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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 001508

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 10, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Erdogan in full power - Milliyet
Erdogan to U.S. envoy: Turkomen problem must be solved -
Sabah
Grossman: Turkey can't enter northern Iraq alone - Aksam 3/8
Grossman surprises Ankara: Can't go to Iraq without decree -
Turkiye 3/8
Jimmy carter: Unjust war - Hurriyet
Blix: No evidence - Vatan 3/8
Irak extradites Kenneth O'Keefe - Hurriyet 3/9
Turkey will reject Annan plan at The Hague - Milliyet 3/9


OPINION MAKERS
Bush disregards world, will strike Iraq without UN -
Cumhuriyet 3/8
Bush: Don't need permission for our security - Radikal 3/8
U.S. stance encourages Kurdish groups - Cumhuriyet 3/9
Turkomen: Northern Iraq might become Bosnia - Yeni Safak
Denktas: The Hague not the last station - Cumhuriyet
Erdogan: Annan deceived us - Radikal
Turkish military buildup, 500 vehicles on Iraqi border -
Zaman 3/8


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
IMF, Turkey bargaining to continue in Washington - Dunya
EU to send 32 million Euro for unemployed - Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Erdogan's path cleared: AKP won all three seats in the Siirt
election, clearing the path for Tayyip Erdogan to assume the
post of Prime Minister. AKP won 84.75 percent of the vote.
There was a 62.31 percent turnout, largely due to the
election boycott by pro-Kurdish DEHAP. President Sezer will
task Erdogan on March 13 or 14 to form a new government,
according to press reports. The new distribution of seats
in parliament is: AKP 365, CHP 177, DYP 2, and 6
independents.


Iraq: Monday's dailies say U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, Robert
Pearson, reminded Erdogan about the U.S. ultimatum to Iraq
to fully disarm by March 17, and urged him to submit a new
decree for deployment of foreign troops in Turkey to the
parliament by that date. Erdogan in turn brought to the
agenda Ankara's concern about the status of the Turkomen,
and asked for solid guarantees against a prospective Kurdish
state in Iraq. Speaking to a TV channel on Sunday, Erdogan
called on the U.S. to take some steps forward which would
enable Ankara to `soften the atmosphere,' and thus convince
renegade deputies. Sunday's papers claim that visiting U.S.
Congressmen pressed Ankara to pass the motion on Monday.
Monday's "Cumhuriyet" reports on the February 8 `secret
agreement' on base modernization between the U.S. and
Turkey. According to the report, the agreement allows for
the transfer of U.S. military personnel to the Southeast,
including the establishment of a logistical base in Mardin,
where 600 American technicians and 200 military personnel
will settle. Sunday's papers highlight parliamentary
speaker Arinc's complaint about the ongoing transfer of U.S.
equipment from the port of Iskenderun to the Southeast. CHP
is about to submit a bill to the parliament requesting a
parliamentary inquiry regarding the U.S. military
mobilization in the region. Saturday's papers report PUK
leader Talabani's representative Barham Salih's meetings
with the MFA on Friday, after which Salih said he received
guarantees from the Turks that northern Iraq will not be
occupied. U/S of State Grossman warned Ankara again on CNN-
Turk on Friday to refrain from intervention in northern
Iraq. Reports highlight Grossman's remarks that the U.S. is
capable of opening a northern front without Turkey's
assistance. Saturday's "Hurriyet" reports on its front page
that Mersin port's operations director Bekir Kucuksahin was
sacked for clearing the port facilities to enable the
unloading of U.S. military equipment from the Panama-flagged
Cec Meridian vessel. Hurriyet says Kucuksahin was sacked by
the harbor management for `weakening their hand' in the
bargaining with Americans about the rental fee. The Cec
Meridian, waiting at the Mersin harbor since March 5, was
not allowed to unload.


Cyprus: AKP leader Erdogan criticized UN Secretary General
Annan on Sunday for `deceiving' Ankara after having promised
changes in the third plan regarding the sovereignty and
migration issues. The changes were allegedly not made. `We
cannot accept the plan in its current shape. However, Turks
will go to The Hague. We will not burn bridges,' Erdogan
said. Denktas flew to The Hague on Sunday to reject the
Annan plan. Meanwhile, 15,000 Turkish Cypriots rallied
against Denktas on Sunday. Turkish Cypriot opposition
parties have decided to boycott the parliament until March
30, and said they would carry out the referendum on the
scheduled date even if the parliament decides against the
Annan proposal.


EDITORIAL OPINION:
a) Iraq/US-Turkey
b) Cyprus


"This is the last week"
Yasemin Congar wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (3/10): "It
seems very unlikely that the war can be stopped at this
stage. The Bush administration is not going to change its
policy, even though the French-led split at the UNSC signals
a potential risk of polarization within the Western world.
It also seems very unlikely that Saddam Hussein will take a
significant step which might change the course of events.
Talking to US officials in Washington, I have come to the
conclusion that nothing can possibly prevent the war. . The
US will use the next couple of days in efforts to convince
the six `undecided' members of the UNSC. There are some
members who clearly stand against a new resolution. Yet the
fact of the matter is that Washington's focus is not on the
opposition at the UNSC anymore, but is more concerned about
the war and post-war possibilities. President Bush is well
aware of the fact that this war is to play a determinative
role in his political future. . The administration in
general is very optimistic about a short and effective war
in Iraq which, as they predict, will lead to a quick
restructuring of Iraq. In the end, they believe, the Iraqis
will treat the US as a savior. The optimism goes even
further. Washington believes that a newly restructured Iraq
will stand as a model to other Arab countries, and that an
Iraq operation will be the way to establish peace and
stability in the Middle East. In the event that this very
optimistic scenario comes true, we might see George Bush as
the new Harry Truman."


"The strategic mistrust between Turkey and the US on the
Kurdish issue"
Ali Aslan writes from Washington in the Islamic-intellectual
Zaman (3/10): "It is interesting to observe the strong
opposition to a Turkish incursion in northern Iraq among
both the `hawks' and `doves' in Washington. The American
press, right after the parliamentary vote, joined the chorus
with a series of articles signaling a potential clash
between Turkey and Kurdish groups. . The strangest part of
the story comes with the fact that in the event of
parliamentary approval, the Turkish military would have been
in northern Iraq anyway. How would those Kurdish groups
with strong anti-Turkish sentiment have reacted then? Most
of these Kurdish leaders take every step by consulting with
Washington first. How could they speak so much against
Turkey? Why is Washington unable to stop them? . Since the
US has assumed the role of Iraq's restructuring, and since
the US is close enough to both the Turks and the Kurds, all
of the potential risks can be eliminated if Washington
handles the events with common sense. That means being
objective and impartial. There is a potential risk of
deepening Turkish-American strategic mistrust in the event
that Washington loses its objectivity."


"Search for a settlement on Cyprus"
Erdal Guven opined in the intellectual-liberal Radikal
(3/10): "The Turkish Cypriot side suffers from a lack of
political will for a solution, and the Greek Cypriot side
demonstrates significant uncertainty about its policy. In
the meantime, the clock is ticking toward the deadline. By
remembering the previously-imposed yet unimplemented
deadlines, we can expect that there might be another date --
March 25, for example -- to reach a settlement. . However,
there is not much hope, at least from the meeting today in
the Hague. . The outcome of the Hague process, as a matter
of fact, will not only affect Cyprus but also will affect a
large number of things, predominantly Turkish-Greek
relations, stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish-
American relations, and Turkish-EU relations. It is a fact
that a mistake during the Hague process will not be easily
corrected."
PEARSON

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