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.

151426Z May 03




E.O. 12958: N/A
THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2003




Erdogan calls Bush: Ice between U.S., Turkey melting -
Rice: Tough period with Turkey over - Sabah
Rice: American, Turkish cooperation will continue - Vatan
U.S. sees Riyadh attack a new beginning by Al-Qaida - Sabah
Al-Qaida still a significant threat - Milliyet
Saddam's killing fields - Sabah
Saddam buried an entire town of 15,000 - Aksam
Saddam has buried Shiites alive - Milliyet
CIA, Turkish intelligence partnership in N. Iraq - Aksam
`Troops decree' penalty: QIZ shelved - Milliyet
New draft allows foreigners to buy assets - Turkiye
Gul: Turkey might join EU in 2007- Hurriyet

Powell in Russia, bomb attack in Chechnya - Radikal
Al-Qaida alarm in Gulf - Yeni Safak
U.S. begins withdrawal from `unsafe' Saudi Arabia - Zaman
Washington seeking perpetrators of Riyadh attack -
MFA supports U.S.: UN sanctions on Iraq must be lifted -
Largest mass grave in Iraq - Yeni Safak
Bremer to order shooting of looters - Cumhuriyet
Irbil Kurdish Parliament: Turks must withdraw - Radikal
Turkish Cypriots give Greeks drinking water for years -
$20 banknote changes color - Zaman

Turkey, U.S. QIZ `frozen' - Dunya
Gul: Turkey will become exports center - Finansal Forum


Erdogan condoles Bush: Prime Minister Erdogan called
President Bush on Wednesday for condolences about the Riyadh
bomb attack on Americans, dailies report. Erdogan said
Turkey would provide U.S. with the necessary support in the
struggle against terrorism, and added that Foreign Minister
Gul would pay a visit to Israel and Palestine soon in an
effort to help a solution to the Middle East problem.
Papers comment that the phone call helped in repairing the
damage in Turkish, American relations.

Turkey, U.S. `secret' talks on PKK/KADEK: Broadcasters
report that CIA and Turkey's intelligence agency MIT have
started secret talks for disarmament of PKK/KADEK militia in
Northern Iraq. The U.S. is getting ready to launch an
operation to disarm PKK members, which might force
terrorists to flee to Turkey, the report says. No agreement
is reached yet in the talks between Turks and Americans, but
Ankara is about to pass a `repentance law' for terror group
defectors, the report notes. Papers report Foreign Minister
Gul as saying that the PKK/KADEK, which is on the U.S. list
of terror groups, maintained about 4,000 armed militants in
Northern Iraq, and that Americans would not remain
indifferent to the group's activities.

Wolfowitz; Rice: A "Hurriyet" commentary does not find
convincing enough Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz's
refuting of allegations that he told Turkey to apologize for
not supporting the U.S. in the war with Iraq. The article
claims Wolfowitz has humiliated Turkey by suggesting `U.S.
will set the limits of Turkey's relations with Iran and
Syria, all Turkey will have to do is implement it.' On the
other hand, all papers report National Security Advisor Rice
as saying that U.S. and Turkey, having common strategic
interests, would continue working together after a period of
difficulty in relations. Reports point to the timing of the
Rice statement which arrived just after the condolences call
by Prime Minister Erdogan to President Bush for Riyadh
bombings. Meanwhile, a "Milliyet" report from Washington
claims that the Pentagon has instructed U.S. companies to
refrain from giving potential Turkish sub-contractors large
shares in Iraq reconstruction jobs. An unidentified owner
of a giant Turkish construction company told the paper that
Ankara should convince the Pentagon to cease `punishing'

U.S., Turkey QIZ agreement shelved: All papers report that
the Turkey-Israel-U.S. Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ)
project, modeled on the U.S.-Jordanian-Israeli free trade
zones has been shelved by the U.S. Congress. Negotiations
on the QIZ might resurrect at a new U.S., Turkey economic
meeting in U.S. in Autumn this year, papers expect. Reports
have surmized that the suspension was a U.S. attempt to
punish Turkey for non-cooperation in the war against Iraq.
By refusing to grant U.S. troops transit passage to Iraq,
Turkey has lost hopes for fresh privileges in textile
exports to the U.S., papers comment. However, some papers
have recognized that the aggressive campaign for the
inclusion of textile products within the QIZ agreement was
the main source of discordance between the sides, even
before the Parliament's decision not to permit a northern
front. Some leading Turkish businessmen complain that Turkey
has lost its privileged status in the American eye. Turkish
Exporters' Union (TIM) called for, if the crisis is not
sorted out, increase of Turkish customs on U.S.-made
products, to the same level applied on Turkish products to
the U.S.

a) US-EU/Turkey
b) Riyadh Bombings

"Is Kemalism the main obstacle for Turkey in its relations
with the US and EU?"
Murat Yetkin argued in liberal-intellectual Radikal (5/15):
"Even though there has not been any official-level
confirmation, the US and EU have a common objection about
Turkey. The common point is that Kemalist ideology itself
and the bureaucracy as this ideology's staunch supporter
constitute a major problem for Turkey's ties with the West.
Kemalist ideology is the reason for recent US reactions to
Turkey as well as for criticism coming from EU countries. .
Similar arguments can also be seen in a recent London-based
IISS report, which talks about the possibility of the
Turkish army's intervention if the ruling AKP attempts to
change the system. For instance, a recent article by Sedat
Ergin in `Hurriyet' noted that Assistant Secretary of
Defense Wolfowitz was blaming the army for troubles in
Turkish-American relations and was defending AKP. Why? Many
observers believe that the US sees the Kemalist bureaucracy
as the source of all troubles. Washington allegedly
considers the AKP as an antidote against the Kemalist
bureaucracy. Therefore, both Wolfowitz and Grossman, who
are known as friends of Turkey, accused the Turkish army and
not the AKP government for the Iraqi crisis in Turkish-
American relations. . Who represents the Kemalist
bureaucracy? It seems it contains TGS, MFA and some judicial
circles. . Although Kemalism as well as Kemalist bureaucracy
are named as the essence of problems vis--vis Turkey's
relations with the US and EU, the Western decision makers
are using this argument in order to disguise the main area
for criticism, which is military-government relations in
Turkey. The US so far has been carrying out the debate
behind the closed doors in order not to challenge with the
Turkish army. However, the EU has started making the same
debate publicly. . As part of Turkey's EU integration
procedures, the role of the army in Turkey's administration
style will eventually and inevitably be brought up.
Therefore, a discussion should start by naming clearly as
`the army-government relations' instead of creating pretexts
such as Kemalism."

"The Impasse for the Saudis"
Soli Ozel commented in mass appeal Sabah (5/15): "The Bush
administration used three justifications before launching
the war against terrorism, of which Iraq was the first
target. Al Qaida is finished. The military operation
against Iraq will bring stability to the region. American
presence in the region will play a deterrent role against
terrorist acts. . However the Riyadh bombings seem to be
proving otherwise. This event also raises concerns about
Riyadh-Washington relations. . The events of September 11
posed a serious blow to the special relationship between the
US and Saudi Arabia since 1945. Right after the 9/11
attacks, there has been very strong anti-Saudi rhetoric in
the US. Comments and speculations included even the need
for the toppling of the Riyadh regime, which represents
radical fundamentalism and support for terrorist groups. .
Today the Saudi regime is trapped between Al Qaida's
aggression and the US pressure on Riyadh for change its
style. It remains to be seen whether the Saudi dynasty will
be able to overcome this critical time."

© Scoop Media

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