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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 000487

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 26, 2004


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Erdogan wants Powell as Cyprus mediator - Aksam
Erdogan asks Annan to replace De Soto - Milliyet 1/25
Cyprus will top Erdogan-Bush agenda - Sabah
Greek Cypriots afraid of referendum proposal - Hurriyet
Kerry overtakes Bush in opinion poll - Hurriyet
Kerry leads: Even Saddam couldn't save Bush - Milliyet
Israel warms to Turkey's mediation offer - Milliyet
David Kay: No WMD in Iraq - Sabah 1/2
Cheney: The EU must support Turkey - Hurriyet 1/25


OPINION MAKERS
US happy with NSC statement on Cyprus - Zaman 1/25
Powell urges Athens to press Greek Cypriots - Yeni Safak
Erdogan, Bush to meet for three hours - Cumhuriyet 1/25
Cheney gives the world lessons in brute force - Radikal 1/25
Bush prefers general elections in Iraq in July - Zaman
US State Dept.: 70 percent of Al-Qaeda destroyed - Zaman
1/25
Turkmen return home - Cumhuriyet
Thousands of exiled Turkmen return to Kirkuk - Yeni Safak
US delegation in Libya after 38 years - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING


Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas held talks with
Prime Minister Erdogan and later with President Ahmet Necdet
Sezer in Ankara over the weekend. On Sunday, Sezer and
Denktas issued a call for resuming the Cyprus talks.
Erdogan called for the appointment of an impartial mediator
to help push the negotiations forward, and is expected to
urge the US to take up this role. Weekend papers speculate
that Secretary Powell, former NATO Secretary General George
Robertson, and former US Secretary of State James Baker
could be named as a go-between for Cyprus. Denktas,
however, opposes the appointment of a new mediator until his
role is more clearly defined. Sources `close to the US
government' expect Powell to step in as a mediator,
according to some papers. If the Greek Cypriot side shows a
new attitude, the TRNC will not hold back, Erdogan said
before leaving for the US on Sunday. Turkey's National
Security Council (NSC) had agreed on Friday to back a
resumption of UN negotiations in a bid to forge a deal
before Cyprus joins the EU on May 1.
PM Erdogan's US visit: Prime Minister Erdogan left for his
visit to the United States on Sunday. He was accompanied by
3 cabinet ministers, 165 businessmen and over 50
journalists. Dailies expect the Cyprus issue to top the
agenda of meetings between Turkish and US officials. The
two sides will ponder the possibilities for expanded
cooperation against forces that oppose a peaceful settlement
in Cyprus and Turkey's EU membership.


Ankara to mediate between Israel, Syria: The Israeli
foreign ministry has responded positively to Ankara's offer
to mediate between Israel and Syria in a prospective return
to peace talks between the two countries. The Syrians have
reportedly welcomed the Turkish approach as well. `We hope
Turkey can persuade the Israeli government to abandon its
noncompliance with international law and UNSC resolutions,'
Syria's information ministry said. Prime Minister Erdogan
said at the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos on
Saturday that Turkey's foreign minister would launch a new
diplomatic initiative on the issue soon.


Northern Iraqi refugee camp to be closed: Turkey, the US,
and the UN have agreed to close the Mahmur refugee camp in
Northern Iraq, an alleged safe haven for PKK/KADEK
terrorists, Saturday papers report. The MFA said on Friday
that an agreement for the return of the approximately 13,000
Turkish nationals in the camp would be signed once the sides
formally approve the deal. Refugees not willing to return
to Turkey may continue living in Iraq or move on to third
countries.


Moscow slams Ankara for Chechen support: On the eve of
Foreign Minister Gul's Russia visit in February, Moscow has
voiced its displeasure with Turkish support for Chechen
terrorists, weekend papers report. Russia's deputy foreign
minister Trubnikov said that Moscow is `deeply concerned'
about support extended to Chechen terrorists by a number of
Turkish NGOs.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Turkish PM in Washington


"The White House Agenda includes a Complaint Against
Bremer"
Sedat Ergin listed issues for the Turkish PM's Washington
trip in the mass appeal Hurriyet (1/26): "The visit and the
treatment that Erdogan will be given indicate that the
crisis between the two countries has been left behind. In
this context, the message from President Bush during the
meeting will show Turkey's importance for the US. Cyprus
will likely top the agenda. PM Erdogan's Washington trip
takes place right after a new Turkish initiative on Cyprus.
Washington is pleased with Turkey's diplomatic moves on
Cyprus, and Erdogan will seek US support for certain
improvements in the Annan Plan. Erdogan might ask Bush to
appoint an important American figure as Cyprus mediator. .
In Washington Erdogan once again will highlight Turkish
concerns about an ethnic federation Kurdish aspirations for
autonomy. He is expected to warn the US administration
against a change in the demographic structure in Kirkuk.
The elimination of the PKK presence in northern Iraq will
also be raised. Another thorny issue about Iraq is related
with Paul Bremer. Bremer is known for his negative views of
Turkey, and he does not always implement agreements reached
between Ankara and Washington. Thus PM Erdogan might ask
President Bush to warn Bremer. . The US might ask Turkey to
open its border with Armenia. The unilateral opening of the
border is unlikely as long as the Armenian occupation of
Azeri territory continues. Nevertheless, Turkey has softened
to a great extent the embargo against Armenia. .Another
issue that might come to the agenda is the Turkish request
to revive plans for the establishment of qualifying
industrial zones."


"The Bush-Erdogan Meeting"
Yasemin Congar noted in the mass appeal Milliyet (1/26):
"Given the fact that President Bush has reiterated his will
to solve the Cyprus issue, Cyprus will be a top agenda item
in his meeting with PM Erdogan. Turkey and the US will
shape plans for a multi-dimensional cooperation to eliminate
factors which might block the Cyprus breakthrough and
Turkey's EU entry. The Bush administration sees the NATO
summit in Istanbul in June as a chance to showcase Turkish
economic and political reforms and cultural diversity to the
EU and the Middle East. . Washington is ready to appoint an
American official as Cyprus mediator if given the nod by
UNSG Annan. . On Wednesday President Bush might tell the
Turkish PM that Secretary of State Colin Powell personally
will press for a Cyprus breakthrough, and that the US will
begin diplomatic efforts to ensure that Greece and the Greek
Cypriots give a positive response to the Turkish efforts.
Bush might add that the US will also press for a solution in
EU capitals. After the meeting, Bush might even call some
European leaders to seek support for the Cyprus deal and for
Turkey's EU accession. Washington's message for the EU is
that providing Turkey an accession calendar will help
efforts for a Cyprus solution."
DEUTSCH

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