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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 006829

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 8, 2004

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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


HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Ankara confused by heavy conditions in EU draft - Milliyet
US advises Nicosia not to veto EU-Turkey talks - Hurriyet
Netherlands puts PKK on list of terrorist organizations -
Sabah
CIA: Situation worsening in Iraq - Star
Reserves flee US army - Aksam
US Dollar hits bottom - Aksam
Erdogan celebrates Turkish Jews' Hanukkah - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Turkey, Russia take a new look at the Caucasus - Cumhuriyet
Moscow worries about Chechens, Ankara about PKK - Cumhuriyet
Turkish leadership to EU: No concessions - Yeni Safak
German, French conservatives want `privileged partnership'
for Turkey - Cumhuriyet
Athens, Nicosia say second EU draft for Turkey talks
`insufficient' - Radikal
US warns Nicosia against vetoing Turkey - Zaman
US conscripts `reluctant' to go to Iraq - Radikal
Afghanistan's first president-elect Karzai takes office -
Zaman
US, China have aided Pinochet - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Turkey uneasy over new EU draft: Ankara said on Tuesday
that the European Union should open accession talks without
setting any fresh conditions. A statement from the
presidency following a meeting of PM Erdogan, President
Sezer, FM Gul and Chief of Staff General Ozkok noted that
Turkey had already fulfilled the political conditions set by
the European bloc. The statement said that the EU must keep
the commitment it made in 1999 to open full membership talks
if Turkey met EU criteria on democracy, human rights and the
rule of law. The EU set out a series of tough conditions
for Turkey, and warned that the process will take at least a
decade and is not guaranteed to result in full EU
membership. A new draft warns that the EU must be sure it
has the capacity to `absorb' Turkey before it can decide on
admission. The latest version also underlines the need for
the European Commission to monitor reforms by Turkey if it
is granted a date for entry talks. It also singles out
torture as a key point of concern that should be closely
monitored. On Tuesday, FM Gul and Dutch European affairs
minister Atzo Nikolai, whose country currently chairs the
rotating EU presidency, discussed the draft in Ankara.
Papers expect negotiations between Turkey and the EU on the
final wording of the decision to continue until the very
last moment at the December 17 summit in Brussels.

Ankara discusses PKK, Chechens with Russians: Russian
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in Ankara on Tuesday
that Russia is examining Turkish demands to put the
separatist Kurdish group PKK on its list of terrorist
organizations. Ivanov also said he expects Ankara to back
efforts to curb foreign support for Chechen separatists.
Moscow has accused Ankara of failing to prevent Turkish
nationals from joining and assisting Chechen rebel groups.
During a landmark visit to Turkey on Monday, Russian
President Vladimir Putin thanked Ankara for supporting
Moscow's struggle against terrorism. Ivanov said that
Moscow expected further efforts from Turkey in capturing
people suspected of backing Chechen separatists. On the
other hand, "Yeni Safak" claims on its front page that the
two sides have agreed to take Russian oil to the
Mediterranean via a pipeline to be built between Turkey's
Black Sea province Samsun and Ceyhan, a coastal town in the
south.
No freedom for religious minorities in Turkey: "Cumhuriyet"
reports from Frankfurt, Germany about restrictions on
religious freedom for Christians and Alevis in Turkey.
Father Felix Korner, who preaches at the Jesuit St. Therese
Church in Ankara, said police used to take photographs
inside the church at prayer times in their search for
`extraordinary' activities. Churches have no legal status
in Turkey, Korner said, and added that constitutional
religious freedom was practically ineffective. The head of
the German Evangelical Church Council, Wolfgang Huber,
pointed to the difficulties encountered by devout people of
all religions in Turkey: `Muslims in EU countries enjoy
religious freedom, but Christians in Turkey do not,' Huber
said, adding that Europe's biggest mosque had been built in
Rotterdam, while not a single church has been built in
Turkey for decades. "Cumhuriyet" also cites Amnesty
International (AI) as blaming the Turkish government for
providing financial support exclusively to Turkey's Sunni
Muslims. `Other religions cannot speak their own languages,
and are not allowed to build or repair their churches,' AI
emphasized.

Demonstrators protest prison conditions: Turkish protesters
demonstrating against prison conditions Tuesday clashed with
police in Ankara. Demonstrators threw stones at police, who
used tear gas to disperse them. Police detained 30
protesters. Under the so-called F-Type prison system
approved in 2000, prison cells for one or three inmates
replaced large dormitories where revolts and hostage-takings
used to occur frequently.

