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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 001237

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
MARCH 2, 2004

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Mrs Gul Withdraws Her Complaint Against Turkey - Milliyet
Mrs Gul: "I Withdrew my Complaint Because of My Husband -
Hurriyet
US' 2003 Narcotics Report: "Turkey is a Transit Country for
Narcotics" - Hurriyet
Democracy in Iraq, Interim Constitution Approved - Sabah
Denktas: "Solution is Very Hard" - Sabah
Turkmens Ignored in the New Iraqi Constitution - Turkiye


OPINION MAKERS
Weston Warns Both Sides in Cyprus Not to Miss Opportunities
- Radikal
Greek Cypriots Rejected Turkish Cypriots' Proposals -
Cumhuriyet
Greater Middle East Preparations in Ankara Prior to Grossman
Visit - Cumhuriyet
A Kurdish Official Says Erdogan's Visit to US Changed US'
Kurdish Policy - Zaman
US' Stance Changed Towards Kurdish Demands on Request of
Turkey - Yeni Safak
No Place For Turkmen Demands in the New Iraqi Constitution -
Yeni Safak


BRIEFING


Foreign Minister Gul's Wife Withdraws Her Turban Case from
the ECHR: All papers report that Hayrunnisa Gul, the wife
of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, has decided to withdraw
her case from the ECHR. Mrs.Gul had filed a complaint
against Turkey, after her application to Ankara University
was rejected because she wore a headscarf. Mrs.Gul said
that, because of her husband, she became the plaintiff and
the defendant in the same case, and this forced her to
withdraw her case.


Iraqi Interim Constitution: All papers report that the
Iraqi Governing Council yesterday approved the interim
constitution. The Constitution says that Islam is the State
Religion but not the basis for law. "Hurriyet" says that
the constitution encourages an Islamic state in Iraq.
"Sabah" says despite the Kurdish demands for expanded
autonomy, the new constitution preserves their current
status. And the general belief among the Kurds is that the
US' stance changed against Kurds after continuing pressure
by Turkey. However, "Turkiye" says that the constitution
gives the green light to a Kurdish state. Kurdish language
becomes an official language together with Arabic.
Reportedly, Turkmens vowed to fight for their rights and
they complained that they have been kept out of the
administration.


Cyprus: "Cumhuriyet" reports that Greek Cypriots have
rejected all proposals made by the Turkish Cypriot side.
The negotiations continue between the both sides and Denktas
continues to brief the press on the developments despite
requests for a news blackout by Erdogan and De Soto.
"Zaman" draws attention to the words of Denktas that no
progress had been made at Cyprus talks. "Cumhuriyet"
reports that Denktas will come to Ankara on Thursday to meet
with PM Erdogan.


EDITORIALS
Greater Middle East Initiative; Cyprus
"Turkey getting on Greater Middle East State stage"
Sedat Ergin observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (3/2):
"Prime Minister Erdogan focused on human rights, supremacy
of law, and democratization in his meeting with President
Bush at the White House last January. . Erdogan gave Bush
the message that the US should launch its Middle East
initiative via Turkey. . Ankara's views on this initiative
are not in accordance with the tough policies pursued by the
Bush Administration thus far. MFA U/S Ugur Ziyal said in
Washington that in order to make modernization,
liberalization, and democratization in the Greater Middle
East a reality, institutions must not be destroyed, but
strengthened through evolution. . In a speech at Harvard
University, Erdogan invited the US to gain the trust of the
people of the region, and added that change in the region
should be carried out by gentle methods. This is the point
where the problem lies. The Bush Administration does not
believe in gentle methods, and is destroying institutions in
Iraq. The Bush Administration lacks the confidence required
to succeed in this project."


"Greater Middle East"
Hasan Cemal commented in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (3/2):
"The Americans' Greater Middle East is a Muslim region .
Washington believes that global terror is rooted in this
Muslim region. . Muslim countries in the region must be
introduced to democracy, because it is religious regimes,
such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, or authoritarian regimes,
such as Syria, that are feeding terror. . Terror channels
will be blocked to the extent that these countries are
democratized and integrated into the world. . The GME
project cannot be regarded solely as an initiative related
to oil and Israel. . Europe, with its Muslim population of
14 million, cannot remain aloof to changes of regime in this
region in a post-9/11 world. Germanys' Schroeder has agreed
in principle with President Bush on the GME project. .
Turkey's door will be knocked on as well, just as Marc
Grossman is currently knocking on the doors of the EU,
Turkey and a number of Arab countries."


Everyone will pass the ball to Annan"
Mehmet Ali Birand opined in the mass appeal "Posta" (3/2):
"Neither Papadopoulos nor Denktas support a solution. . But
they also don't want to be perceived as the side that left
the negotiating table. . The Greek Cypriot side is
resisting even more than Denktas. They both indicate that
they don't want a solution based on the Annan Plan. . Both
sides prefer Ankara and Athens to come in and make some of
the difficult decisions for them. . The government of
Turkey will wait and see what Athens does before deciding on
its policy. If Athens takes some constructive steps, Turkey
will follow, but if not, it will let UN Secretary-General
Annan resolve the matter. . The attitude of Athens will
become clear after the March 7 general elections in Greece.
. Ankara prefers Papandreou's victory because it is
familiar with this leader. . However, the problem is that
Greece does not want to make any decisions on Cyprus. . The
Greeks see themselves as responsible for the past troubles
of having interfered with the domestic affairs of the
island. . Athens feels it has paid for its past mistakes by
making Cyprus a member of the EU and does not want to bear
the responsibility of an agreement that will affect the
future of the Cypriots. . That's why they might prefer
Annan to make the final decisions."


EDELMAN

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