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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 04 ANKARA 002865

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, MAY 2, 2003

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


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


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Oklahoma 1995, Bingol 2003: See any difference? - Hurriyet
Earthquake not destiny, but theft allowed by state - Aksam
Child killers in Bingol - Vatan
Crooked contractors stole lives of children - Milliyet
State, once again, under rubble - Aksam
Boarding school of death - Sabah
Scores of children under rubble - Turkiye
Student (12): Please save my schoolmates - Sabah
Greece sends aid again - Milliyet
Aldonas: Turks will be denied Iraqi jobs a lie - Hurriyet
Bush show in USS Lincoln - Milliyet
Turkish, Greek Cypriots celebrate May Day together -
Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
Murder, not earthquake - Cumhuriyet
Earthquake shows organized political murder by politicians,
contractors - Radikal
8-year old: Why did our school collapse? - Zaman
Who killed these children? - Yeni Safak
Mothers mourning, children weeping in Bingol - Yeni Safak
Our neighbor Greece extends a helping hand - Zaman
Greece sends 300,000 Euro in disaster aid - Cumhuriyet
Powell threatens Syria again - Yeni Safak
Bush ends `hot conflict' - Radikal
ONW ends - Radikal
Bloody welcome for Powell in Israel: 18 dead - Zaman
TGS: AKP deliberately stirs tension - Cumhuriyet


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
U.S. $1 billion grant for Turkey tied to loyalty to IMF
program - Dunya
Turkish businessmen want Iraqi natural gas to flow to Europe
via Turkey - Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Earthquake: An 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Turkey's
southeastern town of Bingol early Thursday, claiming 83
lives and injuring 499, papers report. At least 29 students
are reported dead, and 98 are still under the rubble where a
dormitory building housing primary school children
collapsed. Initial reports said cries of children could be
heard from beneath the shattered masonry. All dailies were
in furious agreement that the high death toll was the
outcome of a crime committed by `politicians, bureaucrats
and contractors' who have allowed unlawful construction.
"Radikal" says the boarding school was constructed as an
`election bribe' in 1994. "Hurriyet" compares the
`contractor's crime' that killed many primary school
children to the 1995 bomb attack in Oklahoma which has
claimed 168 lives. In a striking front page layout, the
paper displays photos of rescuers carrying children out of
the rubble of the Oklahoma attack and Bingol quake,
stressing that the results have been exactly the same. The
paper also reminds that Timothy McVeigh was executed in the
States two years ago. The theme equates the
contractors/politician with terrorists - same results.
Greece has been among the first countries to extend a
helping hand to Turkey by sending 300,000 Euros and a 25
strong rescue team to Turkey, reports note. Broadcasters
said on Friday morning that Cochairman of Turkey, U.S.
Caucus, Robert Wexler has applied to the Congress to
consider disaster aid for Turkey.


Iraq: Dailies echo President Bush's remarks announcing the
`end of major conflicts,' and the `beginning of
reconstruction' in Iraq. Reports cite "Newsweek" that Bush
was intending to assign former State Department official
Paul Bremer, a close friend of Secretary Rumsfeld, to
administer post-war Iraq. Papers also quote U.S. Assistant
Secretary of Commerce Grant Aldonas as denying reports that

SIPDIS
Turkish companies would be given no deals in Iraq's
reconstruction. Aldonas said Turkish firms offering
suitable prices with high quality service guarantees would
stand a chance to grab a share as subcontractors, papers
note. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Treasury John Snow said
the American grant of $1 billion for Turkey would be
conditioned to Ankara's adherence to the IMF economic
program. Ankara prefers the grant to be freed of IMF
conditions.


Turkish giants hopeful of Iraqi market: Turkey's leading
business group, Koc Holding Group of Companies' owner Rahmi
Koc said U.S. and British giants would extend business
opportunities to Turkish companies in reconstruction of
Iraq, "Milliyet" says. Koc said his group would get some
construction jobs through its partner the British Balfour
Beatty Co. He added that Ezcacibasi Corp., Turkey's leading
pharmaceutical firm could sell medicine to Iraq at lower
prices than U.S. and UK. Firms.


