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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.

141256Z Oct 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 006409

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
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
AKP Holds First Convention - Milliyet (10/13)
MHP Re-elects Bahceli as Party Leader - Sabah (10/13)
World Interest in AKP Convention - Hurriyet (10/13)
President Sezer Goes to Islamic Summit with his Wife -
Hurriyet (10/13)
Turkish General Staff Briefs the Press on Troop
Deployment -Hurriyet
Military Expresses Concerns About Religious Schools -
Milliyet
TGS Says Turkish Troops Will Respond to Attacks - Sabah
Harsh Response From Military on Troop Route to Iraq-
Turkiye


OPINION MAKERS
Difficult Task Awaits Turks in Iraq - Radikal
Imam-Hatip Tension between Government and Military-
Radikal
CIA Visit to PKK Camp - Cumhuriyet
CIA Agents in Peshmerge Garb Visit KADEK Camp in Iraq -
Yeni Safak


BRIEFING


AKP and MHP Conventions: Monday papers give extensive
front-page coverage to the AKP and MHP conventions held
on Sunday. There was no competition for the AKP
leadership. Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected withoutr
opposition as party chairman by the delegates. "Zaman"
reports that the average age of participants at the AKP
convention was quite young, and that the party took
pains to show its moderate face, eschewing the remnants
of the Islamist `National View.' At the convention,
Erdogan replaced 24 of the 50 members on the AKP
Administrative Council, including Defense Minister
Vecdi Gonul. The number of women in the council was
raised from five to ten. "Radikal" notes that members
of parliament with fundamentalist background have not
been given seats in the new AKP administrative council.
Devlet Bahceli was re-elected as MHP party chairman.
"Vatan" notes that Bahceli had previously announced
that he would resign and not seek the chairmanship
following the November 3 elections.


Turkish General Staff Briefing: All papers and TV
channels cover the press briefing given by the Turkish
General Staff. Military officials said that Turkey has
been given three alternative sectors by the US for a
possible troop deployment - Salahaddin to the north of
Baghdad, the Al-Anbar region along the Euphrates River,
and the northern area of Al-Anbar near the Syrian and
Jordanian borders. "Cumhuriyet" stresses that each of
the alternatives is risky for Turkish troops, and that
the logistic corridor for carrying supplies to Turkish
troops in Iraq will be very dangerous because of the
PKK and other fundamentalist Kurdish groups deployed
there. "Sabah" reports that the number of troops will
be determined after the decision is made on which
sector will be given to Turkey. "Hurriyet" notes that
the Habur gate will be used to transport the troops.
The General Staff stressed that Turkish troops would
respond with force if attacked by Iraqi Kurdish groups.


CIA Visit to PKK Camp: "Yeni Safak" and "Cumhuriyet"
cite the American paper `Newsday' to report the visit
of a CIA team to a KADEK camp on Kandil mountain in
Northern Iraq. "Yeni Safak" says that the CIA members,
who were wearing peshmerge clothes, urged the PKK/KADEK
militants to give up their weapons. During the
meeting, which reportedly took place last week,
PKK/KADEK representatives said they would give up their
arms under certain conditions, but insisted that they
be allowed to remain in Northern Iraq.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Turkey and the Future of Iraq"
University professor Ramazan Gozen wrote in the liberal-
intellectual Radikal (10/14): "There is a very
interesting historic background behind the relations
between Turkey and Iraq. In the 20th century, the
destinies of Turkey and Iraq have intersected many
times. Now, in the early 21st century, a similar
intersection is again approaching. History has proven
that any negative development in Iraq is immediately
and inevitably reflected in Turkey. . Current
developments between Turkey and Iraq are so important
that they can influence the entire region. Thus,
Turkey should be able to use this opportunity by
carving out a pioneering role for itself. This role
requires Turkey to act as a model for the region as
well as for Iraq -- that is, a democratic,
multicultural Turkey that protects the rights of its
citizens. Achieving such a goal will require Turkey
to abandon its fears of being `surrounded by enemies,'
which dominated Turkish thinking in the 1990s."


"Is Turkey a Trojan Horse?"
Akif Emre argued in the Islamist-intellectual Yeni
Safak (10/14): "The Iraq issue seems to be another
factor in creating a crisis between Turkey and the
Islamic world. The upcoming Islamic Conference
Organization summit will evidently be a venue where
Turkey is harshly criticized for its decision to send
troops to Iraq. Turkey has always been viewed as a
kind of `Trojan Horse' for the Western world. It was
the first Islamic country, for example, to recognize
Israel. . Turkey should move away from this incorrect
strategy. Sending troops to Iraq, whatever the
reasoning might be, will reinforce Turkey's image as a
supporter of the US occupation."


EDELMAN

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