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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 04 ANKARA 005278

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, SEPTEMBER 16, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Amb. Edelman: Reason to be concerned about Kirkuk - Aksam
Turkmen return to Tal Afar - Sabah
Tal Afar a ghost town - Turkiye
Turkey introduces heavy penalties for torture - Aksam
EU to send last-minute torture inspection team to Turkey -
Milliyet
UN to reduce peacekeeping force in Cyprus - Milliyet
Devout Jews don't want Madonna in Israel - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Amb. Edelman: Osman Ocalan is still a terrorist - Zaman
MFA: We have received US assurances on Tal Afar - Radikal
No foreign terrorists among those killed in Tal Afar - Zaman
56 killed, 167 injured in Tal Afar - Cumhuriyet
Greek Cypriot politicians visit north Cyprus - Cumhuriyet
Sudan denies chemical weapons use in Darfur - Zaman
Syrian army tests chemical weapons in Darfur - Radikal
Peace still far from Darfur - Cumhuriyet
Schools open in Beslan - Radikal


BRIEFING

Ambassador Edelman's press roundtabel: In a roundtable with
bureau chiefs of four leading Turkish dailies, US Ambassador
Edelman discussed recent developments in Iraq, and
particularly the situation in Tal Afar. Ambassador Edelman
said the US has responded positively to Turkey's concerns
about the need to avoid civilian casualties and to concerns
about possible efforts to change the demographic balance in
the northern Iraqi town. Edelman noted that several hundred
insurgents opposed to the efforts of the Iraqi interim
government had entered Tal Afar. `From our experience in
Najaf and Fallujah,' he continued, `we know that it doesn't
take too many armed insurgents to take over a good-sized
city and terrorize the population.' The Ambassador said
that many of the people who had entered Tal Afar came from
Najaf and Fallujah. The operation removed the threat by
insurgent forces in the city.' Ambassador Edelman said the
US had very intense discussions with the Turkish Foreign
Ministry and the Turkish General Staff (TGS) about Tal Afar,
and that Turkish liaison officers both in Baghdad and Tampa
at CENTCOM Headquarters were informed of the operation.
Commenting on Kirkuk, Edelman said the `very complex'
property issues in Kerkuk would be handled by a transparent,
law-based property return process. He stressed that the US
is `trying to make sure that there is no change to the
demographic balance in Kirkuk by force of arms.' Edelman
also noted that he expects the new mayor to be announced in
Tal Afar to be `a product of the Turkmen.' Responding to a
question regarding the `insufficient' representation of the
Turkmen, Ambassador Edelman said that no one would know the
real composition of the population until Iraq has a census,
which will take place later this fall. On the PKK issue,
Edelman said the US faced a `very challenging' set of
security issues in Iraq, particularly in places where
coalition forces are actually located. `That doesn't mean
we forget about our undertakings and responsibilities. We
will take action at an appropriate time and place,' Edelman
stressed. He reiterated the commitment, as stated by
President Bush during his Ankara visit, that Iraq will not
be an area where terrorist organizations can take refuge.
Edelman also emphasized that the US continues to recognize
the PKK and all of its successor organizations as terrorist
organizations. Responding to a question on alleged US
support for PKK `defector' Osman Ocalan, the Ambassador said
`we continue to regard Osman Ocalan as a terrorist'. `As a
matter of policy, we don't make concessions to terrorists,
and that includes protecting them,' he added. Coverage of
the Ambassador's roundtable appeared in today's editions of
"Aksam," "Zaman," "Tercuman," and "Vatan."

Situation in Tal Afar: Some Turkish dailies speculate that
the US has taken the northern Iraqi town of Tal Atar for the
sake of American strategic plans in the area. On Friday, a
Turkish convoy of seven trucks carrying humanitarian aid
will leave Turkey for Tal Afar, according to MFA spokesman
Namik Tan. "Hurriyet" reports that the US military in Iraq
agreed to allow Turkish special forces to enter Tal Afar to
assess the needs of the city and to coordinate with US
forces on the distribution of humanitarian goods.

FM Gul due in US: Turkish FM Abdullah Gul will go to New
York on Friday to attend UN General Assembly meetings,
papers report. In a meeting with Secretary of State Colin
Powell, Gul will reiterate Turkey's position that Ankara
will not remain indifferent to attacks against the Turkmen
in Tal Afar. Gul will also urge Powell not to delay US
action to remove of the PKK presence in northern Iraq. Gul
and Powell will also discuss ending the international
isolation of Turkish Cypriots.

