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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 05 ANKARA 002975

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, MAY 7, 2003


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


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


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Pentagon threatens Turkey - Milliyet
Wolfowitz: Turkish rapprochement w/ Syria, Iran a mistake -
Milliyet
Wolfowitz: Military could not display leadership - Milliyet
Wolfowitz: Admit your mistake, partnership will continue -
Hurriyet
Odd words from `brain' Wolfowitz - Sabah
The `Hawk' bombs - Sabah
U.S. still furious at Turkey - Turkiye
Wolfowitz: We won't easily forgive you - Aksam
Wolfowitz remarks hit stock markets - Vatan
Turkey's defense minister is denied meeting in U.S. - Vatan
Washington drafts bill to prevent looting of Iraq's antiques
- Aksam


OPINION MAKERS
Wolfowitz: Military, government disappointed us on Iraq -
Radikal
Wolfowitz: Turkey must admit mistake - Cumhuriyet
Wolfowitz: Won't stay if we're not wanted - Zaman
Gul: Wolfowitz's remarks well intentioned - Radikal
`Hawk' Wolfowitz criticizes, but leaves door open -
Cumhuriyet
Kusay robs Iraqi Central Bank $1 billion - Zaman
Bremer Iraq's civilian governor - Yeni Safak
Israel's Ankara Ambassador: Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline not
realistic - Zaman
Greek Cypriots urge Turkey to open air corridor - Radikal


FINANCIAL JOURNALS
JP Morgan: Zero inflation not a distant target - Dunya
IMF's Anne Krueger in Ankara for meetings - Finansal Forum


BRIEFING


Iraq: All papers and electronic media lead with reports of
CNN-Turk interview with U.S. deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz. DepSecDef is quoted as saying on Tuesday that
Turkey should admit it had made a mistake when it refused to
allow U.S. soldiers to operate from Turkey in the Iraq
campaign,. Turkey's military wasn't powerful enough to sway
politicians, Wolfowitz noted. `Turkey has attempted to make
deals with one of the worst dictators the world had seen.
Turkey should admit its mistake. We believe that Iran and
Syria must their change attitude, and Turkish relations with
them should be parallel to U.S. policy,' he stressed. Papers
state Wolfowitz complained that the Turkish government and
public have not grasped the Iraqi reality. He also said
that Turkey would not be given an immediate role in
peacekeeping activities in Iraq, as that the Iraqi people
were not positive about their neighbors, including Turkey.
He is further quoted as saying,`We were told to leave
Incirlik Air Base. We will not stay anywhere we're not
wanted. We don't think Incirlik will maintain its
significance in the future,' Wolfowitz added. He also made
it clear that U.S. would not allow unilateral military
action in Northern Iraq, and warned that Turkish troops
should act in coordination with the coalition forces.


"Hurriyet" opined that Wolfowitz has openly said things thus
far uttered only behind closed doors in the Pentagon.
"Sabah" finds the remarks from the `brain of U.S. policy-
making mechanism' as strange. "Milliyet" regards the
comments as a `threat' to Turkey when Wolfowitz urged Ankara
to change its attitude about Iraq if it wanted to repair the
strain in ties with the U.S.. "Aksam" says that Turkey's
"new neighbor" (the USA with its army in northern Iraq) has
issued strong messages, and proposed that Ankara's Iran and
Syria policies should be in line with the U.S. conduct."
"Turkiye" believes that U.S. is still `angry' with Turkey.
"Cumhuriyet" believes that despite the strong criticism,
Wolfowitz also offered a formula to sort out problems in
bilateral relations. Commentaries say Wolfowitz has
disclosed the deepening rift between the two countries. Op-
eds in mainstream papers agree that without zigzags, the
U.S. has openly indicated that Turkey's significance as a
strategic partner would decline if Ankara does not change
its attitude,


Foreign Minister Gul said Wolfowitz has issued positive
messages for the betterment of ties between the two
countries, adding that the Wolfowitz comments were `honest,
pragmatic and future-bound.' Deputy Chief of Staff, General
Buyukanit reportedly said that such remarks were indicative
of Wolfowitz's style. Opposition party CHP's leader Baykal
said on Wednesday that Wolfowitz's words reflected a
`personal disappointment,' and criticized Wolfowitz, `the
representative of a country aspiring to bring democracy to
the Middle East,' for blaming the military's
`ineffectiveness' vis--vis politicians. `The matter has
two sides,' said Justice Minister Cicek on Wednesday.
`Turkey, in the last 50 years, has always responded
positively to U.S. demands. Wolfowitz must remember that
U.S. has not always kept its promises to Turkey, as lately
seen in the First Gulf War,' Cicek told the press.


MOD is denied appointment in U.S.: Dailies report that
Minister of Defense, Vecdi Gonul, who arrived in Washington
on Saturday for NATO defense ministers' meeting, was denied
appointment by senior U.S. officials except for U/S of State
Grossman. Papers remind readers that Gonul, who was in the
U.S. together with Turkey's foreign and economy ministers
before the March vote, had held meetings with high level
officials, and was received by President Bush at the White
House as well. Papers agree this to be another indication
of deteriorating U.S., Turkey ties. (In fact, Gunul had a
tight schedule, and had not asked for DOD appointments).


