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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 004761

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
MONDAY, JULY 28, 2003

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


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


MASS APPEAL
Rumsfeld to Gul: Don't take a year to decide on troop
deployment -Milliyet(7/26)
Associated Press: Turkey/US Begin Joint Operations near Iraq
Border - Milliyet (7/27)
Mysterious Operation - Sabah
Turkish Troops to be Dispatched to Iraq in the Autumn -
Hurriyet
US Welcomes Messages of Gul - Milliyet
Syrian PM Sends Positive Messages to Turkey Before his Visit
- Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS
Turkish Troops to Baghdad - Cumhuriyet (7/26)
US Presses for Urgent Decision, Turkey Takes it Time -
Radikal (7/27)
Troop Deployment Discussions Bring Turkey to a Deadlock -
Cumhuriyet
Syrian Prime Minister: Turkey's Iraq Policy is Right - Yeni
Safak
Repentance Law and 7th on this Week's Agenda --Yeni Safak


BRIEFING


Turkish Troop Deployment to Iraq: Sunday's "Hurriyet"
reported on FM Gul's comments on a possible Turkish troop
deployment in Iraq. On his return from Washington, Gul said
that the US request for Turkish troops would be discussed
with the General Staff, but noted that the government will
make the final decision. Sunday's Cumhuriyet, on the other
hand, reports that the military will make the final
decision. It remains unclear whether the issue will be
discussed in parliament before the summer recess, scheduled
to begin August 1. "Milliyet" predicts that a decision on
troops would probably be delayed until September.
Following the FM's comments that the government would
consult the military before making a decision, the General
Staff tasked Lt.Gen. Koksal Karabay to prepare a risk
assessment for Iraq.


Gul Visits US: Today's "Milliyet" reports that the US
welcomed the messages given by Turkish FM Gul during his
visit to Washington. According to the story, US officials
said they had `not heard such positive messages since the
death of Ozal.' Gul reportedly highlighted the government's
determination to establish a civilian political system, to
end the special military status in Iraq, and AKP's
determination to act in parallel with American values in
contrast to growing anti-American sentiments in Turkey.
Weekend papers also report that Gul met with DepSecDef
Wolfowitz at a farewell dinner in the Turkish Embassy and
had breakfast with A/S Marc Grossman before he left
Washington.


The Visit of Syrian Prime Minister Mustafa Miro: Today's
"Hurriyet" draws attention to the positive messages of the
Syrian Prime Minister before his official visit to Turkey
tomorrow. PM Mustafa Miro will be the first Syrian PM to
visit Turkey in the last 17 years. "Hurriyet" predicts
that Miro will support an end to Turkish-Syrian tensions
over the PKK, water issues, and territorial claims. Miro
will reinforce Syria's acceptance of Turkey's unitary
structure and reiterate the importance of Syrian-Turkish
relations. Miro will also stress that improved ties with
Turkey are not intended as a challenge to the US. In an
interview with Islamist-oriented "Yeni Safak," Miro said
that the Turkish government is `meeting our expectations
about Iraq.' Like Turkey, he said, Syria favors a stronger
UN role in the Iraq process.' Turkey and Syria are expected
to sign several political and economic agreements during the
visit.


Repentance Law: "Yeni Safak" reports that the repentance law
will be re-debated in the parliament this week. 330 votes
are required to pass the draft. Sunday's "Radikal" reported
that before the voting session, the draft will be explained
to AKP deputies in detail, and they will be urged to give
their full support.
7th Harmonization Package: Sunday's "Radikal" reports that
the 7th EU harmonization package will be discussed in the
parliament's justice committee today and will be sent to the
full parliament for a vote on Wednesday. The Government
hopes to pass the package this week, before the parliament
recess now scheduled to begin August 2.


EDITORIAL OPINION


"Political messages given by Gul"
Yasemin Congar observed in mass appeal Milliyet (7/28):
"U.S. officials, concerned about rising anti-American
sentiment in Turkey, complained to FM Gul that the AKP has
not given the Turkish nation a consistent message about the
joint interests of the U.S. and Turkey. Gul assured the
U.S. side that the political line of AKP overlaps with
American values. . Gul believes anti-Americanism is linked
to the spread of extreme nationalism, pointing to a threat
of rising national socialism in Turkey. Like Gul, the
Americans believe that the CHP is feeding this rise in
nationalism. Americans following Turkish politics hold
increasingly negative views of the CHP. . Gul told
Wolfowitz in detail about the AKP concept of a `modern
Muslim political identity.' . He believes that an
`authentic and reformist' political line can be an impetus
for change in Muslim countries."


"Different views"
Asli Aydintasbas wrote in mass appeal Sabah: "Although
Turkey is not a significant priority of U.S. foreign policy
anymore, Gul's U.S. visit can be considered successful. .
Despite all the tension and disappointment in the
relationship, Cheney, Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials
established a very positive dialogue with Gul. . U.S.
officials repeatedly voiced their request for Turkish troops
for a stability force in Iraq. But they make it clear that
the U.S. side won't be engaging in a long negotiation
process as seen in the handling of the March 1 decree. .
Ankara might naturally win some concessions from the
Americans. However, Ankara's hand is not strong enough to
impose conditions such as a Turkish deputy being assigned to
Bremer, influence on the form of the new Iraqi constitution,
or the disarmament of the Kurds. . If Ankara wants to be in
the Iraqi equation, it must put forth swift and attainable
demands."


DEUTSCH

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