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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 000396

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, JANUARY 21, 2004


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
JAC to present Erdogan with `Courage Award' - Milliyet
Musharraf: Turkey `like my home' - Milliyet
Musharraf wants Turkey in EU - Sabah
German FM sides with Turkey on EU - Hurriyet
John Kerry challenges Bush - Milliyet
Kerry the new JFK? - Hurriyet
Vietnam veteran takes the first round - Sabah
Sunnis, Shiites march against a Kurdish state - Turkiye
Shiites demand Saddam's execution - Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
Bush to discuss thorny issue with Erdogan in Rose Garden -
Radikal
Hopes for a disarmed Aegean - Radikal
Assad: Iraq poses threat for Syria, Turkey - Cumhuriyet
End of tunnel dark in Iraq - Yeni Safak
Shiite demonstrations spread in Iraq - Radikal
Barzani threatens to drive out Arabs from Kurd lands - Yeni
Safak
Kerry beats Dean in Iowa - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING


PM Erdogan's upcoming US visit: Dailies expect the upcoming
US visit by Prime Minister Erdogan to open a new chapter in
bilateral relations that have been marred by the Iraq
crisis. Erdogan will discuss with President Bush issues
such as Cyprus, the rebuilding of Iraq, and recent proposals
for an ethnic-based federation in Iraq. Bush and Erdogan
will spend some 20 minutes in the Rose Garden following a
luncheon hosted by President Bush in honor of the Turkish
prime minister, according to "Radikal." In American
diplomacy, the report continues, the Rose Garden walk
implies the restoration of friendship in bilateral relations
and the search for solutions to thorny issues. Erdogan will
also meet with the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Archbishop and
receive the `Profiles in Courage' award from the American
Jewish Committee (AJC) during his visit to the US. Erdogan
will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Market on
January 26.


FM Gul on the Greek proposal for decreased defense spending:
In an interview with Greece's Mega TV, Foreign Minister Gul
responded positively to Greek FM Papandreou's proposal for
cutting defense spending. Turkey wants peace, stability and
good neighborly relations in the region, Gul said. He noted
that Turkey and Greece postponed military exercises last
year and have signed 11 agreements within the framework of
confidence building measures. Gul said that the statement
by Papandreou demonstrated Greece's political will for
boosting mutual trust, and for the resolution of problems
through peaceful means. In 2004, Turkey's estimated defense
spending will be below what it spends on education, Gul
noted, adding that the beginning of accession negotiations
between the EU and Turkey would cause a further reduction in
defense spending. The Turkish foreign minister is confident
that the positive trend in bilateral relations will not be
reversed even if the opposition wins the March 7 elections
in Greece. Athens welcomed Gul's remarks, saying that the
positive approach by Turkey would lay the groundwork for a
continuing dialogue.


Turkish Cypriot PM in Ankara: Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat paid a
surprise visit to Ankara at the invitation of the Union of
Chambers (TOBB) on the eve of the National Security Council
(NSC) meeting on January 23. A statement released by the
MFA claimed that Talat came to Ankara to get acquainted
with Turkey's business community. Papers expect TRNC leader
Denktas to visit Ankara on Sunday. Prime Minister Erdogan
will take off for the US on Sunday after meeting with
Denktas.


Pakistan's Musharraf in Turkey: Visiting Pakistani
President Pervez Musharraf said on his Ankara visit on
Tuesday that Turkey and Pakistan could play a key role in
changing the future of the Islamic world. Musharraf
stressed the need for unity against terrorism. Musharraf
and Turkish president Sezer signed an agreement for
cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Addressing the
Turkish parliament, Musharraf said Turkey and Pakistan have
both been targeted by terrorism. A surge in Islamic
extremism has deepened the gap of misunderstanding between
the west and the Islamic world, according to Musharraf. The
Pakistani president voiced support for Turkey's policies in
Cyprus and Iraq.


Uzans may lose Turkish nationality: Cem Uzan and his
brother Hakan are under investigation for getting Jordanian
passports without being granted prior permission by Turkish
authorities. If such an offense is verified, the Council of
Ministers might decide to annul the brothers' Turkish
nationality.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq


"Promise in the Letter"
Sedat Ergin commented on the March 23, 2003 Bush letter to
the Turkish PM in the mass appeal Hurriyet (1/21):
"President Bush made some important pledges in his letter to
Turkish PM Erdogan on March 23 of last year. In his letter,
Bush not only congratulated Erdogan for assuming the
position of Prime Minister, but also made important
commitments about northern Iraq, the Turkmen, and Kirkuk. .
Bush expressed the US policy line for northern Iraq, which
was to ensure the control of oil-rich areas by a united
Iraqi government. . Given the current circumstances, we see
that while the US has not given full support to Kurdish
demands for the oil-rich areas, the settlement of such
`sensitive issues' has been left to 2005. . The end of 2005
will show us whether President Bush keeps his promises or
not. Bush also promised to give a meaningful role to the
Turkmen in the future of Iraq. In this case, the actual
implementation has been contrary to the President's
commitment. . It remains to be seen whether Erdogan will
bring up the March 23 promises during his meeting with Bush
at the White House."


"To Expect the Expected"
Sami Kohen observed in the mass appeal Milliyet (1/21): "It
was expected that the US would eventually ask for the UN's
involvement in Iraq. It has happened at last, following the
growing resistance in the Sunni triangle as well as
reactions by the Shiites. . The Shiites and Sunnis are not
the only problems for the US - the Kurds should also be
included in this list. The Kurds are dreaming of an ethnic-
based confederation and voice maximalist demands of the US.
. It was clear from the beginning that the invasion of Iraq
would open up Pandora's box, and that is exactly what is
happening in Iraq. . This fact was one of the main motives
that pushed the Bush administration to look for UN
assistance."


EDELMAN

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