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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 006620

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
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Ambassador: Terrorists in Fallujah kill Turkish truck
drivers - Hurriyet 11/28
Fury over Fallujah takes thousands to streets in Istanbul -
Sabah
Mosul streets turn into killing fields - Milliyet
Election crisis in Iraq - Hurriyet 11/28
Minister Tuzmen: Turkey-Russia trade to exceed $10 billion -
Aksam
Ukraine on the brink of collapse - Aksam
Referendum on division of Ukraine - Milliyet
Sarkozy a new Napoleon for France - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Tens of thousands denounce `cruelty' in Iraq - Yeni Safak
5,000 civilians killed by chemical weapons in Fallujah -
Yeni Safak
`Mystery killings' on the rise in Mosul - Zaman 11/28
Iraqi elections in jeopardy - Yeni Safak 11/28
Shiite, Turkmen want Iraq elections on time - Yeni Safak
Kurds change mind, will participate in Iraq elections -
Zaman
PUK: Kirkuk oil is Kurds' future - Radikal 11/28
Greek Cypriots accelerate acquisition of arms - Yeni Safak
Athens warns Ankara of possible veto in December -
Cumhuriyet
Sharon, Abbas ready for talks - Yeni Safak
Iran backs down, centrifuge crisis resolved - Cumhuriyet

BRIEFING

Mass demonstration against US actions in Fallujah: On
Sunday, 20,000-30,000 people demonstrated in Istanbul
against US military operations in Fallujah. Several Turkish
NGOs and some unions joined the rally, which was organized
by Turkey's banned Islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan's
Saadet Party (SP). Erbakan strongly criticized the ruling
AK Party for opening Turkey's airbases and ports to the US
military during the war in Iraq. The occupation of Iraq,
carried out by US forces and backed by Zionist Jews, is
another step forward for a `Greater Israel,' Erbakan
claimed. `The Fallujah operation is carried out against
Islam, not terror,' he said. Demonstrators carried Iraqi
flags and burned a US flag while chanting slogans like `Iraq
is a hell for non-Muslims,' and `American bandits out of
Iraq.' More than 60 people laid wreaths Saturday outside
the US Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate in Istanbul to
protest US military operations in Iraq. The Turkish
consumers' association called for a 24-hour boycott of US-
made goods.

Ambassador Edelman Interview with "Aksam": In an exclusive
interview with the Turkish daily "Aksam," US Ambassador Eric
Edelman characterized false claims in the Turkish press
about US operations in Fallujah as `very disturbing.' The
Ambasador flatly denied allegations that US forces had used
chemical or nuclear weapons or cluster bombs in Fallujah.
He stressed that the Embasy had kept the MFA and the Turkish
military informed about the operation, and said the number
of civilian casualties was very small given the scale of the
fighting in Fallujah. The Ambassador rejected any parallel
between the current situation in Iraq and the war in
Vietnam. He showed the interviewer photos and documentation
provided by multinational forces in Iraq to confirm the use
of mosques by insurgents as weapons caches and fighting
positions. Edelman stressed that in such a case, mosques
lose their protected status under the laws of war. He also
documented multiple laboratories discovered by coalition
forces in Fallujah which had served as bomb-making factories
for the insurgents. Photos of Iraqi humanitarian assistance
being distributed to Fallujah civilians accompanied the
story in "Aksam."

`Genocide' tension between the US and Turkey: Having been
accused by parliamentary human rights committee chairman
Mehmet Elkatmis of carrying out `genocide' in Fallujah, US
diplomats in Ankara warned the AK Party government that such
`exaggerated' statements could cause damage to US-Turkish
relations, papers report. The Americans said that Ankara
should not expect Washington to block charges of Armenian
genocide if Turks continue to use the term `genocide' in
such an exaggerated way. Washington is also worried about
growing criticism coming from PM Erdogan and other prominent
figures in the ruling AK Party, papers comment. US
Ambassador Eric Edelman has conveyed Washington's
`uneasiness' over the statements made by Elkatmis. Edelman
told FM Gul last week that the terrorists were using mosques
in Fallujah as arms depots. `We are fighting against those
terrorists who have killed Turks in Iraq,' Edelman said,
adding that the insurgents were deliberately taking shelter
inside Fallujah mosques in an effort to provoke the Muslim
world. Gul reportedly assured Edelman about Turkey's
intentions to make its criticism `constructive.' PM Erdogan
recently called on the Islamic countries to unite against
`dominating' forces while criticizing the Fallujah
operation. US officials are trying to determine whether
such statements reflect a shift in policy, or a domestic
political show for the AK Party grassroots, papers
speculate.

US chemical attacks kill 5,000 in Fallujah: Islamist-
oriented "Yeni Safak" cites the `Alwasan.net' webpage in
claiming that US forces have killed at least 5,000 civilians
in Fallujah, including some by chemical weapons. The report
claims that the US army used toxic gas and chemical weapons
against civilian homes, shops, and mosques, killing
thousands. According to the report, US forces have arrested
3,000 people and raped several women. Half of Fallujah is
still controlled by the insurgents, according to the report.

International meeting on Turkish truckers in Iraq: A
technical meeting is to be held in Ankara soon between
Turkey, US and Iraq to discuss the security problems faced
by Turkish truck drivers entering Iraq, reports Sunday's
"Zaman." The meeting envisages the establishment of
`security pockets' for Turkish convoys inside of Iraqi
territory. Diplomatic sources denied claims that Turkish
peacekeepers would be deployed in Iraq, saying that such an
action would require parliamentary approval.

