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.
011113Z Jul 04
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 ANKARA 003724
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, JUNE 30, 2004
THIS REPORT WILL PRESENT A TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER
Bush: Turkey a strong, secular democracy - Sabah
Bush: Turkey a part of Europe - Aksam
Bush: Freedom will come to Middle East - Milliyet
Chirac: Turkey's EU process irreversible - Hurriyet
Powell, Gul stand together against human trafficking -
Bosphorus boat tour enchants leaders' wives - Aksam
GME split in NATO - Sabah
Europe halts headscarf - Milliyet
ECHR says no to headscarf - Aksam
Allawi a hope for Bush - Milliyet
Bush: Turkey can prevent clash of civilizations - Zaman
Bush: God bless Turkey - Radikal
Bush praises Turkey - Referans
Bush, Schroeder: Turkey deserves to be in EU - Radikal
Historic summit boosts Turkey EU support - Yeni Safak
Schroeder to US: You can't win peace on your own -
$200,000 Topkapi banquet for NATO leaders - Referans
Turkey to take ISAF command next year - Yeni Safak
Karzai to NATO: Send troops now - Radikal
Tour operators: Bush Istanbul speech worth $1 billion in
promotion - Zaman
ECHR: Headscarf ban not against the law - Radikal
Iraqis want a powerful leadership, democracy - Cumhuriyet
President Bush remarks at Galatasaray University: Turkey, a
Muslim and secular country, is very important for the future
of the broader Middle East region, President Bush said in
Istanbul on Tuesday. Speaking at Istanbul's Galatasaray
University, Bush said that a tolerant Turkish society is a
bridge between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Bush said
that including Turkey in Europe would tear down an
unnecessary barrier and would be as momentous as the fall of
the Iron Curtain. "Including Turkey in the EU would prove
that Europe is not the exclusive club of a single religion,
and it would expose the `clash of civilizations' as a
passing myth of history," Bush said. President Bush thanked
Turkey for its role, as a democratic partner, in the Broader
Middle East initiative. He acknowledged that reform and
transformation in the region would not be easy. However, he
emphasized his commitment to `finish the work that history
has given us.' `The struggle between political extremism
and civilized values is unfolding in many places,' President
Bush noted, pointing to ongoing violence in Iraq, Iran, and
Palestine. `The long-term stability of any government
depends on being open to change,' he added. Bush said that
Turkey has learned this lesson, and through this process has
become a great and stable democracy. He said that America
wants to see other nations take that path, Bush said.
NATO Istanbul Summit ends: The NATO Istanbul Summit has
removed the few remaining obstacles to Turkey's EU
membership, mainstream papers report. Dailies highlight not
only the powerful support voiced by President Bush, but the
positive attitude of many European members such as Austria
and the Netherlands, former opponents of Turkey's membership
in the EU. Despite positive statements by NATO members with
regard to the Istanbul summit, "Cumhuriyet" said there was a
minimum amount of compromise between the members of the
alliance. Efforts to sort out an agreement between the US
and the German-French bloc have not been successful,
"Cumhuriyet" writes. Tensions between NATO and Russia have
increased further, the paper claims. The only notable
decision adopted by the summit, according to "Cumhuriyet,"
was the expansion of NATO's mission in Afghanistan. The
decision on Iraq is a concession to German and French
demands, but details of implementation remain unclear. The
role of NATO within the Broader Middle East initiative was
discussed behind closed doors, and a further meeting on this
issue will be held with Gulf countries December of this
year, the paper notes.
Powell, Gul open shelter for victims of human trafficking:
On Tuesday, FM Gul and US Secretary of State Powell attended
the opening ceremony for a shelter built by the Istanbul
municipality for victims of human trafficking. FM Gul said
that new strategies were needed in the fight against human
trafficking. Secretary Powell said Turkey has taken a big
step in the struggle against trafficking, and called on
other governments to cooperate in this effort. The shelter
will provide legal, psychological and medical assistance to
people victimized by traffickers.
