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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 000231

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, JANUARY 13, 2004

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Denktas Approves New TRNC Government - Hurriyet
Erdogan: "No Need for New Decree on Incirlik" - Hurriyet
No Defense Minister in New TRNC Cabinet - Sabah
US: "Rotation Through Incirlik is Legal" -Aksam
Al-Hakim: Kurdish State Can Not be Established - Turkiye


OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan to be Briefed by TGS on Cyprus - Cumhuriyet
Weston: "Annan Plan can be Changed if Both Sides Agree" -
Zaman
FM Gul's Explanation for Incirlik Unsatisfactory -
Cumhuriyet
Color-coded Security Measure from the US - Cumhuriyet
Erdogan: "Cyprus To be Discussed at NSC Meeting - Radikal
US is After A Blanket Clearance - Radikal


BRIEFING
Incirlik: Controversy continues about the use of Incirlik
air base by the United States for troop rotations from Iraq.
CHP leader Deniz Baykal claimed that the Government had been
"caught red-handed" by granting permission for the US
operation without establishing a sound legal basis. Baykal
and other CHP deputies insisted that parliamentary approval
is necessary to place the operation on a sound legal
footing. They also criticized the Government for excessive
secrecy surrounding the operation and for not revealing the
details of a June 2003 Council of Ministers decision that
opened Turkey's bases and ports for the use of allied
countries. The opposition claims that the Government
portrayed the decision as a move to facilitate humanitarian
operations only - not to support the occupation of Iraq.
Two AKP deputies also called for a new parliamentary motion
before the operation continues. Parliament speaker Bulent
Arinc said that his advisors are continuing to study the
matter to determine if parliamentary action is required. PM
Erdogan defended the Government's cooperation in the troop
rotations, arguing that the decision was made within the
framework of UNSC Resolution 1483 and therefore did not
require parliamentary approval.


Cyprus: All papers report that TRNC President Denktas
approved the new coalition Government in Turkish Cyprus.
The Turkish PM and FM sent messages to congratulate the
leaders of the new governing coalition. In his message,
Erdogan stressed that Turkey will cooperate for a Cyprus
settlement and that the current deadlock is not a permanent
solution in Cyprus. "Sabah" notes that there is no Defense
Minister in the new cabinet. All papers and TV channels
report that PM Erdogan will be briefed today by TGS on the
Cyprus issue. "Zaman" reports that during his visit to
Brussels, US Cyprus envoy Weston said that changes could be
made in the UN plan if both sides agree.


EDITORIAL OPINION:
1. Iraq
2. Cyprus


Can't We be More Transparent?
Sami Kohen observed in the mass appeal Milliyet (1/14):
"There is no meaning and no benefit in equating the use of
Incirlik air base for the US troop rotation with the March 1
decree. The TGS and the Government already announced that
the June decree and UN resolution 1483 are sufficient for
the US troop rotation, and there is no need to ask for a new
decree for such a technical agreement. At this critical
stage, taking into account only the political side of the
issue and calling into question the legal basis for the
operation will bring unwanted results. Especially given the
timing, a wrong move just before PM Erdogan's visit to
Washington will affect the meetings there. Turkey always
mentions its geo-strategic importance. Events in Iraq have
brought this importance to the top of the US agenda (mainly
because of Incirlik). This importance is valuable only if
it is used at the right time. Turkey's position on this
latest event increases the possibility that Turkey will be
more influential in defending its interests in Northern
Iraq. Let's wait and see how the PM will use this trump
card during his Washington meetings.


Cyprus Efforts Surprised the EU
Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in the mass appeal Posta(1/14): "I
can almost hear the questions you are now asking. I am sure
you are asking "why should the Greek Cypriots agree to any
plan now? They can delay the process as long as they want
and let the May 1 deadline pass." Would you act
differently, if you were a Greek Cypriot? However, the
situation is not that simple.If the Turkish side plays its
cards right by not asking for exaggerated concessions, the
atmosphere in Brussels shows that the Greek Cypriots will be
put under significant pressure. The EU is beginning to act.
It will attend the negotiations with a very different
mindset. It does not want to leave the Greek Cypriots free
to do whatever they want. Their biggest fear is Denktas
being the negotiator. Everyone is waiting to see whether
Denktas will follow Ankara's line or will continue to push
his own policies. The news of the firing of Mumtaz Soysal
as his advisor was received with interest in Brussels.
"Mumtaz Soysal is a very professional man but is not living
in this day and age" said a top official, stressing that the
EU commission would attach special importance to the
attitude and statements of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
in this process. EDELMAN

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