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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 004451

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,
MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
FM Gul: We won't withdraw from Iraq - Milliyet
Iranian diplomat abducted in Iraq - Sabah
Al-Jazeera's Baghdad office closed - Aksam
Arrest warrant issued for Ahmad Chalabi - Hurriyet
Bin-Laden, Zarkawi work independently of each other - Sabah
Bartholomeos complains of restricted religious freedom -
Milliyet
Bartholomeos calls for EU pressure for Halki Seminary -
Aksam
Diyarbakir mayor calls on terrorist's family - Vatan
Greek Cypriots `heat up' Cyprus - Hurrriyet 8/8
Greek Cypriots' Varosha rally peaceful - Milliyet 8/8

OPINION MAKERS
`Hostage diplomat' crisis between Iraq, Iran - Zaman
Iraq, Iran spy crisis - Yeni Safak
CIA expert: Iraq's occupation a gift for Al-Qaeda -
Cumhuriyet
Iraqi government offers amnesty to insurgents - Zaman 8/8
Rumsfeld may testify on Abu Ghraib abuse - Yeni Safak
Allawi silences Al-Jazeera - Radikal 8/8
Bartholomeos urges EU to press Turkey - Radikal
US intelligence: Tehran close to producing nuclear weapons -
Cumhuriyet
US investors favor Bush - Cumhuriyet
UN, Sudan agree - Cumhuriyet 8/8
Sudan government, Darfur insurgents to hold peace talks -
Cumhuriyet
New government crisis in Palestine - Cumhuriyet 8/8

BRIEFING

More Turks abducted in Iraq: The MFA said on Friday that
three Turks were still being held hostage in Iraq. The MFA
said that militants had killed another Turkish truck driver,
whose body had later been identified in a hospital in Mosul.
The identity of the third Turk to be killed was not
immediately clear. A major Turkish transportation group,
the International Transporters' Association (UND) has halted
delivery of goods to US forces in Iraq in the face of
growing violence against Turks in the region. The number of
trucks crossing the Turkish-Iraq border has declined in the
wake of the killings. FM Abdullah Gul said on Sunday that
the Turkish government would take joint security measures
with the Turkish companies operating in Iraq in the face of
the recent abductions. `Terrorist groups will not succeed
in making Turkey pull out of Iraq,' Gul stressed.

PKK intensifies violence in southeast Turkey: Having been
free movement in northern Iraq by US forces, the PKK/Kongra-
Gel has been forced to shift its terrorist activities to
southeast Turkey since June 1, "Cumhuriyet" reports. Some
3,000 PKK militants have infiltrated Turkey and organized 50
attacks against security forces over the last two months in
an effort to keep the morale of militants high, the paper
says. The paper writes that at least half of the alleged
attacks have taken place in Tunceli province. "Cumhuriyet"
claims that top PKK leaders who have defected the
organization -- Osman Ocalan, Nizamettin Tas, Halil Atac,
Ekrem Hidir Sarikaya and Kani Yilmaz -- are being kept under
US `control' in Mosul. The PKK has been made uneasy by
recent mass demonstrations denouncing terrorism in southeast
Turkish cities and towns, "Cumhuriyet" speculates.
Meanwhile, Monday's "Hurriyet" claims that the PKK's former
spokesman for Europe, Kani Yilmaz, announced his resignation
from the organization. In a letter posted on the Kurdish
`Rizgari' webpage, Yilmaz said the rhetoric used by the PKK
in dealing with the press has isolated the organization and
weakened its support among Kurds. `We have become an
organization criticizing and insulting everyone, and thus
are left without friends,' Yilmaz said.

Diyarbakir's Kurdish mayor criticized for visiting
terrorist's family: Osman Baydemir, mayor of Turkey's
mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, faced heavy
criticism in today's press for paying a visit of condolence
to the family of a PKK member killed in recent fighting with
police in Diyarbakir province. Baydemir was accompanied by
four district mayors. Papers slam Baydemir for not
attending the funeral of a policeman killed in the same
clash in late July. The `scandalous' visit amounted to an
expression of support for terrorism, papers claim.

