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 003011
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
THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2003
THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
Grossman: Turkey must decide, choose its side - Aksam
`Hawkish' remarks from `dove' Grossman - Aksam
U.S. bombs again: Turkey assumed airs - Turkiye
Minister Cicek: U.S. should look at own mistakes - Sabah
General Buyukanit: I can't understand Wolfowitz - Vatan
TGS gives democracy lesson to Wolfowitz - Hurriyet
Powell: Our friendship w/ Turkey will continue - Hurriyet
Gen. Myers calls Gen. Ozkok: Leave the PKK to us - Milliyet
`Hawk' diplomat Bremer to Iraq - Hurriyet
Radical Shiite: U.S. must leave now, or driven out -
Grossman goes blunt: Can't act as if nothing happened -
Grossman supports Wolfowitz - Zaman
American hawks, arrogant cowboys - Yeni Safak
Government, military react to Wolfowitz - Zaman
Gul: Forget the past, let's look at the future - Yeni Safak
Baykal: Wolfowitz has gone too far - Cumhuriyet
Gen. Buyukanit: We will not withdraw from N. Iraq -
Bremer to administer Iraq - Radikal
KDP invites Ankara to open consulate in Irbil - Zaman
Erdogan to meet w/ Greek Cypriot leaders in Cyprus - Radikal
Romania wants partnership w/ Turkey in Iraq - Dunya
Greek Ambassador urges Turkish, Greek businessmen for joint
effort in Iraq - Finansal Forum
Ankara's reaction to Wolfowitz remarks: Prime Minister
Erdogan is quopted in all papers saying that he doesn't
agree with Paul Wolfowitz that Turkey has made mistakes.
Erdogan said Turkey expected no reward from anybody during
the Iraq crisis, and stressed that there had been no
disagreement between political decision makers in Ankara.
Opposition party CHP's leader Baykal calls Wolfowitz unfair
for criticizing the Turkish military leadership, and
believes that the assessment reflected Wolfowitz's `personal
disappointment.' Foreign Minister Gul said that America's
regarding Turkey as a mere aircraft carrier was wrong.
Justice Minister Cicek (spokesman for the government)
reminded the U.S. that it has not always fulfilled its
pledges to Turkey, as lately seen in the First Gulf war.
Dailies agree that Wolfowitz's assessment has drawn strong
reaction from the government and military. Second Chief of
Staff, General Buyukanit said that military intervention in
support of motions submitted to the parliament was against
democratic practice. Air Force Commander General Asparuk
said the Incirlik AB was still active, and that closure was
not on the agenda.
Grossman: Reporting on a second CNN-Turk interview in
Washington in two days, all papers write that "the
Washington Administration's dove", U/S Grossman, made a
statement parallel to Wolfowitz's. Grossman said that the
U.S. did not cut ties with Ankara, but that the words of
Wolfowitz, a friend of Turkey, must be taken into
consideration. `Turks believed that the U.S. would not be
able to fight without them. Maybe we should have explained
better that that was not the case,' Grossman said. Accounts
in all papers noted Grossman's stressing that Washington now
would look to see Ankara's support for the overall U.S.
activities in Iraq. Turkey must facilitate the passage and
mission of NGOs and other organizations in Northern Iraq,
and support U.S. troops in the region. The U.S. will
continue supporting Turkey's EU membership, Grossman said,
and added that Washington wanted to continue exchange of
views with Turkey regarding Central Asia, Iraq, and the
Mainstream papers say that the `dove' ,Grossman, has echoed
the views of `hawk' Wolfowitz. Islamist "Yeni Safak," close
to the ruling AKP, denounces on front page the `arrogant
cowboys' for criticizing the peace-oriented policy pursued
by Turkey. "Turkiye" regards such exchange of messages
between U.S. and Turkey as a `duel,' and believes Washington
will take revenge by excluding Ankara from Iraq's rebuilding
process. A "Milliyet" column quotes Foreign Minister Gul as
saying that Americans should respect democratically have
taken its decisions, and that secret documents in state
archives proved the extent of Turkish support to the U.S.
during the Iraq campaign. Gul stressed that Ankara has
always attributed primary significance to ties with the U.S.
`Wolfowitz and Grossman are friends of Turkey in Washington.
We understand their disappointment, and we will see that it
is removed,' Gul noted.
