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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 02 ANKARA 004818

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
WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2003


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


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


MASS APPEALS
Military Says New Motion is a Must for Troop Deployment -
Milliyet
Turkish Military is Ready for Iraq - Hurriyet
Seven Suggestions from TGS Chief Ozkok to PM Erdogan - Sabah
US Plans to Send Top PKK Militants to exile in Norway -
Hurriyet
PKK Cornered - Milliyet
Syria's `Hatay' Obsession - Sabah


OPINION MAKERS
Second Motion Crisis - Radikal
Gen.Ozkok: We Need 45 Days to get Ready for Iraq - Zaman
Surprising `Summit' - Cumhuriyet
Parliament Approves Repentance Law - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING


Repentance Law: Turkey's parliament approved the repentance
law yesterday with the backing of 365 deputies. At his
party group meeting, PM Erdogan denied claims that the draft
was in response to the wishes of the US administration, and
stressed that it had the full support of top state and
military officials. "Hurriyet" reports that the US welcomed
the parliamentary approval and issued a call to PKK
militants in Northern Iraq urging them to return to Turkey.
"Hurriyet" also reports on CNN-Turk's Mehmet Ali Birand's
interview with American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN)
leader Necmettin Kerim. Kerim predicted that 500-1000 PKK
militants will return to Turkey to benefit from the new law,
while militants who refuse to lay down their weapons will be
arrested by CENTCOM. The PKK's top leaders, who are not
eligible to benefit from the law, will then be sent to
political asylum in Norway or other Scandinavian countries.
However, A/S Marc Grossman told CNN-Turk that he had no
information about such a plan, noting that the PKK `has no
place in Northern Iraq.' Once all terrorist camps in
Northern Iraq are eliminated, Grossman said, there will be
no need for a Turkish military presence there.'


Troop Deployment: "Milliyet" reports that in a `summit'
between PM Erdogan and TGS chief Gen. Ozkok at the Prime
Ministry yesterday, the military leader stressed that a
parliamentary motion is a must for the deployment of Turkish
troops in Iraq. "Hurriyet" writes that Gen.Ozkok told the
PM that the military is ready to undertake peacekeeping
tasks in Iraq as soon as a political decision is made.
"Cumhuriyet" reports that Gen.Ozkok stressed that Turkish
troops deployed to Iraq should be under the command of a
Turkish officer. FM Gul said that the Turkish troops would
be deployed `to the northwest of Baghdat.' `As the war is
over in Iraq,' Gul told "Radikal," `this is not a dangerous
area, and the troops will be mainly engaged in defensive
operations.' However, "Cumhuriyet" highlights General
Myers' comments that the Turkish military deployment would
include the Tikrit-Baghdad region. Gen. Myers noted that
the are is still a war zone where US soldiers have been
faced with frequent attacks.'


Visit of Syrian PM Miro: "Sabah" reports that Syrian PM Miro
stirred a new crisis during his visit to Ankara yesterday.
Miro tried to bring the Syrian claim of Hatay onto the
agenda. The Turkish side ignored the issue, but Miro
insisted on the exclusion of border provinces (including
Hatay) from regulations preventing double taxation. Turkey
rejected the exclusion. PM Miro also re portedly assured
the Turkish side that Syria's borders `will remain closed'
to the PKK. According to press reports, FM Gul warned Miro
not to cause problems in Syria's relations with the United
States.


EDITORIAL OPINION


"Japanese troops to Iraq, but what about us?"
Ertugrul Ozkok commented in the mass appeal Hurriyet (7/30):
"If the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, chaos will prevail in the
region. Turkey cannot simply close its borders and pursue
an isolationist policy, for Iran and Syria will not remain
silent in the face of such a development. About 30 nations,
including Japan, will send troops to Iraq. . Turkey cannot
afford to remain a `dwarf' in the region. . The Suleymaniye
incident has shown that Turkey faces the risk of coming into
conflict with the U.S. military. . Some naturally worry
about possible casualties if Turkey deploys troops for Iraqi
peacekeeping. Turkey has lost 30,000 citizens in the fight
against the PKK. Can those who are worried estimate future
Turkish casualties if the PKK rises from the ashes of chaos
in Iraq?"


"Send troops, and come to the negotiation table"
Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in the mass appeal Posta (7/30):
"The Pentagon thinks that the Suleymaniye event should
remain in the past, and a new page should be turned in
relations with Turkey. Congressman Mark Steven Kirk
(Illinois) praised the Turkish military under General
Ozkok's command, but added that some commanders' negative
attitude towards Americans was a source of concern. Turkey
must have an impact on developments in Iraq, and must have a
seat at the negotiation table rather than being an outside
observer, Kirk said. . The Pentagon believes that it
doesn't need Turkey, but that cooperation with Turkey in
Iraq will serve the U.S. interest. . Some can act
emotionally and say that Turkey should deny the Americans
support and let them drown in Iraq. Some can think
differently and say that if the U.S. drowns in Iraq, Turkey
will suffer considerable losses as well."


DEUTSCH

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