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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 001809

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 20, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Baghdad's bombing dawn - Hurriyet
Bush: Victory or Nothing - Hurriyet
First missiles target Saddam, commanders - Hurriyet
. and U.S. strikes - Milliyet
First missiles to Baghdad, Basra at dawn - Milliyet
Delta force in Baghdad - Milliyet
Bush: Bring me [Saddam's] head - Sabah
Bush penalizes AKP: No $ 6 billion - Sabah
U.S. sends home Incirlik personnel families - Turkiye
Iraqi minister: Death will welcome U.S., UK troops here -
Turkiye
U.S. won't give up Northern Front - Aksam
U.S. increases psychological pressure: 2 million flyers for
Iraqi troops - Vatan


OPINION MAKERS
U.S. troops enter Iraq, B-Plan up - Zaman
300,000 U.S., UK troops besiege Iraq - Cumhuriyet
New decree: No access to Incirlik AB - Cumhuriyet
Bush, Blair, Aznar: Sunken sailors - Yeni Safak
Saddam's time up - Radikal
Kurds flee to Turkey, Turks flee to west - Radikal
U.S.: No money for air corridor - Zaman


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Markets take war position - Dunya
30,000 Northern Iraqis flee to Turkey, Iran - Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Today's late edition papers report that senior Iraqi
leadership - Saddam, his sons and four commanders were
targeted by the operation launched at 04.33 a.m. local time.
Downtown Baghdad was not targeted, papers report and quote
President Bush as saying `We do not accept any outcome but
victory. Civilians will not be hurt.' Al papers report
that 150,000 U.S. and UK troops have entered the
demilitarized zone on the Kuwaiti border before the
ultimatum to Saddam expired, papers say. President Bush has
decided to launch the operation earlier after receiving from
the Pentagon information that whereabouts of Saddam and his
top aides had been located. President Bush is concerned
that the operation `might be tougher than estimated, and
take longer,' reports say. A limited number of cruise
missiles were used to target the Iraqi leadership. The
Americans were careful to inflict minimum damage on Baghdad,
papers quote international broadcasters' reporting.
"Milliyet" reports that commanders of the U.S. troops
deployed in Kuwait were keeping up the spirits of their
soldiers by encouraging them to put up `a proud fight.'
`Iraqis are a decent nation, respect them. Don't question
why you are here. You'll be welcomed as `good boys' when
you reach the North. Do your job and go back home. God is
with you,' American commanders reportedly said.


Mainstream papers criticize the AKP government's
indecisiveness regarding the Iraq crisis which, they
believe, has incurred significant political, economic and
military risk for the country. Turkey has failed to
guarantee a chair for the Turkomen in the post-war Iraq
administration, has been deprived of the right to a military
presence in Northern Iraq, and has missed the chance of $26
billion of U.S. aid, they stress. Concerned about the
looming war, Ankara was readying to give the nod to the U.S.
However, President Bush rejected further Turkish demands and
rejected Turkey's opening its soil for U.S. troops by saying
it was `too late,' papers emphasize. Erdogan has suffered a
heavy defeat in his first test. Papers say that the U.S.
punished the AKP government. "Hurriyet" says the U.S. and
Turkey have agreed that Turkish troops will enter Northern
Iraq to halt a possible wave of refugees, and that aircraft
belonging to the U.S.-led coalition will be given overflight
rights, but U.S. troops will not be stationed in Turkey.
The paper slams the government for failing to reach a
profitable agreement and then caving in to U.S. demands for
overflight. "Aksam" highlights remarks by U/S State
Grossman saying that the U.S. could extend a compensation
fee to Turkey if the GOT takes steps forward after the
decree is approved. Aksam draws attention to the
considerable amount of Turkish land rented by Americans on
the Iraqi border, and the ongoing military equipment
transport to the border provinces. The paper sees this as
indicative of long term U.S. plans regarding Iraq. A
government decree granting a six months access to Turkish
airspace for the U.S.-led coalition aircraft is to be sent
to the parliament on Wednesday. The motion would authorize
temporary Turkish military presence in Northern Iraq to
control refugees and prevent activities of the separatist
Kurdish group PKK/KADEK. Once the air corridor is opened to
coalition planes, ONW flights will be suspended, reports
say.


EDITORIAL OPINION: The War on Iraq


"Possibility for change"
Murat Yetkin lists the disadvantages due to Turkish
government's belated act in liberal-intellectual Radikal
(3/20): "The crisis management of the AKP government
presented a failure. It seems Ankara did not realize the
change of tone in Washington. While the AKP government
engaged in bargaining plans for additional financial aid
with Washington prior to the parliament's authorization,
Secretary Powell, by asking only permission for the

SIPDIS
overflights, closed the door for economic aid. . In sum,
the government acted like an amateur player who shows the
cards in his hand to the other side. . At this point, Turkey
cannot afford to decline the US request for overflight
because this will only pose a heavy blow on the Turkish-
American ties for the last 50 years. The current picture
can be depicted as follows:
- The US has given up the northern front option from Turkey.
The ongoing site modernization might be used for possible
humanitarian reasons or rescue operations.
- There are conflicting statements about the Turkish
presence in northern Iraq. Turkish government sources say
that in exchange for the overflight permission, Secretary
Powell accepted in principle the Turkish military presence
in northern Iraq. However, the American sources say that
Turkish incursion into northern Iraq should only be for the
humanitarian purposes and carried away with non-combating
troops. It seems the basic worries earlier expressed by the
Turkish Chief of General Staff General Staff General are
happening.
- The government says that the agreement for political and
military cooperation with the US remains valid, but the
recent agreement reached with the Iraqi opposition looks
like something written on ice.
- The government announced that Washington was going to make
a statement for economic support, and it was in fact a three-
paragraph statement issued by the US Embassy in Ankara. The
US just repeated the stereotype rhetorical support for
Turkey and that it would continue as long as the economic
program is implemented. Hopes for up to $24 billion American
loans for Turkey however faded away. . According to the
Ankara observers, lots of things can change prior to the
debate on allowing overflights and the vote in the
parliament."


"It is too late for Turkey"
Yalcin Dogan notes that Turkey cannot be a part of the
northern front even if it wants to be, in the mass appeal
Hurriyet (3/20): "Even if Turkey grants the necessary
permission, the transfer of US troops from Turkey to
northern Iraq will take at least two weeks. Because of the
lateness in the action, the US seems not consider such
possibility as an option any more. With the exception of
overflight permission, the authorization for the deployment
of troops or their transit movement from Turkish soil will
not do any good to the US, militarily speaking. Oddly
enough, the AKP government is not aware of this fact, and
still tries to bargain with the US. . As clearly seen at the
ATC meetings, the Washington administration is being
extremely distant to Ankara. In fact, Washington is making
fun of the AKP government. The government might be faced
with immediate consequences on April 24 ("Armenian Genocide"
Day). Let's not be surprised at all if the Congress
suddenly decides to pass the Armenian resolution."
PEARSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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