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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 005660

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, OCTOBER 1, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Cyprus crisis between Ankara, EU - Vatan
EU report: Turkey's EU membership will bring opportunities -
Hurriyet
Bombs strike children in Iraq - Sabah
Massacre in Iraq: 41 children killed - Turkiye
Blair ready to listen to Zarkawi - Vatan
World nations oppose Bush - Milliyet
US religious organizations working for Bush victory in polls
- Milliyet

OPINION MAKERS
`TRNC' shadow on EU-OIC forum - Radikal
EU surrenders to Greek Cypriots - Cumhuriyet
Chirac, Schroeder to discuss Turkey - Cumhuriyet
3,000 NATO troops to Iraq - Yeni Safak
Al-Jazeera reports 10 foreigners abducted in Iraq - Yeni
Safak
Security concerns jeopardize Iraqi census - Zaman
Child massacre in Iraq: 37 dead - Radikal
62 percent of Germans want referendum for Turkey in EU -
Yeni Safak
Could Kerry become another Kennedy? - Zaman
Israeli army attacks Jabaliya refugee camp, 26 killed -
Zaman


BRIEFING

EU term president may boycott EU-OIC summit: EU term
president the Netherlands urged European Union members to
boycott the upcoming Istanbul forum between the European
Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC),
scheduled for October 4-5. The EU reaction came after
efforts by Athens and Nicosia to block northern Cypriots'
participation in the talks under the name `Turkish Cypriot
State.' Ankara has rejected an offer by the Netherlands for
the `TRNC' to attend the forum as an observer. Turkey's MFA
is expected to announce a decision on the issue on Friday.
(NOTE: Turkish media reported Friday afternoon that the
forum has been canceled. END NOTE).

US Military Claims it Protects Turkish Truckers: "Sabah"
reports that in a meeting of US and Turkish officials at the
Habur border gate on September 22, US Colonel Christopher
Corkery said that US forces are doing their best to protect
Turkish truck drivers in Iraq. According to the report,
Corkery told the Turks that the US, through a private
security firm, provides helicopter surveillance of Turkish
convoys. Corkery added that from the Turkish border to the
town of Filfil, near Mosul, 3 security vehicles are provided
for every 100 Turkish trucks. South of Filfil, the number
of security vehicles is increased to 15. Col. Corkery
reportedly claimed that most of the Turks who have been
attacked or kidnapped on Iraqi roads have failed to keep up
with the convoy or have had mechanical breakdowns which have
left them stranded by the roadside. He reportedly urged the
Turkish side to ensure that the trucks entering Iraq are
relatively new and in good working condition.

Syria Releases Turkish Truckers: The Turkish press reported
this morning that all 27 Turkish truckers detained in recent
days by Syria for alleged diesel smuggling have now been
released.

EU Commission study on Turkey's EU drive: According to
research by the European Commission on the impact of
Turkey's prospective membership on the European bloc, Ankara
may have to wait until `well into the next decade' to join
the EU.
The EU will evolve over this period, and Turkey will change
even more radically, the study claims. The report also
noted that the economic impact of Turkey's accession would
be positive for the EU, but relatively small. However, it
added that Turkey has the material capacity to make a
significant contribution to EU security and defense policy.
`Turkey being a member of the EU would give the union
greater weight in regional and world affairs,' the study
concluded. The study also recognized that Turkey's
accession process will be different from other new members
because of the combined impact of Turkey's population, size,
geographical location, and economic, security and military
potential. It stressed that the successful incorporation of
Turkey in the EU would give clear evidence to the Muslim
world that their religious beliefs are compatible with EU
values. The study said that `as an ally of the United
States, Turkey could play a bridging role on reform and
modernization in the Middle East.'

EU criteria on non-Muslims' religious rights: Islamist-
oriented "Yeni Safak" reports on its front page that the AK
Party government is working to upgrade religious freedoms to
a level consistent with the Copenhagen Criteria. The EU
requires that priority be given to non-Muslims on the issue
of religious freedoms, writes "Yeni Safak." Several
churches have been opened for worship in Diyarbakir and
Antalya, and a church in the southern coastal town Alanya is
being restored. As requested by the EU enlargement report
for 2003, Ankara has resolved the problems faced by the
Baha'i pertaining to places of worship. A garden in Edirne
province deemed sacred by the community has been returned to
the Baha'i. A friendly resolution of a case taken to the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by the Asuncion
Priests gave land previously confiscated by the state back
to the congregation. Several non-Muslim religious
foundations have been granted the right to acquire real
estate and to open places of worship. A bill envisaging the
return of property to non-Muslim foundations is to be
submitted to parliament soon, "Yeni Safak" claims.

