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.




E.O. 12958: N/A
TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2004




Blair: Turkey will get a date for EU accession talks -
Blair promises support on Cyprus, EU - Hurriyet
Six-hour lightning visit by Blair - Sabah
Bush, Blair planning urgent exit from Iraq - Milliyet
IGC chairman dies in suicide attack - Milliyet
Rice `ashamed' of abuse of Iraqis - Aksam
4,000 US troops in South Korea to deploy to Iraq - Sabah
Athens, Ankara to reduce defense spending - Hurriyet
Powell supports Palestine at WEF - Turkiye

Blair: We'll stay in Iraq until we're done - Cumhuriyet
Britain will work for Turkey - Zaman
US wants new bases from Turkey - Cumhuriyet
Bush, Blair plan to leave Iraq soon - Yeni Safak
Shiite cities under fire - Radikal
Powell admits info on mobile Iraqi WMD facilities was false
- Cumhuriyet
Israel destroys homes; Palestinians on the road again -
Israel preparing for massacre - Yeni Safak
Basayev claims responsibility for Kadirov killing -
WB's Vorkink: Turkey's economic balances in order - Radikal


Tony Blair visits Ankara: British PM Tony Blair paid a six-
hour working visit to Ankara on Monday. In a joint press
conference with Turkish PM Erdogan, Blair said Turkey would
most likely win a date in December to begin entry talks with
the EU next year. He also said a ban on flights to northern
Cyprus could be scrapped to help ease the international
isolation of Turkish Cypriots. However, Blair refrained
from making a concrete pledge with regard to Cyprus. Blair
and Erdogan agreed to work together on security and
migration issues. Blair also asked for Turkish support in
Afghanistan and Iraq. Blair ruled out any "quick exit" from
Iraq, and said British troops would be kept there until
stability is restored. Erdogan noted to Blair that the
Iraqi people turned down Turkey's offer to deploy troops in
Iraq. `This issue is no longer on the agenda in Ankara,'
Erdogan said.

US wants new bases from Turkey: The US wants to use Turkey
as a military center for controlling the Middle East, the
Caucasus, and the Caspian Basin, "Cumhuriyet" claims on its
front page today. The Bush Administration wants to clarify
all plans, including the Greater Middle East (GME)
initiative, before the June NATO Summit in Istanbul. In
this light, the US may renew demands from Ankara it had made
before the war with Iraq, the paper claims. Washington has
asked Ankara to expand Incirlik Airbase and establish naval
bases in Trabzon and Samsun. The Americans want to deploy
48 warplanes, 10 tanker planes, and 1,000 military personnel
to Incirlik. The US has also requested to use the Karapinar
region in Konya province for military exercises. The US is
planning these moves within the framework of its bilateral
relations with Turkey - that is, outside of the NATO
platform. An anonymous source at the Foreign Ministry said
that the US `has not presented a comprehensive package of
demands as it did before the Iraq war.' `The US is reviewing
its forces and bases in the region, and is continuing
routine work with Turkey within this context,' the MFA
official added. He also noted that US-Turkish relations
remain strong. President Bush will be visiting Ankara
before going to Istanbul for the NATO Summit. "Cumhuriyet"
claims that the US wants to receive a positive response from
Turkey to its demands before the Bush visit.

US Human Rights and Democracy report: The US State
Department's report on `Supporting Human Rights and
Democracy 2003-2004' says that the US has asked the Turkish
government to reopen Halki Seminary in Istanbul,
"Cumhuriyet" reports. The US Embassy has stressed the need
for free expression of all religions, including
Protestantism, Bahaism and Jehovah's Witnesses, the report
emphasizes. Turkey has made progress on human rights, but
the influence of the military in politics and the use of
torture against detainees continues, the report stressed.
The US has granted $894,000 for treatment of torture
victims, and will hold an international conference on
torture in Ankara next year. The report also notes that the
US Embassy in Turkey has been working in close cooperation
with Turkish NGOs to strengthen civic society.

Turkey, Greece agree to cut defense spending: Turkish and
Greek defense ministers have agreed to make reciprocal cuts
in defense spending over the next five years. Turkish
Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul conveyed to his Greek
counterpart Spilios Spiliotopoulos in Brussels on Monday the
decision by Ankara to reduce defense spending.
Spiliotopoulos welcomed the move. Athens will review its
Cyprus doctrine, and Ankara will cooperate with Athens in
the fight against terrorism, papers report.


"The Pentagon's Internal War"
Haluk Ulman commented in the economic-political Dunya
(5/18): "As the Iraq war turns even more messy, an internal
war has started within the Pentagon. There is a pro-
Rumsfeld group and a pro-Powell group. It is no secret that
the State Department and the Pentagon had serious
differences about the Iraq operation. But the recent
torture photos brought these disagreements to the forefront
among high-ranking officials in the administration. . The
history of this internal disagreement goes back to the early
days of Iraq war. Before the war, Powell advocated a larger
number of troops, while Rumsfeld argued that a smaller-scale
troop deployment could be successful with the help of
advanced US military technology. In the end, Rumsfeld and
his staff have been proven wrong. Even General Myers has
admitted this failure. What we have been seeing is the
military beginning to take revenge because Rumsfeld did not
consider their advice seriously and now wants to blame them
for Abu Ghraib."

"Syria is next"
Yalcin Dogan wrote in the mass appeal Hurriyet (5/18): "The
resolution against Syria, which was sent to Congress by
President Bush on May 11, very much resembles the one
against Iraq 1.5 years ago. Syria is to face an embargo in
many fields and a trade ban on all products except food and
medicine. Air routes between Syria and the US are to be
blocked. All of this indicates that Syria is next on the
list after Iraq. President Bush is apparently not satisfied
by bringing so much trouble to the world, so he is now
obsessed with Syria. At the same time, initial signs
indicate that the EU does not share Bush's view and opposes
the US sanctions policy against Syria. A visiting EU
delegation in Damascus noted that the US embargo is wrong
and pledged support for trade with Syria. The EU says that
Syrian goods, including oil and gas destined for European
countries, can be transported via Turkey. This means that
Turkey will find itself in difficulty with the US if it
becomes a route for Syrian products."
"The Way Out"
Fikret Bila argued in the mass appeal Milliyet (5/18): "The
US and UK are searching for a way out in Iraq by trying to
establish an Iraqi government that will have the Iraqis'
trust and support but will also defend US and UK interests.
Is it possible to have such an administration in Iraq?
Would Iraqis support such a government? Moreover, could an
Iraqi administration defend US and UK interests after
getting such support from its own people? This is not
possible. Only a `puppet government' could allow a
continued US and British military presence in Iraq and take
care of their economic and political interests. But this
kind of government would never get the support of the Iraqi
people. If the choice is left to the people, they will
definitely elect an anti-American and anti-British
administration, which will most likely be a Shiite
government. Secretary Powell already says the US will
respect a religious administration in Iraq if that comes out
of the election process. The US is no longer interested in
the type of government that will be established in Iraq, but
only in whether that government will preserve a US and
British military presence, prevent violence against US and
UK forces, and protect the economic and political interests
of the US in Iraq. I would like to think that the US will
not allow the Iraqi people to carry Iraq toward a civil war
through more ethnic and religious conflict while they are
looking for their escape hatch."


© Scoop Media

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