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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 002059

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 28, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Bush: We will fight until Saddam is removed - Hurriyet
Powell blames Rumsfeld for failure in operation - Turkiye
Warm messages by Wolfowitz - Milliyet
War might take months - Aksam
U.S., UK urge UN to provide Iraq food for oil - Sabah
People dying while Bush, Blair enjoy themselves - Vatan
Saddam sends teenagers to the front - Milliyet
Robert Fisk: `Saviors' burn people alive - Vatan


OPINION MAKERS
U.S. dream of `fast result' shattered in a week - Radikal
1000 U.S. paratroopers in N. Iraq - Radikal
Gen. Ozkok's N. Iraq statement relieves U.S., Kurds -
Cumhuriyet
Fierce Shiite, tribal resistance toughens invasion plans -
Yeni Safak
Desert storm, mud weaken U.S., UK troops - Zaman
`Friendly fire' kills U.S., UK troops - Cumhuriyet
U.S. to get lion's share in post-war contracts - Yeni Safak
U.S., UK fight over Iraq's riches - Zaman
Hackers put U.S. flag on Al-Jazeera webpage - Zaman


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
Powell lobbies for Turkey at Congress - Dunya
U.S. doesn't want UN involved in post-war Iraq - Finansal
Forum


BRIEFING


War on Iraq: Dailies report that the U.S. has landed
military equipment and about 1,000 paratroopers in Northern
Iraq, an action regarded as a move to open the North Front
against Baghdad. Papers speculate that U.S. forces will
march on Baghdad from the north within one month.
"Cumhuriyet" reports that Secretary Rumsfeld stressed that
the landing should be seen as an action that will assure
that Iraq remains intact. Iranian Foreign Minister Kharrazi
phoned his Turkish counterpart on Wednesday to explore
possibilities for cooperation to cope with a possible
refugee crisis. "Radikal" reports that Prime Minister
Erdogan is complaining about ongoing pressure for deployment
of U.S. troops in Turkey, but said that his government would
not yield to pressure. Papers also report that Spanish
Foreign Minister Palacio `threatened' Turkey, saying that
Spain would consider new policies toward Ankara on certain
issues if Turkey deploys troops in Northern Iraq. The
National Security Council (NSC) will convene on Friday to
discuss the war and developments in Iraq. The NSC will
evaluate anti-Turkish sentiment in the U.S. and Europe over
alleged secret Turkish deployment plans for Northern Iraq,
and will shape a policy to counter such accusations. Press
op-eds predict that the U.S. will ask for full cooperation
from Turkey if coalition forces continue to have trouble in
Iraq. The Americans blame Turkey for their failure thus
far, but at the same time recognize that launching the
attack without Turkey's support has been a mistake,
according to the reports. Papers report Deputy Secretary of
Defense Wolfowitz saying at a House of Representatives
hearing that Turkey has suffered financial loss by denying
access to U.S. troops, but could still realize economic
gains in the medium term. Wolfowitz defended the $8.5
billion financial aid proposal for Turkey, stressing that
Ankara has contributed a great deal by granting
unconditional overflight rights to coalition aircraft. Iraq
will be a highly profitable market for Turkey once things
become normalized, Wolfowitz added. Papers also report
SecState Powell's defense of Turkey at a House
Appropriations Committee hearing. Powell praised the GOT
for taking the `troops decree' to parliament on March 1
despite public opposition. Meanwhile NGOs, unions, and
political parties rallied in Istanbul Thursday to protest
the war in Iraq.


Retrial of jailed Kurdish politicians: A State Security
Court (SSC) on Friday began the retrial of four Kurdish
politicians of the closed Democracy Party (DEP), who have
been in jail for the past nine years. The four former
parliamentarians - Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Orhan Dogan and
Selim Sadak - were given 15-year jail sentences in 1994 for
alleged links to the outlawed PKK. Zana had caused tension
in parliament by taking part of her oath in Kurdish. EU
observers, journalists, and human rights activists are
expected to observe the hearings.


EDITORIAL OPINION: War in Iraq


"From Vietnam to Iraq"
Hincal Uluc commented in mass appeal Sabah (3/28): "Anyone
who wishes for a `humanitarian' war is living in a fantasy
world. There is no such thing as a humanitarian war. The
US should hasten to finish the job in Iraq, yet it seems
impossible because of the failure of its early-stage
planning and predictions. . US intelligence has obviously
failed in the Iraq war, so the American administration is
now sending positive messages to Ankara once again. . The
failure of the American war strategy, based on faulty
intelligence, has deadlocked for the US administration. The
only way to capture Iraq is to wipe out the capital city.
The US is capable of doing that with its military
technology. The question is how to make this digestable to
the American public and to the world. . On the other hand,
Saddam's war strategy is based on defending Baghdad until
the bitter end, and US forces should expect strong
resistance there. Baghdad will be the most challenging part
of the war. Given factors such as the climate and Iraqi
resistance, the longer the battle for Baghdad lasts, the
more the Bush administration will suffer politically. It
may even lead to events which could signal the end of the
Bush era."


"Losing by winning"
Fatih Altayli argued in mass appeal Hurriyet (3/28): "In a
war situation, the time factor always poses disadvantages to
the occupying force. . Another vital factor for the
occupying force is to be able to capture the main target at
the peak point of the war. In the Iraq war, this means
capturing Baghdad. This has not yet happened. Evidently
the US does not have enough forces to pursue this peak point
yet. The CentCom Command is now asking for an additional
three brigades, which will take time. This will favor the
Iraqi regime. The time factor is creating a dilemma for US
forces. The only way to eliminate the time risk is to
conduct the battle with increased rage and violence.
However, this option would only create another obstacle for
the US by outraging the people of Iraq and the world. It
seems that although the US may win the war, it will be on
the losing side in the longer run. As for Iraq, it has been
on the losing side ever since Saddam began ruling the
country."


PEARSON

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