Johnson criticizes torture applied by Americans: Douglas
Johnson, Director of the American Center for the Victims of
Torture, said Thursday at the symposium on `New Tactics in
Human Rights' in Ankara that the United States has been
`deeply disgraced' by incidents of torture during
interrogations at Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan and other places.
`Fear has made the American nation tolerant of torture,'
Johnson said. For many years, Johnson was a consultant to
the US government on the issue of torture in Turkey. `Fear
of terrorism can be no pretext for torture,' Johnson
stressed, adding `I hope Turkey will help our government and
nation to leave aside torture as a method of interrogation.'


EDITORIAL OPINION: Campaign against terrorism/Iraq

"Syria and Iran are the new US targets"
Hasan Unal argued in the Islamist-intellectual Zaman (10/1):
"The current US psychology is very similar to the post-
Vietnam syndrome. After the Vietnam failure, the American
war industry wanted to expand the `war' to a larger area.
After the Kennedy administration, the war lobby achieved its
goal, using the Soviet threat as a pretext. .After the Iraq
failure, the Washington administration seems to have a very
similar mentality. If Bush is re-elected there will be no
chance to block the military industrial lobby. Currently
the expansion of the war psychology in the Bush
administration is gaining full support. This support comes
not only from the arms and oil lobbies, but also from the
media and financial sectors. You might view these last two
as a kind of `Jewish lobby.' These groups are obsessed with
Israel's security. Their approach led the US into the
occupation of Iraq, and it is not going to stop there. .
Things did not work out well for the US in Iraq, but the US
threat against Iran and Syria has not diminished at all. It
is growing with every passing day. In the current
atmosphere, it is becoming very likely that the US and
Israel will collaborate in an attack against Iran. Syria is
also on the list, and might soon face a civil uprising or
military operation from the outside."

"Turkey is No Longer in Iraq"
Mehmet Ali Birand opined in the mass appeal "Posta" (10/1):
"No matter what our officials say, it is a fact that Turkey
has no influence left on developments in Iraq. Moreover,
Turkey fails to understand these developments in detail.
Although some claim that Turkey is lucky not to be involved
in Iraq, I believe just the opposite. Everything that
happens in Iraq reflects directly on Turkey. Iran filled
Turkey's place immediately, getting closely involved in
developments in Iraq. Behind the US reaction to Iran's
nuclear program lies the influence Iran has on the Iraqi
Shiites. Turkey's current policy is based on two factors:
one is the Turkmen population. Ankara believes that the only
way to have a say in Iraq is to arm Turkmen groups.
Developments in Northern Iraq are still under the control of
the military. Neither the Foreign Ministry nor the National
Intelligence Organization are present. All information
comes through the military, and all policies are still
formulated from the military's perspective. The second
factor is the Kurds. Ankara follows its traditional stance
on this issue. In other words, Turkey still fears that the
Kurds will declare independence. Significant pressure is
being applied to ensure that the Kurds don't get Kirkuk.
This policy is based on a deep distrust of Kurds. The
situation in Iraq is deteriorating daily. There are rumors
that the US will withdraw from Iraq before stability is
established. Under such circumstances, it is unthinkable
for Turkey to remain blind to the situation. However, a
more active role in Iraq depends on certain changes in
Turkish policy. No matter how much we organize or arm them,
the Turkmen population cannot fight. They are mostly middle
class civil servants. Instead of urging them to fight, we
should find a different way to protect them. The Shiite
Turkmen should not be left out; they should also be taken
under Turkey's protective umbrella. The only way that
Turkey can be involved and have some influence in
developments in Iraq is through the Kurds in Northern Iraq.
Despite their mutual distrust, the Turks and Kurds will be
linked in the future. The Kurds should know that without
Turkey they will never be secure. If a civil war erupts in
Iraq, only Turkey can protect the Kurds. A change in policy
is not something that only concerns Turkey. The Kurds
should rethink their approach as well. We don't have to
like each other, but we should never forget that strategic
interests bring countries together."

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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