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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 006010

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 22, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Erdogan: December 17 a test for Turkey - Aksam
Erdogan gives Europe Armenian `genocide' lesson - Turkiye
British Ambassador to US: Europe agreed on EU entry talks
with Turkey - Sabah
Former `TRNC PM' Eroglu to form new government in north
Cyprus - Hurriyet
Bush thought there would be no US casualties in Iraq - Aksam
Torturer US Sergeant receives 8-year jail sentence - Aksam
Greece's Karamanlis to south Cyprus before December 17 EU
summit - Milliyet
Castro fell, but still standing - Hurriyet
Castro, Cuba's revolutionary leader, falls - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan urges for EU-Turkey entry talks before July 2005 -
Radikal
Erdogan: December 17 will mark the beginning of a new world
order - Yeni Safak
EU Greens on Turkey's side - Zaman
Talabani blames US and allies for increase of violence in
Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Poll expects Iraqi elections to produce a new Iran -
Cumhuriyet
Bush expected `Zero' loss in Iraq war - Cumhuriyet
Britain to redeploy troops in Sunni triangle - Radikal
Cold War `theoretician' Nitze dies - Cumhuriyet
Cold War `father' Nitze dies - Yeni Safak
Fears over a `lock' of US elections - Zaman
Israel blames Iran for supporting terror in West Bank -
Cumhuriyet
European meet Iran in Vienna to warn against uranium
enrichment - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

PM Erdogan visits Paris: PM Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday
called on France not to `exploit' Turkey's bid to join the
European Union for domestic political ends. Erdogan was
speaking at the Paris-based OECD, which has just published a
report on the state of Turkey's economy. He described as
unjustified a decision by French President Jacques Chirac to
change the constitution to allow French people to vote on
Turkey's EU accession in a referendum: `Holding a referendum
in an EU country is not among the criteria for admittance to
the EU.' `For years we have been present along side France
in other international organizations such as NATO, OSCE and
OECD. Why not the EU,' he said. The Turkish PM also
stressed: `The French nation should regard Turkey as a
valuable trading partner whose accession to EU will make the
European bloc a global actor.' He also rejected charges of
`genocide' of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during
World War I. `Those defenders of Armenian genocide claims
have not had the opportunity to study the Ottoman archives,'
Erdogan said. Responding to a question, he said banning
headscarves would be incompatible with the right to
education. Turkey could adopt the example of France, where
the headscarf is banned in public schools but can be worn in
private schools and universities, Erdogan emphasized. PM
Erdogan is to meet President Jacques Chirac of France and
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin next week.

EU Greens back Turkey's EU drive: EU Greens ended a three-
day parliamentary group meeting in Istanbul on Thursday with
a ringing endorsement of Turkey's aspiration to join the
European Union. `We back to the letter the recommendation
of the European Commission regarding Turkey,' the EU-Turkey
group president Joost Lagendijk said. But Lagendijk added
that there was still much work to be done, notably in the
area of human rights and the rights of minorities. The co-
president of the Greens/European Free Alliance group Monica
Frassoni joined Lagendijk and said it was important not to
`concentrate only on the opening of accession talks while
forgetting the real problems which continue to exist.' On
Thursday, EU Greens lawmakers paid a visit to an Alevi
prayer-house (Cemevi) in Istanbul. Greens called on the
Turkish government to recognize the Alevis' `Cemevi' as a
place of worship and pass a regulation to that end.

Armitage `praises' Kurdish leaders: Deputy Secretary of
State Richard Armitage met with northern Iraqi Kurdistan
Democratic Party (KDP) official Necirvan Barzani on October
19, Turkish papers report, citing international wires. A
statement from the State Department described Barzani as
being from the `regional Kurdistan government,' writes
"Cumhuriyet." The US State Department statement reports
Armitage as voicing appreciation for the contribution of the
Iraqi Kurdish leaders to Iraq's rebuilding efforts, says the
paper.

Nitze, Cold War `theoretician,' dies: Cold War
`theoretician,' former US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul H.
Nitze, died Tuesday at 97, Turkish papers report. Nitze
worked to shape the NSC-68 directive which advocated
containing of communism by identifying the USSR as the arch-
enemy of the US in early 1950s, writes "Cumhuriyet."

Retrial of Kurdish lawmakers: Former Kurdish Democracy
Party (DEP) lawmakers Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Orhan Dogan
and Selim Sadak will appear in court Friday for retrial,
papers report. The former deputies were sentenced to 15-
years in jail in December 1994 for alleged ties with the
outlawed PKK. Turkey's Supreme Court overturned the
decision, and the Kurdish lawmakers were released on June 9
of this year. Lawmakers applied to the European Court of
Human Rights (ECHR) the following year. The ECHR ruled
against the Turkish court decision and fined Turkey
$140,000.

