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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.

291059Z Aug 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005491

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
FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 2003


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


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


MASS APPEAL
AKP Plans to Limit President's Authority to Avoid Referendum
- Sabah
Naval Forces Commander Alpkaya: "Threats to Secularism
Continue" - Hurriyet
CHP Leader Baykal: "If We Go Into Iraq, We'll Be Seen As
Occupiers" - Hurriyet
Uzans Have Transferred Assets to Jordan - Milliyet
PKK Attacks in Silopi and Cizre: 6 policemen injured -
Turkiye


OPINION MAKERS
NSC Powers Spark Debate - Zaman
Three Nominees for TRT Directorate from RTUK - Yeni Safak
Admiral Bulent Alpkaya: "Fundamentalist Threat Continues" -
Cumhuriyet
NSC Should Reveal Its Secret Plans - Radikal
PM Erdogan: "Turkey Won't be US' Gendarme in Iraq" - Turkiye


BRIEFING


Admiral Alpkaya Remarks: All papers report that at a hand-
over ceremony yesterday Naval Forces Commander Admiral
Bulent Alpkaya said that terror and fundamentalist
activities are still threats for Turkey. Alpkaya added that
the Naval Forces would continue to carry out their
responsibilities to fight fundamentalism and separatism.


Turkish Delegation Returns from Iraq: "Radikal" reports
that a delegation of Foreign Ministry, General Staff, and
Intelligence Service representatives returned from Iraq and
presented their report to the Government. The report
advises that before Turkey decides to send forces to Iraq,
the Iraqi people must be convinced that Turks are their
friends and are going to Iraq to protect them and help them
with their economic and social problems. Within this
framework, the report urged the government to expand
Turkey's humanitarian assistance to Iraq.


AKP Plans to Cut President's Powers: "Sabah" reports that
the AKP has decided on a new strategy for avoiding a
possible referendum on the sale of state forest land. PM
Erdogan has given a green light to a further constitutional
reform that would restrict the President's powers to veto
and call a referendum.


Fener Patriarch Presses For Re-Opening of Halky Seminary:
"Zaman" reports that the Greek Orthodox Patriarch met with
PM Erdogan yesterday to request the re-opening of Halki
Seminary in Heybeliada. In a statement following the
meeting, the Patriarch voiced hope that Turkey would solve
the problem of the Greek minority and authorize the re-
opening of the seminary.


CHP Leader Baykal Opposes Troop Deployment to Iraq: CHP
leader Baykal stressed yesterday that if Turkey sends troops
to Iraq, Turkish forces would be seen as occupiers. Baykal
added that the US operation will lead to the ethnic
disintegration of Iraq and will trigger a process of ethnic
restructuring in the Middle East. Turkey cannot be expected
to give support to such a process, Baykal said. He also
criticized the United States for `not taking a single step'
against the PKK/KADEK in Northern Iraq. In today's
"Cumhuriyet," CHP parliamentary deputy Onur Oymen accused
the United States of `ordering' Turkey to pass the
repentance law, and said that Turkey's support in Iraq is
`not for sale.'


EDITORIAL OPINION


"Erdogan's Iraq approach"
Murat Yetkin interviewed Prime Minister Erdogan for the
intellectual/opinion maker "Radikal" (8/29): "Prime Minister
Erdogan said that Turkey wants to share in the political and
economic rebuilding of Iraq. Otherwise, a troop deployment
would fall short of Turkey's expectation to become part of a
solution in Iraq. . Erdogan noted that the U.S. believes
Turkey's contribution can help the stability situation in
Iraq, and talks are continuing in that direction. . Erdogan
said he is aware of the fact that local Iraqis are not
positive about seeing Turkish troops in their region, but
added that consultations with Iraqi groups are continuing. .
Erdogan said that in order to avoid a new `March 1' crisis,
the government would wait until conditions are ripe and
parliamentary approval is guaranteed. . Erdogan's remarks
indicate an ongoing bargaining process with the Americans.
It seems that the `ripening' process will continue at least
until the NSC meeting in September. . The military also
believes that Turkey should not hurry, and that balances in
the Middle East and in relations with the U.S. should be
taken into consideration."


"Foreign policy with Arab tribes"
Cengiz Candar wrote in the mass appeal "DB-Tercuman" (8/29):
"The Obeid tribe is influential around Kirkuk, with around
500-750,000 members. Four leaders of the tribe, given a
reception at the highest level in Ankara, said they
preferred Turkish troops to be deployed in Northern Iraq
instead of in the Fallujah-Bakuba-Ramadi triangle, which
they believe to be a dangerous area. They are really saying
that Turkish troops should be deployed around Kirkuk, so
that Turks, the Obeid tribe, and the Turkomen can confront
the Americans and the Kurds in the region. . Ankara scorns
Barzani and Talabani, representatives of 4.5 million Kurds,
but flatters these Arab tribal leaders. Then we call this
an `Iraq policy.' Imagine an alliance between the Ankara-
controlled Turkoman Front and the Obeid tribe, a remnant of
the Saddam era, against a team of Americans and the Kurds.
This will do nothing but bring ridicule to Turkey's foreign
policy."


EDELMAN

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