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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 005453

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 23, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Turkey's critical appointment with the EU - Aksam
Erdogan's day of persuasion in Brussels - Hurriyet
Turkey locked on to Erdogan's Brussels meetings - Sabah
HRW: Torture continues in Turkey - Aksam
`Dr. Microbe' to be released - Hurriyet
Zarkawi's right hand man, al-Shami, killed - Milliyet
Iraqi insurgents attack Abu-Ghraib - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan to try to persuade EU leaders - Yeni Safak
US treats Yusuf Islam like a terrorist - Zaman
Blood bath in Baghdad: 27 killed - Zaman
Iraqi government set to release two Iraqi weapons experts -
Radikal
NATO to expand role in Iraq - Zaman
Iraq's new Turkey envoy presents credentials to Sezer - Yeni
Safak
HRW: Torture widespread in Turkey - Cumhuriyet
Sharon threatens Arafat with assassination - Cumhuriyet
American women favor Bush over Kerry - Radikal
Moscow arrests the head of `Black Widows' - Radikal


BRIEFING

PM Erdogan in Brussels to ease EU concerns over adultery:
PM Erdogan will try to persuade EU officials today in
Brussels that there are no problems with Turkey's penal code
reform, which has stalled in the Parliament, in a bid to
ease EU concerns ahead of the October 6 EU Commission report
on Turkey's candidacy. Erdogan said before departing for
Brussels that he was going to `ensure that the EU agrees to
open talks with Turkey without delay at the EU December
summit.' Justice Minister Cemil Cicek and State Minister
for Religious Affairs Mehmet Aydin accompanied Erdogan to
Brussels. Papers believe that the report will offer a
conditional recommendation, making it less likely that the
25 EU leaders will agree to open talks at the December
summit. The papers say the AKP is split over criminalizing
adultery, with Erdogan taking the side of the hardliners.
`Erdogan's insistence on outlawing adultery has damaged
Turkey's image in the EU,' mainstream dailies report.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a strong supporter of
Turkish EU entry, said on Wednesday he believed Turkey would
continue its reforms and was unlikely to introduce a ban on
adultery. The European Commission has said it cannot
recommend the start of entry talks with Ankara before the
revised penal code is approved. Schroeder said Germany
would back starting talks with Turkey if the Commission
produced a positive report. `The negotiations will last a
very long time, and may take around 10 to 15 years,' he
said. European Commission President-designate Jose Manuel
Barroso said on Wednesday that Turkey `does not yet meet the
criteria' to join the European bloc. In Brussels, Erdogan
will meet with EU expansion chief Verheugen at noon today,
and will then talk with European Parliament Chairman
Borrell. Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Bulent Aric is
expected to wait to see the outcome of Erdogan's meetings in
Brussels before deciding whether to call the parliament back
into session before its scheduled opening on October 1.

FM Gul in New York: On Wenesday, FM Abdullah Gul attended
the opening of the 59th UN General Assembly in New York.
Gul is lobbying in New York to get a temporary seat for
Turkey on the UN Security Council. He is also seeking
support for ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
The Turkish FM met yesterday with his Israeli counterpart,
Silvan Shalom. Shalom conveyed to Gul Israeli PM Sharon's
invitation for PM Erdogan to visit Israel at the earliest
opportunity. Shalom also told Gul that Tel Aviv would send
a delegation to Turkey to brief Ankara regarding recent
developments in the Middle East peace process.

Turkish truckers killed in Iraq: Two Turkish truck drivers,
Cuma Yilmaz and Mehmet Atatan, were shot dead around Mosul
on Tuesday while en route to Turkey. Atatan, a trucker from
the southeast Turkish province Gaziantep, was reportedly
carrying potable water for US troops at Mosul Airport.
Turkish dailies say that the Turkish government has not yet
taken a clear position in the face of the killings and
abductions in Iraq. On Wednesday, State Minister Kursad
Tuzmen said it was `significant' that attacks against Turks
and Turkish companies in Iraq have recently intensified.
Tuzmen implied that the attacks and abductions may have been
incited by other countries that are uneasy with Turkey's
presence in the Iraqi market, "Radikal" reports. `Iraq has
become a new Beirut, a new Lebanon,' Tuzmen said.