Iraq's rebuilding: MFA's Iraq rebuilding coordinator,
Ambassador Gunduz Okcun said that contrary to general
belief, Iraq's reconstruction would not offer a business
volume of $150-200 billion, papers say. Iraq will have to
pay, in war reparation and other fees, $500 billion to
Kuwait, Iran and some international institutions, Okcun
noted. Having significant experience in the region, Turkey
is the best candidate for partnership and subcontract work
in Iraq, Okcun stressed.


Earthquake: "Milliyet" reports that 14 boarding schools in
various Turkish provinces are built close to fault lines,
endangering lives of thousands of primary school children.
President Sezer and TGS Chief General Ozkok have paid a
visit to the earthquake-stricken area in Bingol, papers
report. Sezer called for the punishment of those who
constructed the sub-standard buildings where 167 people lost
their lives during last week's earthquake.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Wolfowitz remarks about Turkey


"US has settled the accounts with Turkey"
Ismet Berkan commented on the Wolfowitz remarks in liberal-
intellectual Radikal (5/7): "Wolfowitz stated in a very
clear tone that Turkey has to accept its mistake on the Iraq
issue in order to improve US-Turkey relations. This
statement in fact suggests to Turkey a condition to
normalize the bilateral ties, which Turkey would never
accept. My conclusion from the Wolfowitz remarks is that
the US will remain distant toward Turkey as long as the
basis of the March 2 atmosphere [the date of parliament's
decline of motion] continues to exist. It seems nothing
will ever be the same again as far as Turkey-US relations
are concerned, because `the vase' is broken and cannot be
repaired any more. The only way out is to be able to find a
`new vase' and replace the older one."


"The Turkey-US Fault Line"
Erdal Safak editorialized in mass appeal Sabah (5/7): "The
remarks by Wolfowitz very clearly indicate the huge gap in
Turkish-American bilateral ties. The Iraq war has turned
into a litmus test between the US and its relations with the
others. Some passed the test, some -including
Turkey-failed. . Now it is the time to settle the accounts
and the US is preparing the bill for the losers of this
game. Among them, the UN, France and Germany have started
receiving `the bill' already. The UN is out of the Iraqi
rebuilding program. France is facing punishment by not
getting any share in the Iraqi reconstruction projects. . As
for Turkey, we can see what type of bill we will have to
pay. As Wolfowitz openly stated, Turkey's bill is related
to northern Iraq. Turkey will no longer have a say in this
area and related developments. . Wolfowitz on the other hand
is not closing the door and is showing the way out to
normalize the ties again. Yet it remains to be seen if
Ankara -both its military, parliament and the
government-will be able to admit the mistakes that it made."
"AKP is like a thorn in the eye for the US"
Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (5/7):
"Wolfowitz claims that the army is the real decision
mechanism in Turkey. He does not conceal the serious
disappointment in Washington toward the AKP government and
questions the reasons for army's reluctance to stand against
the AKP approach during the Iraq crisis. At this point, it
seems that the AKP looks like a thorn in Washington's eye."


"Pentagon speaks its mind in the end"
Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in mass appeal-sensational Posta
(5/7): "Frankly, though I had expected some reaction, I had
not expected it be so bold. The fact that these bitter
words come from the Pentagon, the establishment that had
always protected Turkey and spoken in its favor, indicates
the gravity of the situation. It also indicates the depth
of the problem. It is extremely important that Wolfowitz
uttered these words-which were of a kind heard in Ankara for
the first time. Wolfowitz chose his words with utmost care.
However, reading between the lines I get the following
message: Northern Iraq is no longer Turkey's back garden.
You cannot get into it and exit from it according to your
wishes. You cannot act freely there. You have to notify us
of your activities, obtain permission from us. And, in the
long run, it would be hard for you to remain in Northern
Iraq-even if we managed to rebuild our relations to their
former level. Stop being preoccupied with the Kurds. What
surprised me most was Wolfowitz' remarks about the Turkish
Armed Forces. Pentagon used to see the Turkish military as
its best ally and never criticized them. This rule too has
now been broken. Wolfowitz stressed, for the first time and
with special emphasis, that they were bitterly disappointed
by way the Turkish General Staff kept quiet when an issue
vitally important for Turkey-that is, the U.S. troop
deployment in Turkey motion-was about to be put to a vote in
Parliament. When certain Pentagon officials called Ankara
and received the following answer: `Sorry, we are not the
proper interlocutor. Call the government,' and the American
military reportedly went crazy. Wolfowitz made it all too
clear that Turkey gives the impression that it is very close
to Syria and Iran. I read his message in the following
manner: If you are going to Syria and Iran in the framework
of our policy and in order to relay our views, then there
will be no problem. If not, your stance will create the
impression that you are against us."


PEARSON

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