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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 004397

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,
THURSDAY, AUGUST 5, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
--------------------------------------------- -----

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
US warns: Don't be afraid of killings, stay in Iraq -
Hurriyet
Vietnam veterans see Kerry `Unfit for Command' - Sabah
Lyndie England tortured Iraqis `for fun' - Hurriyet
British police crack down on terror suspects - Hurriyet
Extensive terror operation in Britain - Aksam
Oil prices go wild - Turkiye
Oil's $50 nightmare - Aksam

OPINION MAKERS
Turkish hostages freed in Iraq - Yeni Safak
US `unhappy' with Turkish truckers leaving Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Al-Jazeera's positive role in release of Turkish hostages -
Zaman
Turkish nationals involved in abductions, killings in Iraq -
Radikal
Mosul a battleground: 12 killed - Cumhuriyet
Iraqi police fights with local militia in Mosul - Radikal
Orange alert scandal divides Democrats - Yeni Safak
Al-Qaeda may strike the US in September - Cumhuriyet
Guantanamo inmates subjected to systematic torture - Zaman
Saddam wants to serve prison term in Sweden - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

Security of Turkish truckers in Iraq: Two Turkish truck
drivers held hostage by fundamentalist militants in Iraq
were released on Wednesday following a decision by the
Turkish transporters' association (UND) to halt the shipment
of goods to coalition forces in the region. In a videotape
sent to al-Jazeera TV, the "Tawhid wa al-Jihad" group,
affiliated with terrorist leader al-Zarqawi, said the two
drivers had been freed after their employers `agreed to stop
sending trucks to American forces in Iraq.' Insurgents on
Wednesday warned all truck drivers delivering goods to US-
led forces in Iraq that they faced death. At least 23
foreign hostages, most of whom are truck drivers, are being
held by different groups in Iraq, papers report. Around
10,000 Turkish drivers are currently in Iraq. The UND
welcomed the release of the two drivers but said the boycott
of deliveries to US forces would remain in place `until the
Iraqi authorities take necessary measures to ensure safety
in the transport sector.' "Hurriyet" reports that US
Embassy officials yesterday paid a visit to the UND to
discuss measures for securing the safety of Turkish truckers
in Iraq. On Wednesday, it was reported that a Turkish truck
driver carrying fuel for US troops in Iraq from Turkey's
southern province of Mersin was killed by insurgents on his
way back home. The incident reportedly took place on
Monday. Another Turkish driver was reportedly kidnapped
near the Iraqi city of Samara. Turkish papers quote US
State Department Spokesman Boucher as saying yesterday that
Americans are outraged by the execution of a Turkish driver
held hostage by Iraqi militants earlier this week. `But
this event and other murders should not stop our assistance
efforts in Iraq,' Boucher stressed. Boucher added that
companies and individuals should decide on their own to what
extent they can take the risk: `Companies should make their
own decisions. The US will continue to support the
reconstruction of Iraq. We think it's important for
everybody to remember the big goal, which is to help the
people of Iraq establish themselves as a safe and stable
society,' Boucher concluded.

Istanbul Bombers not Yuce's Killers: Papers report that
speculation that Habib Aktas and Azad Ekinci, suspected as
key figures in the terrorist bombings in Istanbul last
November, carried out the murder in Iraq of Turkish worker
Murat Yuce turned out to be incorrect. Unnamed intelligence
sources are quoted as saying that the voices on the Al-
Jazeera tape of Yuce's murders do not match recordings of
Aktas and Ekinci in tapes recorded following the Istanbul
attacks.

Person Arrested at Habur not a US Soldier: "Hurriyet"
issued a correction to its claim on Wednesday that a US
soldier had been arrested at the Habur border crossing for
attempting to bring ammunition and other military supplies
into Turkey from Iraq. The paper reports that the person
detained was a US citizen working for a private security
firm in Iraq. "Aksam" and "Radikal" reported the US Embassy
statement refuting the claim that a US soldier had been
arrested.

High Military Council to Announce Decisions Today - No
Surprises in the Cards: Papers report that Turkey's High
Military Council has decided to appoint General Yasar
Buyukanit as the new Land Forces Commander, thus putting
Buyukanit in position to become the next chief of the
General Staff in 2006. Final decisions from the Council are
expected today. Press reports suggest that General Fevzi
Turkeri will become the new Jandarma Commander and General
Hursit Tolon will move to head the First Army Command.

AKP blocks move to censure transport minister: In an
extraordinary parliamentary session, members of the ruling
AK Party voted down a proposal by the main opposition
Republican People's Party (CHP) to debate a censure motion
against Transport Minister Binali Yildirim for alleged
negligence in the fast-train accident last month. The CHP
had recalled the parliament from summer recess to debate the
July 22 accident, in which a newly-inaugurated fast train
derailed in Turkey's northwest, killing 38 people and
injuring 80 others. PM Erdogan's government has come under
fire for launching the project despite warnings from experts
that the country's aging tracks would not withstand high-
speed trains.

HSBC poll on Turkey/EU: According to an opinion poll
conducted by the HSBC Bank with 105 finance organizations in
Europe, the US and Turkey, 58 percent of the respondents
expect Turkey to be granted a date for accession talks at
the EU summit in December this year. Only 13 percent
believe that the EU will deny Turkey a date by putting
forward new conditions. 58 percent expect Turkey's credit
ratings to improve by the end of the year.


EDITORIAL OPINION: US Elections, Iraq

"In Any Case, Kerry is Better Than Bush"
Sahin Alpay commented in the Islamist-intellectual "Zaman"
(8/5): "The upcoming presidential race is one of the most
important elections in American history. It is certain that
President Bush will try every possible means to be re-
elected, but Kerry might still emerge as the winner. I do
not go along with the argument that Kerry and Bush are
almost identical. First of all, Kerry has a very different
electoral base. His supporters are more freedom-oriented,
more tolerant, better educated and more opposed to
militarism. Kerry's supporters represent more openness to
the world, while the Bush supporters espouse more
fundemantalist, conservative and militarist ideals. ... It
may seem that Bush and Kerry are defending similar ideas,
but after the elections this will change too. If Kerry
wins, he will take lesson from the Bush administration's
mistakes which blackened the US image abroad. Kerry will
then make adjustments to US policy, including new efforts to
reinvigorate the Western alliance, efforts for regain
prestige at the UN, and steps to eliminate the root causes
of international terrorism. In this context, it will not be
a surprise to see Kerry launch a new initiative on the
Palestinian issue."

"What will Happen in Iraq?"
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative "Turkiye" (8/5):
"What is going to happen in Iraq? I cannot think of any geo-
strategic expert who can answer this question, because Iraq
is moving toward an unknown future. It is hard to make any
assumptions about Afghanistan's future either, but the
situation in Iraq is far more critical. Who is the US
fighting against in Iraq? It seems that they are fighting
against international terrorist organizations, including Bin-
Laden's Al-Qaeda. When I look at Iraq, I don't see an
independence or liberation movement against the US, because
most of the real activists are not Iraqi citizens. They are
enemies of the United States who poured into Iraq right
after the fall of Saddam. The picture is very clear:
terrorism, which had already spread globally, including to
Turkey, will haunt the US at home and abroad in an effort to
erase the US presence in the world. It looks as if
international terrorism, and particularly Al-Qaeda, is
fighting against the US for world hegemony. This sounds
rather exaggerated, but US incompetence is the reason we
are in this situation today."

DEUTSCH

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