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 04 ANKARA 002623
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, MAY 10, 2004
THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER
US military wants Rumsfeld's head - Hurriyet
Torture orders given by Gen. Miller - Milliyet 5/9
Rumsfeld warns of more `sadistic, ruthless' photos - Sabah
Karamanlis, Erdogan agree to turn a new page - Hurriyet 5/9
Erdogan given joyous welcome in Komotini - Milliyet 5/9
Greek Cypriots prefer division in Cyprus - Milliyet
Mass assassination in Chechnya - Milliyet
LA Times warns: Al-Qaeda may strike at NATO Summit - Sabah
Torturers of Iraqis denounced - Yeni Safak
Pvt. Harman: `I was ordered to turn Iraqis' lives into hell'
- Cumhuriyet 5/9
British government disregards report on systematic torture
in Iraq - Zaman
Sadr militia aims to seize Basra - Zaman 5/9
`TRNC PM' Talat calls for world to do business with Turkish
Cypriots - Zaman 5/9
Kadirov had been a target for being `Kremlin's puppet' -
Bomb attack kills Kadirov - Yeni Safak
Bush steps back: Palestinian state in 2005 a dream - Zaman
Sharon cancels US visit - Radikal
Chirac: Turkey's integration into EU will be long, difficult
PM Erdogan's Greece visit: Weekend papers regard PM
Erdogan's visit to Greece as a turning point in relations
between historic rivals Turkey and Greece. Erdogan and
Karamanlis vowed to bury the tensions of the past by
agreeing to establish a strategic partnership between Ankara
and Athens. Karamanlis said that many problems between the
two neighbors would be resolved once Turkey joins the EU.
The two leaders agreed to increase the trade and to open new
border gates. Erdogan told Karamanlis that the Turkish
government is working on the reopening of Halki Seminary.
On Saturday, Erdogan met with representatives of Turkish-
speaking Muslims in western Thrace. He was the first
Turkish leader to visit the region in more than 50 years.
Erdogan listened to the problems faced by ethnic Turks in
the region, especially in the areas of education and
religion. He urged the Turks not to lose their Turkish
ethnic identity, but `to work to strengthen the country in
which you are citizens.'
Mistreatment of Iraqi captives: Several thousand
demonstrators protested the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in
rallies organized by an Islamist aid foundation in Ankara
and Istanbul over the weekend. Footage of maltreatment of
Iraqi detainees has been a `diplomatic Pearl Harbor' for the
image of the United States, Turkish papers report. Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld warned on Friday that hundreds more
photographs of US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners could
worsen the situation. Bush's presidential challenger, John
Kerry, and several other US lawmakers have called on
Secretary Rumsfeld to resign over the scandal, but national
security advisor Condoleezza Rice said that Rumsfeld has the
strong support of President Bush. Members of the US
Congress are increasingly insistent that more senior members
of the military and administration must be held responsible.
Higher education bill: Education Minister Huseyin Celik
says the government will decide this week whether to press
on with the education reform bill that would ease
restrictions on religious vocational schools (Imam Hatip)
students wishing to enter university. Turkey's military
fears that proposals to ease restrictions on Imam Hatip
students will increase the influence of Islam in education.
The ruling AK Party says easing restrictions on students
from state-funded religious schools entering university is a
matter of fairness. The Turkish General Staff, backed by
opposition parties and most university rectors, regards the
reform as an attempt to increase the influence of Islam in
education. If the government does press ahead with the
changes, it will sharply raise tensions with the army. AK
Party leaders will decide at a party group meeting on Monday
whether to submit the bill to the parliament this week or to
withdraw or modify it.
Parliament approves key constitutional changes: Turkey's
parliament approved a package of constitutional amendments
last Friday by a vote of 457-8. Most lawmakers from the
opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) also voted for
the reforms. The package abolishes the state security court
system and removes military representatives from boards
supervising higher education and radio and television
broadcasting. The changes give parliament full control over
the military budget. Under the amendments, international
agreements will take precedence over domestic law. All
residual references to capital punishment have now been
removed from the constitution.
Cyprus: Monday's papers, citing the Greek daily `Ta Nea,'
report a shift in the position of Greek Cypriot leader
Papadopolus with regard to the Cyprus issue. According to
the Greek paper, Papadopolus is willing to accept the
official division of Cyprus in return for small territorial
concessions by the northern Cypriots. Meanwhile,
"Cumhuriyet" reports that the Turkish Cypriot government is
working for unilateral implementation of the Annan Plan in
the Turkish zone. One third of the property belonging to
Greek Cypriots will be returned to its original owners as
envisaged by the UN-backed plan.
EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq Prisoner Abuse
"Is It Necessary to See The Photographs?"
Emre Akoz commented in the mass appeal Sabah (5/10): " I
find it rather odd that people are shocked by the torture
photos in Iraq. It is strange from two different angles.
First, how quickly we all forgot about the torture experts
the US had sent to dictatorships in Latin America! Their
main duty was to teach the details of torture, such as how
to give more pain without killing, how to torture without
fingerprints, and how to find a person's weak points.
.Second, people wrongly believe that as the technology and
education levels in a country increase, torture decreases
and, in the end, vanishes completely. This is wishful
thinking! The only way to stop torture is to take concrete,
serious and determined decisions to prevent it. One other
thing that confuses me is the vitriol that has surfaced in
Turkey now that these photos have been published. This is
fine as far as it goes, but hundreds of thousands of people,
from leftists to rightists, faced torture in this country as
well. Some of them wrote books or told of the suffering
they went through during interviews. Also, some of the
torturers have confessed to their crimes. Some were even
charged. Where was this vitriol then? Is it necessary to
see photos of torture for people to accept the existence of
torture and to despise it? There is no doubt that some of
our torturers are among those criticizing the torturers in
Iraq. Some live across the road in official quarters, and
some are our next door neighbors!"
"This Account Must Be Settled"
Oktay Eksi wrote this front page op-ed in the mass appeal
Hurriyet (5/9): "President Bush, who was supposed to bring
democracy to Iraq, has flunked. As of now, he will either
continue to pursue the lawless policies that he began when
Al-Qaeda terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers, or he will
understand that Texas culture should remain in Texas and
will agree to comply with the rule of law -- a principle
that constitutes the most important gain of civilization.
In other words, he will learn that the era of unquestionable
authority is over, and that the power of even the most
powerful state may not be adequate for certain things.
Here, we refer particularly refer to things such as ignoring
international law, violating human rights, and doing or
having others do whatever he wants by disregarding world
public opinion. It is true that the world may not be
powerful enough to bring a US President to his senses.
Thanks God, however, that the United States' internal
democracy has finally begun to function. The US media and
the Congress, which had seemed blind and deaf after 9/11,
have finally woken up and begun to search for answers about
whether the US has the right to engage in such arrogant
acts. . The fact that President Bush publicly defended
Rumsfeld, and the fact that he will not ask for Rumsfeld's
resignation show that his mentality has not changed at all.
. If President Bush and his administration had respected
concepts such as the rule of law and respect for human
rights, they would not have covered up this disgrace that
came to light in January. Furthermore, they would have
punished the criminals in a most severe manner, and would
have announced it to the world. Well, it was Mr. Bush who
not refused to implement a legitimate legal process for the
foreigners detained as enemy combatants long before the Abu
Ghraib disgrace. Can anyone claim that those who are
imprisoned in Guantanamo without any proof and who face
interrogations without any legal representation are luckier
than those in Abu Ghraib prison? All of this means we are
not talking about just a few rotten apples. We are looking
at systematic acts of torture engaged in by US military
personnel at the instruction of the US Administration. We
must accept this fact. Then, we should check whether or not
these acts constitute crimes against humanity, and we should
hold discussions on who is responsible for these incidents."
"Settling Accounts with Torturers"
Oral Calislar noted in the social democrat-opinion maker
Cumhuriyet (5/9): "The Rumsfeld testimony in the Congress
illustrates certain lessons. First and foremost, we see
lessons about the sensitivity of the American public to the
torture allegations. This outrage has helped to create an
atmosphere in which questions are asked about what really
happened. Rumsfeld and high-ranking generals of the US Army
were embarrassed by the tough questions they faced. The
representatives of the US people were able to question them.
. The Defense Secretary of the world's most powerful
country, and the senior commanders of the world's most
powerful army were trying to explain and justify their
actions. And they were doing the explaining to the
country's elected representatives. . The US has a system
that allows the highest level officials to be called to
account. In the case of Abu Ghraib case, both Republican
and Democratic senators were eager to make this happen.
Rumsfeld is a Republican, but this did not seem to matter at
all in this process. Questions asked by Republican senators
were just as tough as those asked by the opposition
Democrats. . While watching the testimony of Rumsfeld and
the American generals, I could not help but dream about the
possibility that our own torturers will someday face a