Court rules against Muslim headscarf: The European Court of
Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Turkish university students
could not claim that the ban on Muslim headscarves violates
their freedom of religion. The court rejected two separate
complaints by Turkish students. The decision by the
Strasbourg-based court will set a precedent for national
courts across Europe and fend off expected lawsuits
following a heated dispute about banning headscarves in
schools. In its first judgment on the headscarf issue, the
ECHR decided that a ban applied in the name of the
separation of church and state should be regarded as
`necessary in a democratic society.' The court's decision
is a deep disappointment to proponents of the headscarf,
including PM Erdogan. Erdogan refused to comment on the
matter at a press conference on Tuesday. Human Rights Watch
(HRW) said it regretted the ruling, arguing that the
headscarf ban violated the freedom of religion, expression,
privacy, and even the right to education.
Turkish captives released in Iraq: A terrorist group with
ties to Al-Zarqawi's released the three Turks taken hostage
in Iraq last Saturday, papers report. Zarqawi's group said
that the captives had been released following demonstrations
against US President Bush and the NATO summit in Turkey.
The Iraqi resisters voiced satisfaction with the Turkish
demonstrations which, they said, `displayed Turkey's
opposition to NATO.'
EDITORIAL OPINION: POTUS Speech in Istanbul
"The Reason for Sitting Under the Bare Sun"
Ertugrul Ozkok commented in the mass appeal Hurriyet (6/30):
"There have been a lot of question marks regarding the venue
for President Bush's address in Istanbul, particularly
security concerns and the inconvenience of sitting under the
bare sun. However, things were crisp and clear as soon as
the US President walked to the podium. The mosque and the
bridge between Europe and Asia were highlights behind him.
This symbolic set-up provided a visual background for Bush's
speech on the Greater Middle East. Moreover, the open air
set-up for his speech was like his defiance against
terrorism. ... As one of the Turkish participants at the
President's speech commented, the whole atmosphere served as
a part of Bush's election campaign. In other words,
President Bush successfully hit `many birds' by throwing
only one stone."
"Bush and American Propaganda"
Oral Calislar argued in the social democrat-opinion maker
Cumhuriyet (6/30): "It creates a clear paradox when
President Bush speaks about democracy and freedom. Is it
not because US support keeps the anti-democratic and anti-
freedom regimes alive in the region? The US presents the
democracy issue in a misleading context by showing Syria and
Iran as the sources of the problem. It is not a secret how
many anti-democratic regimes in the Middle East succeed to
rule with US support. ... President Bush maintained a warm
and friendly attitude after concluding his speech. He
chatted with guests and his remarks about opposition and
democracy were impressive. From the way he responded to
criticism regarding Iraq policy and its possible negative
impact on his election campaign, it was evident that he
believes he will be re-elected."
"Strategic Messages Given At the Bosphorus"
Ali Aslan wrote in the Islamist-Intellectual Zaman (6/30):
"President Bush tried to eliminate the Islamic circle's
concerns for the Middle East reform project with religious
arguments. In his speech, the ideal of `justice' in Islamic
civilizations was emphasized instead of the `freedom' in the
West. And he explained that democracy is the best way to
establish a lawful community. In the speech he stressed
that the rights of Muslims could be defended only with the
supremacy of justice. The speech also highlighted that
having democratic values does not mean giving up religion.
The main message given to Turkey was `You are on the right
path. Continue to implement reforms. Do not believe in
conspiracy theories. The US is Turkey's unchangeable friend
and US national interests require a solid alliance with
Turkey'. Most probably, Bush believed this text, which was
written in Washington, more after seeing the cultural,
historic and natural richness of Istanbul and the potential
of Turkey. In short, Bush's speech proves that the US
considers Turkey the center for propaganda in injecting
democracy into the Islamic world."
"Fait-Accompli in Iraq"
Ergun Babahan commented in the mass appeal Sabah (6/30):
"The Bush Administration is getting ready to run away from
Iraq, which was occupied using the democracy argument, as
soon as possible. The US was so unsuccessful in Iraq, they
had to have the sovereignty transfer ceremonies behind
closed doors. As a matter of fact, there isn't much the
Iraqi government can do. They have neither police nor
military forces. They will try to manage a state
organization that was eliminated with the occupation and
will try to eliminate the terror and chaos that increase
with every passing day. There will be a bomb next to
Turkey, formed by the Shiite Arabs, Kurds and Sunni Arabs,
ready to explode. These groups, being ready to fight on
every issue from Kirkuk to the administration of Iraq, will
exist as a continuous threat next to us. Therefore, let us
listen to Bush's words calmly, be pleased for the support he
gave for the European Union, but, never forget what kind of
geography he left us in."
