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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 002779

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,
MONDAY, MAY 17, 2004


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


HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION


HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
US may OK Islamic theocracy in Iraq - Hurriyet
Bush vows to prevent torture - Milliyet 5/16
Blair: Annan Plan `best method' for a united Cyprus -
Hurriyet
Balir to announce British flights to `TRNC' - Sabah 5/16
Powell: President determined to see a Palestinian state -
Sabah 5/16
Israel marks hundreds of Palestinian homes for destruction -
Milliyet
US criticizes Israel's destruction of Palestinian homes -
Hurriyet
150,000 Israelis urge withdrawal from Gaza - Sabah
Israelis call on Sharon to leave - Turkiye


OPINION MAKERS
Powell: Iraq may choose Islamic regime - Cumhuriyet
New Yorker: Rumsfeld encouraged torture in Iraq - Radikal
Rumsfeld ordered torture in Afghanistan, Iraq - Cumhuriyet
US Administration restricts interrogation methods in Iraq -
Radikal 5/16
Powell officially apologizes to Iraqi captives - Yeni Safak
Private England: We were having fun - Zaman
Death toll of American soldiers in Iraq reaches 780 -
Cumhuriyet 5/16
Israel: military operations in Palestine will expand - Yeni
Safak
Israeli court says military right to destroy Palestinian
homes - Radikal
Britons want Blair to step down - Radikal
US ups pressure on Cuba - Cumhuriyet
One million Cubans rally against Bush - Cumhuriyet 5/16


BRIEFING


Tony Blair due in Ankara: British Prime Minister Tony Blair
will pay a working visit to Ankara on Monday to pledge his
support for Turkey's bid to join the EU and to discuss the
turmoil in Iraq. Blair, the first British leader to visit
Ankara since Margaret Thatcher 16 years ago, is expected to
praise Turkey's EU reforms and stress Turkey's importance as
a secular, democratic, Muslim country. Prime Minister
Erdogan is expected to pay a reciprocal visit to London in
late May. Turkish newspapers predict that Blair will also
express support for direct air links between Britain and
northern Cyprus.


EU interim report on Turkey: The European Union will tell
Turkish officials at the EU-Turkey Accession Partnership
Council meeting this week that Ankara must do more to bring
torturers to justice and to safeguard the freedom of
religious minorities. Turkish and EU officials will discuss
an interim report drafted by the EU. The report praises
Turkey for its reforms, but warns Ankara to ensure that they
are fully put into practice. The EU report points to
ongoing problems in implementation. Specifically, the
report notes that there are still no Kurdish-language
broadcasts on Turkish radio and television, and criticizes
Turkish authorities for failure to prosecute police officers
accused of using torture against detainees. Despite the
constitutional right to freedom of religion, minority groups
such as Greek Orthodox Christians continue to experience
difficulties due to long-running property disputes, the
reports claims. The European Commission will issue a more
detailed report on Turkey's progress toward the Copenhagen
Citeria this in fall. The report will form the basis of the
EU decision about Turkey to be taken in December.
Lebanese paper: Turkey will freeze deals with Israel:
Turkey will freeze bilateral agreements with Israel,
including the modernization of tanks and jetfighters and the
sale of Turkish water to Israel, according to the Lebanese
newspaper "Al-Mustakbal." The paper regards the alleged
suspension of agreements as Ankara's reaction to Israel's
killing of Hamas leaders in the occupied territories.
Ankara will also cancel military agreement with the US
within the framework of this shift in foreign policy, the
Lebanese daily reported. The Turkish Embassy in Israel said
such press stories were false and were intended to spoil
relations between Turkey and Israel. Israeli diplomatic
sources also denied the report, and pointed to Turkish FM
Gul's eagerness to improve bilateral ties expressed at a
meeting with his Israeli counterpart in Dublin two weeks
ago.


