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 003621
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,
SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 2004
THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER
Bush coming with several requests - Milliyet
Bush to give warm messages on PKK, Cyprus - Aksam
Dr. Rice: President Bush looking forward to Turkey visit -
Bush will urge Ankara on `better' relations with Israel -
Entire district closed for Bush arrival - Hurriyet
Bush's `friendship' gesture for Erdogan - DB-Tercuman
NATO to train Iraqi army - Hurriyet
6,000 Irish police guard Bush - Sabah
Bush: Turkey a model country - Cumhuriyet
Iraq `questioning' awaits Bush in Ankara - Radikal
World is safer today, Bush says in Ireland - Radikal
Bush promises struggle against the PKK - Zaman
Washington to give Ankara message on `religion' - Cumhuriyet
`Double limousines' for Bush security - Yeni Safak
Bush arrival will turn daily Ankara life into `nightmare' -
US `Sheriff' arrives - Birgun
President Bush due in Turkey: Turkish papers report on
President Bush's interview with Turkey's all-news channel
NTV. The interview was aired on Friday. President Bush
pledged that the American administration would work both
with the Turkish government and the new Iraqi government to
eliminate the terrorist PKK presence in northern Iraq. The
President noted that Turkey and the US have significant
historic relations. `During my visit,' he said, `we will
discuss the economy, the war against terrorism, and our
relations with Turkey's neighbors.' `We are on the same
side as Turkey with regard to Cyprus,' President Bush added.
He praised the Turkish Cypriots for approving the Annan Plan
for reunification of the island. The President noted that
Turkey is a model country for the Middle East, because it
provides its citizens with freedom, hope and opportunities.
All Turkish papers expect Ankara to ask President Bush to
authorize US military action to eliminate the PKK presence
in northern Iraq. Ankara will convey to the Americans
Turkish sensitivities about Kirkuk, and will ask for greater
representation for the Turkmen in the new Iraqi
administration. The Turks will also ask President Bush to
follow through on American pledges made to support the
Turkish Cypriots. Papers expect Bush to announce a US
financial support package for the `TRNC.'
"Cumhuriyet" regards the Bush reception for religious
leaders during the US President's Istanbul visit June 27 as
a significant message for Turkey. Turkey was criticized in
the annual US report on religious freedom, the paper notes.
While praising the Turkish government's activities within a
moderate Islamic framework as a model for other countries,
the US has continued to press Turkey to allow freedom of
worship for non-Muslims, particularly for Christians,
"Cumhuriyet" notes. The Greek and Armenian Patriarchs are
expected to voice to the US President their concern over the
closure of schools that provide religious education to non-
Muslim communities in Turkey. The reopening of the Halki
Seminary may be raised during the Bush-Erdogan meeting in
Ankara, "Cumhuriyet" speculates.
Dailies expect President Bush to ask for Turkey's support
for the US Greater Middle East (GME) Initiative. Ankara
will tell Bush that the GME will become a reality only
through the `voluntary' participation of the relevant
countries, "Radikal" reports. The paper claims that Turkey
is reluctant to be posed as a model for the region, but will
contribute to the GME by all possible means.
"Milliyet" and "Sabah" expect President Bush to officially
present US requests for the reopening of Halki Seminary, an
improvement in Turkish-Israeli relations, and Turkey's
support for the global redeployment of US forces.
The Jewish lobby in the US has been extremely disturbed by
recent comments by PM Erdogan, who claimed that the policies
pursued by the Sharon government have given rise to anti-
Semitism, both in the world and in Turkey, "Sabah" writes.
The Jewish lobby in the US believes that Turkey's PM has
toughened its stance against Israel with no justification.
Pressed by the Jewish lobby, President Bush will ask Turkish
leaders to mend fences with Israel, the paper speculates.
"DB-Tercuman" claims that President Bush will ignore
diplomatic protocol by visiting Erdogan at his residence
instead of the usual practice of receiving Erdogan at the
President's hotel. The paper notes that the President's
counterpart in Turkey should be President Sezer rather than
the Prime Minister. The paper regards Bush calling on the
Turkish PM at his residence as a gesture to Erdogan, whom
the US President has referred to as `my friend.'
President Bush will consult with PM Erdogan about how to
achieve further progress in Cyprus, reports the pro-
Islamic/intellectual "Zaman." Bush earlier referred to
Turkey as an `exemplary and modern Muslim country,' the
paper notes. "Zaman" reports that Dr. Rice said the Bush
call on religious leaders in Istanbul would show that all
religions exist together in an atmosphere of tolerance in
Turkey. `President Bush is looking forward to the
opportunity of strengthening our strategic relationship with
the leading secular democracy of the Muslim world,' Dr. Rice
The Ankara meetings between Turks and Americans will be
dominated by the issues of terrorism and Iraq, claims the
Islamist-oriented "Yeni Safak." Like other Islamist-
oriented papers, "Yeni Safak" expects President Bush to
announce a package of US measures to provide financial
assistance to the `TRNC.' NATO leaders are aiming to lay
the groundwork for the establishment of a security bridge
between East and West at the Istanbul summit, "Yeni Safak"
reports. This bridge was to have been established within
the framework of the Greater Middle East project, but NATO
countries could not reach agreement on the issue, the paper
POTUS Visit & NATO Summit
"First messages from President Bush"
Sami Kohen wrote in the mass appeal Milliyet (5/26):
"President Bush gave some indications about his visit during
the NTV interview, but the real substance will come during
his official meetings in Ankara and in the speech he is
going to make in Istanbul. ... In his NTV interview, he
touched upon the main issues such as Iraq, the PKK, the
Greater Middle East, and Cyprus, but he mentioned each issue
only briefly. ... The visit of President Bush to Turkey
takes place at a critical time. The state of Turkish-
American relations as well as world affairs is far different
from what they were during the Clinton visit five years ago.
