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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 000919

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, FEBRUARY 17, 2004

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Savings Deposit Insurance Fund Seizes Uzan Assets-Hurriyet
Turkey Secures Support of 11 EU countries - Sabah
Turkish Land Forces Commander Postpones Visit to Cyprus -
Milliyet
FBI Officials in Ankara to Discuss Extradition of Uzans -
Hurriyet
PM Erdogan Rejects `Privileged Partnership' with EU -
Hurriyet
Positive Cyprus Developments Boost Markets - Sabah


OPINION MAKERS
Greek Cypriots Criticize Papadopoulos - Radikal
Denktas: `too Early' for Celebrations in Cyprus - Cumhuriyet
Harsh Reaction to `censorship' at "Star" - Cumhuriyet
Foreign Ministry Sends Special Team to Cyprus-Radikal
Erdogan Annoyed with CDU `Privileged Partnership' Offer -
Yeni Safak


BRIEFING
Seizure of Uzans' Assets: All papers and TV channels report
that the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) acted to
seize Uzan family assets, including more than 200 companies
owned by the Uzans or their partners. The seizures include
"Star TV" and "Star" newspaper, the key outlets in the Uzan
media empire. The TMSF appointed new boards of directors to
all countries seized in the operation. In a written
statement, the TMSF claimed that the Uzans were siphoning
their capital and assets outside the country in order to
escape the TL 7.5 quadrillion they owe the state from their
fraud at Imar Bank. Cem Uzan was asked to leave his villa
within a week because it was registered as a `Media Group
Guest House.' Under the takeover procedures, all Uzan
companies will be run by trustees. Today's "Hurriyet"
reports that the US has sent two FBI officials to Ankara to
discuss the extradition of Kemal, Yavuz and Hakan Uzan.
"Milliyet" draws attention to PM Erdogan's remarks that the
action taken against the Uzan family will be applied to all
other failed bank owners as well. Meanwhile, Turkish Press
Council chairman Oktay Eksi criticized the action against
Uzan-owned "Star TV" and "Star" newspaper. Eksi complained
that the seizure violated the freedom of the press.


Cyprus: Weekend papers report that the Turkish and Greek
Cypriots have agreed to begin discussions on February 19
within the framework of the Annan plan. The two sides will
seek to agree on a reunification plan by March 22. Monday's
"Radikal" claims that, during the discussions in New York,
the Greek side tried to provoke Denktas to leave the table.
However, with strong encouragement from Turkey side, Denktas
showed extraordinary patience in his performance in New
York. Monday's "Yeni Safak" reports that Denktas has
outlined three conditions for the success of the
negotiations. First, the two sides must accept the `status'
of the other. Second, the guarantor status of Turkey must
continue. Finally, the presence of two sovereign states on
the island must be accepted. Weekend papers report that PM
Erdogan and FM Gul praised Denktas for his successful work
in New York.
EU Accession: All papers report that PM Erdogan harshly
rejected a proposal by visitng chairman of the German
Christian Democratic Union Angela Merkel for a `privileged
partnership' with the EU instead of full EU membership.
Erdogan reportedly termed the offer `unacceptable,' and
argued that Turkey had shown greater progress in meeting EU
criteria than any of the 10 candidate countries that will
become new EU members in May.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Cyprus


"Time to support Denktas"
Cengiz Candar observed in the mass appeal "DB-Tercuman"
(2/17): "The negotiation mechanism that was set up in New
York has imposed a solution on Cyprus. . If the two Cyprus
parties cannot agree on a solution, UNSG Annan will invite
Turkey and Greece, together with the Cypriots, to New York
to attend a `Dayton' or `Camp David'-style negotiation
process. . If a result is still not attained, then the UNSG
will take the initiative and fill in the blanks in the
draft. The resulting plan will then be submitted to
simultaneous referenda on the island. Such provisions show
that a solution to the Cyprus problem is now inevitable. .
The Cyprus problem is essentially a problem between Turkey
and Greece. It is a problem of balance in the Eastern
Mediterranean. . The emergence of the Cyprus issue and of
Greece's membership in the EU has disrupted that balance. A
solution to the Cyprus problem and an opening of Turkey's EU
horizons might reestablish the balance. . Since a solution
is inevitable on Cyprus, we must strive to attain the best
possible outcome for Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots within
the parameters set out by the UN. It is time to support
Denktas toward that goal."


"984 hours to go"
Mehmet Ali Birand commented in the mass appeal "Posta"
(2/17): "We have now 984 hours to see all negotiations
concluded on Cyprus. . We expect tough negotiations on the
political issues. Believing they have already conceded a
great deal, the Cypriot sides are preparing to put up their
last fight. No matter how much they yell about the process,
somebody will come in to fill in the blanks if no compromise
is reached. . The only way to stop the solution process in
Cyprus is by voting against the referenda. The Greek
Cypriots may vote against a settlement, but I don't think
the Turkish Cypriots, poised to opt between getting rich or
remaining poor, will oppose a solution."


EDELMAN

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