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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 004895

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, AUGUST 2, 2003

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


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


MASS APPEAL
`Civilian' NSC postponed - Hurriyet
Iraqi resistance organizations continue hunt for Americans -
Sabah
Saddam hides out in the desert - Sabah
Al-Qaida's no. 2 threatens U.S. - Aksam
Heat, pneumonia hit coalition soldiers in Iraq - Aksam 8/3
IMF: Turkey deserves global support - Hurriyet 8/3
IMF gives Ankara the kiss of life - Milliyet 8/2
Inflation at 1987 levels - Milliyet
Secularism debate in Britain - Sabah


OPINION MAKERS
Generals warn Erdogan against fundamentalism - Cumhuriyet
Saudi family, Al-Qaida correspondence before 9/11 -
Cumhuriyet 8/3
Saudi administration financed 9/11 attackers - Zaman 8/3
Verheugen praises 7th EU package - Zaman 8/2
Georgian troops in Baghdad - Zaman
AKP promises IMF no new investments in 2004 - Cumhuriyet 8/2
Rosy picture for the economy - Radikal
President Sezer losing popular support - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING


High Military Council (YAS) meeting: At meetings of the High
Military Council (YAS) over the weekend, the TGS leadership
convinced the government to delay for one year the
appointment of a civilian as the National Security Council
(NSC) Secretary General. The military opposes AKP plans to
trim the powers of the NSC by transforming the council into
an advisory body. Deputy Chief of TGS, General Yasar
Buyukanit, has been promoted as commander of the First Army.
General Buyukanit is set to become the chief of TGS
following General Ozkok's retirement in 2006. Commanders
strongly warned Prime Minister Erdogan against the ruling
AKP's anti-secularist policies, according to press reports.
"Cumhuriyet" slams the government for attempting to acquire
full control of the state structure to change the regime.
Erdogan and the Minister of Defense, Vecdi Gonul, objected
to the YAS decision to expel 20 fundamentalist officers from
the army. Erdogan and Gonul signed the decision, but said
the dismissed officers should be given a right to appeal.
TGS Chief General Ozkok said at the meeting that such
objections by the ruling party would encourage
fundamentalists in Turkey.


New Invitation for International troops to Iraq: Washington
is about to renew, through the Iraqi Temporary Council, its
appeal for troops from countries which have displayed a
reluctance to join peacekeeping operations in Iraq, Monday's
"Cumhuriyet" reports. The Iraqi Governing Council is
particularly interested in participation by India and
Pakistan. Turkey had earlier told the U.S. that Ankara
would prefer to deploy troops in Iraq under a UN or NATO
umbrella, or through the direct invitation of the Iraqi
Council.


Economy: The decrease in the inflation rate continued in
July, as wholesale prices (WPI) for the month fell by 0.5
percent, and consumer price inflation (CPI) dropped by 0.4
percent. Annually, the WPI was estimated at 25.6 percent,
and CPI at 27.4 percent. Exports have increased by 31.2
percent annually. IMF board praised recent economic reforms
by the GOT, and released a $476 million loan, which had been
delayed pending the outcome of the fifth review. The IMF
board also approved a delayed payment schedule for Turkey's
$16 billion loan package, which will effectively decrease
Turkey's repayment burden by about $11 billion in 2004 and
2005. Weekend papers hailed the decision, calling it a
`kiss of life' for Turkey's economy.


President Sezer losing support - Poll: A survey by the ANAR
service concluded that 66.7 percent of Turks believe that
President Sezer did not show sufficient interest in the
detention of Turkish troops in Suleymaniye, according to
Monday's "Yeni Safak." 68 percent of those surveyed oppose
the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq. 42 percent
support the Repentance Law for defectors from terrorist
organizations, while 41 percent are opposed. Another
survey, conducted by the Verso organization, reported that
57.4 percent of Turks believe that the Suleymaniye event had
a very damaging effect on Turkish-U.S. relations. If
general elections were held today, AKP would get 42.2
percent of the vote. Other political parties trail far
behind: CHP 16.3, DYP 12.8, Genc Party 11.6, and DEHAP 7.9
percent.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Differences between Afghanistan and Iraq"
Ferai Tinc wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (8/4): "The
establishment of the international security force in
Afghanistan, to which Turkey is one of the contributors, is
based on a genuine international consensus. Moreover, this
force will soon be under a NATO umbrella. . The case of
Iraq, as far as Turkey is concerned, presents a very
different picture from that in Afghanistan. Unlike
Afghanistan, Turkey has not established a relationship with
all the Iraqi groups and clans on an equal basis. For the
people of Iraq, Turkey represents both positive as well as
negative images. Thus it is not possible to believe that
all of the Iraqi groups will happily accept a Turkish
presence in the peacekeeping mission. A Turkish military
presence in Iraq must be implemented under an international
umbrella. Otherwise, it will harm not only Turkey, but the
US as well."


"Seeing the picture correctly"
Erdal Guven opined in the liberal-intellectual Radikal
(8/3): "The main motive for the US military operation
against Iraq was neither the threat of WMD nor the link of
Iraq with international terrorism. These are secondary
reasons. The main reason stems from the US strategy to
stabilize the Middle East region, at least for the next
decade or so, to make it free from groups such as those who
organized the 9/11 attacks. This strategy has become the
moving force behind US security considerations. Afghanistan
was first on the list, Iraq was next, and there will be more
to come. Currently the US priority is to stabilize Iraq
first, then provide the Iraqi people with both greater
welfare and more democracy. Those who believe that this
plan will be invalid once the Bush administration is gone
are making a big mistake. . Turkey is currently discussing
whether or not to send Turkish soldiers to Iraq. Yet the
real issue is whether Turkey realizes that there is a
process underway to re-shape the Middle East."


DEUTSCH

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