U.S. Istanbul Consulate compound for lease: "Hurriyet" says
that the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul would be sold
or rented after the Consulate staff moves to its newly built
compound in Istinye. There are many private companies and
institutions interested in the historical complex, but
contrary to press reports ("Milliyet" focusing on a group of
anti-war intellectuals protesting accepting a donation from
America in light of the looting of cultural treasures in
Iraq) on Thursday, Americans were not planning to donate it
to the Istanbul Arts and Culture Foundation, and that the
decision would be made by the U.S. State Department, the
paper underlines.


ONW `nearing end': Operation Northern Watch (ONW)
reconnaissance flights operated from Incirlik AB to
Northern Iraq since the First Gulf War in 1991. ONW was
"deactivated" with a ceremony held at the base on Thursday.
In attendance were Turkey's Air Force Commander Gen. Cumhur
Asparuk and U.S. EUCOM Vice Commander Gen. Charles Wald,
"Radikal" reports. Gen. Wald reportedly said 1400 of the
14,500 troops will remain in the base, indicating Incirlik
will go back to its pre-1991 status.


`Kurds at the table, Turkomans excluded': "Cumhuriyet"
reports that the Turkomans were left out of the group
convoked by the U.S. in Baghdad to establish an interim
government for Iraq. Iraqi Turkoman Front (ITF) complained
that the Turkoman have been offered one seat instead of the
expected six at the committee set up for Kirkuk's
administration. Cumhuriyet worte that the ITC complained
that Kurds have occupied many Turkoman zones including
Kirkuk, attempting to annex it to the illegal Kurdish
administration set up in Irbil and Sulaimanija.


EDITORIAL OPINION:


a) Middle East Roadmap
b) Restructuring Iraq


"Middle East peace"
Erdal Guven wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (5/2):
"The US is very determined not to see a repeat of any 9/11
type events. Thus the roadmap for the Middle East is one of
efforts to prevent this from happening. The Bush
administration formed a Palestine leadership, which is
supposed to comprehend as well as implement the peace plan.
The naming of a new Palestinian PM as well as the isolation
of Arafat are all part of this effort. . However, Arafat's
isolation is not sufficient to bring peace because there are
some other important obstacles, such as Palestinian
fundamentalist organizations and right wing Israeli
political parties. . The concerned parties that are supposed
to take action based on the roadmap are not providing strong
hopes for the future either. Mahmoud Abbas is regarded as a
US puppet and is not viewed as a strong leader by the
Palestinians. As for Sharon, there is no need even to
repeat the list of question marks about him. . The plan
draws a basic framework, yet it fails to provide guidance
for the settlement of the major issues, such as the
Jerusalem issue, ultimate borders and the fate of
Palestinian refugees. The peace in the Middle East is once
again is a very tough mission to accomplish."


"What type of regime in Iraq?"
Sami Kohen noted in mass appeal Milliyet (5/2): "As declared
by President Bush, the military operation part of the Iraq
war has ended. It is now time to rebuild Iraq. The US won
this war rather easily. However as Americans also
acknowledge, winning the peace might be a more difficult
mission to achieve. In this new period, the US has set
three main targets for success. The first is to establish
peace and security in Iraq. The second is to revitalize
Iraq's economy and infrastructure. The third is to
revitalize Iraq's political system, in other words, to
establish a democratic regime, which will unite the people
of Iraq. . Regarding the very last part of the mission,
which is the most difficult one, we keep hearing different
tunes from the US officials. Is Washington really going to
accept an Islamic regime in Iraq if it turns out to be the
choice of the masses? That is the main issue to answer.
Jay Garner is saying that the US will not impose any type of
regime and will respect the people's decision. However,
some other US administration officials, including Secretary
Rumsfeld, state that the US will not allow an Iranian style
regime in Iraq."


PEARSON

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