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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 005482

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,
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Turkey's EU path opened - Hurriyet
EU gate opens for Turkey - Milliyet
Turkey moves closer to EU - Milliyet
We are European - Sabah
`Potential terrorist' Yusuf Islam returns home - DB-Tercuman
Captive Briton in Iraq pleads for Blair's help - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan persuades EU - Yeni Safak
Erdogan backpedals in Brussels - Cumhuriyet
Erdogan eases strain between Turkey, EU - Zaman
No obstacle left on Turkey's EU path - Zaman
Erdogan unties EU knot, markets back to normal - Referans
Powell applauds Damascus - Radikal
Syria withdraws from south of Beirut - Yeni Safak
Musharraf: `Iron Curtain' between West, Muslim world -
Radikal
Arab intellectuals questioning Islamist terror - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

EU-Turkey penal code dispute resolved: The European
Commission said Thursday it saw `no more obstacles' in
starting EU entry talks with Ankara. EU Enlargement
Commissioner Gunther Verheugen, who is to publish a report
on Turkey's progress on October 6, said his concerns over a
disputed penal reform bill had been allayed in talks with PM
Erdogan. `There are no further conditions which Turkey must
fulfill in order to allow the commission to make a
recommendation,' Verheugen told reporters at a joint press
conference with Erdogan after talks in Brussels. Erdogan
also expressed satisfaction after the talks. PM Erdogan
pledged to push through the delayed legislation at an
extraordinary session of the Turkish parliament called for
this Sunday. Papers report that Erdogan promised Verheugen
that the bill would be adopted without a controversial
amendment aimed at criminalizing adultery -- a move the EU
said would seriously jeopardize Turkey's membership hopes.
Erdogan recalled the reforms already passed by Turkey, and
underlined Ankara's determination to implement the
legislation. European Commission President Romano Prodi,
whom Erdogan met shortly after his talks with Verheugen,
promised that the October report will be `fair and
objective.' Turkish papers hailed the outcome of the
Brussels meetings as an historic `turning point' in Turkey's
decades-long EU drive.

Turkey opens bases to US: Turkish daily "Birgun" claims
that the AK Party government secretly put into effect a
decree which gives the US access to seven Turkish harbors
and six airports. The decree was published in the Official
Gazette September 1. The US will be allowed to transfer
troops and military equipment through Turkish airports in
Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Incirlik, Antalya and Dalaman, and
harbors in Istanbul, Izmir, Iskenderun, Yumurtalik-Adana,
Antalya, Aksaz-Karaagac and Agalar. The opposition
Republican People's Party (CHP) submitted a motion to
parliament asking about the amount of US military equipment
to be transferred through Turkey, and asking whether the US
would use the military equipment and ammunition in Iraq.
Turkey is turning into a `depot' in making the US `Greater
Middle East Initiative' a reality, the CHP charged.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: When this story first appeared in early
September, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman clarified that the
regulation pertained to the transfer of equipment to the
seismic research center at Belbasi, near Ankara. The
facility had been used during the Cold War to detect Soviet
nuclear explosions, but was subsequently turned over to
Turkey for civilian use. END NOTE,)

Turkmen doctors cite US `brutality' in TalAfar: A front-
page story in today's "Tercuman" features comments by two
Turkmen doctors who recount tales of US `brutality' during
the recent military operation there. The doctors claim that
US forces fired indiscrimately in the city streets during
the operation, and 7 Turkmen police were killed by US forces
on the first day of the operation. Although the official
death toll in the operation was 61, the doctors claim that
many more were actually killed, including dozens of new-
borns who had to be delivered in the desert after women were
evacuated. They further claim that US forces shot and
killed 2 drivers and their assistants in cold blood. The
doctors charge that the operation in TalAfar began when
local residents took a decision to carry out `jihad' against
US forces who, they claim, had taken increasingly repressive
measures against TalAfar over the past year.

FM Gul meets Iraqi counterpart: FM Abdullah Gul, in New
York to attend the 59th session of the UN General Assembly,
met with Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari on Wednesday. Gul
reiterated to Zebari Turkey's concerns over recent efforts
to change the demographic structure in Kirkuk, activities of
the outlawed PKK in northern Iraq, and the lack of security
for Turkish companies working in Iraq. Zebari asked for
Turkey's support for the upcoming general elections in Iraq.
The Iraqi FM also urged Turkey's help in turning the
"'Regional Initiative on Iraq" into an international
conference with the participation of the G-8, the EU, the
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), UN Security
Council members, and Iraq's neighbors. On Thursday, FM Gul
also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Arab
League Secretary General Amr Moussa. The MOU envisages a
consultation mechanism to be set up between Turkey and Arab
countries.

