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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 004984

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, AUGUST 7, 2003

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


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


MASS APPEALS


Sezer Approves Seventh Harmonization Package -Hurriyet
Barzani: PKK Should Return Home - Milliyet
Return Home Begins - Sabah
Interior Minister: 5,000 PKK Preparing to Return Home -
Milliyet
Petkim Privatization Cancelled - Hurriyet
Uzan Group Refuses to Pay for Petkim, Tender Dropped -
Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS


Approval from Cankaya for the Seventh Package - Radikal
Giant Step for civilianized politics: Sezer Approves Seventh
Package - Zaman
Government brings `Headscarf' to Higher Education -
Cumhuriyet
2 PKK/KADEK Militants Return Home Through Habur - Yeni Safak
Returning Home Starts With Speed - Radikal
Petkim Sale to Uzans Cancelled - Yeni Safak
Uzan Group Unable to Pay for Petkim - Zaman


BRIEFING


Approval of the Seventh Harmonization Package: President
Sezer approved the seventh harmonization package yesterday,
a move described by most papers as a large step toward
democratization. With the approval of the package, the
military's influence over Turkey's politics will be limited.
"Zaman" reports that the approval takes Turkey closer to the
EU. "Milliyet" notes that the military had expected Sezer
to veto the package, and that the president signed the
package despite the open opposition of the NSC Secretary
General. "Vatan" argues that the approval of the seventh
package has transformed the NSC into an advisory body. The
NSC will convene every two months instead of once per month,
and the council will only have the authority to make
recommendations on national security issues. With this
package, freedom of thought is expanded and penalties for
insulting the state and state officials are reduced. The
package also supports judicial action against torture, and
stipulates that civilians can no longer be tried in military
courts.


Response to the Repentance Law: "Hurriyet" reports that 2
PKK/KADEK militants surrendered in Iraq, and 80 other
members of terrorist organizations applied to Turkish
security forces in Turkey to benefit from the repentance law
on the first day of its application. Special centers have
been established in Van, Sirnak and Kirklareli for the
surrendering militants. Interior Minister Aksu said that
around 5,000 PKK/KADEK militants in Northern Iraq are
expected to apply to benefit from the amnesty. Meanwhile,
"Hurriyet" reports that yesterday PKK militants attacked a
police station in Mardin, killing two policeman. Turkish
officials claim that anti-amnesty militants were responsible
for this attack. In an interview with El-Cezire TV, KDP
leader Barzani urged all PKK militants in northern Iraq to
return to Turkey.
Cancellation of PETKIM Bid: All papers report that the
Privatization Administration has cancelled the sale of state-
owned PETKIM to the Uzan group. After court decisions
against the Uzan family in Switzerland and the United States
opened the way for a freeze of the family's assets abroad,
the Uzans were unable to pay the agreed $605 million for
PETKIM. A new tender will now be required for the company's
privatization.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Strengthening Baghdad"
Erdal Safak opined in the mass appeal Sabah (8/7): "Turkey
once again has a chance to prevent undesirable developments
from taking place in Iraq. . There are some facts that
Turkey should take into consideration immediately. Current
indications coming from Iraq do not give hope for the
maintenance of Iraq's territorial integrity. There are many
activists in northern Iraq who advocate an independent
Kurdish state, and efforts are underway to move toward a
referendum on the issue. For instance, the `Kurdistan
Journalists Federation' decided not to join the Iraqi
Journalists Union, based on the that it is `independent.' .
Foreign Minister Gul has rightly underlined the importance
of `strengthening Baghdad.' There is only one way toward
the strengthening of Baghdad, which is the presence of
Turkish troops there. Turkey already missed its first
chance, and now it has been given a second. It is very
unlikely that there will be a third chance."


"Risk Analysis"
Fehmi Koru argued in the Islamist-intellectual Yeni Safak
(8/7): "Iraq has turned into a quagmire, and Turkey should
stay away from it. Yet there is no harm for Turkey in
helping and advising others on how to `dry the quagmire.' .
Turkey's presence in Iraq should only be considered after
the withdrawal of foreign troops and the handing of control
to the United Nations. . The US so far has not shown any
sign of change in its current policies in Iraq. Bremer,
whose position is that of a typical `occupation Governor' is
not optimistic about cooperation with indigenous Iraqi
groups. Washington is not very optimistic about Bremer's
success either. . Turkey should not contribute to the
ongoing occupation by sending its troops there. Instead,
Turkey's mission should be designed to persuade the US and
the UK to correct their mistakes. Both the US and UK should
leave Iraq to the Iraqis, and leave the region to regional
countries. It is in their best interests to withdraw from
Iraq as soon as possible."


DEUTSCH

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