Russians complain about `Gulen schools': At talks with
Turkish officials during President Putin's visit to Ankara
earlier this week, Russian officials complained to their
Turkish counterparts about the schools established by
Fettullah Gulen (Fettullah Hoca) in the Russian Federation
and some Central Asian countries, "Cumhuriyet" reports. The
Russians claimed that the Gulen schools are carrying out
Islamist, anti-Russian and Pan-Turkic propaganda, causing
significant problems in the region, diplomatic sources told
"Cumhuriyet." Moscow has been trying various ways to
restrict the activities of those schools, the paper claims.

Minister Aksu denies claims of US help for PKK: In response
to a motion submitted by the opposition CHP, Interior
Minister Abdulkadir Aksu said at the parliament on Tuesday
that there is no evidence to verify claims that the US is
helpin the outlawed PKK in northern Iraq. Aksu added that
he would not expect the US to act against Turkey's
interests.

US to deport PKK member: The US is preparing to deport
former PKK member Ibrahim Parlak, papers report. Parlak had
earlier served a prison term in Turkey on charges of killing
two soldiers along Turkey's border with Syria in 1988. When
released, Parlak went to the US and applied for permanent
residency status based on false statements. A US court
ordered Parlak arrested last July following a Turkish court
decision to authorize a retrial.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Putin Visit, Criticizing the US
"Close Relations With Russia, Cold Shoulder For the West"
Sami Kohen observed in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (12/8):
"Putin's visit to Turkey coincided with a period when Turkey-
West relations are rather tense. Turkey's warm stance
toward Russia and distant position with regard to Europe and
the US seems rather contradictory. The anti-American
atmosphere in Turkey, in particular, has come to the level
that it could affect Turkish-American relations negatively.
The most relevant factors here are the reactions to US
policies in Iraq, especially Northern Iraq and the PKK.
These reactions have spread from the streets to the AKP and
other politicians. Moreover, the latest `crisis' over the
ecumenical nature of the Patriarchate has further increased
negative feelings toward the US. As December 17 approaches,
there are also certain difficulties in turkey's relationship
with Europe. Although Putin's visit at this problematic
time may comfort some in Turkey, one should never consider
this as an alternative to existing relations with the West.
Giving considering to `running away' from the west and
moving in the direction of Russia' will not serve Turkey's
interest. Turkey's relations with Russia will be a plus
only if they take place within the framework of Turkey's
multi-dimensional foreign policy. It was rather interesting
that Putin implied in his remarks that Turkey's EU
membership would not please Russia."

"The Outcome of Putin's Visit"
Yilmaz Oztuna observed in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (12/8): "I would like to touch on a few political
results of the Putin visit to Ankara. The visit was truly
historic, both in terms of its timing and its agenda. Putin
clearly signaled that Russia seeks an alliance with Turkey,
especially against the US. Turkey's requests in the
economic field were expressed to Putin, and he promised to
look into Turkey's concerns. We consider even this promise
as a positive step. Turkey supports peace between
Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russia agreed to warn Armenia to
withdraw from Azeri territory. Turkey wants to become an EU
member, but one that will have the best possible relations
with Russia and the US. A country need not break off good
relations that already exist in order to build new strategic
relationships."

"As if the Truth Were not Enough"
Kursad Bumin wrote in the Islamist-oriented "Yeni Safak"
(12/8): "Yesterday I wrote about Ambassador Eric Edelman's
comments to Murat Yetkin at "Radikal," in which the
Ambassador complained about certain stores near the Ankara
castle barring the entry of American customers. In essence,
I agree with the Ambassador. This is not an appropriate way
to protest US policies. Not selling US goods in your store
is one thing, but preventing customers of a particular
nationality from entering smacks of discrimination. Today I
wanted to address another of the Ambassador's concerns -
recent statements critical of the US operation in Fallujah,
some of which included the word `genocide.' Foreign
Minister Gul has said that the Government does not share the
view that there is genocide in Iraq. The Minister's
statement was on the mark. Do we have to use the word
`genocide' to explain and understand the evils of war?
Isn't the reality of what is happening in Iraq enough for
us? Everyone knows that using the word `genocide' mixes
things up. Remember how we Turks can never use the phrase
`Armenian genocide' without the qualifier `so-called.'
Think of the amount of ink we have used to explain why a
`forced deportation' that cost hundreds of thousands of
Armenian lives should not be characterized as a `genocide.'
What I want to say is this: regardless of what is motivating
our actions or what goal we are trying to achieve, in the
long run it doesn't do any good to move beyond the truth to
try to create a new reality."

EDELMAN

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