups so that
there will be no more misunderstandings."


PEARSON

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