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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 05 ANKARA 006407

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, NOVEMBER 12, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Farewell to a legend - Aksam
Let peace be Arafat's legitimacy - Hurriyet
Palestine to mourn Arafat for 40 days - Sabah
Arafat, a life dedicated to Palestine - Aksam
One day Arafat will be buried in Jerusalem - Milliyet
Arafat to be temporarily buried in Ramallah - HO-Tercuman
Bush signals a Palestine state - Sabah
Orthodox Jews pray for Arafat in Paris - Aksam 11/11
Mourning in Palestine, joy in Israel - Aksam
Funeral in Cairo, burial in Ramallah - Hurriyet 11/11
`Ghost Fury' to continue for two more days - Sabah
Gonzales, a controversial name, to be new US Attorney
General - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Palestine mourns its leader - Zaman
`Last warrior' is no more - Cumhuriyet
Arafat dies, millions of Palestinians mourn - Radikal
Arafat's authority split into three - Zaman
Humanitarian tragedy in Fallujah - Zaman 11/11
Fallujah operation spreads resistance to other Sunni cities
- Zaman
Iraqi resistance `masterminds' flee Fallujah - Radikal 11/11
Allawi's relatives taken hostage - Radikal 11/11
Ashcroft, architect of Patriot Act, resigns - Zaman 11/11
Israel detains Vanunu again - Zaman


BRIEFING

Arafat's death: Turkish leaders expressed sorrow on
Thursday for the death of Palestinian leader Yaser Arafat,
and pledged continuing support to the Palestinian struggle
for an independent state. President Sezer said he believed
Arafat's loss would not affect the Palestinian cause, and
that the Palestinian people would choose for themselves the
leader that will take them to independence. In a letter to
his Palestinian counterpart Ahmed Kurey, PM Erdogan hailed
Arafat as a man who determinedly defended the just cause of
his people. `Turkey will maintain its support for
Palestine,' Erdogan said. FM Gul, who will accompany
Erdogan to attend Arafat's funeral in Cairo on Friday, also
expressed confidence that the Palestinian people will
continue their struggle until two states live side by side
in peace. Turkish papers comment on the death of Arafat as
a considerable loss for the Palestinians and their cause.
But a column in the liberal daily "Radikal" accuses Arafat
of `swindling' billions of dollars that had been sent in
financial aid to Palestine. `Arafat intimidated Palestinian
intellectuals and dissidents by using terror groups like
Hamas,' columnist Mine Kirikkanat claims, arguing that the
Palestinian leader had done nothing to help rebuild his
country.

Fallujah operation: The US military said 18 American
servicemen and 5 Iraqi soldiers had died since the battle
for the Iraqi rebel enclave Fallujah was launched on Monday.
Rebel losses are put at more than 600, papers report. US
military officials claimed their forces control about 75
percent of the city. The Iraqi military said it had found a
`slaughterhouse' in Fallujah where foreign hostages had been
executed. US forces are on course to retake the city by
Saturday morning. The Islamist-oriented "Yeni Safak"
claimed in a front-page story on Thursday that US forces are
using chemical weapons and poison gas in the battle for
Fallujah. Left-leaning "Cumhuriyet" claims that the US is
using cluster bombs. Iraqi State Minister Vail Abdulatif,
during an official visit to Ankara on Wednesday, told PM
Erdogan that the operation in Fallujah was launched at the
request of the city's people, who seek an end to terrorism
and the establishment of stability in advance of elections
scheduled for next January. Erdogan reportedly warned
Abdulatif to avoid the excessive use of force in the
operation and to avoid giving the impression that the battle
had turned into a Christian-Muslim conflict. Papers report
that the Turkish Red Crescent is prepared to send 6
truckloads of food to Fallujah. Papers also report State
Department Spokesman Boucher as pledging that the US would
spend $90 million for the rebuilding of Fallujah, which will
begin before January 2005.

Erdogan due in Damascus: PM Erdogan is scheduled to visit
Syria as the official guest of his Prime Minister Muhammed
Naci Otri after the December 17 EU summit in Brussels,
papers report. Erdogan plans to discuss Iraq and other
regional issues during the visit.

