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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.

151400Z Oct 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006441

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
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL


Expected Attack - Milliyet
A Bomb to Intimidate - Hurriyet
Message Delivered With A Bomb - Sabah
PM Erdogan Meets With TGS Chief Ozkok - Hurriyet
Gul to Zebari: We Prevented a Massacre of Kurds -
Turkiye


OPINION MAKERS
Warning to Turkey - Cumhuriyet
Surprise Meeting between Erdogan and Ozkok - Cumhuriyet
Provocations Begin in Iraq - Radikal
A Message from FM Gul to the Kurds - Radikal
Gul: "Saddam proposed that the Kurds be Slaughtered" -
Radikal
Edelman: "Turkish Troops to Establish Security in Iraq"
- Zaman
Turkish Troops May Not be Sent to Iraq - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING


Attack Against Turkish Embassy in Baghdad: All papers
and TV channels give extensive coverage to yesterday's
suicide attack against the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad.
"Hurriyet" draws attention to the fact that the attack
came only one week after the parliament's decision to
authorize a troop deployment in Iraq. All papers
report that a suicide bomber attacked the embassy in a
car loaded with explosives. The attacker died and nine
others were injured, including Turkish embassy
officials. All papers agree that the attack was a
warning to Turkey not to send troops to Iraq. The
Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack in a
statement that reiterated the seriousness of the
security situation in Iraq.


FM Gul Responds to Zebari's Comments on Turkish Troop
Deployment: Most papers today report on FM Gul's
response to Iraqi FM Zebari's comments that Iraqis are
against the deployment of troops from neighboring
countries. Gul said that Turkey has `no secret
intentions' in Iraq. `If we had a secret agenda,' Gul
continued, `we would have accepted Saddam's proposal to
massacre the Kurds.' "Zaman" notes that Saddam's offer
had been conveyed frequently to Turkish officials by
Iraqi Deputy PM Tarik Aziz in bilateral contacts with
Turkey.


Ambassador Edelman Visits Turkey-US Friendship Group in
Parliament: Ambassador Edelman attended a lunch
yesterday in honor of the Turkish-American Friendship
Group. The lunch was hosted by the group's chairman,
AKP deputy Egemen Bagis. "Milliyet" draws attention to
the Ambassador's comments that Turkish troops could
help to establish security in Iraq while also
contributing to humanitarian operations. The
Ambassador reportedly stressed Turkey's long experience
in peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts in Kosovo,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Afghanistan.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"The Iraq Reality"
Zafer Atay commented in the economic-political Dunya
(10/15): "Since the 1950s, all of Turkey's foreign
troop mission have been backed by either NATO or the
UN. This time, the Turkish military mission to Iraq
will be carried out under a bilateral framework
agreement with the US. Within this framework, the
debate over the necessity of an IGC invitation or
another UNSC resolution is irrelevant. Believing that
Turkey will not be viewed as an occupation force but
only as a force to protect peace and stability is
nothing but wishful thinking. Let's face it -- all
foreign troops are considered part of the occupation
force by the majority of Iraqis. Peace and security
cannot be preserved there, because there is none. . The
possible areas of responsibility for Turkish forces are
not very encouraging, because all of them are places
with high risk. . Having said that, we also have to
face another reality. This time, Ankara did not have
the chance to say no to Washington. Leaving aside the
8.5 billion dollar credit, Turkey must be present in
Iraq because of the issues of PKK terrorism and the
Kurdish groups in the north. Turkey should be in a
position to make a hard bargain with the US about its
military contribution. That is the best Turkey can do
under the current circumstances."


"Will Ankara Step Back?"
Murat Yetkin analyzed in the liberal-intellectual
Radikal (10/15): "After the terrorist attack against
the Turkish embassy in Baghdad, the question of the day
has become whether or not Turkey will still send troops
to Iraq. American officials condemned the attack, and
noted that it highlighted once again the gravity of the
security and stability
issues in Baghdad. . On Turkey's role in Iraq, the US
goes no further than some generally positive remarks
about the Turkish parliament's authorization for the
deployment. The Turkish Ambassador in Washington had
some important meetings with US officials on that
issue, and he underlined that Turkey expects the US to
convince the IGC about the necessity of Turkish troops
and to take some tangible steps in the fight against
the PKK/KADEK. . Recently, the Turkish MFA gave this
same message to US Ambassador Edelman in Ankara. . The
US hesitation on this issue might be explained by a
number of factors: the fact that the approval of the
decree for sending troops came faster than the US had
expected; the rise in terrorist attacks in Iraq;
Kurdish efforts to oppose the deployment of Turkish
troops even if this would result in a confrontation
with the US. However, the ongoing uncertainty has a
negative impact on Turkey's decision-making process.
The recent attack in Baghdad and possible new attacks
will certainly put more pressure on the government. .
Turkey has done its part. Now it is the US that stands
at a turning point. The US must act quickly. It must
prove that the fight against terrorism is not just
rhetoric intended to legitimize American global
interests."


EDELMAN

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