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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 006672

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
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
US official warns Ankara: Powell not in US administration
anymore - Vatan
EU draft: Let entry talks start with Turkey - Hurriyet
EU says a conditional `Yes' to entry talks with Turkey -
Vatan
Blair: Turkey should not be discriminated against - Hurriyet
6,635 corpses in Fallujah morgue - Sabah
FM Gul warns of confidence crisis with EU - Milliyet
`TRNC' warns Ankara not to recognize Nicosia before December
17 - Milliyet
Gutierrez quits $7 million job, becomes Commerce Secretary -
Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Boucher encourages EU to say `Yes' to entry talks -
Cumhuriyet
US asks EU to give Turkey a date for entry talks - Radikal
PM Erdogan is awarded `European of the Year' - Yeni Safak
ICRC accuses US of torture of Guantanamo inmates - Yeni
Safak
ICRC: US tortures Guantanamo inmates - Cumhuriyet
ICRC: US conducts torture at Gitmo - Zaman
US forces use WMD in Fallujah - Yeni Safak
Iraqi Red Crescent denied access to injured in Fallujah -
Yeni Safak
Iraq's neighbors meet in Tehran on border security issues -
Radikal
Tom Ridge quits Bush team - Radikal


BRIEFING

Washington seriously uneasy over Turkey: "Vatan"s new
Washington correspondent, Rusen Cakir, reports on a meeting
with an unidentified American official who has a `key' role
in shaping the US policy toward Turkey. The American said
he was `outraged' by official Turkish accusations that the
US carried out `genocide' in Fallujah, and that US forces
may have used nuclear weapons. The American official traced
the recent crisis between Ankara and Washington to the phone
call between PM Erdogan and VP Cheney. He rejected Ankara's
claim that Washington has raised the issue of Armenian
`genocide' charges in an effort to `blackmail' the Turks:
`There is no blackmail, just plain facts,' the American
said, adding: `From now on, how can you expect us to tell US
senators not to associate Turks with `genocide' when the
Turks are accusing the United States of genocide? He also
implied that Washington may not protect Turkey's as
forcefully in the future: `We acted carefully, and even
offered a $1 billion loan following the March 1 `crisis'
over the parliament's rejection of deployment of Turkish
troops in Iraq. Now it's time for the Turks to display the
same care regarding ties with the US.' "Vatan" comments
that the Americans seem not to tolerate even ordinary
criticism over US conduct in Iraq on the grounds that nobody
should interfere in the US fight against terrorism.
Responding to a question about why Washington, under is
under criticism by many Muslim nations over Iraq, is
particularly angry with Turkey, the unnamed American said:
`None of those countries is our strategic partner.' He
added that it would be impossible to heal the wounds unless
a top-level Turkish government official denounces the worst
allegations about the US military operation in Fallujah.
`Ankara must remember that Powell is not in Washington
anymore,' he warned.

Turkish military uneasy over alleged US meetings with PKK:
Turkey's Higher Military Council (YAS) reportedly conveyed
concerns to PM Erdogan that the US has held over 100
meetings with PKK/Kongra Gel representatives in northern
Iraq since March 2003. The PKK considers these meetings as
another step forward in its efforts to become a political
organization, "Cumhuriyet" claims. The YAS believes that
about 1,000 PKK members have infiltrated to Turkey from
northern Iraq in the last two years, the paper reports.

Meeting on Turkish truckers' safety in Iraq: Turkish,
American and Iraqi officials convened a tripartite meeting,
under the heading of the "Trilateral Transport Security
Forum," in Ankara Tuesday to discuss the security of Turkish
truck drivers inside Iraqi territory. The Turks urged US
and Iraqi officials to provide aerial and ground escorts for
Turkish convoys, and to enhance road security.

"Ecumenical" crisis between GOT-US Ankara Embassy: The
Turkish government has grown `uneasy' about invitations from
the US Embassy for a reception in honor of Archbishop
Bartholomeus on December 2. The invitations referred to the
Patriarchate as the "Ecumenical Patriarchate." Prime
Ministry Undersecretary Omer Dincer ordered bureaucrats in
all state institutions to refrain from attending the
reception. The Turkish MFA earlier warned the US Embassy on
the issue, but the Americans refused to step down.

European Parliament advises start of entry talks with
Ankara: Ahead of the EU decision about whether and when to
start accession talks with Turkey, Ankara will try to change
an EU summit draft which proposes tough conditions such as
the immediate recognition of the Republic of Cyprus. The EU
foreign affairs committee endorsed by 50 votes to 18 a
report urging EU leaders to open entry talks with Turkey
`without undue delay.' The y rejected a key amendment that
would have offered Ankara a `privileged partnership.' The
European Parliament report stressed the need for further
progress on human rights, curbing torture and withdrawing
Turkish troops from Cyprus. Ankara objects particularly to
three issues outlined in the report -- Cyprus, permanent
restrictions on movement of Turkish labor, and `conditions'
put forth by EU before holding entry talks. Turkish dailies
say US Secretary of State Colin Powell will soon launch a
tour of EU capitals in an effort to persuade European
leaders to begin `unconditional' entry talks with Turkey.
PM Erdogan and Gul are also preparing to visit European
capitals.