Turks in US face `hardships': A number of Turks living in
the US have been detained for visa violations and improper
immigration procedures in New York and New Jersey, the
Anatolian Agency (AA) reported on Wednesday. Lawyer Melinda
Basaran said that Turkish students who had not renewed their
school admissions, Turks who had failed to extend visas, and
those who have lost their legal immigrant status were
included among the detainees. Basaran claimed that Turks
who want to get a US visa are facing considerable hardships.
Turkey's Consul General said he was aware of reports of the
systematic detention of Turks, but had no first-hand
information to confirm the claims."

Andrew Mango on GME, Iraq: Former BBC Turkey desk chief
Andrew Mango told the daily "Aksam" on Thursday that the US
Greater Middle East (GME) project was a `pipe dream.' `The
US has not even allocated funds for the GME project,' Mango
said. In his second term in office, President Bush will be
busy `cleaning up the dirt' left over from his first term,
he speculated. Mango said Turkey would benefit from a US
`success' in Iraq: `Whether you support him or not, you must
want President Bush to be successful in Iraq.'

Gen. Ozkok sees terror as largest global threat: Chief of
Turkish General Staff, General Hilmi Ozkok said at a
simulated military training at the War Academy in Istanbul
that Turkey no longer regards other hostile countries as an
important threat. Instead, Ozkok said, the main threat to
all countries today is posed by terrorism. Ozkok added that
Ankara has offered to set up three anti-terror `centers of
excellence' in Turkey in an effort to support the new
command structure in NATO.


EDITORIAL OPINION:
The Death of Yaser Arafat;
The Battle for Fallujah

"The Death of Arafat and the Mistakes of the Struggle"
Huseyin Gulerce wrote in the Islamist-intellectual "Zaman"
(11/12): "Israel, which has been fully supported by US
policy no matter which party was in power, is now pleased by
the death of Arafat. But will Arafat's death really give
Sharon the opportunity he is looking for? Although it's
difficult to say this right after Arafat's death, we have to
point out the mistakes in the PLO's - that is, Arafat's -
policies. We have to ask, without letting our emotions get
in the way, how much the up-and-down policies of the PLO
really contributed to the struggle of the Palestinian
people. We are all aching for the Palestinian people
because of the massacres and inhuman treatment they have
been subjected to. Israel is ruthlessly bombing, killing,
and murdering (including ordinary women and children) before
the eyes of the world. Despite all of this, we must also
say that suicide attacks have no place in our religion. An
Islamic movement cannot attack randomly, including women and
children, on buses and in shopping centers. Islam has
specific rules about who can and cannot be a target and what
kinds of operations are legitimate. Killing women,
children, non-combatant men, or religious leaders in places
of worship is not permitted in our religion. The mistakes
that have been made in the name of religion, by the actions
of a few, have cast a shadow over a legitimate struggle and
opened the way for Islam and all Muslims to be condemned by
the world. Nobody has the right to do this. The recent US
attack against Iraq and ongoing US policies have turned the
Middle East into a real mess. A positive solution to this
mess is impossible to see. The US and Israel see this moment
as an opportunity to press their policies. They are
counting on a weakening of the Palestinian movement with the
death of Arafat. But peace in the Middle East depends most
of all on US willingness to free itself from the role of
custodian of Israeli policies and interests. The main
problem lies in the weakness of US foreign policy. Bush and
his team cannot hope to bring peace to the Middle East by
ignoring all warnings and taking on the entire Islamic
world. Palestine is a holy place for Muslims, Christians,
and Jews. The basis for preventing a clash of civilizations
lies in these territories. The eyes of the world are now on
America."