Iraqi intellectuals flee country: Following the US invasion
of Iraq last year, 310 academics have been killed by MOSSAD
and other intelligence organizations, yesterday's "Yeni
Safak" reports. Citing a discussion at a conference held in
Cairo to discuss the issue, the report further claims that
17,000 Iraqi intellectuals have fled the country.

Israel wants Turkey's contribution to solution in Palestine:
Israel is encouraging Turkey to take an effective role in
the Middle East peace process in the wake of Arafat's death,
Saturday's "Sabah" reports. Israeli foreign ministry
Undersecretary Ron Prosor recently paid a visit to Ankara to
invite FM Gul to Israel following the December 17 EU Summit.
Tel Aviv wants Ankara to send observes for the Palestinian
presidential elections and to train Palestinian leaders to
facilitate their transition to democracy.

`Zionism' conference due to open in Ankara: Israel is to
commemorate the father of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, at a
conference in Ankara on December 6, "Cumhuriyet" reports.
Israeli diplomatic sources said their aim is to explain
modern Zionism to those who have distorted opinions of the
idea on which the state of Israel is based. "Cumhuriyet"
doubts whether high-level AK Party officials will attend the
conference.

Greek Cypriots to `renew' weaponry: Greek Cypriot Defense
Minister Kiriakos
Mavronikolas told the Cypriot daily "Fileleftheros" that
Nicosia would `renew' its old weapons by early 2005 by
accelerating their acquisitions program, Turkish papers
report. Mavronikolas said they would discuss the issue with
Athens as well.

AKP official offers presidential system for Turkey: A
consultant of PM Erdogan, Prof. Burhan Kuzu, said that a
presidential system should be introduced in Turkey before
the electoral threshold is reduced to 5 percent for general
elections. Monday's "Vatan" reports that Kuzu warned that
Turkey's EU hopes would be damaged if the country enters
another period of multi-party coalitions. "Vatan" regards
some statements by AKP leaders in support of a presidential
system as preparation for a transition to the presidential
system.

Putin to visit Turkey: Russian President Vladimir Putin is
due in Turkey December 5-6, papers report. Putin will
discuss with Ankara ways to ease tanker traffic in the
Turkish straits, cooperation in the struggle against
terrorism, and ending the international isolation of Turkish
Cypriots, and various energy issues.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Ukraine; Israel-Palestine

"America Should Look in the Mirror"
Hasan Unal argued in the Islamist-intellectual "Zaman"
(11/29): "The US administration is reacting harshly against
the criticism in Turkey of its war crimes. Apparently the
US Embassy in Ankara voiced its disappointment to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This reminds of past instances
in which the US expressed uneasiness about the reaction in
Turkey against the war crimes committed in Tal Afar.
Interestingly enough, the US feels disturbed when an
official statement is added to the reactions in public
opinion. The warnings issued by Washington to Ankara in
this regard raise the following question: What type of
democracy does the US intend to promote? Is the US really
expecting to see no reaction from the Turkish public or from
the government or parliament while committing war crimes and
presenting such horrifying images?"

"Ankara-Washington Fault Line"
Asli Aydintasbas commented in the mass appeal "Sabah"
(11/29): "What kind of impact will the latest tension
between the US and Turkey have on both countries? Surely,
the US will not stop supporting Turkey, and won't switch off
the IMF channel due to Erdogan's provocative statements. As
a matter of fact, not only the AKP government, but a great
portion of the public have anti-American feelings, and the
US is well aware of it. Despite this annoyance, Turkey
continues to be the sole, valid example and hope for the
future of the Middle East. However, the recent problems are
proof that the US-Turkish relationship is weakening with
every passing day. Washington's stance against Ankara is
rather cool. For example, I am not sure the US
Administration will make an effort to stop the Armenian
genocide resolution from passing in the Congress next April.
Recent statements by some in Turkey's governing party that
included Islamic references have also bothered some people
in Washington. At the same time, Ankara, which politely
rejected the US request to upgrade cooperation at Incirlik,
is not likely to welcome any further US request concerning
Iraq. Although Turkey stands with the West on the issue of
Iran's nuclear program, it's heart really isn't in it.
Turkey's stance is also rather vague on issues such as
Israel, the Greater Middle East, and the Iraqi elections.
Hoisting its sail towards Europe, Turkey has placed its
relations with Washington on a real fault line."

"The Chaos in Ukraine"
Zafer Atay wrote in the economic-politic "Dunya" (11/29):
"The case ofUkraine is a typical communist regime classic.
The ruler does everything to win a popular election,
including cheating. Yugoslavia tried this when Milosevic
declared a victory by changing the vote totals, but in the
end it failed. Georgia under Shevardnadze also tried and
failed, and Ukraine is the latest on the list. . Things are
going toward a chaos in Ukraine, and the President of the
country has warned against the possibility of civil war. It
remains to be seen whether the opposition will succeed in
toppling the ruling figure, who is depending on the stance
of the Ukrainian security forces. . The issue is all about
the culture of democracy. Those among the former Soviet
Republics who have a genuine experience with democracy
managed to pass the transition period smoothly. They have
even managed to join NATO and the EU. Those who have no
historical experience with such a culture are still
suffering."

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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