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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 000014

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
FRIDAY, JANUARY 2, 2004


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Powell wishes for a free Middle East in 2004 - Turkiye
US loosens grip on financial aid to Iran - Milliyet
Bombs mark new year in Iraq - Hurriyet
Syria's Assad Ankara's first guest in 2004 - Aksam
Bomb blasts in Iraq on new year's eve - Sabah
US planned invasion of Saudi Arabia during 1973 crisis -
Aksam


OPINION MAKERS
Powell: Our efforts for democracy will continue - Cumhuriyet
Washington steps up Cyprus pressure on Ankara - Cumhuriyet
Tension rising in Kirkuk - Cumhuriyet
US temporarily softens sanctions on Iran - Zaman
Iraq's bloody start to 2004 - Radikal
US had plans to occupy Gulf region in 1973 - Radikal
US planning new wars in new year - Yeni Safak
2004 a critical year for Turkey - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING


PM Erdogan to US: US Ambassador Eric Edelman conveyed to
Prime Minister Erdogan a New Year's message from President
Bush. Following his meeting with the Prime Minister on
Wednesday, Ambassador Edelman also denied press reports that
US officials were uninterested in the Erdogan visit, and
that President Bush would spend only a very short time
meeting with the Turkish prime minister. Erdogan's visit
will offer opportunities for intensive and constructive
talks, Edelman said.


Cyprus: Washington is expecting progress on Cyprus on the
eve of Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to the US. A council
of ministers meeting in Ankara on Friday will discuss a
Cyprus plan drafted by the MFA. Dailies expect a
presidential summit meeting on Cyprus between the leaders of
Turkey and the TRNC in Ankara next week. In the TRNC, UBP
leader Dervis Eroglu will discuss with his party officials
an offer by CTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat for forming a
coalition government.


Turkey's Iraq envoy to meet Bremer: Turkey's special envoy
for Iraq, Ambassador Osman Koruturk, will visit Baghdad to
meet with US overseer Paul Bremer. Koruturk will urge
Bremer to block Kurdish moves against Iraq's territorial
integrity. Koruturk will draw attention to the March 2003
Ankara agreement between the US, Iraq and Turkey, and will
stress the need to preserve a unitary Iraq.


Syria's Assad due in Turkey: Syrian president Bashar Assad
will visit Turkey January 6 as the official guest of
President Sezer. Assad, the first Syrian leader to visit
Turkey in the last 40 years, will discuss with the Turks
controversial issues including Syrian support for the PKK,
Syrian claims over Turkey's Hatay province, and water
disagreements. The two sides are expected to sign an
agreement of cooperation in the struggle against terrorism.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Erdogan reportedly told
Israeli TV that Ankara was eager to mediate between Israel
and Syria to achieve peace in the Middle East. Erdogan
stressed that Turkey is also willing to expand intelligence
cooperation with Israel in the wake of the bomb attacks
against synagogues in Istanbul.
TGS slaps AKP lawmaker: The TGS released a statement on
Wednesday expressing its `deep concern' over remarks by AKP
lawmaker Hurev Kutlu's remarks concerning a portrait of
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that hangs in the parliament building.
Kutlu had asked for removal of the portrait, which depicts
Ataturk in his field-marshal uniform. Kutlu's remarks
encouraged fundamentalists attending a religious funeral in
Istanbul last weekend, TGS claimed, turning the funeral into
a fundamentalist show of force. Kutlu could be expelled
from the party at a disciplinary hearing next week.


EDITORIAL OPINION: 2004 Outlook


"Once Again the Key is in President Bush's hand"
Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in the mass appeal Hurriyet (1/2):
"During the year 2004, Turkey's relationship with the US
will be a determining factor in terms of economic and
foreign policy issues. In that regard, the upcoming Bush-
Erdogan meeting on January 28 is very important. This
meeting will undoubtedly be a positive one. The Bush
administration's message to Erdogan will be more important
than what the Turkish PM has to say to President Bush. The
importance of the White House appointment also stems from
the fact that Turkey has managed to improve its standing in
Washington following the March 1 event, which significantly
tarnished U.S. perceptions about Turkey. If Turkey receives
support from the White House during the upcoming meeting, it
will serve to facilitate positive developments in Turkey's
foreign policy and in the economy. In other words,
Washington holds the key on Turkey's main issues, including
inflation, the EU process, Cyprus and Iraq."


"Is 2004 going to be a year of destiny?"
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist Ortadogu (1/2): "It
is certain that that the year 2004 is going to be a year of
destiny for Turkey's future. Being successful in 2004 will
lead to a hopeful and bright future for Turkey. In case of
failure, we can only expect more uncertainty. The important
events which will shape either success or failure for Turkey
include the government formation process in Turkish Cyprus,
developments in northern Iraq, and parliamentary elections
in Greece. Let's not forget that as of May 1, Cyprus will
be admitted to the EU regardless of a settlement of the
Cyprus issue. The European Parliament elections in June
will provide another important milestone in Turkey's EU
membership debate. By the end of this year, we will have
either a green or a red light from the EU about Turkey's
membership negotiations."


EDELMAN

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