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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 005954

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, SEPTEMBER 19, 2003

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


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


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Gen. Myers: Muslim troops will be good for Iraq - Milliyet
Ambassador Edelman: We've got tasks in Iraq [other than the
PKK] - Hurriyet
Edelman says U.S. pressured EU re KADEK - Aksam
Bush clears Saddam on involvement in 9/11 - Posta
Gul: GOT will take the final decision on Iraq - DB-Tercuman
U.S. troops fire at AP car in Iraq - DB-Tercuman
Arafat urges Ankara to continue support - Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS
GOT believes UN condition not necessary for troop deployment
in Iraq - Radikal
Bush admits Saddam not connected to 9/11 - Cumhuriyet
Edelman is asked about KADEK - Yeni Safak
Edelman: U.S. will handle the PKK in due time - Zaman
KADEK not on EU terror list - Yeni Safak
Arafat: I'm ready to become a martyr - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING


NSC to discuss Iraq: All dailies expect today's National
Security Council (NSC) meeting to decide whether Turkey
needs a parliamentary motion to deploy peacekeepers in Iraq.
However, papers do not expect the NSC to adopt a concrete
decision on the issue. Since the U.S. has not given a
written guarantee for elimination of the PKK, the NSC will
not announce a decision on Iraq, writes "Hurriyet." Foreign
Minister Gul said a UN decision envisaging an international
peacekeeping mandate in Iraq would be helpful, but that the
final decision would be made by the GOT. "Zaman" expects
the government to clear its position after the meeting on
Friday even if the NSC remains silent on troop deployment.
"Radikal" says that President Sezer and Prime Minister
Erdogan do not agree on whether UN approval is needed before
Turkey sends peacekeeping troops to Iraq. Both are expected
to express their differences at the NSC meeting today.


Military awaiting government decision for Iraq: The TGS has
completed military preparations on September 14 for
deploying peacekeepers in Iraq, and is waiting for a
decision by the government, according to "Milliyet."


Ambassador Edelman meets DYP leadership: All papers and TVs
report U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, Eric Edelman's courtesy
visit to the True Path Party (DYP) on Thursday. Responding
to press questions after meeting with the DYP leadership,
Ambassador Edelman said the U.S. had always extended strong
support to Turkey regarding the PKK problem, and reminded
that Turkey had carried out the operation for capturing the
PKK leader Ocalan in cooperation with the U.S. Edelman
noted that KADEK had been put on the U.S. terror list within
months after its founding, and added that Washington was now
putting pressure on EU countries to do the same. He also
said that President Bush had voiced open commitment for
ending terror in Iraq. Nevertheless, U.S. troops cannot
accomplish several goals at the same time, Edelman pointed
out. Talks between the U.S. and Turkey will continue
regarding the PKK presence in Northern Iraq, he stressed.
`I'm sure that progress is possible as long as the parties
demonstrate good will,' Edelman said.


Americans disappointed by Turks' PKK condition: U.S. has
given Turkey the message that it wanted to see the results
of the partial amnesty declared by Ankara for terror
organization defectors, writes "Hurriyet." The U.S. is
hoping to see a decrease in the number of PKK/KADEK
militants in the region by encouraging them to apply for
amnesty, according to Hurriyet. The Americans are annoyed
that the GOT was demanding the elimination of PKK before
deploying troops in Iraq, the paper comments. Americans
believe that operations against the PKK would be easier once
security is established throughout Iraq, and they stress
that Turkish troops were needed for security in Iraq, says
Hurriyet.
Ankara shelves Customs Union agreement with TRNC: A Customs
Union agreement that was signed between Turkey and the
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will not be
submitted to the parliament for approval, Foreign Minister
Gul told the EU countries, reports "Hurriyet." Ankara had
to step back in the face of strong opposition from EU
members, according to Hurriyet. The agreement was signed
early August in an effort to help the TRNC overcome
international economic sanctions.


EDITORIAL OPINION


"Confusion over Iraq"
Taha Akyol observed in the mass appeal Milliyet (9/19):
"Turkish troops have accomplished social successes in
Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. . Those who wish Iraq to
become another Vietnam are dreaming. Iraq's geography and
demography do not provide a suitable ground for it. Ethnic
and religious civil wars might erupt in Iraq, which will
mean catastrophe for all including Turkey. Such a
catastrophe would bring a politically costlier bill for the
U.S. than the Vietnam war. Turkey could play a significant
role in bringing stability to Iraq, but such a contribution
depends on an American assurance to eliminate the PKK
presence in the region."


"Turkey going into Iraq to guard Turkish currency"
Mehmet Ali Birand commented in the mass appeal Posta (9/19):
"No matter how much Turkey will protest it, a sovereign
Kurdish state in Northern Iraq will come into existence if
Washington and Tel Aviv one day agree on it. . Our troops
to be deployed in Iraq can neither fight against Kurds to
block their independence, nor launch any operation against
the will of the U.S. forces in the region. In the same
sense, Turkey cannot carry out plans such as supporting the
Turkomen or eliminating the PKK militants. All the Turkish
troops might accomplish could be gaining prestige and
throwing its weight around . A negative development like
drawing the anger of the Bush Administration will be enough
to disrupt the already fragile Turkish economy. . Interest
rates will rise, and inflation will soar again. However, a
Turkey ready to deploy troops in Iraq will easily find
support to recover its economy. A Turkey ready to deploy
troops in Iraq will make Washington regard the PKK issue
from a different viewpoint. To sum up, Turkish troops will
be going into Iraq to protect Turkish currency."


EDELMAN

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