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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 000032

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
MONDAY, JANUARY 5, 2004


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Assad to urge Ankara to mediate between Syria, Israel -
Turkiye
Assad against a Kurdish state in Iraq - Sabah
FM Gul: Negotiations must be continued by Denktas - Milliyet
World facing Islamic terror virus - Blair - Sabah
Fundamentalism virus threatens the world - Blair - Hurriyet
British pilots protest against US - Hurriyet 1/4
Tehran halts high-level US delegation to Iran - Aksam
Turkey's exports in 2003 a record high $48 billion - Aksam


OPINION MAKERS
Syria in super cooperation with Turkey - Assad - Radikal
A new page with Syria - Cumhuriyet
TGS objects to the Annan Plan - Cumhuriyet
Government crisis continues in TRNC - Radikal 1/4
US raids Kurds' offices in Kirkuk - Radikal
Iraqi Shiites against a federation - Radikal 1/4
Hunt for hijackers in Britain - Cumhuriyet
Georgia's single candidate presidential elections -
Cumhuriyet 1/4
India, Pakistan flirt at SAARC summit - Zaman


BRIEFING


Syria's Assad due in Turkey: Syrian President Bashar Assad
said on the eve of his January 6 visit to Turkey that
Turkey's EU membership would be welcomed in Syria, and would
make Syria a neighbor to the EU. Syria opposes any move
that would violate the territorial integrity of Iraq, Assad
said. The PKK has been neutralized in Syria, he asserted.
`My visit indicates the extraordinary cooperation between
the two countries,' the Syrian leader stressed. `I am not
against Turkish-Israeli cooperation unless it affects
Turkey's attitude toward the Arab-Israeli conflict.' Assad
said. Assad also said that Syria wanted to turn a new page
in its ties with Turkey. The Turkish press attaches great
significance to the Assad visit. After meeting with
Turkey's political leaders in Ankara, Assad will proceed to
Istanbul for talks with the Turkish business community in an
effort to boost economic ties between the two countries.
During his meeting with Assad, Prime Minister Erdogan will
put forward a proposal for Turkish mediation between Israel
and Syria. Israel will convey a message to Assad via Ankara
urging the closure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad offices in
Damascus.


PM Erdogan's US visit: During his US visit, Prime Minister
Erdogan will meet with President Bush on February 28,
followed by a joint press conference and lunch, Sunday's
"Sabah" reports. The two leaders will discuss Iraq and
Cyprus, as well as the forthcoming NATO summit in Istanbul
in June. Erdogan will meet with international finance
representatives in New York January 26. He will proceed to
Washington and meet with Vice President Dick Cheney and some
US Congressmen. Erdogan will then deliver a speech at
Harvard University, where he will visit his son.


Cyprus: TGS has serious concerns about the UN-sponsored
peace plan for Cyprus, Monday's "Cumhuriyet" reports. The
Turkish military is doubtful that the Annan Plan can bring a
lasting solution to the Cyprus problem. The TGS believes
the MFA must change its attitude toward the Annan Plan,
which is designed to cut Turkey off from Cyprus. Turkey
must be allowed to maintain a permanent force of 1,000-2,000
troops on the island, TGS believes. The military is
concerned that the failure to resolve the property issue
through exchange and reparations could later cause problems
for Turkey. The TGS is pessimistic about reaching a lasting
solution in the short term. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Gul
said on Sunday that TRNC leader Rauf Denktas should continue
in his post as chief negotiator even after a new government
is formed in the north. Ankara is waiting for the formation
of a new government before summoning Turkish Cypriot leaders
to Turkey for a Cyprus `summit' hosted by President Sezer
later this week.
Unrest between ethnic groups in Kirkuk: Weekend papers
report growing tension in Kirkuk. Local US authorities
declared a curfew to avoid further casualties from clashes
between Kurdish, Turkmen and Arab groups. Turkish papers
are concerned that confrontation between ethnic groups might
lead to civil unrest. US troops raided the offices of the
KDP and PUK in Kirkuk, seizing some unregistered weapons.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Cyprus


"Washington is actively involved"
Semih Idiz wrote in the mass appeal Aksam (1/5): "The letter
from President Bush to Greek Prime Minister Simitis on the
Cyprus issue is a very important development. Surprisingly,
it did not receive much press attention in Turkey, but the
Greek press has already started complaining about it. The
letter clearly indicates that Washington is very determined
to seek a settlement to the Cyprus issue and to exert
pressure on both sides via Ankara and Athens. .This is bad
news for those who view the `no settlement' option as the
best way forward. Washington is apparently convinced that
the two sides of Cyprus have neither the political will nor
the power to resolve the issue on their own. Thus the US
administration will exert its pressure primarily on Turkey
and Greece. . With his letter to the Greek Prime Minister,
President Bush is encouraging Ankara on the settlement
process, and is asking Athens to work more seriously with
the Greek Cypriot leadership for a settlement."


"The Consensus Spirit"
Asli Aydintasbas wrote in the mass appeal Sabah (1/5):
"There is a group in the State Department that is working
for a Cyprus settlement in a very determined fashion.
Turkey's EU vision and a settlement to the Cyprus issue
prior to the May 1 deadline have become part of the White
House vision for Turkey as well. If Turkish PM Erdogan
comes to the US capital with a solid Cyprus package, he
might see more active involvement in the process from the US
side. The gist of the issue depends on the compatibility of
Turkey's Cyprus package with the Annan Plan."


DEUTSCH

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