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.




E.O. 12958: N/A
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2003




`Belated' condolences by President Bush - Hurriyet
Earthquake victims, furious, clash with police - Hurriyet
Rumsfeld took a 4.5 hour rest in Incirlik AB - Hurriyet
Rumsfeld stopped over Incirlik without a `Hello' to Ankara -
Hurriyet 5/4
Powell brings five conditions for Damascus - Aksam
Bush: We'll eventually find Iraqi WMD - Sabah
Iraqi Shiites: Americans must leave - Sabah
U.S. to erase Iraq's international debt - Aksam
A Turkish FM in Rhodes after 15 years - Turkiye
EU signals 2004 for Turkey - Sabah
Gul: Turkey might recognize Greek Cypriot administration -
Milliyet 5/4
Gul shook hands with Greek Cypriot counterpart - Aksam 5/4
Blair's Iraq policy brings Labour defeat in local election -
Vatan 5/3

Washington closely follows Damascus - Zaman
Powell: Syria closed some anti-Israeli groups' offices -
Zaman 5/4
Damascus gives a reluctant promise to Powell - Radikal 5/4
36 Turkish firms to Iraq's rebuilding meeting in U.S. -
Zaman 5/4
Britain haven for fundamentalist terror - Cumhuriyet
EU friendship in Mediterranean - Radikal 5/4
Nicosia uneasy with Greek Cypriots flowing north - Radikal
De Soto: I'm a true fan of Denktas - Zaman
TOBB warns AKP for governance mistakes - Cumhuriyet 5/4

Turkey can become distribution center for natural gas to
Europe - Dunya
IMF cripples Turkey's earthquake budget - Finansal Forum


Bingol earthquake: Weekend papers praise the swift action
taken by rescue teams in Bingol earthquake, but strongly
criticize the government's inefficiency in crisis
management. The provincial governor was the focus of
protests that turned into riots on Friday by locals
complaining of slow food and tent distribution in the
disaster area, papers report. Officials stated that rescue
operations in the wreckage have come to an end. The
earthquake struck the eastern province of Bingol early on
Thursday, killing at least 167, including 84 boys and one
teacher at the state-run school. The government promised a
full investigation into allegations that the school
dormitory had been shoddily built by corrupt contractors.
Monday papers carry President Bush's earthquake message to
Turkey, in which the President offered American nation's
condolences and stressed that U.S. was ready to help Turkey
by all means.

Iraq: Sunday's "Hurriyet" says in a front-page commentary
that Secretary Rumsfeld, after his thank-you visit to Gulf
countries, changed planes at the Incirlik Air Base before
proceeding to London. Hurriyet notes that Rumsfeld, still
angry with Ankara for parliamentary rejection of the March 1
permission to deploy US ground troops in Turkey, has
refrained from meeting with the Turkish officials. The
commentary sees serious trouble in U.S., Turkey relations,
and emphasizes that the State Department was trying to
balance the `emotional' reaction of the DOD. A Monday op-ed
in "Hurriyet" hopes that Washington will not start a `blood
feud' over Ankara's refusal to open the Northern Front. It
also advises Turkey to implement `pragmatic policies' after
the war, as has been seen in the changing attitude of
France. Foreign Minister Gul said to "Sabah" on the Greek
island of Rhodes on Sunday that Secretary Rumsfeld had not
called him while in Incirlik. `However, our contacts with
American officials continue,' Gul noted. Monday's
broadcasters report an ongoing debate between the `hawkish'
Pentagon and `moderate' State Department regarding whether
Turkish companies should be given a share from Iraq's
rebuilding. Sunday papers say Secretary Powell has softened
his tone during his Syria visit, but urged President Assad
to close the offices of fundamentalist, anti-Israeli terror
groups in Damascus.

Washington conference for rebuilding Iraq: 34 Turkish
companies will participate in the strategic May 5 Washington
meetings for the reconstruction of Iraq, weekend papers
report. Turkey's Union of Chambers (TOBB) and many
construction firms are to join the meetings. Local media
reports that Turkish companies have technical equipment and
price advantages in the international attempt for grabbing a
share in Iraq's rebuilding.

EU foreign ministers' Rhodes meeting: EU foreign ministers,
among them the Turkish and Greek Cypriot ministers Gul and
Yakovu, came together in the Greek island of Rhodes over the
weekend. Papers quote Gul voicing hope after the meetings
that the EU accession talks with Turkey could be given a
start in 2004. Greek and Greek Cypriot foreign ministers
Papandreou and Yakou gave a warm welcome to Gul. The group
made a boat tour to Turkey's coastal town of Kas on
Saturday, winning applause from residents. Papandreou and
Gul said they had decided both states should simultaneously
present the UN with accords they had ratified banning
landmines on the border between the two countries, reports
note. "Our common borders must be respected, but they must
be borders of peace and collaboration," Papandreou said.
Gul urged the removal of international sanctions on Turkish
Cypriots, and vowed for some new `openings' by Ankara, among
them recognition of the Greek Cypriot state, Sunday papers
report. Papers hail the EU foreign ministers' `goodwill
gesture' of coming to Kas, giving a message just before the
tourism season that Turkey was a safe country.


a) Middle East
b) US-Turkey-Syria

"The Roadmap"
Soli Ozel wrote in mass appeal Sabah (5/4): "The roadmap did
not receive opposition from the Palestinian side, yet Israel
has already expressed reservations on 12 points and asked
for US facilitative help on this. . It is also a known fact
that Ariel Sharon wants the possible Palestine state to only
have 42 percent of the occupied lands. The litmus test for
the Middle East roadmap is whether or not the US is going to
put pressure on Israel. In case President Bush ignores the
need for pressuring Israel on the eve of presidential
elections, violence will continue to be the destiny of the

"Ankara and Damascus"
Yasemin Congar opined from Washington in mass appeal
Milliyet (5/5): "Both the Ankara and Damascus visits by
Secretary Powell have something in common: They resulted

from Powell's personal initiative and justification.
Powell made the decision personally as well as suddenly, and
he made all the efforts to persuade the administration of
the urgency of the visits. Powell managed to convince the
White House, and thus the two visits took place. However,
signs from the Pentagon tell us that the US Defense side is
not unhappy only about the Damascus visit, but the Ankara
visit as well. . When Secretary Powell visited Ankara, it
was interpreted as a strong message to underline the US
position on northern Iraq and to underline the bilateral
ties with Turkey. Yet the way the decision mechanism worked
on the visit indicates that the Bush administration is still
preserving a certain degree of disappointment. Given that
fact, one can understand even better the reason for
Secretary Rumsfeld's avoiding contact with Ankara even

though he came to Incirlik airbase."


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