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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.

061504Z Dec 04

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006792

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, DECEMBER 6, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Putin makes landmark visit to Turkey - Sabah
Putin, Ankara to discuss terror, Straits issue - Hurriyet
12/5
Bush-style protection for Putin - Milliyet
FM Gul: Turkey ready for December 17 summit, EU is not -
Milliyet
Erdogan says Ankara will not yield to EU pressure on Cyprus
- Milliyet 12/5
Greek Cypriot lawmaker admits atrocities against Turks in
1964-65 - Aksam
US loses its allure; foreign students flee country -
Milliyet

OPINION MAKERS
Ankara at work with its `new partner' Russia - Radikal
Putin seems determined to improve ties with Turkey - Zaman
Ankara urges Putin to press for united Cyprus - Yeni Safak
Russia offers nuclear cooperation in talks with Turkey -
Zaman
Edelman may become Rice's `best man' - Radikal
Papadopoluos pushes Turkey on recognition of Nicosia -
Cumhuriyet
Turkmen targeted again in US operation in Tal Afar -
Cumhuriyet
New torture photos in Iraq put US in difficult position -
Zaman 12/5
Resistance shifts to north of Iraq - Yeni Safak
`Hawkish' Rumsfeld keeps post - Zaman 12/5
Egypt, Israel swap prisoners - Cumhuriyet
Iran criticizes Europe over human rights violations - Yeni
Safak


BRIEFING

Putin in Turkey: Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived
in Turkey Sunday for a landmark visit, during which the two
sides will look at ways to increase cooperation in the fight
against terrorism and to boost trade. Putin attended a
dinner given by President Sezer later Sunday in advance of
official talks on Monday, during which the two sides will
sign six agreements and a joint declaration on deepening
multilateral cooperation. The joint declaration will also
include a call for a greater UN role in international
disputes, a development characterized by "Cumhuriyet" as a
`significant message' to the Bush Administration. Bilateral
trade between the two countries is expected to rise to $10
billion by the end of 2004, and could reach to as much as
$25 billion in a few years' time, Turkish officials say. On
Sunday, Putin said he hopes to see a `united Cyprus,' and
Turkey expects him to take an active role in resolving the
30-year-old problem. Ankara is expected to seek Russian
backing for new oil pipelines to ease heavy tanker
congestion in the Bosphorus. The Russians complain that
Turkey is deliberately restricting tanker traffic through
the Bosphorus at a time when a US-backed pipeline to carry
Azeri oil via Turkey is nearing completion. Moscow has long
accused Ankara of turning a blind eye to the activities of
Chechen separatists, who enjoy popular support in Turkey.
Russia has repeatedly asked Turkey to prevent Turkish
citizens from joining Chechen rebel groups and to block
efforts by non-governmental organizations to send financial
aid to the rebels. More than 3,000 policemen have been
mobilized to ensure Putin's safety during his stay. Police
in Istanbul detained 12 suspects -- nine Chechens and three
Turkish nationals of Chechen descent - with alleged ties to
`religious terrorist organizations' in advance of the Putin
visit. Several CDs and video cassettes seized along with
the suspects contained images of Osama bin Laden and attacks
carried out by Al-Qaeda militants. On Saturday, some number
of Chechen groups in Turkey protested against the visit
because of Moscow's policies in Chechnya. The Chechens
urged the Turkish government to help end the occupation in
Chechnya and disarm the region.

AKP letters to US cause strain: AK Party lawmaker Cemal
Yilmaz Demir sent a letter to President Bush on November 25
in an individual act of protest condemning the US military
operation against Fallujah, Monday's "Sabah" reports.
Another AKP lawmaker, Atilla Basoglu, collected about 140
signatures in parliament for a letter denouncing the US
Ambassador to Ankara for using the title `Ecumenical' for
Archbishop Bartholomew I. According to "Sabah," MFA
bureaucrats were involved in drafting the letter on the
Patriarchate issue and helped to soften some of its wording.

US increases pressure for reopening of Halki Seminary: In a
meeting with deputy PM Mehmet Ali Sahin in Washington last
week, State Department U/S Marc Grossman said that the
reopening of Halki Seminary would facilitate EU entry talks
for Turkey. Sahin confirmed that Washington had urged
Ankara to accept a number of requests put forth by the
Patriarchate in Istanbul. Sahin also said he had expressed
his displeasure with the fact that the Halki Seminiary issue
was being linked to Turkey's EU accession process.