Security of Turks working in Iraq: "Hurriyet" reports an
unidentified Turkish diplomat in FM Gul's delegation in New
York as saying that the US has pledged to provide a Hummer
and a US security contingent for every 10 Turkish trucks
going through the Habur border gate into Iraq. The US
military escort would be provided only for trucks carrying
food and humanitarian supplies, "Hurriyet" reports.
Meanwhile, an assembly of Iraq's Sunni scholars denounced
the abduction of Turkish nationals working in Iraq, and
demanded the release of those taken hostage.

Local rivals for US Cargill: The economic daily "Referans"
reports on the looming competition between local sugar
producers and the US firm Cargill. The Cumra sugar factory,
to be opened in Konya province tomorrow, will be the first
Turkish company to produce liquid sugar, becoming a local
rival for the global giant Cargill. With sales amounting to
$60 billion, Cargill is the `nightmare' of Turkish sugar
beet producers, the paper stresses. Cargill has been
lobbying for removal of the 10-percent quota on starch-wheat
based sugar production in Turkey.

Uighur government in exile: The `East Turkistan Government'
in exile has been in Washington under the protection of the
US, "Radikal" reports. The government-in-exile, formed
mainly of Uighur Turks, convened in the US Congress on
September 14. Beijing has closed all mosques and religious
schools in East Turkistan, and arrested and executed tens of
thousands of Uighur Turks over the past three years,
according to Amnesty International.

EDITORIAL OPINION:
"Turkey Cannot Afford More Mistakes in the EU Process"
Selcuk Gultasli analyzed in the Islamist-intellectual
"Zaman" (9/24): "The last fifteen days were very stressful
for Turkey. All of Europe was discussing Turkey's future
membership in light of the adultery controversy. Most EU
members emphasized that Turkey `showed its real face' in the
adultery debate. Meanwhile, Turkey tried to decipher what
led to the Prime Minister's course of action on the adultery
issue. In the end, the problem was apparently resolved with
Verheugen's comment that `there are no obstacles left for
Turkey on its way to the EU.' We have to evaluate this past
15 days from both positive and negative angles to figure out
what it all means.. As "The Financial Times" wrote the
other day, PM Erdogan's strategy may have prevented the EU
from presenting new conditions to Turkey. The adultery
crisis also has given us a chance to distinguish our
supporters in Europe from those who oppose our membership.
On the negative side, PM Erdogan's reliability in the eyes
of EU members has been severely harmed. This damage will
linger long after the current crisis passes. Therefore, the
next three months are very critical for Turkey, and it is
clear that Turkey cannot afford any more crises on the road
to the EU."

"Turkey on the Washington-Brussels Fault Line"
Hasan Mesut Hazar commented in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (9/24): "The artificial crisis with the EU ended
during with the Erdogan-Verheugen meeting. This was an
expected development, which was confirmed by Verheugen when
he announced that there are no obstacles left on Turkey's
path to the EU. Washington is following closely the
developments related to Turkey's EU accession talks. Up to
now, we have managed to overcome problems on the path to the
EU through the visible and invisible support of the United
States, we understand the close US interest in the matter.
Turkey's EU venture always took place along the Ankara-
Washington-Brussels fault line. At every critical point,
such as when Turkey entered the EU Customs Union, or when
Turkey tried to implement the Copenhagen Criteria, Ankara
always received Washington's strong support. However, this
support has not ended speculation that Turkey was being
forced to `choose' between the US and the EU. The validity
of this scenario is matter for debate. First of all, the US
and the EU are not enemies but allies. It is only natural
that there will be differences on some policy issues. But
these differences never affect the strategic coordination
between the United States and Europe. Whether we like it or
not, the fact is that we live in a world controlled by a
single power - the US. Moreover, the EU depends on the US
as well. The strength of the NATO-EU-US alliance is one of
the most important pillars of the US standing as a
superpower. Many EU countries feel closer to the US than to
the European Union. If it weren't like this, the US could
not invaded Iraq in the face of strong opposition by France
and Germany. If we consider all these facts, we can see
that Turkey has no problem in being `caught' between the US
and the EU. On the contrary, all of these arguments prove
the value of the Ankara-Washington- Brussels line. We can
only hope that Turkey can show its potential more
effectively as events move forward." EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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