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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 006728

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
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2003

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Washington's strongest man [Wolfowitz] narrowly escapes
attack - Sabah
Rockets miss Wolfowitz by two floors - Hurriyet
Rockets make `the Hawk' tremble - Aksam
Wolfowitz: Turks in Iraq would be risky - Hurriyet
Bremer warns Washington on Turks to Iraq - Sabah 10/25
Powell: We Don't want to rule Iraq forever - Hurriyet 10/26
Turkey will give $50 million for Iraq - Milliyet 10/25
Tens of thousands of Americans march against war - Milliyet
Protesters urge White House to `bring boys back home' -
Hurriyet
US soldiers given training on Ramadan - Milliyet 10/26
`Second Berlin Wall' in Palestine draws protests - Sabah
CHP grassroots back Dervis - Hurrriyet 10/26


OPINION MAKERS
Missiles rain down on Wolfowitz - Cumhuriyet
`Ramadan missiles' delivered to Wolfowitz - Radikal
Wolfowitz emerges from rocket attack unhurt - Zaman
WP claims Bush `hiding' coffins from Iraq from public -
Cumhuriyet
Talabani: Turkey is our friend - Cumhuriyet
Iraq Donors' Conference results disappointing - Radikal
10/26
IGC member al-Hakeem opposes Turkish troops in Iraq - Yeni
Safak
Tens of thousands protest Bush - Yeni Safak
Rectors march under placards calling for military coup -
Zaman 10/26
Turks on the march against fundamentalism - Cumhuriyet
Washington DC, Virginia declare October 29 `Turkey Day' -
Zaman


BRIEFING


Turkish troops to Iraq: Commentators in the leading
mainstream papers believe that Washington, for the time
being, has shelved the issue of Turkish peacekeepers to
Iraq. Monday's "Sabah" says that Washington is working to
find a formula for transferring sovereignty to the Iraqi
people. Turkish diplomatic sources expect the peacekeeping
issue to be discussed again after Ramadan, acording to
"Milliyet." Saturday's "Hurriyet" claims that the US is
concerned by Ankara's insistence on sending its troops to
Salahaddin instead of to the Al-Anbar region. US supervisor
Paul Bremer agrees with Kurdish leaders Barzani and Talabani
that Turkish troops should not be allowed into Iraq,
according to "Hurriyet." Bremer has reported to Washington
that Iraq's neighbors' object to Turkish soldiers, and has
voiced concern that the Turks might be engaged in fighting
instead of stabilization activities. Weekend papers also
report that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
considers a Turkish troop deployment in Iraq to be `very
risky.'


Weekend papers report a strong response from Prime Minister
Erdogan to Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) officials who have
objected to a Turkish presence in the region. `The IGC is
not a legitimate administration that is backed by all
Iraqis,' Erdogan said. Erdogan noted that talks with the US
over the dispatch of troops have not been cut off, but that
the US has asked Turkey for a pause of 10-15 days before
resuming discussions.


Mass demonstration supporting secularism: Over 20,000
people attended a mass rally by university staff and
students in Ankara in support of secularism on Saturday.
Almost all newspapers, especially the Islamist-oriented
press, criticized protesters for walking with banners urging
the army to `do its duty' amid a dispute over education
reforms that the protesters believe undermine the principle
of secularism. "Yeni Safak" strongly criticized the media
owned by the Dogan and Uzan groups for applauding such calls
for military intervention.
Dervis now stronger in CHP: Opposition politician and
former economy minister Kemal Dervis won more support than
CHP party leader Deniz Baykal in voting for the CHP Party
Council at last week's Republican People's Party (CHP)
convention. Dervis was elected to the council by the votes
of 1,021 delegates, while Baykal carried only 973 votes in
being re-elected as CHP party chairman. (Note: Baykal ran
as the only candidate for party chairman. End note.)
AKP lawmakers may boycott Republican Day reception:
Monday's "Vatan" claims that the AKP administration is
advising lawmakers not to attend the Republican Day
reception to be hosted by President Sezer on October 29.
The AKP deputies are expected to boycott the reception to
protest Sezer's decision not to invite their wives who wear
headscarves.
Ankara turned down Vatican request on churches: A column in
the weekend "Hurriyet" says that Ankara has turned down a
request by the Vatican to allow the repair and renovation of
Catholic churches in Turkey. The GOT also will reportedly
not allow the construction of new churches. The Vatican has
submitted similar requests to Egypt and Tunisia, both of
which were met with a swift, positive response. The Vatican
has taken the issue to the European Union.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Time for making a decision in Washington"
Mass appeal Milliyet's Washington correspondent Yasemin
Congar observed (10/27): "The current phase of the decline
in President Bush's popularity might end up costing him the
election. Therefore, Republicans have concentrated their
efforts on reversing the current trend to Bush's benefit.
That means a series of revisions, including to the
administration's Iraq policy. . The Iraq issue, however,
poses a serious dilemma for Washington because of the
growing public opposition and the increasing need for more
soldiers and more money to ensure security. It remains to
be seen when and how this serious dilemma will be resolved
by the Bush administration. . Given the circumstances,
Washington is now close to a decision to change its earlier
decision about dissolving the Iraqi national army. There is
growing speculation in Washington that the US will ask the
Iraqi army to return to the barracks. Such a decision would
not include Saddam's Republican Guards. . The coming weeks
will determine the Bush administration's vision. But in
questions regarding the timing about these decisions, the
most common answer is `sometime after Ramadan.'


"Whirlpool"
Asli Aydintasbas wrote in mass appeal Sabah (10/27): "The US
administration is following an uneven path in its Iraq
policy, which remains indecisive. Things in Iraq, at least
on the `micro' scale, are not too bad. There are many
things visibly improved as far as social life is concerned.
But the fact is that the big picture is not encouraging.
The growing danger of instability is serious enough to cast
a shadow over the accomplishments in other fields. The Iraq
issue is the number one priority on the agenda for
Washington. Policy makers have intensified their thinking
to do something about Iraq so that President Bush can win
the 2004 election. It seems that whatever the details of
the new policies will be, their essence will be to give more
sovereignty to the Iraqis."


EDELMAN

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