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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.

281105Z Oct 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 006752

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 28, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
US sends a message: Do not come to Iraq - Milliyet
Look Who's Talking: Bremer Calls Turkey Colonial Power -
Hurriyet
US in shock after bombings - Turkiye
Ramadan Shock for US - Sabah
Verheugen: Turkey should wait a little more for the EU
negotiations - Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS
Ankara reacts to Bremer - Cumhuriyet
Baghdad has been turned into another Tel Aviv - Cumhuriyet
Ankara is annoyed - Radikal
US shaken by explosions - Yeni Safak
Bremer: Ottomans were a colonial power in Iraq - Yeni Safak
Bremer's Gaffe - Zaman
Horrifying scenes in Baghdad - Zaman


BRIEFING


Paul Bremer remarks stir controversy: The Turkish media
gave extensive coverage to the televised remarks of Paul
Bremer. Bremer reportedly said "the Iraqi Governing Council
members have said they don't want Turkish troops. This is
true. What they have done is suggested that they should
have a dialogue with the Turks directly, so the Turks can
sit directly with the IGC and they can go over it."
Bremer's remarks in both papers and television reporting
were interpreted as a sign of a policy shift on the part of
the US. Since Bremer mentioned the Ottoman period in Iraq
from 1533 to the end of the World War I, today's papers
carried his remarks under banner headlines. Papers
highlighted that Ankara was `very offended' by Bremer's
remarks. Reports carried this remark from an unnamed
Turkish Foreign Ministry official: "It seems he is calling
the Turks a colonial power for 400 years. If he is making
such remarks, how can we characterize the US and UK presence
in Iraq?"


"Hurriyet" also carried a comment from Washington. Unnamed
US officials reaffirmed to the paper that there is no shift
in US policy, and Bremer did not mean that Turkey will talk
only to the IGC. Dialogue on this issue continues between
Ankara and Washington, in both diplomatic and military
channels, the US officials noted. The US continues to
believe that the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq will
contribute to stability there, they said.


Commentators, on the other hand, reflected a more negative
view of the latest developments. Murat Yetkin of "Radikal"
analyzed the current situation as a possible sign of change
in US policy toward Iraq. Yetkin believes that the US
administration has taken anti-Turkish sentiment into account
and has already given up on the deployment of Turkish
troops. Instead of explaining this change to Ankara
directly, Yetkin claims, Washington is trying to agitate the
Turks so that Ankara decides not to send troops.
Growing Security Concerns in Iraq: Papers highlighted the
series of terrorist attacks in Iraq and noted the grave
security situation. Characterizing the events as "a bad
Ramadan surprise for the US," reports said that even the
International Red Cross Headquarters had become a target for
terrorist attack. The US has failed dramatically in its
effort to improve the security situation in Iraq. Some
reports also concluded that it might be best for Turkey to
stay away from trouble by not sending troops to Iraq.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Chances for sending troops seem to be diminishing"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (10/28): "Given the
current situation, chances for Turkey to deploy its troops
in Iraq are diminishing. Confusing reports coming from
Washington during the past week lead us to conclude that the
US is indecisive about the issue. The most recent
statements lead us to believe that the Americans do not want
Turkish troops. According to reports, Wolfowitz and other
high level US officials have put the issue on hold. Paul
Bremer went a step further by suggesting that Turkey should
discuss the issue directly with the IGC. Bremer's views are
not the official US position, but the fact of the matter is
that Turkey has now lost some of its desire to send troops
to a chaotic Iraq. . Ankara must make a careful assessment
of the situation and shape policies for Iraq accordingly.
We cannot deny the ongoing mistrust of Turkey among certain
Iraqi groups. We should be able to understand the reasons
behind this sentiment and come up with an objective analysis
and a new strategy. This is the right time for Turkey to do
that, now that the deployment of troops has fallen from the
agenda."


EDELMAN

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