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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 004267

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,
FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION

MASS APPEAL
Turkey fully agrees with Iran against PKK - Sabah
Tehran acknowledges PKK as `terrorist' - Milliyet
Iran to launch reciprocal official visits with `TRNC' -
Milliyet
Saving Private Kerry - Aksam
Edwards calls on Americans to vote for `hope' - Aksam
1,000 civilians killed in Iraq in a month - Vatan
Iraqi resisters kill Muslim captives - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan urges Tehran to open to the world - Zaman
Turkey, Iran natural gas bargaining to continue - Radikal
12 top retired US generals support Kerry - Cumhuriyet
PM allawi approves of Muslim peacekeepers for Iraq - Zaman
`Muslim Force' for Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Al-Qaida threatens to kill Berlusconi - Yeni Safak
Sharon changes mouth in the face of French reaction -
Radikal
Israel `retouches' the route of security wall - Cumhuriyet
Sudan to release Tourabi - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

PM Erdogan visits Tehran: PM Erdogan was received by the
Iranian President Khatatami yesterday. Turks and Iranians
signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) envisaging
`extensive' security cooperation between the two countries,
papers report. Tehran has pledged `effective struggle'
against the PKK, and Turks recognized the Iranian opposition
group People's Mujahedeen as a terrorist organization. The
MOU also envisages signing a security agreement between the
two countries for a joint battle against organized crime,
narcotics and human trafficking. Turkish papers regard the
agreement as a first significant step towards the prevention
of human and narcotics smuggling into Turkey from Iran.
However, the two sides failed to reach a compromise on the
price of Iranian natural gas sold to Turkey. Erdogan's
participation in the energy talks did not yield any positive
result, and the two sides agreed to continue discussions at
the technical level. With another agreement, Turkeys'
mobile phone operator `Turkcell' became the second largest
GSM operator in Iran. Iranians have also agreed to
authorize the consortium led by Turkey's TAV company in the
long-standing controversial issue of handling of the Imam
Khomeini International Airport. At his meeting with
Khatami, Erdogan urged Tehran to remove the `barriers'
isolating Iran from the world, say papers. When it becomes
a full EU member, Turkey will become Iran's gate to the
western world, Erdogan emphasized. Responding to a request
by Erdogan, Iranian officials have pledged the exchange of
official visits between Iran and Turkish Cyprus, say papers.

Parliament to discuss fast train crash: Turkey's parliament
will debate last week's high-speed train crash that killed
39 people at a special session on August 4 after the
opposition CHP called for a recall, the state Anatolian news
agency said on Thursday. Parliament went into summer recess
about two weeks ago, but the government came under heavy
criticism for its handling of the crash occurred in
northwest Turkey on a railway linking Istanbul and Ankara on
July 22. The opposition CHP has 171 seats in the parliament,
and a censure motion can only be opened to discussion with
184 votes. Erdogan said Thursday that his party would
support CHP's call for opening a parliamentary debate on the
issue. Erdogan had strongly rebuffed calls by CHP and the
media to sack Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim,
saying he would wait for an official investigation into the
crash. Turkish dailies have accused senior transportation
officials of ignoring experts' warnings that the creaking
railway line would not support a `fast' train.

Muslim Americans will `reluctantly' support Kerry: "Zaman"
reports on an opinion poll conducted by the Council on
American-Islam Relations (CAIR) in which 54 percent of the
1,100 respondents said they would vote for the Democratic
Presidential candidate John Kerry. The CAIR research on the
2000 Presidential elections had shown that 70 percent of
Muslims eligible to vote preferred Bush. Observers estimate
about 1.2 million Muslim voters will vote, which is seen as
a significant figure that might affect the outcome of
Election 2004. "Zaman" complains that Democrats have not
been paying enough attention to Muslim American voters.
Kerry has recently changed his policies in favor of Sharon
in an effort to secure the votes and financial support of
Jewish Americans, "Zaman" claims.

EDITORIAL OPINION:

"Is Everything in Order in Iraq"
Hikmet Bila commented in the social democrat/intellectual
Cumhuriyet (7/30): "The occupation forces are lost in Iraq.
The troops are worried for their lives. The US
Administration, which deployed those troops there is in a
panic. Bush asks NATO to intervene in Iraq and Powell wants
the Muslim countries' troops placed there. Bush is
desperate prior to the Presidential elections. The US and
its allies cannot establish stability there and cannot even
protect themselves. They cannot establish the most
important police and military force there, because the
resistance does not allow it. Locals, who want to join the
military or the police force, have been blown into pieces by
the resistance. The occupiers cannot stop the assassination
of government officials or the kidnapping of the foreigners
in Iraq. With every passing day, the initiative passes from
the occupiers to the resistance. Northern Iraq is still the
region where the US maintains the most control. In full
coordination with Barzani and Talabani (and of course,
Turkey's contribution of 13 years), the US managed to
establish an independent Kurdish State there. The only
missing thing for this Kurdish State is international
recognition.Stability cannot be established by praying or
wishing. It is not possible for the US, which lost the
initiative there and is defeated in the military and the
administrative arenas, to establish stability in Iraq.
Besides, could a partitioned Iraq with an independent
Kurdish State in the north ever be a stable country? Is
anyone, ever going to say `If the US is going to partition
Iraq (which what they are doing at the moment), if it is
planting the seeds of partition of Turkey (which it is
doing), what good is that stability?' As a matter of fact,
there will be people saying, `I would rather see Osama Bin-
Laden next to the Turkish border than Bush, who is trying to
spoil Turkey's 80-year-long unity and integrity.' Isn't the
AKP government going to question this alliance, which also
drags Turkey into its problems? When will they (AKP)
discuss Turkey's relations with Iran, Iraq, Syria and the
US? Isn't there any need for it? Is everything running
smoothly?"

"Coordinating With Whom in Iraq?"
Erdal Guven opined in the liberal/intellectual Radikal
(7/30): "Since the 1980s, there are two axes to Turkish-
Iranian relations. One revolves around economic and
commercial cooperation with countries in the region
(neighbors) and the other revolves around political
competition accompanied by a permanent, mutual security
problem. Turkey's economic relations with Iran have declined
since 1980 due to the US-applied sanctions on Iran.
However, there was movement in the Turkish-Iranian relations
after Turkey started buying natural gas from Iran in 2002.
Of course, this change became more visible after the AKP
government started applying a zero-problem policy with its
neighbors. And, due to AKP's Islamic structure, this
opening has been accepted by Iran with pleasure. Similar to
its view of the occupation of Iraq, Iran considered the
Turkey-Israel alliance a strategic threat. At the moment,
it is observed that Ankara and Tehran have overlapping
concerns and interests in Iraq. Could Turkey and Iran find
common interests there? Should Turkey enter into an
alliance with Iran and Syria? Isn't such an alliance
against the US? Coordination against PKK! Let's not fool
ourselves. Turkey beat the PKK despite Syria and Iran.
Coordination regarding Iraq's integrity? Do you think Iran
and Syria care about this issue? They view Iraq's possible
change into a democratic and secular country as a security
threat to the Iranian and Syrian regimes. And, of course,
just the opposite is valid for Turkey. Turkey's interests
in Iraq can only be attained by giving the necessary
support to Iraq during the normalization process, not by
establishing an alliance with the those working against the
normalization. This is the only concrete solution to secure
Iraq's integrity and to eliminate whatever is left from PKK.
We should ask only one question: Would wrong policies will
create wrong alliances?"


DEUTSCH

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