US operation in TalAfar: 200 Turkmen have been detained by
US and Iraqi forces in a new US military action in Tal Afar,
"Cumhuriyet" and "Yeni Safak" report. The articles claim
that 130 of the detained Turkmen were subsequently released.
"Cumhuriyet" cited international wire services for its
report that Turkmen buildings, including offices of the
Turkmen Front, were raided during the operation.

Erdogan opens `Armenian Friendship Museum': On Sunday, PM
Erdogan applauded Turkish Armenians for their contribution
to the nation at the opening ceremony of the `Armenian
Friendship Museum' in Istanbul. Erdogan warned the EU
against submitting minority demands to Turkey just before
the EU summit later this month.

Turkey to launch discussions on presidential system: The
government will take up the debate about the introduction of
a presidential-type system in Turkey following the EU summit
on December 17, Monday's "Sabah" reports. Justice Minister
Cemil Cicek said that a presidential system would ensure
political stability as Turkey makes the reforms that will be
necessary to join the European bloc.

European Parliament Speaker in Diyarbakir: Visiting
European parliament Speaker Josep Borrell called on the
governor and mayor of Diyarbakir on Sunday, and met with a
number of local NGOs. Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir said
that `20 million Kurds' will also join the EU when Turkey is
admitted into the European bloc. On Saturday, former DEP
lawmaker Leyla Zana hosted a luncheon in honor of Borrell in
Istanbul. Weekend papers report that Borrell pressed the
Turkish government to recognize Cyprus before the EU summit
in December. Sunday's "Sabah" speculates that if given a
date for accession talks at the EU summit, Ankara would sign
an additional protocol to its Customs Union (CU) agreement
with EU. Such an action would effectively recognize the
Greek Cypriot administration.

EDITORIAL OPINION

"Putin's Visit"
Rahim Er wrote in the conservative-mass appeal "Turkiye"
(12/6): "The President of the Russian Federation is in
Ankara today. He came to Turkey at the invitation of
President Sezer. That means he will be hosted in Turkey at
the highest level. Putin's Foreign, Defense, and Energy
Ministers, as well as the autonomous Presidents from
Tatarstan and Ingushetia, are accompanying him. Turkey has
a 500-year history with Russia. Our relations have always
been very dramatic. Turkey and Russia have frequently
fought with each other. Our first friendly relations began
during Turkey's War of Independence. We used Russia against
the occupying West. After that, however, the policies of
Stalin caused a complete break in relations. In order to
defend against communism, Turkey established its alliance
with the west. But now, conditions are completely
different. There are thousands of Turkish businessmen in
Russia and vice versa. There is an increase in exports to
Russia. Economics ties have deepened. The bilateral
meetings today will focus on energy, alternative routes for
oil tankers, terrorism, and many other issues. Relations
between the two countries have never been this close,
sincere, and based on mutual benefit. It should be
remembered that the Russian Federation also has a very large
Muslim population. Russia is a `B plan' for Turkey. As
the EU continues to hesitate in giving Turkey a date for
accession talks and the US treats Ankara lightly, Turkey is
pushing ahead with its `B plan.' This proves once again
that in foreign policy, there are no eternal hostilities,
and no everlasting friendships."

"Tyrants, Imperialists and Others"
Asli Aydintasbas commented in the mass appeal "Sabah"
(12/6): "The Islamist Saadet Party has recently stepped up
its protests against the United States. The AKP is
following these protests closely. The reason is not that
AKP fears losing votes to Saadet, but rather because these
demonstrations reflect the AKP's basic reflex as well. The
feelings expressed in these demonstrations are no different
from what is expressed in AKP circles. Islamists are
interpreting the Fallujah and Patriarch issues as cruel acts
carried out by Christians against Muslims. Many members of
the government share this belief. A source close to PM
Erdogan said that `if we (the AKP government) had not
criticized the US on Fallujah and about the Patriarch issue,
the reaction in the street would be much more serious --
hundreds of thousands would have protested against the US.'
Other than the Saadet Party protests, public protests in
Turkey have been limited. It is true that protests in
Turkey against the US have been more extreme than those seen
in Arab countries. The reason is that none of the Arab
countries have a free press. The paradox in Turkey is that
as democratization becomes more settled, relations with the
US weaken. If we look at the full picture, the AK party,
just like during the March 1 process, is in a very sensitive
and delicate situation. Despite everything, so far the AK
party has managed to keep a balance in its policies toward
Europe and the US. Let's see what will happen now."

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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