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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 03 ANKARA 004105

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
THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


--------------------------------------------- ------
HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Bush defends Turkey's EU membership drive - Hurriyet
Turkey to host 2004 NATO Summit, thanks to Bush support -
Milliyet
2004 NATO Summit in Turkey - Aksam
CHP slams AKP for attempting `regime change' - Hurriyet
Papadopoulos ready for talks on Annan plan - Sabah
Justice Minister says Repentance Law will bring social peace
- Turkiye
Musharraf supports Bush, got $3 billion - Vatan


OPINION MAKERS
Bush hosts EU leaders - Radikal
Iraqi civilians furious - Cumhuriyet
Texas Al-Qaida's July 4 target - Cumhuriyet
Al-Qaeda suspects in Malawi handed over to U.S. - Zaman
Iraq shock to the British - Yeni Safak
Government of `Religious Affairs' - Cumhuriyet
Bad news for fans: Al-Sahaf reportedly captured - Radikal


BRIEFING


Bush backs Turkey's EU drive: Dailies report that President
Bush voiced strong support for Turkey's EU membership at a
U.S.-EU summit meeting in Washington. The `surprise'
statement by Bush has given new impetus to the battered
relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. President Bush
also told EU leaders that the U.S. would continue to press
for a settlement in Cyprus, and noted that disagreements on
the divided island should be tackled within the framework of
the UN-sponsored peace plan.


Turkish Al-Qaeda suspects: Two Turks who were among the five
Al-Qaeda suspects apprehended in Malawi were handed over to
U.S. authorities. Arif Ulusam and Ibrahim Habaci were
reportedly sent to the Guantanamo base. The Turkish embassy
in South Africa presented a note of protest to Malawi,
saying that the Vienna Agreement obliged the Malawi
administration to give details about the fate of the
suspects.


Turkey worried over safety of Iraqi pipeline: The MFA has
officially complained to the U.S. about the protection of
the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik oil pipeline carrying Iraqi oil to
world markets via Turkey. The pipeline was sabotaged three
times in June, but might be reactivated in mid-July. The
U.S. would like to resume Iraqi oil sales via the Kirkuk-
Yumurtalik pipeline as soon as possible.
More clerics for Religious Affairs: AKP officials said on
Wednesday that the government would not necessarily employ
any additional Muslim clerics. The move responded to
concern about appointing an additional 15,000 Muslim clerics
and preachers, instead of the initially-proposed 1,600, to
the Department of Religious Affairs (DIB). Mainstream
papers believe that political instability could arise from
underlying tensions between the ruling AKP and the military.
Deputy prime minister Sahin said that imams appointed by
the state and paid with official funds in Turkey's mosques
are a bulwark for the state. Papers draw attention to
Turkey's growing need for teachers and doctors, and
criticize the AKP sharply for attempting to recruit more
Muslim clerics instead of solving problems in the education
and health sectors.


NSC meeting: The National Security Council (NSC) meeting on
Thursday will discuss amnesty for PKK militants. On Friday,
the Ministry of Interior will make an announcement regarding
a new amnesty law. According to the draft, terror
organization defectors who have not been involved in armed
attacks will be set free if they provide information about
their affiliation. Militants who agree to cooperate with
security forces will be given financial support and new
identities, according to press reports. Justice Minister
Cemil Cicek said the intent of the bill is to disarm
supporters of terror in the Middle East. The NSC will also
discuss the 7th package of EU harmonization laws. The
package envisages amendments to the Penal Code that would
remove obstacles to freedom of expression. The government
is determined to enact all necessary laws in order to meet
the Copenhagen Criteria before the parliament's summer
recess.


EDITORIAL OPINION: US policy in the post Iraq war


"The US changes its base policy"
Zafer Atay wrote in the economic-political Dunya (6/26):
"The US has decided to close down some of its military bases
around the world, including in Turkey. There is ongoing
speculation that the US is acting vindictively against
certain countries. However, in the post-cold war and post-
Iraq war era, the US does not need heavy-handed, money-
guzzling bases any more. In the new international
atmosphere, where the Soviet threat does not exist and
Russia is considered a common friend, Washington's focus has
shifted to the Middle East and the Caucasus. . Washington
is not looking for an ideological fight -- its main interest
is to eliminate the rouge states, both sponsors of terrorism
and producers of nuclear weapons. . It seems likely that US
bases will be opened in `less problematic' friends of
Washington, such as Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania,
as well as in the `good allies' of the Middle East region
such as Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. In Asia, we can add
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to the list, because
they cannot afford to oppose any US action."
"The American image"
Fehmi Koru argued in the Islamist-intellectual Yeni Safak
(6/26): "President George Bush is suffering from a serious
image problem because his reliability is on such shaky
ground. Recent opinion polls have only endorsed this
observation. . It is likely that we will see the political
impact of this public opinion change both in the US as well
as in the UK. For instance, the war-mongering lobby in
Washington must be very careful at every step from now on,
especially at a time when new military operations are being
contemplated. The war-lobby might not find the UK on its
side if there is an operation against Iran prior to the 2004
presidential elections. . Turkey's ruling AKP should be
watching developments very closely and should stay away from
any military involvement in Iraq. Turkey's role should be
framed within UN resolutions and cover the Iraqi
reconstruction and humanitarian initiatives."
PEARSON

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