Turkish Cypriots worry Ankara may recognize Nicosia: FM
Abdullah Gul said Ankara would not offer any concessions on
Cyprus. The FM added that the problem on Cyprus was the
Greek Cypriot rejection of a UN-backed plan for
reunification in the April referendum. Outgoing `TRNC PM'
Mehmet Ali Talat told the press he didn't expect Turkey to
give any concession on Cyprus to get EU membership. Talat
has recently expressed concern that the Turkish Cypriots'
bargaining position in any peace talks would be weaker once
Turkey gains a date for EU accession talks. Talat urged
Ankara not to recognize Nicosia before December 17. The
opposition "Peace and Democracy Movement" (BDH) leader
Mustafa Akinci said recognition of Nicosia would relegate
the Turkish Cypriots to a minority status on the divided
island.

`Extrajudicial' killings in SE Turkey draw strong reactions:
The Turkish government began an investigation Monday into
the security forces' killings of a 12-year-old boy and his
father, both accused of belonging to a separatist terrorist
group. Ahmet Kaymaz, 31, and his son Ugur were killed in
the southeastern town of Kiziltepe, Mardin on November 21.
Human rights activists said Kaymaz and his son were probably
unarmed and may have been killed by mistake. Kaymaz, who
had no police record, made a living ferrying fuel to Iraq.
Protesters demonstrated against the killings yesterday in
Diyarbakir and last Sunday in Kiziltepe. Kaymaz's brother
told the press that `the death penalty has been scrapped,
but Turkish citizens are still executed on the streets
without justification.' The incident comes before the
crucial December 17 EU summit. Meanwhile, officials in the
southeastern province of Hakkari began investigating claims
that a 19-year-old shepherd had been killed Saturday by
security forces. Family members said the Turkish gendarme
refused to hand over the body unless they signed papers
confirming that he was a terrorist. Yusuf Alatas, chairman
of Turkey's Human Rights Association, said these examples
show that the government fails to stand behind its pledges.

`Glasnost' in Turkey's National Security Council: Turkey's
influential advisory body, the National Security Council
(MGK) opened its doors for the first time to journalists and
diplomats on Tuesday. There are similar bodies in ten
European member countries and in the United States, the MGK
said. Yigit Alpogan, a career diplomat and the MGK's first
civilian secretary-general, said relations with the press
will be open and transparent, adding that the MGK could now
be described as an official "think-tank." In response to a
question about whether Turkey still sees Greece as a threat,
Alpogan stressed the positive changes in bilateral ties
since 1999, and noted that Athens firmly supports Ankara's
drive to join the EU. Alpogan noted that the MGK would
continue to closely monitor events in Cyprus.

ICRC charges US with prisoner abuse at Guantanamo: Turkish
dailies report that the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) claim that the US military has used
psychological and physical torture on inmates at Guantanamo
prison. The ICRC report asserted that some doctors at
Guantanamo were participating in planning for
interrogations. Doctors at Gitmo conveyed information about
prisoners' mental health to interrogators, the report
alleged. It was the first time that the Red Cross, which
has been visiting Guantanamo since January 2002, claimed
both physical and psychological torture of inmates.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq

"December, the Critical Month"
Haluk Sahin noted in the liberal-opinion maker "Radikal"
(12/1): "This is a dangerous month. The ruling AKP party
will have to exercise great skill in managing the public's
fury and disappointment over the Iraq issue. The rising anti-
American sentiment and growing number of demonstrations
protesting the Fallujah events is one of the risks. The
government cannot let these expressions of fury turn into
action. It is alarming to witness certain groups in Turkey
using the same language as Al Qaida while protesting against
the U.S. The Bush administration faces criticism because of
its Iraq policy in general and especially because of the
Fallujah operation. Yet we should also remember the fact
that half of American voted against President Bush and one
of the places criticizing the operation in Fallujah most
harshly is the U.S. itself. Protesting the US actions in
Fallujah is one thing, but this is not about making a choice
between the US and Al Qaida. . As Iraq proceeds towards
elections, the best approach is to stay calm and not be
carried away just by taking account of one-sided
information."

"Blackmail"
Husnu Mahalli commented in the economic-political Dunya
(12/01): "There is no limit to the American hypocrisy. The
US Embassy in Ankara responded to AKP parliamentarian
Elkatmis' remarks about American genocide in Iraq by saying
`the US did not massacre the Iraqis in Fallujah, and did not
use the illegal weapons Elkatmis mentioned. Also, the US
carried out some operations in Iraq to eliminate the
murderers of the Turkish truck drivers'. I have never seen
or heard of such a stupid defence in my life. . As if
Elkatmis was criticizing only the operations in Fallujah.
In a report issued a month ago, a group of American doctors
stated that since the occupation, one hundred thousand
people have died in Iraq . Well, how can you refer to an
action where one hundred thousand people were killed, other
than massacre. Of course, according to the Americans this
is not a massacre. In the past, Americans managed to
eliminate the Indians. They even killed millions of people
during their civil war. And 360 thousand people died in
Hiroshima and Nagazhaki. In Vietnam, the Americans used all
kinds of weapons and killed three million people. Maybe,
Mr.Elkatmis spoke too soon. He should have waited a little
longer, until the death toll reached one million in Iraq.
That is where the problem lies!"

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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