Human rights group criticizes Turkey: Human Rights Watch
(HRW) said in an evaluation of Turkey that despite sweeping
reforms, torture and mistreatment of detainees continues in
the country. HRW Europe and Central Asia Director Holly
Cartner said in Brussels Wednesday that the Turkish
government's official declaration of `zero tolerance' for
torture had been a significant step, but complained that
implementation was `weak.' Only effective controls will
prevent torture,' Cartner said. The HRW report also noted
that Turkish detainees are frequently denied their right to
legal counsel while in custody.

Yusuf Islam denied entry to the US: Turkish papers carry
detailed coverage of Yusuf Islam, the pop singer formerly
known as Cat Stevens, being denied entry into the US on a
flight from London to Dulles International Airport in
Washington. "Hurriyet" reports that the Council on American-
Islamic Relations (CAIR) criticized the decision, saying it
sent a disturbing message that moderate Muslims would be
treated like terrorists. `America is afraid of Yusuf
Islam,' says a headline in the Islamist-oriented "Yeni
Safak."

Greek Patriarchate awaits a response from Ankara: The Greek
Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul said that Ankara has not
responded to its several applications for the reopening of
Halki Seminary, which has been kept closed since 1971. The
Patriarchate press office on Wednesday complained about a
lack of dialogue with Ankara on the issue, and called for an
official response to their inquiries.


EDITORIALS

"Puzzling Attacks on Turkish Drivers in Iraq"
Cengiz Candar wrote in the conservative-sensational "DB
Tercuman" (9/23): "A Turkish taxi driver who drives between
Diyarbakir and Zakho called me the other day to say that
around 30 Turkish truck drivers have been killed in Mosul.
Many other Turkish drivers entering Iraq through Habur
border gate are complaining about the killings and demanding
security measures for their safety. I asked the taxi driver
who he is expecting would take such measures - the Turkish
Government, the US, or Barzani? His answer was that the
first responsibility lay with Barzani. He added that Arabs
and some Turkmen were carrying out these attacks. Turkish
Foreign Ministry recently drew attention to the systematic
killing of Turkish drivers, implying the presence of
powers that don't want Turkish interference in Iraq. The
Foreign Ministry implied that the deterioration in the
Turkish-American relationship has led to these problems. It
is still an open question who is behind the violence and
terror in Iraq and what is motivating it. It is not
satisfactory to say that it is the Iraqi resistance fighting
against the American occupation. Why should the resistance
attack Turks? Besides, the resistance in Tal Afar were
Shiite-Turkmen who claimed to belong to Ansar-Al Islam. As
a branch of Al-Qaeda, what is Ansar-Al Islam doing among the
Shiite-Turkmen population in Tal Afar? Yesterday's
"Financial Times" reported that Turkey has not been able to
determine a policy for Iraq, and was unable to control
developments there. Therefore, Turkey is being dragged
along by events to which it can only react. According to
Turkish MFA evaluations, Iran is a suspect. If that is the
case, why is Foreign Minister Gul giving priority to
cooperation with Iran and Syria each time Iraq becomes an
issue? If one motivation behind the attacks against Turkish
targets is to create a rift between Turkey and the US, why
did the Turkish FM imply that Turkey may stop cooperating
with the US in Iraq? Iraqi PM Allavi had been scheduled to
come to Turkey two weeks ago. Why didn't he come? When
will he come? Iraq is still a huge puzzle. But it is no
mystery that Turkey has become very ineffective in Iraq."

"Last Tango in Brussels"
Derya Sazak commented in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (9/23):
"PM Erdogan is going to Brussels for the last tango.
Adultery or the EU? If it hadn't been for the AKP's efforts
to add adultery as a crime to the Turkish Penal Code, PM
Erdogan's Brussels visit would have been more like a holiday
than an official visit. Because the EU Commission had
already prepared its report and, on October 6, would have
recommended that Turkey begin accession negotiations in
2005. AKP's insistence on the adultery provision destroyed
this plan. After two and a half years of determined
efforts, PM Erdogan, by his own hand, has pushed the EU
project to the brink. Some columnists warned the PM that if
he insists on the adultery issue during his discussions in
Brussels, it will be a big mistake. If the Turkish Penal
Code is not passed by the parliament before October 6
without the adultery issue, there will likely be some new
conditions for starting negotiations. During the last tango
in Brussels, the Prime Minister shouldn't play with Turkey's
destiny". EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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