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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 001974

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
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Surprise $8.5 billion aid from U.S. - Milliyet
Gen. Osman to set up HQ in Silopi - Hurriyet
Bagdad can resist for six months - Sabah
U.S. troops at Baghdad doorstep - Aksam
Desert storm hits U.S., UK troops - Aksam
Barzani: I'm out - Turkiye
Blair: Northern Iraqi Kurds will stay autonomous - Vatan


OPINION MAKERS
80 km to Baghdad - Radikal
Baghdad preparing to resist - Cumhuriyet
Epidemic might hit 100,000 children in Basra - Yeni Safak
Rumsfeld defends his war strategy - Zaman
Ankara: Iraq might turn into another Lebanon - Radikal
NYT urges Perle to resign - Yeni Safak


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Fitch lowers Turkey's grade to B(-) - Dunya
Khalilzad believes aid might be extended to Turkey via IMF -
Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: In a `surprising' change of attitude, say papers, the
White House has offered Turkey $1 billion in grants which
could be used to get loans up to $8.5 billion. The loan
aims to keep Turkey out of Northern Iraq, and to encourage
increased cooperation with the U.S. `The grant might be
jeopardized if Turkey enters Northern Iraq,' an anonymous
U.S. official said. "Vatan" reports about the ongoing
disagreement between the U.S. and Turkey over political and
military issues. The U.S. says Turkish troops should be put
under the command of coalition forces, while Turkey prefers
independent action that would be coordinated with U.S.
troops. "Zaman" carries the U.S. concern that Turkish
troops might be permanently settled in the region. AKP
officials are busy drafting a new motion for cooperation
with the U.S., papers report. According to the motion, the
U.S. will be advised to deploy troops in Northern Iraq
instead of Turkey, and to keep Kurdish groups under control.
On the other hand, Parliamentary Speaker Arinc blamed the
Turkish press on Tuesday for being a mouthpiece for the
Pentagon. `Those who block democracy from prevailing in the
region can't complain of Saddam. The U.S.-UK operation
against Iraq without a UN decision is not legitimate,' Arinc
said. The commander of U.S. special forces in Northern
Iraq, General Henry Osman, said on Tuesday that they would
exert efforts to coordinate humanitarian aid for refugees
and the protection of minorities in the region. "Hurriyet"
claims Gen. Osman is planning to set up his HQ in the
Turkish border town of Silopi. Papers report that the U.S
delivered six search and rescue helicopters and 82
containers of military equipment to Iskenderun port on
Tuesday. The MFA confirmed that the helicopters came for
humanitarian purposes. Most papers asserted that U.S.
personnel are not leaving Turkey. "Turkiye claims that
Washington has been abandoned by allied Kurdish groups. PUK
leader Talabani, engaged in a conflict with Iranian groups
on the border, is trying to avoid fighting with Iraqi
forces. Barzani is reluctant to fight with the Iraqis as
well, saying he does not have sufficient troops or weapons.
U.S. Presidential Envoy Khalilzad had to go to Northern Iraq
to convince Kurdish leaders to be more supportive. The U.S.-
led military campaign might trigger civil war in Iraq, an
anonymous Turkish intelligence source told "Radikal." Kurds
might confront Arabs in the north, and Shiites might attack
Sunnis in the south. That is why Ankara is against U.S.
plans for controlling Kirkuk in cooperation with Talabani,
and sharing control of Mosul with Barzani. Meanwhile, in a
televised press conference from Diyarbakir, TGS Chief
General Ozkok said Wednesday morning that a possible attack
on Turkish troops in Northern Iraq or a flow of refugees
have been Turkey's most serious security concerns. If
Turkish forces present in the region cannot manage to cope
with such threats, Ankara might consider sending additional
troops there, Gen. Ozkok said. `However, our strategic
ally, the United States, is currently engaged in a war in
the region, and we will coordinate our action with the U.S.'
`We do not intend to set up a permanent buffer zone inside
Northern Iraq. If developments reach a certain point, we
won't engage in armed conflict except if needed for self-
defense. Despite all our transparency, some allied
countries' skeptical view of Turkey has deeply affected the
Turkish people. I can't understand those who see a threat
overseas but don't believe Turkey faces the same kind of
threat just across its border,' the General said. Ozkok
also said that `Iraq must be disarmed for the security of
Turkey and the region, but without ridding it of its
capability of self-defense. However, this is neither our
war nor our task. Our foreign policy requires that Iraq's
oil resources should be used by the entire Iraqi nation.'


EDITORIAL OPINION: War in Iraq


"The US in Iraq: An invader or savior?"
Mehmet Barlas argued in mass appeal Sabah (3/26): "Currently
the people of Iraq, regardless of their being pro-Saddam or
not, consider the US army as an invader. The psychology is
much different from that of the days of Desert Storm.
Iraqis were
well aware of their mistake in invading Kuwait. Therefore
the Desert Storm operation did not experience any resistance
on the Iraqi side. . However, the situation is not the same
at present. The US seems to be fighting to capture Iraq
after toppling Saddam. The Iraqis are fighting against the
power that invades their motherland. In the eyes of the
Iraqi people, being saved from Saddam cannot be an excuse
for being invaded by the US. It is clear that once the war
is over and an American victory secured, the US identity in
Iraq will be as `occupying force,' not `savior.'"


"The war and Turkish foreign policy"
Sami Kohen expects some Turkish foreign policy changes
during the post-war era in mass appeal Milliyet (3/26):
"Once the war is over, there will be an immediate impact on
Turkish foreign policy. Given the fact that strategic
relations between Turkey and the US have been damaged, it
remains to be seen whether Turkish foreign policy will
incline more toward the EU side or the Islamic world. . The
Turkish government, as can be seen in a statement by Foreign
Minister Gul, is stressing that the tiff with the US is
completely undesired and has not been created deliberately.
Turkey does not consider EU and the US as alternatives to
each other. .The wise thing to do for the future of Turkish
foreign policy is to pursue efforts to enhance relations
with both the US and the EU. The same argument goes for
other international policy centers as well. Yet the overall
atmosphere in the Iraq war as well as its outcome will shape
the new trends in Turkish foreign policy."


PEARSON

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