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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 005370

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, SEPTEMBER 20, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Belgian PM Invites PM Erdogan for Breakfast -Hurriyet
New Attacks Against Turkish Drivers in Iraq - Hurriyet
12 Turks Missing in Iraq - Sabah
PM Erdogan Sees No Problem in Ties With EU - Sabah
PM Erdogan: Turkey-EU Relations Running Smoothly - Milliyet
Verheugen: No Accession Talks Before Penal Code Reforms -
Milliyet
Twelve Turkish Truck Drivers Allegedly Killed in Iraq -
Turkiye

OPINION MAKERS
EU Warned Turkey Three Months Ago on Penal Code - Radikal
Adultery is not the Only Trouble in Penal Code - Radikal
US Acknowledges Its Mistake in Tal Afar - Cumhuriyet
Adultery the Critical Knot in EU Entry Talks - Cumhuriyet
Verheugen Says Reforms Essential in Penal Code - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

Penal code/adultery debate: EU expansion commissioner
Guenter Verheugen's office announced over the weekend that
Ankara has to pass the penal code reforms before October 6.
PM Erdogan gave a harsh response to the EU, saying that
nobody had a right to interfere in Turkey's internal
affairs, and that EU membership is not anything that Turks
cannot do without. Monday papers report Verheugen as saying
that EU-Turkey full membership talks would not be opened if
`adultery' is added to the penal code bill. Turkey should
display the will to bring together traditional Turkish
values with European values, Verheugen said, and stressed
that European values are not open to discussion. Erdogan is
expected to visit Brussels on September 22 in an effort to
defuse the strain in EU-Turkey ties, say papers. German
Chancellor Schroeder's office called Ankara over the weekend
to remind the government that Erdogan was supposed to
receive the `Quadriga' friendship award in Berlin October 3.
Erdogan has put his image as a `European leader' at risk,
Schroeder's office told the Turkish prime minister's office,
but noted that Erdogan could still receive the award if the
penal code is passed before early October. On the other
hand, Monday "Radikal" reports that adultery issue was not
the only controversial provision restricting freedoms in the
penal code bill. The bill contains heavy penalties for
defending views contrary to Turkey's national independence,
territorial integrity and national security. For example,
Article 306 of the bill brings heavy prison terms for asking
for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, or for
defending Armenian genocide claims, says "Radikal." Weekend
papers speculate that Erdogan would wait to see the October
6 EU progress report on Turkey before doing anything with
the penal code reform bill.

Tal Afar: Following the US assault that claimed 67 lives in
the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, a `senior US official'
in Iraq acknowledged that the number of foreign fighters in
the town had been `very few,' "Cumhuriyet" cites
international wires. US Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hastings
reportedly said the operation had been initiated upon the
request of Tal Afar residents complaining about foreign
militants and supporters of Saddam Hussein who took control
of the northern Iraqi town. A tribal leader said despite
the fact that they had made the insurgents leave Tal Afar on
September 8, US forces attacked the town on September 12.
Meanwhile, a Turkish Red Crescent's humanitarian aid convoy
arrived in Tal Afar Sunday. The aid will be given to Tal
Afar residents today. Monday "Milliyet" reports two
journalists working for "Milliyet" had been detained by US
forces in Mosul while en route Tal Afar together with the
aid convoy. The reporters were handcuffed and hooded by
snow masks before being interrogated `for hours.' The
journalists were later released and handed over to the Iraqi
Turkmen Front. US forces have treated Turkish journalists
as terrorists, writes "Milliyet."

Turks missing in Iraq: Turkish papers report 12 Turkish
truck drivers killed or abducted in the Balad province near
Baghdad. Al-Jazeera reported Saturday night that Iraqi
insurgents abducted 10 workers of a Turkish-American company
in Iraq, and had threatened to kill them unless their
company leaves the country in 72 hours. Two Hundred Turkish
companies are currently working in Iraq.

US nationals may ask reparation from `TRNC': The Greek
lobby in the US has submitted a bill to the House of
Representatives asking for compensation for the real estate
which was confiscated after Turkey's occupation of north
Cyprus in 1974, Sunday "Zaman" reports. Most of the real
estate seized belonged to Greek Cypriot Americans. If
enacted, the bill authorizes US courts to follow up on the
issue. The Armenian lobby in the US has supported the bill,
claims "Zaman."


EDITORIAL OPINION:

"Bargaining With Brussels"
Ferai Tinc commented in the mass appeal Hurriyet (9/20):
"PM Erdogan is going to Brussels this week. I wouldn't like
to be in his shoes, because, even I was fed up with the
foreign press's questions on the Turkish Penal Code. Some
journalists asked me if Turkish family structure could
harmonize with the European family structure. Some others
said `in Turkey honor killings are widely tolerated. Do you
think this is in harmony with Europe?' None of these is
true,however, and we don't deserve this prejudiced thinking.
However, we are so successful in giving wrong messages that
we just cannot give the right ones. I would like to give
the foreign journalists the story of the two female mayors
in the southeast whom I met last week and explain how hard
they are working to defend women's rights, to better
education, and explain how they are doing real good work in
many other areas. PM Erdogan is going to Brussels on
September 23. He is going to give the message that Turkey
fulfilled the Copenhagen Criteria. But, if he decides to
bargain in a conservative manner with Brussels with the
examples that abortion is not available in Ireland or some
other country negotiates gay marriages, etc., then he has no
chances for success in bargaining with the EU."

"US' Religious Freedom Report"
Zeynep Gurcanli wrote in the State controlled Star (9/18):
"Lately, the US is always on the top of the Turkish
government's agenda. Because of the Tal Afar bombings,
Kurdish migration to Kirkuk etc., Turkish government members
often criticizes US policies. While this `anti-American'
atmosphere continues in the Turkish government, AKP received
unexpected support from the US in its internal issues. The
support came on the `head scarf and the public areas' issue.
Instead of giving support directly, the US carried the issue
in its annual `Religious Freedom Report'. According to the
report, during his visit to Turkey, President Bush talked
with President Sezer on the issue of religious freedom and
delivered the message that the custom of religious freedom
in Turkey should continue, and different religions should be
recognized and protected. Also, in the report, the fact
that ministers' wives wearing head scarves are not allowed
in the Presidential Palace was given as an example of
violations of freedom. The report supports secularism in
Turkey, and indirectly supports the opposite section too.
The report also says that despite all the efforts by the
Patriarch, the Halki Seminary couldn't re-open. But the AKP
government does not stop the Ecumenical activities of the
Fener Patriarch either. And the most interesting part of
the report is that all US Diplomats including Ambassador
Edelman discussed these issues during their private meetings
with the Turkish cabinet members and even invited the
government members to `Religious dinners".

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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