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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 007580

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, DECEMBER 10, 2003


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Grossman: Turkey a center in the fight against terror -
Cumhuriyet
Grossman stresses solidarity against terror - Milliyet
Grossman: US, Turkey both victims of terror - Turkiye
Grossman: Cyprus must be solved by May 2004 - Sabah
Ankara to Grossman: Turkey a state of law, not an emirate -
Hurriyet
Denktas: Turkey has a right to interfere in TRNC elections -
Hurriyet
New YOK Chairman: Headscarf a political symbol - Milliyet
Terror hits Iraq, Russia, Greece on Tuesday - Turkiye
Chechen suicide bombers' real target was Duma - Sabah


OPINION MAKERS
US preoccupied with Incirlik, Cyprus - Radikal
US Administration wants to use Incirlik base - Zaman
US presses for urgent solution based on Annan Plan - Zaman
Grossman: We want Incirlik - Yeni Safak
Bombs shake Iraq - Yeni Safak
Israel, US launch joint operations against Iraqi resisters -
Yeni Safak
PM Erdogan: We want fair elections in TRNC-Cumhuriyet
AKP steps back on Koran courses - Cumhuriyet
Bombs target Putin's election victory - Radikal


BRIEFING


Undersecretary Grossman in Ankara: US Undersecretary of
State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman, visited Ankara
on Tuesday to discuss the future of Incirlik Air Base,
dailies report. `We would like to see our cooperation with
Turkey continue regarding the use of Incirlik base,'
Grossman said after meting with Foreign Minister Gul in
Ankara on Tuesday. Ankara responded positively to the
adjustments proposed by the US, according to "Zaman."
Papers believe that Grossman's visit has shown Turkey as a
center in the fight against terror, and that Turkey is seen
as a key country for realignment of US forces overseas.
Grossman asked Ankara to display flexibility regarding the
use of Incirlik. The Turkish side reminded Grossman that
parliamentary approval is essential for the transportation
of military equipment and deployment of troops abroad. The
Turks told Grossman that Turkey is a state of law, `not an
emirate,' according to "Hurriyet." Grossman also underlined
the necessity of a joint struggle against terrorism. `Both
the US and Turkey have been the victims of terror,' Grossman
said, noting that the bombings in Istanbul should not be
linked to developments in Iraq. Grossman also signaled
possible changes to conditions on the $8.5 billion US loan
for Turkey, "Aksam" reports. Dailies say that the US is
waiting for a response to the US proposal for expanding
Incirlik base and launching joint military exercises.


Asked about Cyprus, Grossman said the US is hopeful that the
December 14 elections in the TRNC would create an
opportunity for resuming negotiations within the framework
of the Annan Plan. "Cumhuriyet" claims that Washington has
promised Turkey to extend every possible support for a
solution in Cyprus before May 2004. Ankara and the Turkish
Cypriots are working on changes to the Annan Plan, according
to "Cumhuriyet."


Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot opposition leader Mehmet Ali Talat
said the visit to Cyprus by Turkey's deputy Prime Minister
Abdullatif Sener had cast a cloud over the December 14
elections. Sener announced over the weekend a financial aid
package amounting to $160 million for the TRNC economy.
Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas criticized Talat, saying that
Ankara was not interfering in the elections even though it
had a `right' to do so due as a guarantor of the Cyprus
agreement. Prime Minister Erdogan said on Tuesday that his
party was neither supporting the status quo in TRNC nor
abandoning the Cyprus cause.


Turkey, Syria: A Turkish parliamentary group for friendship
with Syria met with Syrian President Bashar Assad during
its four-day visit to Syria. Assad pointed to the close
historical, political and cultural relationship between
Syria and Turkey, and assured the delegation that it would
help prevent terrorist attacks from Syrian territory to
Turkey. Assad wants to turn a new page in Syria's relations
with Ankara.


AKP government soft on Hizbullah: In a front-page report,
"Cumhuriyet" slams the ruling AK Party government for
attempting to punish police chiefs who carried out
successful operations against the fundamentalist terror
organization Hizbullah in Turkey's southeastern provinces of
Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Adana and Hakkari. The government is
assigning terrorist experts with experience in fighting
against Hizbullah to less responsible posts. This has
provided Hizbullah with more room to maneuver. Official
figures indicate that there are 10,000 Hizbullah militants
involved in underground activities throughout Turkey.


AKP pulls back on Koran course regulation: Religious
Affairs (Diyanet) Director-General Prof. Ali Bardakoglu
announced after a meeting with President Sezer that a
controversial regulation removing restrictions on Koran
courses would be withdrawn. The president and the military
have conveyed their anxiety over the new regulation to
Bardakoglu and urged changes. The Diyanet's new regulation
would have allowed Koran courses to be open all year round,
including during evening hours. The mainstream media have
strongly criticized the regulation for attempting to attract
working and needy children to Koran courses.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Campaign against terrorism; Russian
Elections


"NATO's role in the fight against terrorism"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (12/10): "Generally
speaking, there is a consensus about giving NATO a primary
role in the fight against terrorism. The arguments are good
enough to justify this mission for NATO, given NATO's
influential role in local conflict resolution and the fact
that it is more flexible than the UN. Yet the goal of using
NATO in the fight against terrorism requires a restructuring
within the alliance. The current organizational model is
not conducive to reaching the anti-terrorism goal. NATO and
the UN should go through a simultaneous restructuring in
order to recast themselves as global security organizations.
. There is also a lack of international consensus about the
concept and definition of terrorism. The terrorism threat
has become global, but NATO and the EU have not yet reached
a consensus about its definition. It is expected that NATO
will eventually be able to show a capability to respond to
terrorism in a determined and speedy way, just like it did
against global military threats in the past."


"The Russian Elections"
Hadi Uluengin wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (12/10): "The
elections in Russia will not change anything. The results
indicate a victory for Putin's `Unified Russia' Party, which
is responsible for the Chechen problem. Moreover,
Jirinovski's party has become stronger than before. In
reality, the result achieved by modern and liberal parties
in Russia constitutes only 5 percent of the total vote. .
It seems that Russians are still supportive of their
autocratic tradition and are not yet taken by the idea of a
civilian democracy. The election results also indicate a
guaranteed victory for Putin in the upcoming presidential
elections. The fact of the matter is that societies with
heavy authoritarian traditions tend to resist change even if
it may be good for them. In the Russian example, the
society has apparently favored despotism and autocracy at
the expense of democracy."


EDELMAN

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