Turkish Cypriots may hold early elections: `TRNC Prime
Minister' Mehmet Ali Talat has called for new elections in
northern Cyprus, which he said would register the
preferences of Turkish Cypriots following the April
referendum on the UN-backed peace plan for the reunification
of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said he
would not contest next year's presidential election. In
explaining his decision, Denktash cited his age (82) and his
view that it is time to hand the reins of power to a younger
generation. Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic
Conferences (OIC) is preparing to upgrade the position of
the Turkish Cypriot enclave within the organization. The
OIC will decide at their June Istanbul meeting to address
the Turkish Cypriots as the `State of Northern Cyprus' as
envisaged in the Annan Plan. The organization had
previously referred to the `TRNC' as the `Turkish Muslim
community of Northern Cyprus.'


NATO turns south: Monday's "Cumhuriyet" writes that the
June NATO Summit in Istanbul will mark a significant
transformation within the alliance. NATO has turned to the
South, the source of fundamentalist terror. The Istanbul
NATO Summit will discuss the expansion of the "Mediterranean
Dialogue" to include the countries from north Africa and the
Middle East, according to "Cumhuriyet." The effort would be
aimed at broadening the dialogue with countries in the
region, encouraging greater democracy, and forging security
partnerships to combat international terrorism.
"Cumhuriyet" claims that the NATO summit may also strengthen
the role of NATO's rapid reaction force, which was
established at last year's summit in Prague.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq/GME Initiative


"Humiliation and Democratization"
Gunduz Aktan wrote in the liberal-intellectual Radikal
(5/15): "Describing the way the U.S. media tackled the Abu
Gharib scandal and the intense questioning of Pentagon
officials by the US Congress as an example of the
superiority of American democracy would only be half right.
How can the legal mechanisms of a country in which the law
is supreme wait such a long time before taking a stand on
the mistreatment that ruined so many lives? How can members
of a society that claims it has high moral values perpetrate
such acts? The fact that the first report about the abuse
was written in January shows, at the minimum, that US
officials turned a blind eye to it. The truth is that
values such as democracy and respect for human rights are
insufficient to eliminate bad aspects of human behavior.
Under certain conditions, these aspects of human behavior
come to dominate. No one country should should claim to
embody these values. The United States is especially
unfortunate in this respect. A short time after committing
itself to spreading its high values to the Islamic world, it
was seen that many Americans view the Iraqis as subhuman.
This behavior reminds us of the photos of lynched African
Americans in the second half of the 19th century.
Evidently, the Greater Middle East Initiative's objective to
democratize is subconsciously linked to racism, in line with
the `clash of civilizations.' There are always some `small'
problems like this when countries are democratized from the
outside."


"Torture and American Internal Politics"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in the mass appeal
Milliyet (5/17): "The Abu Ghraib photos have provided a test
for American democracy. The case does not reflect
individual or isolated incidents, but rather a systematic
pattern of abuse. It will be very important how this case
is handled, because the outcome will have a serious effect
on the administration and the political careers of key US
players. . Considering the photos as evidence of America's
dark intentions in Iraq is overreacting. However, the
photos are undeniably a part of the larger Iraq issue. The
American people have already reached this conclusion, and
support for Bush has dropped to 42 percent, its lowest level
to this point. The fact of the matter is that Bush's rival,
John Kerry, has not yet managed to have this work to his
benefit. . Due to the Abu Ghraib scandal, President Bush
seems in danger of losing the election. The situation in
Iraq will continue to play a major role in the choice made
by American voters."


"Liberty or Order"
Ergun Babahan wrote in the mass appeal Sabah (5/17): "An
election atmosphere has already settled over Washington.
The recent drop in President Bush's approval rating has
increased election tensions, especially among the
Republicans. There is an ongoing row between the State
Department and the Pentagon. An official from the Pentagon
elaborated on the issue, saying that the fight is about the
priority of `order' over `freedom' in Iraq. The most hated
name in town is Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Anger at
Rumsfeld runs deep, even among Republicans. It is common
knowledge that he has messed up the Iraq issue, and he is
widely expected to resign. Regardless of what happens to
Rumsfeld, everyone agrees that Bush is heading into the
election in a weak position. .The US enters the summer with
election tension, fear of terrorism, and a heated debate
over the future of Iraq."


EDELMAN

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