Ankara to sign ICC treaty: PM Erdogan announced late
Wednesday during a debate organized by France's Institute
for International Relations that his country would sign and
ratify the Rome Treaty that created the International
Criminal Court (ICC) on war crimes, genocide and crimes
against humanity, papers report. US opposes the court, say
reports.

Human rights report draws government reaction: The Prime
Ministry-affiliated Human Rights Board was denied access to
their office following the release of `Minority Rights and
Human Rights in Turkey' report which contained strong
criticism of the AK Party government conduct on the issue,
papers report. The autonomous board was working in close
coordination with FM Abdullah Gul. The Prime Ministry's
Human Rights Department announced that the controversial
report does not reflect the views of the government. Human
Rights Board Chairman Professor Ibrahim Kaboglu blamed the
government for kicking the board out after considering only
parts of the report that were echoed in the press. FM Gul
is expected to clarify the issue.

OECD report on Turkey: An Organization for Economic
Cooperation & Development (OECD) report on Turkey states
that Turkey is at a crossroads. According to the report, if
Turkey overcomes certain factors causing crisis and
instability in economic growth, it can enter into a
sustained period of strong growth. The report says the
recent recommendation by the EU Commission to start
accession talks could underpin Turkey's shift to a stronger
growth path. After suffering the most severe crisis of its
recent history in 2001, the Turkish economy bounced back and
is now among the fastest growing economies in the OECD,' the
document says. It notes that Turkey's GDP is expected to
rise by more than 8 percent in 2004, exceeding government
targets. New monetary and financial policies, along with
structural reforms adopted under close cooperation with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, will
provide opportunities to escape from economic instability,
emphasizes the report. The report also stresses that new
economic policies brought important developments to Turkey
but there are also some risks and ambiguities.

Pope cancels Istanbul visit: Pope John Paul II won't be
coming to Istanbul, but he is returning the relics of two
saints that were seized by Crusaders 800 years ago to the
Fener Patriarchate in Istanbul, Vatican officials said
Thursday. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus I had asked for
the return of the relics when he met with Pope John Paul II
at the Vatican in June. At that time, he also invited the
pope to visit the seat of the Orthodox Church in Istanbul.
The Pope will not be able to make the trip to Istanbul due
to his frail condition, say reports. Instead, a Vatican
delegation will take the relics to Istanbul at the end of
November.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Afghanistan; Islam in the US

"Last Act of the Grand Game"
Kamuran Ozbir commented in the nationalist Ortadogu (10/22):
"Afghanistan has always been a chess board venue - a game
played between the giants. The one during the cold war era
was between Soviet Union and the US. Currently another act
of the big game is staged in Afghanistan. .The Presidential
elections in Afghanistan unleashed a series of conflicts of
interest between the various international actors. This is
quite an expected development, because not only the Western
powers but also Russia, China, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have
different strategies for Afghanistan even though they appear
to be side by side by being against Bin Laden and Taliban. .
It is very possible that the US and the Russian Federation
will experience a clash of interests in the days ahead.
Russia will not be able to digest the US influence over
Central Asia, which Russia considers to be its backyard. .
Even on the composition of the new Afghan administration,
the interests vary. The US is in favor of a larger
coalition. Pakistan seems to be in favor of this formula
but differs from the US by attaching more importance to the
Pashtuns. Russia, on the other hand, is looking for a
strong Northern Alliance administration in Kabul. Iran has
emerged as the brand new actor in this game by flirting with
the US. It seems the grand game is being staged again in
the old venue with new players and new scenarios."

"Ramadan in Washington"
Hasan Mesut Hazar wrote from Washington in the conservative-
mass appeal Turkiye (10/22): "The Muslim world perceived
Ramadan again with sadness this year. The pain and agony
and the terror and pressure that innocent civilians face in
Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq continues to increase even
during the holy month. Moreover, people with vicious
intentions continue to make propaganda against entire Muslim
population by using radical actions as an argument. God
willing, good will come out of bad. Despite all the
negative propaganda and anti-Muslim themed television
programs, interest in Islam increases more in the US with
every passing day. The seven million Muslims in America do
not constitute a unified group and they cannot introduce the
genuine peaceful face of Islam. Despite such shortcomings,
currently Islam is the fastest spreading religion in the US.
The month of Ramadan has always been very important for the
US Administrations. In order to gain sympathy from Muslim
populations and to eradicate the anti-American feelings in
the Islamic world, Washington arranged some activities
during Ramadan. This year, as every Ramadan, President Bush
issued a Ramadan message. Also, it has become a customary
practice that the White House, State Department and the
Pentagon arrange official religious iftar dinners. Of
course, the US elections coincided with Ramadan this year
and that encouraged the candidates to give warm messages to
the Muslim population on every occasion they could."

EDELMAN

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