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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 001813

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, MARCH 25, 2004

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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Greek Cypriots find pretext to block talks - Turkiye
Denjtas: Ankara weakened my hand in Cyprus talks - Milliyet
PM Erdogan signals he may cancel Israel visit - Hurriyet
Rantissi vows bloodshed - Turkiye
Rumsfeld praises Turkey's fight against terror - Turkiye
Britain's Straw: Turkey a litmus test for EU - Sabah
Bush team sweat before 9/11 commission - Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
First day in Switzerland a fiasco - Radikal
Crisis in Switzerland - Cumhuriyet
Israel on domestic and worldwide alert - Cumhuriyet
Sheikh Yasin's successor Rantissi the new target - Zaman
Rantissi: Target is Israel, not the US - Cumhuriyet
PM Erdogan: Israel's attitude has ruined Middle East - Yeni
Safak
Hundreds of Iraqi Shiites march for Yasin - Yeni Safak
Clinton, Bush reject claims of 9/11 negligence - Zaman


BRIEFING


Cyprus: The UN, under pressure from the Greeks, has gone
back on its commitment to hold four-party talks. The
decision was announced by DeSoto on Wednesday in
Switzerland. DeSoto said that four-way meetings were not
necessary, and opted instead for a UN-led shuttle diplomacy.
The Turkish delegation is not happy with Greek efforts to
undermine the four-party talks and move discussions to the
bilateral format. Furthermore, the Greek Cypriots objected
to meeting with `TRNC' leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and Serdar
Denktas, saying they were not authorized to make decisions
on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots. Dailies criticize the
Greek Cypriots for attempting to block the peace
negotiations. Karamanlis and Erdogan are expected in
Burgenstock on March 28 and 29 respectively. Turkish
Cypriot leader Denktas strongly criticized the Greek
Cypriots and accused them of playing for time. Meanwhile,
EU enlargement chief Verheugen promised the Greek Cypriots
that a Cyprus integration deal would not be accepted as
primary law within the European Union, according to
"Cumhuriyet." Verheugen assured Greek Cypriot FM Iacovou on
Tuesday that the derogations demanded by the Turks would not
be permanently included in a Cyprus agreement. Denktas said
the Greek Cypriots were using the EU to gain control over
the whole island. He also criticized Ankara for `weakening
the hand' of Turkish Cypriot negotiators during the earlier
talks in New York and Nicosia. Papers report that US
Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Weston and some British
diplomats would also attend the four-party conference.


PM Erdogan, FM Gul may cancel visits to Israel: "Hurriyet"
claims that PM Erdogan and FM Gul might cancel prospective
visits to Israel because of the killing of Hamas leader
Sheikh Yassin by Israeli forces. Erdogan criticized the
killing as `an act of terror.' The Prime Minister said that
`nothing remains' of the US-sponsored roadmap for Middle
East peace, and added that the killing of Yassin crushed
Turkey's hopes for serving as a mediator in peace efforts
between Israel and Palestine.


Turk sues US police for torture under detention: "Radikal"
reports on the alleged mistreatment of Ismail Hakki Avci
(42), a US resident Turkish citizen who was taken into
police custody for drunk driving on Long Island in 1991.
Avci said he was heavily beaten and chained by several
policemen at the Long Island police station on April 11,
1991. After being hospitalized with a broken leg, Avci said
he was tried on the spot without legal counsel, and received
23 days in jail for beating the police. He sued the police
for torturing him, and received $60,000 in reparations.
Avci later opened the `Al-Haq Turkish Food Store' in 2001.
When his business began to deteriorate after September 11,
the FBI took Avci to 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan for
interrogation. He was questioned over possible ties with Al-
Qaida, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, and was asked his opinion
of Israel before being taken to a prison in New Jersey.
Avci claims he was stripped naked, beaten put in chains, and
placed in a small cell where he spent 23 days. He was later
released and extradited to Istanbul. Avci applied to human
rights organizations in Turkey, and was given a medical
report confirming a psychological disorder caused by
torture. He has filed a lawsuit against US authorities,
"Radikal" reports.


EDITORIAL OPINION:
Yassin Assasination/Campaign Against Terrorism/GME
Initiative


"The Gates of Hell"
Soli Ozel commented in the mass appeal Sabah (3/25): "There
is no longer any way that a Palestinian pro-peace movement
can be successful. There is even a strong possibility that
Arafat and the Hizbullah leadership will be assasinated.
The Palestinian authority has effectively collapsed. Under
current circumstances, it is likely that more Palestinians
will leave their homeland, and those who remain will suffer
from the lack of leadership. . The worst part is that there
is almost no power in Israel that can stop the insanity.
Israeli peace advocates have lost their voice completely
following the rise in terrorism against civilians and due to
Arafat's biased position. The US, on the other hand, is
acting very irresponsibly by staying out of the Israel-
Palestine issue until the US presidential elections are
over. It is unbelievable that Bush continues to support
Sharon, and even depicts him as a man of peace. With this
kind of policy, the US will find it impossible to bring
order to the Middle East."


"Israel conducts a state terror"
Bugra Baskurt noted in the nationalist Ortadogu (3/25): "The
world remains silent while Israel baldy conducts an act of
terrorism and carries out a genocide against Palestinians.
It seems that Israel's long-term goal is to eliminate
Palestinians completely, despite the fact that the
Palestinians happen to be the genuine owner of the land
occupied by the Israeli state. . The rulers of the developed
world owe us an answer to this question: How can we possibly
label the Palestinian people as terrorists when they are
standing against Israeli aggression and the state of Israel
kills a spiritual leader. . If the world is not capable of
calling this act `state terrorism,' then we should sit down
and redefine the basic concepts."


"Sheik Yassin"
Yilmaz Altug observed in the conservative Turkiye (3/25):
"Sharon's past record helps us understand his mentality. He
was not only responsible for massacres in two Palestinian
refugee camps in Lebanon, he also did his best to sabotage
PM Barak's conciliatory moves with the Palestinians. Sharon
always pursued a provocative stance toward the Palestinians,
including an attack against the Mescid-al Aksa. With
constant support from the US, Sharon left all Israeli
promises about a settlement with the Palestinians unmet.
The assasination of Sheik Yassin will only help to aggravate
the Palestinian dispute. The war will unfortunately
intensify and cost the blood of innocent thousands."


"Greater Middle East Chaos"
Zeynep Atikkan commented in the sensational-mass appeal
Aksam: "I wonder if the blowing up of any possible peace
process in the region was considered in the US scenario for
a Greater Middle East initiative? Sharon and his supporters
were well aware of the impact of the assassination of
Yassin. You cannot launch a terrorist attack using the
excuse that you are doing it to fight against terrorism.
How can democracy and stability in the Middle East be
discussed under these conditions? It is not possible to
convince the Islamic world that Israel carried out the
assassination without the knowledge of the US. In other
words, there is a lack of trust in the country that proposes
the GME. In the absence of such trust, the project is
destined to be shelved. Unfortunately, Turkey became a
model for a project which will never get off the ground."


EDELMAN

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