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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 006805

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
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Russia, Turkey lay groundwork for `strategic partnership' -
Aksam
Putin promises to work for removal of `TRNC' sanctions -
Milliyet
EU sets Fall 2005 for accession talks with Turkey - Aksam
Al-Yawar says Americans will leave Iraq soon, US says two
more years - Aksam
Terrorists raid US consulate in Jeddah - Hurriyet
Saudis suspect Al-Qaeda in Jeddah attacks - Hurriyet
ETA terror in Spain - Aksam
Egyptians angered by prisoner swap with Israel - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Ankara, Moscow agree on `effective' cooperation against
terror - Radikal
Sezer calls for Putin to support north Cyprus - Radikal
Putin makes Ankara Cyprus `gesture' - Yeni Safak
Putin eyes Turkish military contracts - Radikal
Russia approves `gas for goods' - Zaman
Al-Qaeda attack on US consulate in Jeddah - Cumhuriyet
Bush admits Iraqi elections cannot be 100 percent secure -
Cumhuriyet
IIG determined to hold elections on time - Zaman
Three million pray for world peace in Bangladesh - Yeni
Safak


BRIEFING

EU draft summit declaration on Turkey: Turkish papers
describe a second draft of the European Union summit
declaration circulated on Monday to be more negative than
the first draft. The new draft reportedly includes a
reference to settling the Aegean dispute with Greece through
the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague.
Turkey will also be required to prove its track record in
implementing EU law, not just adopting it, to make progress
in membership talks. The draft mentions no start date for
accession talks. Turkey will pose a serious challenge to
the EU with regard to monitoring the implementation of EU
rules. The new text assumes that Turkey will effectively
recognize Cyprus by amending its Customs Union (CU)
agreement with the EU to cover the 10 new member states,
despite Ankara's criticism of that suggestion last week.
The draft noted that a long transition period and permanent
safeguards may be `considered' regarding the free movement
of Turkish labor. The draft stipulates tha a suspension of
entry talks with Ankara would be possible at the request of
any EU member states if Turkey backslides on democratic
reforms, human rights, or the rule of law. The new EU draft
makes no mention of a `privileged partnership' as an
alternative to full EU membership for Turkey.


Putin visits Ankara: During his visit to Ankara, Russian
President Vladimir Putin presented an investment package
covering 12 proposals worth $20 billion. `We are determined
to develop our cooperation with Turkey in every area,' Putin
told a gathering of officials, journalists and businessmen
after signing a series of joint agreements in Ankara Monday.
The two sides agreed that Russia will receive $1 billion
worth of Turkish goods in exchange for the natural gas it
provides to Turkey. Turkey attracts over a million Russian
tourists every year, and is also a major customer for
Russian oil and gas. Russia is Turkey's biggest trading
partner after Germany. PM Tayyip Erdogan told a business
meeting attended by Putin that annual bilateral trade could
reach $15 billion in the near future. Officials say two-way
trade will total nearly $10 billion in 2004. Erdogan said
that Turkish investments in Russia now amount to $2 billion,
and he urged the Russians to invest more in Turkey,
including in Turkish defense industry contracts for tanks
and helicopters. Putin thanked `the Turkish nation and
government' for their moral support for Russia's fight
against Chechen separatists. Turkey is home to a large
Chechen community. Some Turkish NGOs and solidarity groups
have supported Chechens in their fight against Russian rule.
Shortly before Putin's arrival on Sunday, Turkish police
detained several suspected Chechen militants in Istanbul.
Papers claim that Putin promised the Turks Russian support
at the UN Security Council for removing the international
isolation of Turkish Cypriots. "Hurriyet," Turkey's leading
circulation daily, reported that the Putin visit was a step
toward a `strategic partnership' between Turkey and Russia,
while left-leaning "Cumhuriyet" ran the banner headline
"Eurasian Partnership" to describe the visit. Most Turkish
commentators argued that the positive visit by Putin would
strengthen Turkey's hand in dealing with Europe and the
United States. Some commentators viewed the visit as
presenting Turkey with an alternative' to EU membership and
a close alliance with the US. Sedat Ergin of "Hurriyet"
wrote of the visit: `sometimes it's just nice to feel that
you're not alone.'

Moscow announces to strike at terror `everywhere': Three
days after threatening to strike at terrorists' strongholds
outside of Russia, Moscow announced it would equip Russian
warplanes with long-range conventional missiles, "Radikal"
reports. Moscow has adopted a `preventive strike' doctrine
following the school killings by terrorists in Beslan, north
Osetia.