Ecumenical Patriarch complains of `limited' religious
freedom in Turkey: Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomeos said Turkey still fails to fully guarantee
religious freedoms, but he expressed optimism that the Greek
Orthodox Halki Seminary would soon reopen. Bartholomeos
told Reuters that his Church faces legal and administrative
obstacles that contravene Turkey's pledges on religious
freedom. `We do not have the right to administer our own
churches, monasteries, cemeteries, or schools,' the
Patriarch said. `As a result, many of them come under the
administration of the state, and the state exploits them for
financial gain.' `The concept of religious freedom is very
limited and shallow in Turkey,' he added. Bartholomeos said
he believed that EU pressure would help secure the reopening
of Halki theological seminary in Istanbul. The reasons used
in the past to justify the closing of the school were not
right and not in accordance with the European perception of
religious freedom,' Bartholomeos noted. `We lack the
financial and administrative independence that are
considered an indication of religious freedom inuropean
countries," Bartholomeos said. The Patriarch nevertheless
voiced support for Turkey's drive to join the EU.

Greek Cypriots rally for `reunification and peace':
Hundreds of Greek Cypriots organized a march in Cyprus over
the weekend, claiming their cause to be `reunification and
peace' on the island. About 1,000 Greek Cypriots marched to
the Derinya border crossing carrying placards expressing
their desire to return to their homes and to re-enter the
town of Varosha (Maras). Commentators claim that the Greeks
aim to influence a UN report to be discussed at the UNSC
that envisages a reduction in the UN peacekeeping force in
Cyprus. `TRNC PM' Mehmet Ali Talat said the Turkish side
had been officially notified that the demonstration would an
effort for peace, and that some Greek politicians would also
participate in the event.

GOT to assign a civilian to chair NSC: The ruling AK Party
government is working to pick a name among three diplomats
to chair the military-controlled National Security Council
(NSC), Saturday's "Milliyet" reported. The three candidates
for the post are Turkey's UN representative Umit Pamir,
special Iraq envoy Osman Koruturk, and Turkey's ambassador
to Athens Yigit Alpogan. The MFA's preference would be
Pamir, while the military backs Alpogan, the paper claims.

EDITORIAL OPINION

"Mistaken US Policies in Iraq"
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative "Turkiye" (8/9):
"Blood is running like water in Najaf. Najaf has always
been a holy place for both Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
Unfortunately, this holy place has recently come under heavy
US bombing. Perhaps the US is unaware of the unhappiness
this has caused among Muslims from different sects. The US
willingness to expose itself to such hatred from the masses
is amazing. For centuries, Muslims believed that if they
took refuge in Najaf, no one could touch them. Washington
never considered how Iraqis, who were brought up with this
belief, would view the Americans if they engaged in combat
there. If you begin military operations on other continents
and try to fight terrorism globally based on such ignorance,
today's results are inevitable. The US has not done
anything about eliminating the PKK, and its strategic ally
Turkey was offended by the US attitude. Now they are harming
our drivers. It is so obvious that Turkey is being given
the message to keep away from Iraq. Since this is not
possible, it is clear that the crisis will spread."

"Bush, Kerry, and the Vote of Worry"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in the mass appeal
"Milliyet" (8/9): "Prior to the election, we can say that
if the American voters believe that another terrorist attack
is likely in the US, then Bush's chances to be re-elected
will increase. The September 11 attacks have been
intensively discussed in the US over the past several
months. There have been allegations that last week's terror
alert in New York and Washington are just election
propaganda being used by the Bush Administration. There are
claims that the Bush administration hopes to get votes by
scaring the American public. During their convention in
Boston, the Democrats stressed that in order to win the
election, Kerry must convince the American people of his
commitment to fight against terrorism. Before the
convention, many polls were showing the race between Bush
and Kerry as a toss-up. However, the latest poll results
are different. According to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, 54
percent of Americans consider Bush more capable than Kerry
of countering terrorism. But the same poll shows Bush is
ahead of Kerry only on this issue. For example, on the
economy, Kerry is more trusted by 54 percent of Americans.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll even shows that Bush's
advantage on the terrorism issue has decreased. In any
event, it has become clear that, one way or another, the
terrorism issue will dominate the November 2 election."

DEUTSCH

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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