"Imperial Messages Sent from the Imperial Capital"
Cengiz Candar wrote in the sensational "DB Tercuman" (6/30):
"President Bush gave a major policy speech yesterday, and
everything was well prepared in advance. Even the transfer
of authority in Iraq provided a nice background for this
speech. ... The President's speech was essentially a
response to the events of 9/11. The speech highlighted the
US commitment to the future of the Middle East. Before the
Istanbul speech, President Bush has never given such a
public emphasis on the strategic planning for this project,
now commonly known as the Broader Middle East Initiative.
We can make some assumptions, based on the President's
speech, about US goals for the next 25 years in the Middle
East region. NATO has now committed itself to these goals.
In fact, President Bush made reference to NATO's
`reincarnation' in the context of the future of the Middle
East. ... This is not a short-term policy issue. This is
about an important strategy in which Turkey will also play
an important part. President Bush mentioned Turkey very
highly in his speech. The backdrop for the Istanbul speech
was designed with careful consideration, underlining
Turkey's European and Muslim identity. ... It is very
important that President Bush talked about the elimination
of the PKK in the context of the future of the Middle East.
The US determination on this issue has never been more
clearly. Following this speech, we can conclude that
Turkey's present and Turkey's future have been ensured by
the United States."
"President Bush: US Policy Will not be Affected by the
Murat Yetkin opined in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(6/30): "US President George Bush announced that US
policies will remain as they are, or perhaps will be pursued
even more vigorously, after the November 2004 elections.
Bush said this in reply to a question posed by a `Radikal'
correspondent after his speech at Galatasaray University.
This statement proves that, despite the damage he has
sustained from Iraq and human rights issues, Bush has
confidence in himself and has no intention of changing his
policies in his effort to defeat his Democratic rival, John
Kerry. In his speech, the President concentrated on the
Greater Middle East Project and on the democratization of
the Muslim countries. Within this framework, he presented
his allies, including Turkey, with enormously ambitious
goals. Bush described Turkey as a `secular and powerful
democracy,' and stressed his hope that other countries in
the region would take Turkey as a model. Bush also made
oblique criticisms of some countries in the region, such as
Saudi Arabia, for maintaining their repressive regimes and
creating more fertile ground for international terrorism.
We later discussed Bush's speech with the Turkish
Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee chairman, AKP
Deputy Mehmet Dulger. Dulger, like many others, believes
that even if Kerry emerges as the victor in the election, no
fundamental changes should be expected in US policy. In
light of Bush's statement, no one should make any political
calculations based on the assumption of major policy changes
coming from Washington."
"While listening to Bush"
Taha Akyol opined in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (6/30):
"President Bush never uttered the phrase 'moderate Islam' in
his speech. He stressed the Turkish Republic's 'secular,
democratic' character. Turkey is 'a majority Muslim'
society, he said. ... It was clear that Bush has grasped
the sensitivity of President Sezer, the military, and the
establishment to the US characterization of Turkey.
President Bush also emphasized that 'democratic societies
should not fear the participation of the faithful.'
President Sezer excluded the the spouses of PM Erdogan and
FM Gul at his reception for NATO leaders. This is unfair
discrimination. ... It is true that 'democratic societies
should not fear the participation of the faithful,' because
democracy must be a force for transformation. ... Turkey
has a considerable accumulation of social and political
experience. A movement with roots in Islam has accelerated
domestic liberal reforms and Turkey's integration with the
West. There is no reason that such a country should fear
'the participation of the faithful.' ... Other Middle
Eastern countries lack Turkey's accumulation of knowledge
and experience. The most effective pretext for these
despotic and authoritarian regimes in the Middle East is
that democracy would create chaos. The US President also
voiced a theme stressed repeatedly by Turkey: 'The future of
freedom in the Islamic world will be determined by citizens
of Islamic nations, not by outsiders.' ... The Istanbul
NATO Summit has been useful. Turkey's 'intercontinental'
function has now come into clearer focus."