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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 001946

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
TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Gen. Ozkok tours leaders for national consensus - Hurriyet
Gen. Ozkok: No hurry for Northern Iraq - Sabah
U.S. troops toward Baghdad swamp - Milliyet
U.S. puzzled by unexpected resistance - Turkiye
Medical crisis in Baghdad - Turkiye
Americans debate U.S. war strategy - Hurriyet
Black Oscars - Aksam


OPINION MAKERS
Northern Front opened by Kurds - Radikal
Iraqi towns closed to U.S. troops - Radikal
Saddam urges Iraqis to resist - Yeni Safak
Guerrilla warfare slows down U.S. troops - Zaman
U.S., UK suffer heavy casualties - Cumhuriyet
Oscar ceremony: Shame on you, Bush! - Cumhuriyet


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
TOBB to government: Turkey must sit at Iraq negotiating
table - Dunya
Government to pursue tight fiscal policy - Finansal Forum
Nightmare returns: US$ to TL1.8 million, interest rates 75
percent - Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: Dailies draw attention to TGS Chief General Ozkok's
remarks that the Turkish military sees no urgent need to
enter Northern Iraq, but might do so at an appropriate time.
Gen. Ozkok and army commanders called on Prime Minister
Erdogan and opposition leader Baykal on Monday. The
meetings came after Erdogan and Baykal issued statements
urging intervention in the region. Ozkok reportedly said
that deploying Turkish troops despite warnings by the U.S.
would be perceived as declaration of war on the U.S.-led
coalition. According to papers, the military believes that
the U.S. might seek cooperation with Turkey to avoid
problems encountered on the Southern Front, that a Turkish
air corridor might be used to transfer troops to Northern
Iraq, that the U.S. might need Turkish military support to
place heavy weapons in Northern Iraq, and that the U.S. may
seek the use of Turkish airbases. Military commanders see
an incursion into Iraq as unnecessary for the time being,
but they say that deployment of a peacekeeping force might
be considered. General Ozkok is expected to hold a press
conference in the border town of Silopi on Tuesday (Note:
the press conference was subsequently canceled and
rescheduled for tomorrow in Diyarbakir. End note.)
"Radikal" reports an anonymous high-level government
official as saying that a new motion for cooperation with
the U.S. might be in the offing. The U.S. conveyed to
Turkey on Sunday a request for access to Turkish bases --
namely Incirlik, Diyarbakir, Batman, and Malatya -- and the
government and TGS are examining the technical aspects of
the issue. Papers report that U.S. envoy for Iraq Khalilzad
and General Colby Broadwater held meetings with MFA
officials to discuss the conditions for Turkish military
action in Northern Iraq. Khalilzad said that the U.S. would
not object to `cooperating' with Turkish military action in
the region. He warned Turkey not to set up closed security
zones that would give the impression of military occupation,
and insisted that any troops be withdrawn as soon as the
refugee and security threats are over. Kurdish groups are
against such a deal between the U.S. and Turkey, and the
search for an acceptable agreement continues. Greek Foreign
Minister Papandreou said Iraq's neighbors should not get
involved in the war, while a Greek government spokesman
voiced Athens' concern about Turkish efforts to `occupy
Northern Iraq.' In a front page story, "Radikal" says that
U.S. forces are landing in Northern Iraq to fight together
with KDP peshmerge stationed near Mosul, and PUK fighters
near Kirkuk.


JP Morgan on Turkey: "Hurriyet" carries a JP Morgan
investment report claiming that Turkey has sufficient
resources to handle its debt repayment in the next six
months without U.S. financial assistance. The report
estimates one percent growth for Turkey in 2003, and three
percent in 2004, and stresses that the AKP government still
has a chance to secure macroeconomic and structural
discipline. JP Morgan also warned that a possible 25
decrease in tourism revenues and border trade due to the
Iraqi war might adversely affect the 2003 growth target.


EDITORIAL OPINION: War in Iraq


"Law is patience"
Oktay Eksi wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (3/25): "President
Bush calls on the Iraqi regime to comply with the Geneva
Conventions on treatment of POWs. He is very right by
referring to the Geneva Conventions on this issue. Yet
something is just not right. President Bush remains at the
top of the list of `leaders who blatantly violate
international law.' However, he now calls on others to
comply with international law and regulations. . One
wonders if the Geneva Conventions are binding for Iraq and
not for the US."


"Shock and horror"
Erhan Basyurt wrote in the Islamic-intellectual Zaman
(3/25): "The US operation in Iraq has been named `shock and
horror.' However, the course of the action shows that the
`shock' part went to the coalition forces due to an
unexpectedly stiff resistance. . There are two major
reasons why the Iraqis resist despite the US intention of
freeing the Iraqi people and bring democracy. The US
conducted a well-prepared psychological war campaign in the
media prior to the operation, but none of the messages got
through to the people of Iraq. A people living without
satellite dishes or internet access does not know anything
about the real world. The Iraqis still believe that they
are fighting against British colonial forces, which they
fought for independence, or against the new superpower,
which is after oil. It seems that Saddam's regime has
successfully managed to inject this psychology into the
minds of the Iraqi people."


"Northern Iraq"
Sami Kohen noted in mass appeal Milliyet (3/25): "The
northern Iraq issue has become a problem not only for
Turkey, but also on the international agenda. . In an effort
to clarify misunderstandings, Turkey should be persuasive
and clear about its long-term policies in northern Iraq.
Turkey's insistence on deploying troops in northern Iraq is
interpreted as part of an effort to control the Kurds. .
There is speculation about Turkey's strategy for the Kurds
in the region, with some saying that Turkey would not object
to a federal structure where Iraqi Kurds can enjoy a certain
degree of autonomy. We just don't know whether this is true
or not, however, because the northern Iraq issue has not
been clarified by Ankara policy-makers."


PEARSON

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