Papers criticize tight security in Fallujah: All papers
report about the`extraordinary' security measures applied by
US forces in Fallujah in an effort to prevent insurgents
from returning to the city. Fallujans are subjected to DNA
tests and retina scans, and are given special ID cards,
according to Turkish papers. Fearing car bomb attacks,
Americans have also prohibited local people from using their
cars. The commander of US forces in Fallujah is trying to
allow displaced Fallujans return to their homes before the
upcoming Iraqi elections. "Cumhuriyet" likens US security
proceedings in Fallujah to `concentration camp' techniques
used by the Nazis. Citing international wire reports, the
paper claims that returning Fallujans are facing `police
state' methods rather than that `democracy' that had been
promised for Iraq. Islamist-oriented "Yeni Safak" slams the
Iraqi interim government for attempting to prevent
journalists from reporting about incidents in Iraq through a
new, `authoritarian' press law that will be approved soon.

TGS chief orders investigation of former force commander:
The head of the Turkish military, General Hilmi Ozkok,
ordered an investigation into a former naval forces
commander, retired admiral Ilhami Erdil, on charges of
corruption and illegal acquisition of goods, "Hurriyet"
reports on its front page. In a statement on Monday, the
General Staff announced that retired admiral Erdil will be
tried in a military court for graft, dereliction of duty,
and embezzlement on December 21. The prosecutor may request
up to an 18-year prison sentence for Erdil. Erdil will be
the first force commander in Turkey to be tried on
corruption charges.

Parliament passes key amendment to penal code: The Turkish
parliament passed a 333-article Penal Procedural Law (CMUK)
over the weekend. The measure is among the bills the
European Union had urged Ankara to pass before the December
17 EU summit. The new CMUK includes significant changes to
the penal code that will be made official upon the approval
of President Sezer. Opposition CHP lawmakers criticized the
bill, claiming that some provisions in the draft would turn
prisons into `slave camps.'

Government spokesman defends `presidential system' for
Turkey: Government Spokesman and Justice Minister Cemil
Cicek said that if Turkey wants to achieve sustained
political and economic stability, it would have to shift to
a presidential system. Cicek cited the example of the
United States to support his contention that a presidential
system is more conducive to stable regimes.


EDITORIAL OPINION

"Strategic Visit"
Sami Kohen observed in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (12/7):
"Putin's visit to Turkey has some very important aspects,
but the most important thing is that the visit has a
strategic dimension. The meetings held at the highest level
in Ankara carried the relations between Turkey and Russia to
the level of a `multi-dimensional partnership.' Both sides
have recently come to the realization that they need each
other and, within this framework, have moved closer to each
other. Although Russia has improved its relations with the
US and the EU, the Russians are well aware that they have
been boxed in by these countries. Moscow is in search of
new partners in regions close to its border. Considering
recent developments in Turkey's foreign policy, Ruissia has
noted the possibility of establishing a strategic
relationship with Turkey. Close relations with Russia carry
many benefits for Turkey as well. However, Turkey should
consider the new partnership with Russia as `added value' in
its effort to diversify and enrich its foreign relations.
Of course, this should not come at the expense of Turkey's
existing relationship and must not be seen as an alternative
to the West."

"The Situation 8 Before 12"
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (12/7): "In 8 days, the world media will publish
in their headlines the conditions that will be given to
Turkey for accession to the EU. Our expectation is for a
definite date without any conditions, just as the other
candidate countries were given. No matter how innocent they
may seem, any conditions given to Turkey, a NATO member and
participant in the EU Customs Union, will not be welcome.
In that case, Turkey can reject the negotiations. After
that, it will be a problem for the EU, because Turkey has a
`B Plan,' a `C Plan,' and a `D plan.' If the EU's
conditions are unacceptable, the reforms will continue.
Turkey will not go back to worn-out regimes just because it
is angry with the EU. In our `B plan,' Turkey's strategic
relations with the US will get stronger. Our relations with
Russia will improve as well. However, we will not join with
Russia and China to defend Iran and Syria against the US.
That is not possible in the real world. We have fulfilled
the Copenhagen Criteria. If we can start negotiations
unconditionally, Turkey will break its own record by
carrying out all necessary reforms for EU accession
speedily. We have the potential to do that."
EDELMAN

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