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Cablegate: Turkish Press Slams Us Detention of Turkish

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


1. Public reaction and rhetoric about the Turkish SF
detained in Iraq continues to mount in Turkey as evidenced by
increasingly large demonstrations at our missions and more
vociferous statements to the press by government officials.
Headlines in July 6 major Turkish newspapers -- "The Ugly
American," (Milliyet) "What Kind of Strategic Partner?"
(Radikal) reflect the overall tone of the local press. Much
of the anger is directed against Col. William Mayville, whom
most assume to have led the US operation in Suleymaniye. A
front-page headline in "Hurriyet," Turkey's
largest-circulation daily, reads "let this man know his
place." "Sabah" details a list of "evidence" that Col.
Mayville has systematically favored the Kurds at the expense
of Turkmen and Arabs in northern Iraq.

2. Many press articles characterize the US action as an
attempt to force all Turkish troops out of northern Iraq, and
a "Hurriyet" columnist claims that all Turkish SF have been
asked by the US to leave within 3 months. Most also
speculate that US forces relied on PUK intelligence sources
to justify the raid, and left-leaning "Cumhuriyet" suggests
Kurdish groups are "provoking" the US into taking actions
that are "dragging Northern Iraq toward instability." A
Washington correspondent for "Sabah" argues the operation was
carried out without the prior knowledge of the State
Department, the White House, or senior US civilian
authorities in Iraq. Prominent "Radikal" columnist Murat
Yetkin, however, claims that the US delay in giving a full
explanation of the incident leads to the conclusion that the
action was part of "US state policy" rather than a local
military initiative.

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3. All papers carry statements by opposition party leaders
condemning the detentions and blasting the AKP government for
"weakness" or negligence" for failing to prevent them.
Articles claim that the Secretary confirmed to FM Gul that 24
Turks had been taken to Baghdad and were still under
detention. The Secretary reportedly told Gul that he hoped
the situation could be resolved by Sunday evening. Gul told
the press that he viewed the incident as a "local event" of
which Washington "was not informed." The FM also reaffirmed
his intention to visit Washington in coming days.

4. Leftist Labor Party leader and troublemaker Dogu Perincek
continued to stir anti-American sentiment. Perincek
reportedly commented on Turkish television that "it would be
good" if Turkey were to take some American officers prisoner.


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