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 001698
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, MARCH 22, 2004
THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER
Basbug: "Secular and Moderate IslamCannot Co-Exist" -
Worldwide Protests on First Anniversary of Iraq War -
PM Erdogan: "We Want With Denktas in Switzerland" - Sabah
Al-Qaeda Possesses Portable Nuclear Bomb - Hurriyet
De Soto Meets Foreign Ministry Officials in Ankara -
Nevruz Celebrated in Turkey - Sabah
De Soto in Ankara - Milliyet
First Anniversary of Iraq Operation - Radikal (3/20)
Basbug: "Turkey is A Secular Country" - Cumhuriyet (3/20)
`TRNC' Does Not Want Annan Plan - Cumhuriyet - (3/21)
Turkey Prepares For Talks in Switzerland Without Denktas -
Nevruz Celebrated Without Incidents - Zaman
Erdogan Wants to Go to Switzerland With Denktas - Zaman
Schroeder: "Turkey is Important For Germany" - Radikal
Cyprus: "Radikal" reports that UN Cyprus envoy De Soto came
to Ankara on Sunday to discuss developments in Cyprus with
Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and other
ministry officials. The sides agreed that a way must be
found to overcome the risk that the agreement could be
challenged in court once it is approved. De Soto stressed
that the UN is in contact with the EU on this issue, and
expressed understanding for Turkish concerns. Meanwhile,
Turkish officials reviewed Turkey's Cyprus Road Map just
before the four-party talks in Switzerland. "Cumhuriyet"
notes that Turkey outlined its `red lines' without
consulting Denktas, and wants EU countries to solve the
primary law problem during the summit in Brussels March 25-
26. "Yeni Safak" reports that PM Erdogan stressed that he
would prefer that Denktas participates in the four-party
talks in Switzerland.
General Basbug Comments: At the end of his visit to the
U.S., Deputy Chief of General Staff Ilker Basbug said that
the PKK issue and GME project were at the top of his agenda
in meetings with US officials. On GME, Basbug said that
Turkey should not be used as a model for the region.
General Basbug stressed that Turkey is a secular state, and
cannot be a moderate Islamic state at the same time. In
response to General Basbug's comments, PM Erdogan said that
secularism is not a religion, and it cannot be compared to
Islam. According to Erdogan, secularism is the guarantee
that everyone can live in his own way based on his religious
Osman Ocalan Takes Refuge with KDP: Today's "Yeni Safak"
claims that Osman Ocalan and 300 members of his PKK splinter
group have taken refuge in territory in Northern Iraq
controlled by Barzani's KDP. The article noted that Ocalan
was previously thought to have turned himself in to US
forces in Iraq. "Yeni Safak" also notes that US forces
foiled the latest effort to sabotage the Kerkuk-Yumurtalik
pipeline. US troops reportedly arrived at the site of the
attempted sabotage in time to defuse the bomb that would
have re-cut the flow of oil from Kerkuk.
"Red lines in Cyprus"
Cuneyt Ulsever observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet"
(3/22): "The political establishment in the TRNC is openly
inciting fears about the Annan Plan among settlers from the
Turkish mainland. . The goal appears to be to stir up
opposition against a referendum on the plan. Rauf Denktas'
son Serdar will be the most critical figure in determining
the outcome of the referendum. Within the pro-Denktas
front, Serdar Denktas represents those who are more open to
the UN-backed integration plan. Denktas Jr. will be
manipulating those who have a sympathetic view of his
father, but support the Annan Plan as well. Serdar Denktas
is at a crossroads: He will either follow his father and be
relegated to the history books, or he will become a new
Denktas who carries Cyprus and Turkey to the future."
"Road to Switzerland"
Asli Aydintasbas wrote from Washington for the mass appeal
"Sabah" (3/22): Washington believes that TRNC leader Rauf
Denktas' absence at the Switzerland talks will not be a
loss, but rather an advantage. . No one in Washington is
bothered that Denktas is openly launching a campaign to
reject the Annan Plan and staying out of the peace process.
Washington believes that an agreement supported by PM
Erdogan will be accepted by the Turkish Cypriots. .
Washington is actually interested in whether Serdar Denktas
will go to Switzerland, and in the extent of support he will
provide for a settlement. An American diplomat compares
Serdar's position to that of Hamlet - he is stuck between
his father and the future of his country. . It is clear
that, compared with the Turks, Papadopoulos has been less
than forthcoming with the position of the Greek Cypriot
side. This has caused problems at the negotiations. Both
Washington and the UN are worried about a possible Greek
Cypriot refusal of the Annan Plan at referendum. . US
officials remain optimistic that expectations on both sides
on the island can be met to a certain extent."
Dr. Husnu Mahalli, a Syrian journalist writing regularly for
the Islamist/opinion maker "Yeni Safak" claimed (3/22):
"The PKK is the instigator of the riots in Syria. The
organization is trying to prove to the US Administration
that it still has influence in the region. The organization
will attempt similar incidents in Turkey after the local
elections. . Damascus now has a young leader determined to
establish friendly relations with Turkey. Ankara view
Bashar Assad as honest and sincere. Despite all the
domestic and international obstacles, Assad has taken
significant steps toward democratization and liberalization.
Even while the US talks about democracy, human rights and
freedom in its Greater Middle East project, the US is trying
to prevent Syrian efforts in this direction. The US is
actually against liberalization for Arab nations, because
free Arab nations will get rid of their American
collaborator administrations. The US is in partial control
of the Arab world, and aims to control the whole region
through the GME project. There is only one real obstacle
left for the US: Turkey's friend Syria. Now the US is
aiming to remove that barrier."
"The opposition void in Turkey"
Koray Duzgoren observed in the Islamist/opinion maker "Yeni
Safak" (3/22): "The March 28 municipal elections will make
it clear that the Republican People's Party (CHP) has
severed its deeply-rooted ties with the nation. It can no
longer be considered to be a serious opposition party. . It
is very possible that the `Democratic Unity' formed between
the Social Democrat People's Party (SHP) and the pro-Kurdish
Democratic People's Party (DEHAP) will replace CHP as the
main opposition after the local elections. . Recent rallies
organized for the Unity bloc in southeastern provinces like
Cizre, Sirnak and Silopi, and even further west in Mersin,
have shown enormous support for the movement. . The March
28 elections will probably introduce Turkey to a new