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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.




E.O. 12958: N/A




Turkish and Greek Cypriots ready for hard Cyprus bargaining
- Sabah
De Soto to moderate Cyprus negotiations - Turkiye
Cypriot sides close to a solution - Greek Cypriot FM -
Sezer urges Muslim world to adopt equality, democracy -
Kerry wins again, Dean quits - Sabah
Sezer: Islam and West not opponents - Milliyet

Negotiations launched over the destiny of Cyprus - Radikal
De Soto believes a Cyprus solution is `very near'
Annan urges Greek, Turkish Cypriot leaders to grab the
opportunity - Yeni Safak
Weston urges Cypriot peoples to understand the Annan Plan -
Athens may withdraw troops from southern Cyprus - Radikal
FM Gul conveys Syrian messages to Israel - Zaman
Sezer issues democracy call on D-8 - Yeni Safak
Sezer: Violence in the name of Islam unacceptable - Zaman
World reacts strongly to Israel's `wall of shame' - Yeni
Russia's intercontinental missile test fails - Yeni Safak

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Cyprus: UN Special Cyprus envoy Alvaro de Soto will
moderate the hard bargaining between the Cypriot leaders
Denktas and Papadopoulos in Lefkosa on Thursday, say papers.
Both sides are expected to demand changes to the UN-
sponsored peace plan, papers add. Ankara wants the bi-zonal
structure of the island strengthened. The number of Greek
Cypriot settlers moving to the North should be lower than
the figure indicated in the Annan plan. Turks want the
Turkish identity of the North to be preserved behind
straight borders, dailies note. Derogations put by Turkey
in the Annan plan regarding the move of Greek Cypriots to
the North and distribution of property and land should be
maintained until Turkey joins the EU. Denktas says Turkish
troops should remain in the island's north. Denktas will
also claim maintenance of Turkey's guarantor status, say
reports. Ankara is trying to soften the hard-line attitude
of Denktas and is expected to pursue a positive policy,
writes "Radikal." Papers report the US special envoy to
Cyprus, Ambassador Thomas Weston, as saying that the Turkish
side's initiative means a large part of the deal with Greek
Cypriots has already been settled. Meanwhile, Denktas said
Ankara has found the Annan Plan negotiable, and that
henceforth the issue will be Turkey's responsibility,
reports "Cumhuriyet." If accepted, the plan will bring
terrible social, economic and humanitarian consequences,
Denktas warned; he added that time, money and goodwill were
needed in order to resolve such issues.

President Sezer visits Iran: Speaking at the D-8 summit
meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Turkey's President Sezer
stressed that those using violence in the name of Islam did
not represent the Muslim faith. Sezer also rejected the
thesis of antagonism between the West and Islam. Iran's
Foreign Minister Kharrazi said only Turkey could change the
false perception of Iran by the US, report Turkish papers.

FM Gul carries Syrian message to Israel: Syria's Vice
President Khaddam said that Damascus has sent messages to
Israel via Turkey's Foreign Minister Gul, pledging readiness
for the revival of peace talks. Syria is still committed to
the peace process in accordance with the UNSC resolutions,
Khaddam said.

NATO Secretary General in Ankara: NATO Secretary General,
General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, came to Ankara on Wednesday
to discuss Afghanistan and Iraq with Turkey's political
leaders. President Sezer said Turkey was supporting the
NATO expansion, with seven new countries slated to join the
alliance at the June summit meeting in Istanbul this year.

New U.S.-Turkey business association: US Ambassador to
Ankara, Eric Edelman, has been named honorary president of
the American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT), says "Sabah."
Having received serious complaints from American businessmen
about the Turkish-American Businessmen's Association (TABA),
the US Embassy pressed for the establishment of the ABFT
following long months of preparation, Sabah writes. Many US
companies with Turkish partners have joined the ABFT, which
will assist US businessmen in Turkey, the paper notes.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Greater Middle East Initiative

"The Greater Middle East"
Akif Emre argued in Islamist Yeni Safak (2/19): "Although
the US `Greater Middle East' plan seems brand new, it
actually comes after a long time of planning. The US
started to develop a new Middle East concept as early as the
1990s, and took some steps to implement the new concept.
The US military presence in the Balkans, as well as in the
Middle East, particularly in Iraq, is one of the significant
strategic steps taken by Washington. . The US now plans to
use three platforms for an extensive discussion of its
Greater Middle East plan: the NATO summit in Istanbul, the G-
8 summit, and the EU-US Summit."

"Who will liberate the Greater Middle East?"
Ibrahim Karagul warned in Islamist Yeni Safak (2/19): "There
are indicators that Turkey may be willing to play a
pioneering role in the US Greater Middle East plan because
some consider this to be a new strategic vision for Turkey.
In fact, the plan is to redesign Islamic geography. Turkey
might contribute to the project by adding a Turkish
perspective to it. Yet it is very unlikely to gain support
because it would entail Turkey taming the Islamic world on
behalf of the US. The people of this region have been
through many disappointments, and they cannot possibly bear
another one. The US project, whatever it might be called or
however it may be characterized, is not a liberation effort.
It is about new form of slavery in the Islamic world, where
invasion and looting are far too common."

"It has to start somewhere."
Sami Kohen opined in mass appeal Milliyet (2/19): "The Bush
Administration's idea of `The Greater Middle East
Initiative' has not yet matured. It is still in the process
of research and discussion. This project envisions the
Middle East as a wide area, from Morocco to Central Asia.
The goal is to stop hostilities, introduce political and
economic reform, and establish free and democratic regimes
in this large region, which includes more than 20
countries.Of course, all these are good goals. However,
some countries in the region already believe that this is a
part of a US strategy to dominate the region. To ease these
worries, the US is trying to share the project with its
allies and partners, including NATO, the EU, and Russia.
The Administration wants this to be a `collective
initiative.' Perhaps in that case the plan will win more
support and trust. The US also wants Turkey to take a role
in the plan. Turkey is supportive of the plan and is
willing to contribute to it. Turkish diplomacy, however, is
also trying to establish its own projects in the region. As
Foreign Minister Gul suggested at the regional meeting (of
Iraq's neighbors) in Kuwait, all countries in the Middle
East should take the initiative to work together in order to
establish a security and cooperation system. Is it possible
to fulfill this objective in a problematic region? That is
unknown, although as one Turkish diplomat said the other
day, `we have to start somewhere.'"


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