IMF's Krueger in Ankara: IMF First Deputy Director Anne
Krueger, in Ankara for meetings with economy officials, has
conveyed to Deputy Prime Minister Abdllatif Sener the IMF's
worry with the amnesty for electricity debts, social
security fees, and diesel subventions. Sener defended the
implementation by saying that they had declared no amnesty,
but had just made new regulations for restructuring debt
payments. Krueger noted that the fifth IMF inspection
scheduled to begin on May 21 was very important for the
credibility of Turkey. She urged Turkey to carry out all
pledges listed in the letter of intent. Finance Minister
Kemal Unakitain voiced reaction to IMF criticism, saying
that revenues raised by the government in the tax amnesty
were much above the expectations of IMF. Krueger said that
the government could reach the target of 5 percent growth
and 20 percent inflation by sticking to the IMF-backed
economic stabilization program.
US-Turkey (Wolfowitz and Grossman remarks)
"The meaning of Wolfowitz remarks"
Cengiz Candar, who conducted the interview, wrote in
conservative "Dunden Bugune-Tercuman" (5/8): "The reactions
coming from the AKP leadership against the Wolfowitz
comments are far from realistic. PM Erdogan's response, for
instance, contains no truth at all. Seeing the AKP refusing
to admit all of the bargains with the US during the process,
one wonders if they are actually coming from `another
planet.' . Turkey failed to evaluate the post September 11
situation and could not make the policy adjustments. This
is exactly what Wolfowitz is telling us now by calling on
Turkey to change its paradigms. Yet it seems none of the
Turkish leaders, including the president and the opposition,
are getting this message right."
"That is the US"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (5/8): "It might be
bitter in tone, but the Wolfowitz remarks -from one of the
pro-Turkey figures in the US administration along with
Grossman- as well as his messages should be taken seriously
and evaluated in a cold-blooded manner. . Wolfowitz is
asking Turkey to admit its mistakes and act accordingly.
This may sound offensive but it does not mean asking Turkey
to stand before the cameras and apologize. The advice to
Ankara is to evaluate the situation, to note the areas and
institutions where the mistakes have been made, and revise
its policies accordingly. . There are some points in the
Wolfowitz remarks, which deserve criticism as well. Such
issues should be discussed via diplomacy rather than press.
On this matter, we gladly note the mature and calm remarks
from FM Gul. We wish the other Turkish officials were
acting in the same fashion."
"Reaction in the Mediterranean fashion"
Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (5/8): "Turkey
acted with its emotions rather than intellect on the Iraq
war, and it was a mistake. What we see now with both the
Grossman and Wolfowitz remarks is no different than Turkey's
stance, because they are not talking with their minds but
talking with their emotions. In other words, the Americans
too are acting like Mediterraneans. I think both Turkish
and American approaches are wrong in that sense."
Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (5/8):
"What we have been saying about the intentions of the war-
mongering lobby in Washington is now happening. The US
watched all the looters, but protected only the Ministry of
Oil for instance. The hawks have started threatening Syria
just as we predicted earlier. . now the hawks are asking
Turkey to apologize. In fact, they are the very ones
responsible for starting an illegitimate war with
imperialistic aims and oil interests. It is they who should
be thinking about making an apology to the whole world in
the name of innocent lives of both Americans and Iraqis, for
which they are fully responsible.
"Why All the Anger?"
Ilnur Cevik opined in Turkish Daily News (5/8): "Wolfowitz
was blunt while Grossman was diplomatic. It is clear that
Washington wants to open a new page in relations. But for
this Ankara has to make a real effort to appease Washington
and display genuine cooperation instead of beating about the
bush. We feel instead of feeling indignation and saying
Turkey made no mistakes during the events leading to the
Iraqi war, Turkish leaders would be better advised to see
their `mistakes' - which are numerous - and take lessons.
But now the harm has been done and we have to discuss how to
salvage whatever can be salvaged. It is clear that there
are things to be `salvaged' in Turkish-U.S. relations but
there is clearly the need for Ankara to make a real effort
instead of complaining. Turkey has to fall into line with
American requirements in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle
East instead of trying to play its own game with Syria and
Iran. Turkey has to face the realities of northern Iraq and
the emergence of the Kurds as a key element in Iraqi
politics and cooperate with the US to make the Iraqi
experiment in the Middle East a success. Defense Minister
Gonul has just come back from Washington with valuable
impressions. We are aware that he has serious concerns and
will convey them to Prime Minister Erdogan. The government
should couple its evaluations with the statements of
Wolfowitz and Grossman and come up with a cool headed
appraisal. But, of course, if the government wants to
listen to some Islamic writers and to some of its advisors
and write off Turkish-American ties then that is something