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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 001477

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
FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2003

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
U.S. to northern front before parliamentary approval - Sabah
300 Turkish military vehicles in northern Iraq - Hurriyet
Gen. Franks: Turk, Kurd clash possible in northern Iraq -
Milliyet
Arinc, too, issues call for the decree - Aksam
Rumsfeld: Agreement with Turkey in any case - Turkiye
Barzani authorizes peshmerges to resist Turks - Vatan
Turkey, Denktas agree to reject Annan plan - Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS
U.S. military buildup on Iraqi border - Radikal
Abramowitz: Lasting damage in bilateral relations if decree
rejected - Zaman
Full support to Denktas, `No' to Annan plan - Cumhuriyet
Annan plan couldn't pass the presidency hurdle - Yeni Safak


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
TUSIAD report questions Turkey, U.S. strategic partnership -
Dunya
China joins France, Germany, Russia against U.S. - Finansal
Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: "Hurriyet" reports that 300 Turkish military vehicles
went to northern Iraq through the Habur border gate. After
a four-day break following the parliamentary refusal of
deployment of foreign troops in Turkey, the U.S. has resumed
transfer of troops to the Iraqi border. The U.S. is
planning to set up a logistical center in Mardin, an
operation center in Diyarbakir, and a coordination center in
Ankara. In a `sudden' change of position, papers report,
Parliamentary Speaker Arinc said on Thursday that approval
of a new motion for deployment of foreign troops would not
harm the parliament's prestige. `Those who want peace
should be ready for war,' Arinc said. "Milliyet" quotes
General Tommy Franks as saying that U.S. troops would do
their best to prevent a possible armed conflict between
Turkish troops and Kurdish peshmerges in northern Iraq. A
recent opinion poll conducted in 18 Turkish urban areas
among 1697 respondents showed 84.2 percent against a war.
82.7 percent opposed to transfer of U.S. troops to northern
Iraq via Turkey, and 85 percent objected to opening bases
and ports to foreigners. 88 percent believe the Turkish
military should not engage in armed clashes with the Iraqi
army, but merely protect national borders.


Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas came met with top-
level Turkish officials at the Presidency on Thursday to
assess a common policy before the March 10 meeting with UN
Secretary General Annan and Greek Cypriot President

SIPDIS
Papadopoulos in The Hague. All papers believe that Denktas
and the Turks have decided to reject the Annan proposal that
the Cyprus plan be taken to referendum even without a signed
agreement. The President's spokesman said after the summit
that the UN plan was far from meeting Turkish expectations.
Denktas held a meeting with AKP leader Erdogan before the
summit. The lack of an agreement on Cyprus would be the
largest obstacle on Turkey's path to EU membership, Erdogan
said after the meeting. Papers report that a rally will be
staged on Friday in the Turkish Cypriot sector against the
UN plan. Denktas is expected to deliver a speech during the
demonstration.


Siirt special election: AKP leader Erdogan will likely win a
parliamentary seat in Sunday's special election in the Siirt
province, and will assume the prime ministry now that his
political ban has been overturned. Leaders of the
influential Nakhsibendi sect in Siirt have voiced open
support to Erdogan, saying that Siirt would benefit from
having Erdogan, the leader of a strong government, as its
deputy.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"The Chain of mistakes by the US"
Sedat Ergin analyzes US cooperation with Turkey on the Iraq
process and notes where the US has gone wrong, in the mass
appeal Hurriyet (3/7): "There are mistakes of the AKP
administration at issue here, but there are also certain
mistakes or oversights which are directly Washington's
responsibility. . When Assistant Secretary of Defense
Wolfowitz first visited Ankara to express Washington's
determination about Iraq, Turkey was going through a period
of political turmoil. Prime Minister Ecevit was having
serious health problems, and his party was on the verge of
dissolving. One of the coalition leaders was calling for
early elections. Despite the turmoil, Washington somehow
felt confident of having convinced Turkey to cooperate in
any possible military operation. Washington did not
hesitate to start a dialogue about war preparations with the
Ecevit government, despite prospects that the AKP would win
the election . Two weeks prior to the early elections, the
Pentagon presented to Turkey a list of military demands.
Ecevit gave no response, and the new government that was
swept to power in the elections was lacking experience in
handling state affairs. Washington also miscalculated about
the AKP's political roots by not taking into account
probable difficulties in securing cooperation from a party
with an Islamist tradition. The US ignored the possibility
of AKP's strong opposition to the war. . Washington did not
see the fact that the vast majority of the Turkish public
was not convinced at all about the reasons for using a
military option against Iraq. The US failed to see the fact
that the memory of the problems created by the Gulf War --
terrorism and economic losses -- was very much alive in the
minds of the Turkish people. Evidently the Bush
administration ignored Turkey's sensitivities as part of its
`We, the ruler of the world' mood. . When Washington asked
for the deployment of a colossal number of American soldiers
on Turkish soil, i.e. 90,000, they failed to anticipate the
negative psychological impact on the Turkish people. The US
acted with a presumption that it was possible to force
Turkey to accept all the demands, and ignored the need for
flexibility in a diplomatic bargaining process. The pressure
exerted by the US on Turkey in the last two months really
pushed the limits of the relationship between the two
strategic partners. Turkey was upset because of frequent US
threats to implement a plan B. In reality, that did not
happen and the US did not change the route of its aircraft
carriers. . The US failed to meet Turkey's economic,
political and military concerns in a timely manner. The
belated action on the US side to meet those demands or to
answer the worries was another mistake on the American side.
The US side made a serious tactical mistake by blocking the
bargain with Turkey because of disagreements on minor
issues. The American media was criticizing Turkey for
bargaining too hard, but at the same time US officials
pressed for days about buying oil at Turkey's discounted
price."


"Second decree"
Hasan Cemal opined in mass appeal Milliyet (3/7): "Turkey
deserves a much better state-affairs handling. Every organ
of the state structure has its share of responsibility.
First and foremost, it goes to the government of course.
Turkey is going through the most critical period of its
history since the Turkish republic was founded. Let's make
an effort and see the whole picture, not bits and pieces.
Take the Iraq issue: It is not only an issue for the Iraqi
Kurds, but it also concerns the Turkish Kurds, Turkey's
integrity, Turkish democracy and economy as well as the
future of Turkey's relations with the US. Take the Cyprus
issue: It is not only an issue for the Cypriots, but is a
concern about Turkey's relations with the EU as well as its
connection with the West. At this critical stage, the
second decree (allowing US soldiers in Turkish soil) becomes
even more important."


PEARSON

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