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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 002099

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 31, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
-------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Rumsfeld: Operation plan not mine - Hurriyet
`Civil war' in Pentagon - Milliyet
Iraqi suicide attacks cause panic - Hurriyet 3/31
Al-Qaida might strike in Turkey - Milliyet
`Friendly fire' casualties continue - Milliyet 3/30
Human bombs vs. smart missiles - Sabah
Civilians massacred: 58 dead - Sabah 3/29
Worldwide front against war expanding - Vatan
Khalilzad to Turkomen: Accept Kurdistan - Turkiye
Iran against Turkish presence in N. Iraq - Aksam
`Freedom' massacre: 55 dead, mostly women, children - Aksam
3/29
U.S. remembers Rommell, changes operation plan - Aksam 3/29


OPINION MAKERS
Americans pause for a while - Radikal
Invaders halt ground advance - Cumhuriyet 3/30
6,000 bombs, 675 missiles - Radikal
Second marketplace massacre: 60 dead - Radikal 3/30
War spreading: Suicide bombers in Baghdad - Cumhuriyet
Peshmerges advance on Kirkuk - Cumhuriyet 3/29
Robin Cook: British troops must withdraw - Yeni Safak
4,000 Arab volunteers in Iraq - Zaman
Iraq might become a second Palestine - Zaman 3/30
`Dark ties' obliged Perle to resign - Zaman 2/29


BRIEFING


Iraq: "Cumhuriyet" claims that the U.S. refrained from
signing a formal protocol about coordination with Turkey in
Northern Iraq. U.S. officials believe that a verbal
understanding regarding Iraq's territorial integrity should
be sufficient for Ankara. U.S. Presidential Envoy
Khalilzad's meetings in Ankara will continue on Monday.
Khalilzad told the Turkish side that Northern Iraqi Kurdish
groups welcomed the statement by TGS Chief General Ozkok.
Prime Minister Erdogan assured a German daily that Turkey
has no intention to occupy Northern Iraq. Iranian Foreign
Minister Kharrazi said that Turkey's concerns over Iraq's
territorial integrity are understandable, but that Tehran is
against a Turkish military presence in Northern Iraq,
"Aksam" reports. Meanwhile, Turkey's former president
Suleyman Demirel slammed the AKP government for `damaging
the 50-year old friendship with the U.S. for nothing.'
Demirel said Prime Minister Erdogan's maneuvers proved that
he could not be trusted. He also voiced concern that Turkey
might be blamed for not opening a Northern Front if the war
takes longer than expected and leads to increased
casualties. `Turkey should have joined the international
coalition if it wanted to have a role in Northern Iraq,'
Demirel said. A "Milliyet" front page story claims that Al-
Qaida has been preparing since last November for attacks on
U.S. and Israeli targets in Turkey. The Turkish police have
taken extraordinary security measures to protect foreign
missions and companies, papers report. Dailies report that
Turkish villagers threw stones at a truck convoy carrying
U.S. military equipment from Mardin en route to Incirlik and
Iskenderun. Justice Minister and government Spokesman Cemil
Cicek, an influential figure in the AKP cabinet, said on
Sunday that Turkey should not be blamed for the failure of
Americans in the operation. `Turkey and the U.S. have
different priorities in Northern Iraq; we have no
imperialist goal in the region, and will intervene solely
for humanitarian reasons,' Cicek said. Reports note Ankara
is greatly concerned about the Kurdish peshmerges' advance
on Kirkuk. Sunday's reports say Khalilzad has convinced
Kurdish groups and the Turkomen to attend a meeting with
Turkey and the U.S. in Ankara or the Turkish border town of
Silopi next week. Saturday's dailies say that `fear, pain,
and hatred' reigns in Baghdad following a `second
marketplace killing' by an unidentified missile. The
missile attack claimed about 60 lives. Papers report
growing fear among coalition soldiers after a suicide attack
in Najaf, in which four Americans were killed. Coalition
soldiers have now started shooting at civilian targets
without warning, according to reports.


Court rejects release of DEP members: The State Security
Court (SSC) Friday refused to free four Kurdish Democracy
Party (DEP) parliamentarians jailed nine years ago.
European parliamentarians and human rights activists who
observed the hearing were disappointed by the verdict,
papers report. Turkey was widely criticised for jailing the
four, who won an appeal to the European Court of Human
Rights. The retrial could take many months. Leyla Zana,
Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak, and Orhan Dogan would not normally
be entitled to release for another two years.


EDITORIAL OPINION: War in Iraq


"Did the US stumble?"
Yilmaz Oztuna opined in conservative-mass appeal Turkiye
(3/31): "The ongoing speculation about the US stumbling in
the Iraq war and dragging itself into a Vietnam-like
situation should be watched carefully. Such rhetoric will
not do any good for Turkey or its relations with the US,
because this kind of propaganda stems from ideological
positions. Turkish-American relations as well as the US
superpower role around the world should be taken seriously
and analyzed free of ideological dogma. Otherwise, it will
only distance Turkey further from being a member of the
contemporary civilized club. . However, it is true to a
certain extent that the US has made some tactical mistakes
in its war strategy. It does not matter really at this
point whether the White House or the Pentagon is to blame.
But the fact of the matter is that the US apparently began
the operation without having enough military build-up."


"The miscalculation"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (3/31): "The
coalition force has started to admit that the war is not
moving as it was planned. Even President Bush accepts the
fact that it might take longer than the 2 or 3 weeks to
finish the job. . In spite all the negative factors and
delays, the overall conviction is that the US will win the
war in the end. Even France agrees with this. . It is also
true that the war will take weeks, and maybe months. In
other words, there will be more blood and more tears.
Moreover, it remains to be seen how the different resistance
tactics by Saddam's regime will be countered by the
coalition's undeniably superior military and technological
power. Even when the tide turns in favor of the coalition's
forces, we should still not expect a swift ending. It seems
that winning people's hearts will be harder than winning the
war itself, and will take much more time."


PEARSON

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