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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 002811

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, APRIL 30, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
--------------------


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
US troops attempt to search Red Crescent convoy for arms -
Sabah
Gul to Esad: If the US leaves the region there will be chaos-
Milliyet
US apologizes for Turkish Special team issue-Hurriyet
Bullets against stones: 18 dead in Iraq-Turkiye
Syria wants to open up toward the west through Turkey-Sabah
FM Gul conveys important messages from US to Syria-Hurriyet
Turkey is the mediator between the US and Syria-Star
Doves and Hawks' views will clash at NSC today-Sabah
Government's NSC test-Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
US troops open fire on civilians-Radikal
FM Gul improves relations with Syria-Radikal
Turkey acts as mediator in the Middle-East-Cumhuriyet
Protest against US turned into a massacre-Cumhuriyet
Warm welcome to FM Gul from Syria-Zaman
Economy does not need another NSC crisis-Zaman
Markets closely watch the NSC meeting-Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING


Iraq: "Hurriyet" runs a front page story from last week when
an American officer in Iraq, Colonel Bill Mayville, told
journalists that Turkish special teams trying to smuggle
arms to Kirkuk were caught by US troops and expelled from
Iraq. Ankara rejected the allegations for arm smuggling,
and reiterated that they were security guards responsible
for the security of the Turkish Aid convoy. Ankara further
stated that the US headquarters in Erbil had been notified
about the convoy and the guards, in advance. The incident
caused tension in Ankara, and US Ambassador Robert Pearson
conveyed US administration's apologies to MFA. Moreover, US
General Colby Broadwater passed his regrets to his Turkish
counterparts. Although, FM Gul stated that Turkish special
forces ensure the security for convoys carrying aid to Iraq
from Turkey, last week, a Red Crescent convoy was
accompanied by US troops instead of the Turkish special
forces. This shows that Turkey has stepped back and had
left the responsibility to the Americans. And the Turkish
troops accompany only the convoys carrying logistic needs of
Turkish troops in Northern Iraq. According to "Hurriyet",
after the incident last week, US has asked the Peshmerge
militants to leave Mosul and Kirkuk, and this proves that
the US pays attention to Turkey's complaints about the
Peshmerge militants.


FM Gul Visit to Syria: All papers and TV channels cover
Foreign Minister Gul's day trip to Syria yesterday.
"Milliyet" reports that Gul has offered to mediate between
the US and Syria to defuse the tensions between the two
countries. The Damascus administration gave Gul the green
light to mediate for them, and he has received a warm
welcome from Syria. "Milliyet" notes that Turkey and Syria
have different views about the future of Iraq. Syrian FM
Shara addressed the coalition forces in Iraq as occupiers
and wanted them to leave Iraq immediately. However, FM Gul,
in reply to this statement, said that this would lead to
chaos in the region, and Turkey wanted a broad- based,
democratic government in Iraq.


NSC meeting: All papers report that all eyes - including
the market's - were turned to today's NSC meeting.
"Milliyet" reports that the government will face a test at
today's meeting. Chief of General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok
held a meeting with army officials yesterday evening and
agreed to warn the AKP government to avoid policies
encouraging fundamentalism.


EDITORIAL OPINION:


a) US policy for the post Saddam era
b) SARS epidemic


"The new type of war"
Hadi Uluengin commented in mass appeal Hurriyet (4/30): "A
new type of war began as of September 11, 2001, and the US
is going to pursue this war according to its own ethical
parameters. It may sound a bit odd, but the fact of the
matter is that the US has no imperialist spirit as evidenced
in its history. Historically, imperialism has never taken
root in the US. On the contrary, America has always been
the champion of anti-colonialism. . Yet this policy shifted
a little bit as of the late 19th century due to US policies
in Cuba, Haiti, and the Philippines, which can be described
as a kind of imperialism. However, overall US policy has
generally been defined as `isolationist' as well as `anti-
colonial.' The so-called American imperialism was really
the result of US `realpolitik' forced on the Americans by
the Cold War. Thus, the argument about US imperialism is
inappropriate in the case of Iraq."


"Is Turkey going to wait until SARS hits the country?"
Hakki Devrim noted in liberal-intellectual Radikal (4/30):
"Turkey is preoccupied with its internal political debates
and angst, and all eyes are watching the upcoming National
Security Council meeting to see the nature of the tiff
between ruling politicians and the military over the
secularism issue. However, there is a very important issue
that we tend to ignore. Scientists are warning us about the
SARS epidemic, which might infect up to 1 billion human
beings around the globe over the next year. . Now is the
very time to categorize the countries around the world,
noting those that are taking sensible and immediate
precautions, and the others which are avoiding the reality.
. Observing press coverage as well as reactions from health
specialists, I am not optimistic about Turkey's record.
There is no sign of panic or even worry. Are we going to
take action only after the epidemic hits the nation? I
wonder."


PEARSON

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