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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 004849

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, JULY 31, 2003

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


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


MASS APPEALS
`Return Home' Project off to Quick Start - Sabah
US Encourages PKK/KADEK to Take Advantage of Repentance Law-
Sabah
FM Gul: PKK Militants must not be Sent to Norway - Milliyet
PM Erdogan: Troop Motion is not on our Agenda-Milliyet
Speaker Arinc: People's Will Must be a Factor in Troop
Decision - Hurriyet
Motion Nightmare is Back - Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
US Embassy Charge Deutsch: `US welcomes Repentance Law' -
Radikal
Fundamentalist Organizations also Will Benefit from
Repentance - Cumhuriyet
Foreign Ministry: `Exile in Norway for PKK Militants
Unacceptable' - Yeni Safak
PM Erdogan in no Hurry for Troop Deployment Motion-Radikal
7th Harmonization Package Passed by Parliament; All Eyes
Turned to EU - Zaman
One More Step Toward Democracy - Radikal


BRIEFING


Repentance Law: All papers and TV channels report on the
impact of the approval of Turkey's repentance law. "Sabah"
reports that 240 PKK/KADEK militants have already applied to
Turkish officials to take advantage of the law. 213 of the
applicants are from Turkey, and the remaining 27 are living
abroad. Meanwhile, the US welcomed the law and issued a
call to PKK militants urging them to take advantage of it.
"Radikal" quotes US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Robert Deutsch
as saying that `the law will work to Turkey's benefit, and
the US is pleased with it.' Most papers report the
reaction from the Foreign Ministry to claims that top PKK
militants will be sent to political asylum in Norway. FM
Gul and Foreign Ministry spokesman Dirioz said that reports
of the asylum plan are false, and that an exile formula for
PKK/KADEK leaders would be totally unacceptable. The
Norwegian Ambassador to Turkey also denied the allegations.


Troop Deployment: "Milliyet" gives extensive, front-page
coverage to the troop deployment issue. The "Milliyet"
headline reads `the nightmare is back.' The government
faces trouble in convincing President Sezer and AKP deputies
to support the measure. Some cabinet ministers are also
against a Turkish troop deployment in Iraq, the paper
reports. Although PM Erdogan fully supported a troop
deployment before the Iraq war, he is now largely avoiding
the issue. The PM said that the issue is `not on
government's agenda.' Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said
that `the parliament will make the best decision if a new
motion is presented. However, I hope no one will act
without taking into account the will of the Turkish people.'


7th Harmonization Package: All papers cover the approval of
the 7th EU reform package. "Radikal" says that the package
is a new step for enhancing democracy in Turkey. With the
acceptance of the package, parliamentary control over
military spending has increased, and the NSC's powers have
been constrained. Also, the authority to coordinate NSC
recommendations has been transferred from the NSC Secretary
General to one of the Deputy Prime Ministers. The NSC
Secretary General will be nominated by the Prime Minister

SIPDIS
and appointed with the approval of the President. If the
nominated Secretary General is a military official, then the
approval of the General Staff will also be required.


EDITORIAL OPINION


"The PKK must see the facts"
Mehmet Ali Birand commented in the mass appeal Hurriyet
(7/31): "Necmettin Kerim, a prominent figure of the Kurdish
lobby in Washington, believes that the PKK's life span in
Northern Iraq is over. . The Americans know that it will be
impossible to improve relations with Turkey as long as a PKK
camp remains in Northern Iraq. Washington has declared the
PKK to be a terrorist organization, and announced that the
U.S. is working to eliminate terrorism in Iraq. There will
be no foreign forces left in Northern Iraq, neither Turkish
troops nor the PKK nor Islamist groups. . The Americans
expect that, once the repentance law takes effect, some 500-
1,000 PKK members will be disarmed and sent to Turkey.
Those who refuse to lay down their arms will be disarmed and
moved out of Iraq by CENTCOM. The PKK's leadership cadre --
some 100 people -- will be sent to Scandinavian countries as
refugees. American officials have reportedly obtained
approval of the idea in principle from Norway and other
Scandinavian countries. According to Kerim, the PKK must end
its armed struggle. It must leave DEHAP alone. If it is
going to take part in politics, it must do so within the
law. . The PKK-KADEK must see the facts and take a
decision."


"Turkey, Iraq democracy axis"
Cengiz Candar wrote in the mass appeal DB-Tercuman (7/31):
"Bringing democracy to Iraq is tough. It will be painful and
take time. . The ideal regime for Iraq would be a
federalist secular democracy. . We should be aware of the
fact that the U.S. has made possible the opening of a new
period in Iraq, the Middle East, and the Islamic world.
Turkey's national interest requires the implementation of
democracy in Iraq. Cooperation with the Americans to that
end is obligatory."


"New era with Syria"
Sami Kohen opined in the mass appeal Milliyet (7/31): "There
is no serious obstacle to improving bilateral relations
between Turkey and Syria. The U.S., having put Syria on a
blacklist, is unwilling to see Turkey and Syria move closer
to one another. However, Ankara can play a role in
eliminating some of the disagreements between the U.S. and
Syria. . Syrian Prime Minister Miro signed four economic
cooperation agreements with Turkey during his Ankara visit.
The trade volume between the two countries is estimated at
around $1 billion in 2003. . A new era of strategic
relations might begin between Syria and Turkey."


DEUTSCH

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