Clinton's leadership style was also different, and he was a
figure very much liked by the Turkish public. Yet President
Bush is disliked not only in Turkey but in many other parts
of the world as well. Nevertheless, official visit by US
Presidents to Turkey are important events in themselves.
They are also important for the future of Turkish-American
mutual interests. The visit provides a chance to discuss
bilateral relations and to put them on the right track."
"Istanbul Meeting Marks the End of a Unipolar World"
Ibrahim Karagul argued in the Islamist-opinon maker Yeni
Safak (5/26): "The Istanbul summit will not only shape the
future of Turkey and the Islamic world, but also will
determine where US-EU relations are headed. The summit is
about enhancing the global system that has been established
in the post-9/11 era. The summit will tell us whether the
global system is to be designed unilaterally by the US, or
whether the EU will be able to emerge as the new superpower.
This summit is also about whether NATO will turn into a
world policeman and will consider the Islamic geography as
its new area of operations. ... Most importantly of all, the
Istanbul summit is about the future of NATO itself. After
the cold war, the NATO alliance lost many of its original
functions. Efforts to keep this giant military force alive
were boosted by paranoia about terrorism. Yet the
Afghanistan experience continues to be an enormous challenge
for NATO. Any failure there will deepen the already evident
split within the alliance. That is why the US is insisting
on dragging NATO into the Iraq business. This will be a
more dangerous experience for the alliance than NATO's
involvement in Afghanistan."
"Putting the NATO summit in the right context"
Ismail Kapan commented in the conservative Turkiye (5/26):
"The NATO summit is high on Turkey's agenda, but it has been
placed in the wrong context. There has been far too much
attention paid to tight security measures, roads closed to
traffic, and anti-NATO demonstrations. ... The real agenda
for the summit is about defining new roles and new missions
for the Atlantic Alliance. NATO will decide in Istanbul
whether its new missions will include operations in regions
outside of Europe. ... On the other hand, differences
between the US and the EU will most likely shape the outcome
of the discussions. The split between the US and EU is so
deep that the Istanbul summit might not be sufficient to
"While Waiting for President Bush"
Cuneyt Ulsever commented in the mass appeal Hurriyet (6/26):
"The basic goal of US foreign policy in the 21st century is
to continue to be the most powerful country in the world.
In order to keep this power, the US seeks control of the
world's oil reserves and a world system suited to its needs.
Despite the fact that the US created the threat of Islamic
terrorism by its own hand, now it is obliged to fight to
eliminate it. The persistent irritants in the US bilateral
relationship with Turkey are Turkey's rejection of a US
troop deployment on March 1, 2003, and US support for the
Kurds to establish a federation in Northern Iraq. During
this period the US has realized its own vulnerabilities and
has understood that it is not strong enough to rule and re-
arrange the world on its own. Therefore, the US should
maintain control over the oil but should also share it. In
my opinion, Turkey is in a position to tell President Bush
that Turkey can help the Americans in Iraq under the UN
umbrella. Turkey could then seek support for its own
requests from the United States in exchange for this
"NATO Troops Will Come to Turkey, Not US Troops"
Zeynep Gurcanli opined in the tabloid Star (6/26): "The
most important result to emerge from President Bush's visit
to Ankara and the NATO summit will be that NATO troops will
come to Turkey instead of the expected US troops. Of
course, the majority of these NATO troops will be Americans.
The US has been working on this plan for a long time.
Before the Iraq war the US had wanted to deploy its troops
to Turkey, but the Turkish Parliament rejected the request
and the US plan was not realized. Following this plan, the
US has started testing the waters, through last year's visit
of Assistant Secretary Marc Grossman, on the issue of new
bases in Turkey for use in regional operations. However,
the Turkish government did not give a blank check to the US
due to negative public reaction. For now, the US has put
the idea on ice. This weekend, President Bush will bring
the issue to the agenda in Ankara. Then the US will push
for a `joint NATO decision' in Istanbul. The infrastructure
for this plan is in place..The request will come not from
the occupation forces or from Washington, but directly from
Iyad Allavi, the president of the Iraqi Interim Government,
who will take over power in Iraq on June 30. Allavi already
sent an official request to NATO on this issue last week.
In short, it is not expected that US troops will be deployed
in Turkey in the near future. However, a NATO troop
deployment is most likely. This is the game plan. Of
course, it is not impossible to guess that the majority of
the NATO troops coming to train the Iraqi army will be