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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 002695

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,
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2004


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEALS
Education reform duel between government, YOK - Aksam
UN to discuss division in Cyprus - Milliyet
Gen. Taguba reiterates systematic torture in Iraq - Sabah
Bush loses support over torture photos - Aksam
Bush losing support for backing Rumsfeld - Hurriyet
Popular support for Bush falling - Turkiye
Amnesty: UK troops killed 37 civilians in Iraq - Sabah
Washington to impose sanctions on Syria - Aksam
OECD predicts 5.2 percent growth for Turkey - Milliyet


OPINION MAKERS
Education bill shows AKP's `twisted' view of democracy -
Cumhuriyet
EU warns against blocking reforms in Turkey - Yeni Safak
Annan seeking two-state formula in Cyprus - Yeni Safak
Al-Qaeda takes `revenge of torture' - Radikal
Al-Qaeda beheads American civilian - Zaman
Support for Bush at lowest level - Yeni Safak
One third of Americans approve torture in Iraq - Yeni Safak
`Ordinary' day in Iraq: 5 killed - Cumhuriyet
Blood and horror in Palestine - Radikal
Hamas kills 6 Israeli soldiers - Cumhuriyet
Israel moves to get bodies of Isareli soldiers in Gaza -
Zaman
OECD report boosts morale in Turkey's economy - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING


Tension over education reform bill: The ruling AK Party
(AKP) is determined to see through legislation aimed at
reforming universities, despite strong criticism by the
military that the bill is against Turkey's secular system.
PM Erdogan said at his party group meeting on Tuesday that
the government had been `deceived' by university rectors
during the negotiation process. Erdogan also tacitly
criticized the military for pressuring parliament on the
issue. Erdogan said the parliament will have the final word
on the university reform bill. The president of YOK
criticized Erdogan's statement, sating that a majority in
parliament does not represent a majority of the nation.
First Army Commander General Yasar Buyukanit said the TGS
would evaluate the `indirect reference' made by PM Erdogan
to a the TGS statement issued last week. `The TGS has made
important assessments on this issue,' Buyukanit said, and
warned the government to `act accordingly.' Members of the
Higher Education Board (YOK) visited the main opposition
party CHP and said that religious vocational schools (Imam
Hatip) should be shut down. The European Union
representative in Turkey entered the debate as well,
criticizing the military for involving itself in politics.
EU Commission Ambassador Kretschmer called the military's
statement `a step backward' for Turkey. The education
reform bill will be discussed in parliament on Wednesday.
Once it is approved, it will be submitted to the president
for signature. President Sezer is expected to veto the
reform.


Cyprus: The British Commissioner in south Cyprus, Lynn
Parker, said after calling on `TRNC PM' Mehmet Ali Talat in
Lefkosa that he would work with EU partners to end the
isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. On Tuesday, the EU
Commission Representative in Ankara, Hans-Jorg Kretschmer,
said Turkey would not be given a date for accession talks if
Ankara does not recognize the Greek Cypriot state.
Kretschmer also suggested that Ankara make at least a
symbolic withdrawal of some Turkish troops from Cyprus
before December. Ankara is reluctant to withdrawal troops,
saying that such moves would mean rewarding the Greek
Cypriots, who have rejected the UN-backed plan for the
reunification of Cyprus.
Mistreatment of Iraqi captives: President Bush's popularity
has fallen from 52 percent to 48 percent in the wake of
disclosures about the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. The
percentage of Americans supporting the war in Iraq has
dropped to 44 percent from 73 percent a year ago. A letter
circulated by the Kerry campaign calling for the resignation
of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has been signed by over
275,000 Americans during the past week. Turkish dailies and
TV stations report the beheading of an American civilian in
Iraq by Al-Qaeda militants in what was said to be revenge
for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Americans have recently
released half of the captives in Abu Ghraib prison. Almost
90 percent of Abu Ghraib inmates were arrested by mistake,
according to an ICRC report presented to the US and UK
administrations last February.


EDITORIAL OPINION:


a) Iraq Prisoner Abuse
b) Chechnya


"Criticism of US Mistakes in Iraq"
Cengiz Candar noted in the conservative-sensational DB
Tercuman (5/12): "The US administration failed to place Iraq
on the road to democracy. There has been a lack of effort
to pave the way for democratic procedures, and a failure to
share authority with the IGC. The US occupation force
developed a representational body in Iraq - the IGC -- but
in the course of time it did not take enough actions to
prevent the IGC from weakening. When significant authority
was not shared with the IGC, the council came to look more
American than Iraqi. In the meantime, the whole process
served to weaken America's hand. There were other
inconsistencies along the way, such as failing to maintain a
Sunni-Shiite balance. This created opportunities for Iran
and Syria to exercise influence over Iraqi groups. Last but
not least, the Abu Ghraib torture constitutes a very serious
and possibly fatal blow against the moral image of the Bush
administration."


"The US and its Lies"
Zafer Atay opined in the economic-political Dunya (5/12):
"The lies began with WMD, when we realized that the
fundamental arguments justifying the war were not true. Now
we are witnessing the investigation of the Abu Ghraib case
in Washington. The Bush administration refers to
`individual cases' and is trying to claim that the
administration has nothing to do with the abuse and torture
in Abu Ghraib. In fact, such abuses and torture cannot be
the action of a couple of soldiers. It is a systematic
policy with the involvement of the CIA and army
intelligence. The claim that the administration did not
know about the torture is another big lie because - as the
New Yorker has reported -- Washington had known about the
problem since last January. . It is interesting to see that
despite all of these colossal lies, Rumsfeld is keeping his
job and Bush is not withdrawing from the presidential race."


"The Caucasus in Turmoil"
Sami Kohen commented in the mass appeal Milliyet (5/12):
"The assassination of pro-Russian President Ahmet Kadyrov in
Chechnya has eradicated all hopes for peace in the region.
The death of Kadyrov, who rebelled against Russian
domination at the beginning but was elected president after
making his peace with Moscow, increases the risks of chaos
and civil war in Chechnya. While the violence continues in
the country, the main concern is the course to be followed
by Prime Minister Putin following this incident. It is
obvious that it is not possible to suppress the violence
with military power only. However, it is also clear that a
solution to this complicated problem through political
channels is very unlikely. In fact, the people of Chechnya
are fed up with this situation. The incident in Grozni
brings this drama to a more serious level."


EDELMAN

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