"After Arafat"
Oktay Eksi wrote in the sensationalist daily "Hurriyet"
(11/12): "For years he was considered the leader of a
`terrorist organization.' But the ruthlessness of other
underground organizations in Palestine saved Arafat from the
terrorist label and gave him greater legitimacy. He even
came to be regarded as a President, albeit one with neither
a state nor territory. Arafat was without question an
important leader in the Middle East. For 40 years he
maintained the support of the people and the power of the
struggle. Palestinians viewed him as the most courageous
and determined symbol of their cause. But it would be hard
to say that Arafat possessed the attributes of a real
leader. For example, he wasn't a leader whose word could be
trusted. He was undoubtedly the symbol of the Palestinian
cause. But rather than trying to legitimize that struggle,
he preferred to make himself indispensable to the movement.
When former President Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister
Barak offered an agreement with unprecedented benefits for
the Palestinians, Arafat missed the opportunity. If only he
hadn't. But even some flawed leaders can cause people to
overlook their flaws by the magnitude of their great works.
We couldn't say that about Arafat, because his file also
includes evidence that he took the people's money and used
it for his own purposes. The Palestinians deserve to have
their independence and to establish their own state, but the
price of this shouldn't be extortion at the hands of their
own leader."

"After Arafat"
Nuray Basaran wrote in the sensationalist daily "Aksam"
(11/12): "Of course, Arafat had his detractors as well as
his supporters. He was someone who knew very well the
dynamics of the Middle East and played an important role in
these dynamics. Arafat has left a great deal of uncertainty
in Palestine. There are many unanswered questions, and much
concern. The questions concern who will take Arafat's
place, as well as the future of the domestic situation in
Palestine and its relations with Israel. Ruhi Fettuh has
been named interim president until an election can be held
within 60 days. PLO General Secretary Mahmud Abbas has been
selected as President of the PLO. Ahmed Kurey has remained
as prime minister. Arafat trusted all three of these men.
The Palestinian people, however, view them as tainted by
corruption, and none has the kind of popular support that
Arafat enjoyed. Whether there will actually be an election
within 60 days is also a matter of debate, and will probably
depend on what other figures emerge from inside Palestine to
challenge these three. For example, Muhammed Dahlan and
Mervan Barguti are both viewed more favorably by the people.
They worked alongside Arafat until they were perceived to
have become too powerful. All of these names can be
considered as moderates when it comes to dealing with Israel
and making efforts toward a peace settlement. But there are
other groups as well - Hamas and Islamic Jihad principal
among them - that are working to be included in the new
administration. Palestine no longer has Yaser Arafat, but it
has great responsibilities and many steps that it needs to
take on its road to statehood. International powers
including the United States, the UN, and Europe are ready to
take on their responsibilities along this road. Across the
river, Israel also has some difficult decisions to make,
particularly if the United States and Europe become more
involved in the issue. These questions will become clearer
in the days ahead."

"Fallujah, Chemical Weapons, and Napalm Bombs."
Ibrahim Karagul wrote in the Islamist-oriented "Yeni Safak"
(11/11): "During his 25 years of rule, Saddam Hussein killed
300,000 Iraqis, mostly Shiites and Kurds. America has
reached one-third of this total in just 18 months. This
leaves out the torture, rape, humiliation, ruin, and civil
war with which Iraq is now faced. All of us judged Saddam
in the name of humanity. But who will judge the United
States? How can those who judged Saddam now become partners
in these atrocities?. As soon as the universal war gang won
reelection on November 3, they started with Fallujah. After
that, Ramadi and Bakuba will be subjected to similar
massacres. The soldiers participating in the Fallujah
operation were specially selected from among the growing
evangelical contingent in the US military. Now they are
fighting with their crosses and their hymns. For this
reason, 150 mosques in Fallujah have been attacked. Many of
them have been destroyed, along with one-third of the city.
Yesterday, the `Islam-online' website published the
frightening claim that the United States, in an effort to
break the resistance, has used chemical weapons and napalm
on Fallujah. It has been learned that napalm and chemical
weapons have been used in areas heavily populated by the
resistance, and that the streets there are full of bodies.
Dr. Muhammed el-Cemili, who spoke to the Jerusalem Press
Agency in Fallujah, said that `after US forces suffered
significant losses, they turned to chemical weapons and
poison gas.' `They dropped huge bombs that created the
effect of an earthquake, and the chemical weapons burned the
skin and killed people over a wide area,' he added. They
are following the path of Winston Churchill, who tried to
break the resistance between 1920-1930 by using poison gas,
setting fire to villages, and carrying out large-scale
massacres. So what will happen now? The resistance
fighters understand they cannot defend the city, so they
will go elsewhere. They will go to liberate another city,
and then they will return. After all, haven't US forces
taken Samarra from the resistance three times already?"

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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