Osman Ocalan speaks to Turkish dailies: Turkey's mass
appeal daily "Vatan" and mainstream "Milliyet" interviewed
PKK defector Osman Ocalan, brother of imprisoned PKK leader
Abdullah Ocalan. In the interview, which took place in the
northern Iraqi town of Suleymaniye, Ocalan said his group
opposed armed struggle. He claimed the US preferred Turkey
to be in contact with organizations that advocate a
political struggle. Ocalan also claimed to have gained US
backing, and added that he supports the US intervention in
Iraq. "Vatan" regards the free movement of Osman Ocalan in
northern Iraq as supporting his claims that the United
States condones his activities. Unlike his brother
Abdullah, Osman Ocalan said he was positive toward Turkey's
ruling AKP. In the interview with "Milliyet," Ocalan
applauded Turkish reforms for democratization, and voiced
hope that the time for dialogue was approaching. Ocalan's
aide, Nizamettin Tas, told "Milliyet" that the Americans
have warned them against terrorist actions in Turkey in past
PKK meetings with `US military and intelligence officials.'

Travel ban on Kurdish lawmakers to be removed: Leyla Zana
and her former DEP lawmaker colleagues will be allowed to go
to Brussels to receive the Sakharov Prize, which had been
awarded to Zana in 1995, "Sabah" reports. A travel ban
imposed by the State Security Court in 1994 on Zana and her
colleagues will be scrapped. Ankara does not want a
`passport crisis' with the EU on the eve of the forthcoming
EU summit meeting in December, at which Turkey is expected
to be granted a date for entry talks, "Sabah" comments.

EU to send `torture inspection' team to Turkey: The
European Commission is sending a fact-finding team to Turkey
this week to investigate allegations of systematic torture
raised by human rights groups, the EU said on Wednesday.
`One NGO made serious allegations of systematic torture in
Turkey. Others said there were still some cases of torture
but they were no longer systematic or officially
sanctioned,' spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori said. `The EU
does not take these accusations lightly,' Filori said,
adding that `it is natural that we check information before
publishing such an important report.'

EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq / 9/11 Anniversary

"Global War in Iraq"
Erdal Safak noted in the mass appeal "Sabah" (9/16): "Some
used to characterize the opposition to the US operation in
Iraq as `resistance' to the occupation. But today, even
strong opponents of the US-UK operation have started to view
the current violence, bloodshed, and chaos in Iraq as
illegitimate. The French President, for instance, observed
that `Pandora's box' has been opened in Iraq. The French
Foreign Minister is worried about `a black hole' that he
believes will spread from Iraq to other areas in the Middle
East and around the world. If you ask the Arab League's
opinion about Iraq, Secretary General Amr Musa describes the
situation as `the gates of hell' being opened in Iraq. The
most correct diagnosis, I think, comes from Iraqi Prime
Minister Allawi, who says that `Iraq has become a part of a
global war.' The main goal of the terrorists is to make
Iraq collapse, move further into the Middle East, and
eventually destabilize the whole world. The ongoing war is
indeed between the civilized world and the terrorists."

"The Middle East Arena"
Ali Bayramoglu argued in the Islamist-opinion maker "Yeni
Safak" (9/16): "Since the events of 9/11, the US has
implemented a new security policy that emphasizes the
formulation of a security concept based on military
considerations rather than political analysis. The new
approach also reformulates the concepts of human rights,
seeking to balance such rights with security considerations.
. Today, everyone can see the growing split between the
Islamic world and the West. Iraq is a clear example. The
conflict in Iraq represents not only a resistance by the
people of Iraq against the US and other Western armies, but
also serves as a battlefield between international militants
and world military power. All of this leads us to the
conclusion that the Iraq war and the more authoritarian
approach fed by US paranoia and fear have resulted in more
violence. The violence has fed on itself. Such an immoral
war and its aftermath will eventually bring about serious
consequences for those who launched it."

"Three Years After September 11"
Zafer Atay wrote in the economic-political "Dunya" (9/16):
"According to the most conservative estimates, more than
15,000 Iraqi civilians and over 1,000 US troops have died in
the war in Iraq. Although a decision has been made to hold
elections in Iraq, it is not clear whether that can be
realized. The division of Iraq is also a possibility. With
the US supporting Kurdish efforts to establish their own
administration in the north, Iraq's majority Shiites and the
Sunnis are fighting for power. Saddam and many of his aides
have been caught and jailed. But no one knows where and
when they will be tried. There has been a split in American
society ever since the Vietnam war. IN some circles in the
United States, the Iraq operation is now being widely
criticized. The US elections will take place in November.
The Democrats are criticizing the Bush Administration's
policies harshly. There are some US reports that provide
valuable insight. The National Commission Report, which was
prepared to examine how to prevent possible terrorist
attacks against the US, has been released and runs to more
than 500 pages. The conclusion is that September 11
resulted from the incompetence of the Clinton and Bush
Administrations, particularly within their intelligence
organizations. Another report, called simply `The Iraq
Report," claims that the Bush administration basically lied
about the reasons for starting the war. There are no WMDs
in Iraq. There is no truth to rumors that Saddam had
started to produce a nuclear weapon. And it is not true that
Saddam's administration was cooperating with Al-Qaeda.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has confirmed these

SIPDIS
observations. These conclusions have shaken the foundations
of the CIA, which was previously believed to be untouchable.
George Tenet, head of the CIA, has resigned. The
intelligence organizations in the US are being restructured.
President Bush and his team could even lose the election
because of these lies as much as the Al-Qaeda issue."

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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