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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 02 ANKARA 006945

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
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS


The True Face of the EU - Milliyet
Banking Supervisory Board President Resigns - Milliyet
Erdogan Declines Sharon's Visit - Milliyet
Gul Finds EU Report `Objective' - Sabah
Erdogan to Berlusconi: "Do not demoralize Turkey" - Sabah
EU Report: Cyprus not a Pre-condition, but still an Obstacle
- Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS


EU Insists on Cyprus - Cumhuriyet
PKK/KADEK Operation in Bingol - Cumhuriyet
Ankara Did Not Want Sharon - Cumhuriyet
Gul: Cyprus is not A Political Criteria - Radikal
EU Says Turkey Failed to Implement the Reforms - Yeni Safak
Tevfik Bilgin Replaces Akcakoca as Bank Supervisory Board
President-Zaman


BRIEFING
EU Progress Report: All papers give extensive coverage to
the controversial report about Turkey released yesterday by
the European Union. "Hurriyet" says that despite all the
pressure from Ankara to avoid the linkage between the Cyprus
issue and Turkey's EU accession, the EU commission included
Cyprus as a condition in the report. Page 16 of the
Strategy document says that Cyprus is not a pre-condition
for Turkey's EU Accession talks to start. However, page 20
stresses that the absence of a solution to the Cyprus issue
could be a significant obstacle to Turkey's EU accession.
Most papers agree that the EU has explicitly linked the
Cyprus issue to Turkey's accession for the first time. FM
Gul criticized the linkage, saying that `Cyprus is not part
of the political criteria for EU accession.' "Cumhuriyet"
criticizes the government for its weak reaction to the
Cyprus condition. "Radikal' praises the government for its
restrained response, calling it a `demonstration of common
sense.' EU expansion chief Verheugen said that the EU
wanted to `send a message' to Turkey about the urgency of
the issue. `This is not a pre-condition,' Verheugen noted,
`but we have noted a reality.'


Turkey Rejects Sharon's Visit Request: "Hurriyet" reports
that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon requested to meet
with PM Erdogan last Monday on his return home from Moscow.
Ankara declined the request due to Erdogan's `heavy
schedule' and informed Israel that such a visit would be
welcomed in the future. Several others speculate that the
reason for Erdogan's decision had more to do with politics
than scheduling problems.


US Spokesman Comments on Logoglu Statements : "Milliyet"
and "Radikal" report the US response to Turkish Ambassador
Faruk Logoglu's statement regarding the PKK/KADEK and his
assertion that the US is favoring the Kurds in Iraq. State
Department Spokesman Adam Ereli clarified that `the US does
not favor the Kurds.' He added that the United States is
taking `all necessary steps' to restrict PKK/KADEK
activities in Iraq. "Milliyet' adds that the US was alarmed
by Ambassador Logoglu's statement that Turkey will not send
peacekeeping troops to Iraq without an Iraqi invitation.


Banking Supervisory Board (BDDK)Chairman Resigns: BDDK
Chairman Engin Akcakoca ended weeks of speculation by
resigning from his post yesterday. "Yeni Safak" claims that
Akcakoca resigned to avoid facing a government inspection of
the handling of the Imar Bank case. "Cumhuriyet" contends
that Akcakoca was essentially forced out by government
pressure. State Minister Abdulatif Sener proposed that
Akcakoca be replaced by Tevfik Bilgin, currently the General
Manager of Halkbank.


EDITORIAL OPINION


"The EU's Message"
Sami Kohen opined in the mass appeal Milliyet (11/6): "It
is not difficult to predict that the Greek Cypriots and
Greece will block membership negotiations between Turkey and
the EU if no progress is made on Cyprus. The EU's Progress
Report on Turkey says that other EU member countries might
join such a veto. . In this case, Turkey will have to
decide whether to declare the Cyprus condition in the
document as unacceptable and enter into a confrontation with
the EU or continue its dialogue with the Europeans. It is a
decision to be adopted in line with Ankara's political
preferences. It would be better to give a start to the
solution process now rather than leaving all attempts to the
last minute. The Progress Report indicates that compared
with the past, the EU is now more favorably disposed toward
Turkey. There is no sense in disrupting that positive mood
by objecting to a particular clause on the Cyprus issue."


"The fight has started"
Soli Ozel noted in the mass appeal Sabah (11/6): "Domestic
policy conditions indicate that the AK Party government will
not be able to press for a solution on Cyprus without
receiving a guarantee from the EU for negotiations starting
in December 2004. Turkey must not break its ties with the
EU between the May 2004 EU expansion and the EU summit
meeting in December 2004, at which a decision on Turkey will
be adopted. . Some believe that, given Turkey's rising
strategic significance, the EU will not be able to abandon
Turkey just for the sake of Cyprus. However, the progress
report says that once it becomes an EU member, Cyprus will
have a veto right. . Turkey must return to the negotiating
table and produce creative ideas for a solution. A
diplomacy based merely on postponing, gaining time, and
threatening cannot be taken seriously."
EDELMAN

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