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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 001133

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
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2004


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Powell urges Gul for trial of torturer policemen - Hurriyet
Powell monitors Turkey's human rights record - Milliyet
Turkey still has human rights work to do - Sabah
Turkey fails, says US HRR - Milliyet
Erdogan urges self-censure on media - Sabah
We want a lasting solution - Denktas - Turkiye
US troops going home stopover at `Freedom Hangar' in
Incirlik - Milliyet
Thousands of Turkmen march in Baghdad for ethnic rights -
Milliyet
Turkey close partner of Russia - Ivanov - Milliyet
Ivanov promises Gul to fight against the PKK - Hurriyet


OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan orders `silence' on Cyprus - Cumhuriyet
PM Erdogan: Our media should not provoke Greek Cypriots -
Zaman
Turkish Cypriots want EU and an agreement - Yeni Safak
Denktas asks for removal of sanctions on TRNC - Yeni Safak
EU will give Turkey date for accession talks - FT - Radikal
First indictment in Guantanamo - Radikal
Tenet warns of Kurdish autonomy problem - Cumhuriyet
Kurdish autonomy largest problem in Iraq - Tenet - Yeni
Safak


BRIEFING


Secretary Powell letter to FM Gul on human rights: Major

SIPDIS
dailies give extensive coverage to a letter from Colin
Powell to Foreign Minister Gul in which the Secretary Powell
expresses concern regarding the situation of human rights
practices in Turkey. Papers report that Powell wrote to Gul
that three of the 10 policemen who had beaten to death a
university student in Ankara more than ten years ago were
not found yet. Powell is concerned that the statute of
limitations on the case will go into effect in 2006, says
"Milliyet." Secretary Powell also praises Ankara's efforts
to enact human rights reforms, but stressed the necessity of
implementation. The letter aims to encourage the government
of Turkey to effectively tackle human rights issues, says a
"Sabah" commentary.


US State Department HRR - Turkey: The annual US State
Department report on human rights practices classifies
Turkey as a country with ongoing serious human rights
violations, says "Milliyet." Security forces have killed 43
in 2003, says the report and outlines the following:
Torture and mistreatment continue, and torturers rarely get
punished; prisons are in terrible condition; arbitrary
detentions continue; and restrictions on freedom of speech
and religious freedom are still valid. The right to legal
counsel under detention, broadcast in languages other than
Turkish, and increase in penalties for torture are cited in
the report as positive developments, notes Milliyet.


US troops rotation through Incirlik: Incirlik Air Base has
been used in transfer of 4,000 US troops from Iraq to the US
since January, say papers. Troops coming from Iraq on C-17
military cargo planes rest in the `Freedom Hangar' at
Incirlik Air Base before flying to the US, reports note. A
US captain has underlined the significance of cooperation
between the allies US and Turkey, and noted that way back
home was shorter through Incirlik, writes "Milliyet."
Turkish TVs broadcast live on Wednesday morning that
transfer of US troops continued through Incirlik. Soldiers
arriving at the base can rest for 10-15 hours before
continuing to the U.S. Incirlik will handle the outbound
rotation of up to 60,000 troops by late April, the deadline
for the rotation period given to Americans, say TV reports.
Coverage of the rotations was based on a visit to Incirlik
on Wednesday by international wire service and Turkish print
media and television representatives.


Cyprus: Prime Minister Erdogan urged Denktas on Wednesday
not to disclose the contents of the Cyprus peace
negotiations and asked the Turkish media to apply a blackout
on sensitive information. Erdogan said the Turkish side
should refrain from inciting the Greek Cypriots. Turks
should not be the side to leave the negotiating table,
Erdogan noted. Erdogan also said that the best solution
would be one attained without involvement by Turkey and
Greece. However, Denktas said he would continue to speak
out and provide detailed information about the talks. The
talks are postponed until Thursday, as Papadopoulos asked
for time to review the changes to the Annan Plan proposed by
Denktas. TRNC `Prime Minister' Mehmet Ali Talat blamed the
Greek Cypriots for attempting to disrupt the timetable for
negotiations.


According to a public opinion survey conducted in the TRNC,
61 percent of Turkish Cypriots think that the UN-sponsored
talks will produce an agreement. 55.4 percent believe that
a solution to be reached at the talks will bring lasting
peace and stability on the island. 53 percent said they
would vote in support of the agreement and 18.5 percent
against in the referendum, while 28.6 percent are
indecisive. 58.1 percent of Turkish Cypriots want a bi-
zonal structure while 27.4 percent prefer the TRNC to remain
an independent state.


Kemal Dervis may form new party: Former economy minister
and current CHP lawmaker Kemal Dervis may take advantage of
the unrest in CHP to form a new political party after the
municipality elections on March 28, says "Aksam." Dervis,
expected to establish a new group on the American
liberal/left model, has the support of 20 lawmakers from CHP
and 50 from the ruling AK Party, Aksam claims. Dervis is
expected to act according to the results of March 28 polls.


EDITORIAL OPINION:


a) DOS Human Rights Report
b) Cyprus


"Good Reforms; Implementation Lacking"
Asli Aydintasbas wrote from Washington in the mass appeal
Sabah (2/26): "The Department of State Human Rights report
for Turkey noted human rights reforms in Turkey yet voiced
concern about their lack of implementation. The 60-page
Turkey report listed insufficient implementation of laws
pertaining to trying policemen accused of torture, the
headscarf issue and practices in the use of Kurdish
language. . Compared to previous annual reports, this year
Turkey received its best human rights record. The report
acknowledged legal reforms and new regulations on human
rights and freedoms, but underlined that implementation was
below a satisfactory level."
"US Human Rights Report: Turkey Fails Once Again"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in mass appeal
Milliyet(2/26): "The Department of State's annual human
rights report states that serious human rights violations
still continue in Turkey. The report stresses that the
Turkish security forces killed 43 people in 2003. Some of
the assessments of the report are as follows: `Torture,
beating and mistreatment by security forces is still
widespread in Turkey. Prison conditions are still poor.
Unlawful arrests and detentions still take place. The legal
procedure is very slow. Security forces are rarely punished
for torture or murder, and usually the punishment is very
weak. This leads to the belief that the security forces are
immune to punishment. The ongoing court cases at the State
Security Courts reflect a judicial structure that considers
state interests more important then individual rights. The
State continues to restrict the freedom of expression and
the freedom of press."


"What's going on in Cyprus?"
Ismet Berkan warned in liberal-intellectual Radikal (2/26):
"The general picture regarding the ongoing Cyprus talks
indicates that the Greek Cypriot side is doing its best to
dilute the negotiations. I am not convinced that Denktas
deserves full trust, yet it would be fair to say that he is
not only a successful negotiator but skillfully exposed the
Greek Cypriot side's reluctance to the whole world. One
wonders, however, whether Denktas is doing this in the name
of transparency or is paving the way for a majority of `no'
votes in the upcoming referendum. . It should be De Soto and
nobody else -neither Denktas nor Papadopoulos-- who briefs
the press about the talks and informs the international
public. This is the best possible way for a healthy
negotiation process on Cyprus."


EDELMAN

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