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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.

101514Z Dec 04

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006882

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
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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


HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Ankara's reaction softens EU summit draft - Aksam
Greek Cypriots again threaten to veto EU-Turkey talks -
Milliyet
Annan to assign a new Cyprus representative - Sabah
5,500 US conscripts flee to Canada to escape Iraq war -
Hurriyet
US gives `reluctant' vote of confidence to Annan - Hurriyet
One billion children suffering around the world - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Third EU draft partially amended - Zaman
Verheugen: Turkey will get what it wants - Zaman
NATO bids Powell an emotional farewell - Radikal
Netherlands keeps a close eye on foreigners - Radikal
US warns Iran, Syria against supporting Iraq resistance --
Yeni Safak
Iraqi war veterans down and out in US - Cumhuriyet
Half of world children struggle with poverty, war, AIDS -
Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

EU-Turkey on the eve of EU Summit: A draft statement for
the December 16-17 European Union summit has been changed
for the second time in the face of pressure from Ankara,
papers report. Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende said on
Thursday that the EU must not `change the rules of the game'
for Turkey and must be fair in granting Turkey a date for
accession negotiations. Speaking before a meeting with PM
Erdogan on the crucial preparatory talks before the upcoming
EU summit, Balkenende said there are still concerns about
Turkey's implementation of EU law, freedom of religion, and
the free movement of the Turkish labor force. Balkenende
added that the aim of the talks with Turkey is full
membership. PM Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey is expecting
a clear date for the start of negotiations. Ankara is
closely monitoring countries which are cool to its EU
membership bid in an effort to ensure that a `flawless'
draft emerges at the summit. The draft still contains
provisions to which Turkey has objected, including the
requirement to recognize Cyprus, the mention of torture, and
other conditions that Ankara views as more restrictive than
those imposed on other candidate countries. French FM
Barnier said he expects accession talks with Turkey to begin
in late 2005 or early 2006. Former EU enlargement
commissioner Guenter Verheugen wrote an op-ed in the
conservative/opinion maker "Zaman" arguing that Turkey needs
Europe during its modernization process and Europe needs
Turkey as a trusted partner to deal with international
problems.


FM Gul in Brussels for NATO meeting: FM Abdullah Gul
traveled to Brussels to attend a meeting of NATO foreign
ministers. Gul met with Olli Rehn, the European Union
commissioner for enlargement, to whom Gul voiced Ankara's
expectations for the December 16-17 EU summit. Speaking to
the press, Gul said the EU's draft statement on Turkey still
contained some points that Ankara found unacceptable. Asked
about Cyprus, Gul said that without a settlement on the
island, Ankara's recognition of Nicosia is out of the
question. Gul also had a chance to discuss with Secretary
Powell the recent `strain' in US-Turkish relations.

Gen. Brooks slams international media for distortion in Iraq
reporting: Speaking at a meeting organized by the American
Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative US think-tank in
Washington, US Land Forces public affairs chief General
Vincent Brooks criticized the way the war in Iraq is being
reported by international media. General Brooks said that
international media outlets have created a false image
depicting Americans' alleged disrespect for mosques in
Fallujah. `Some 250 mosques have been taken under
protection by US forces in the region,' he said. `This fact
should also highlighted by the international media,' Brooks
said. General Brooks stressed that the US cannot remain
silent in the face of a deliberate disinformation campaign.
Last week, US officials accused Turkish media of
`irresponsible' reporting on Iraq at a State Department
briefing for Turkish journalists in Washington, "Yeni Safak"
notes.

Annan may initiate new Cyprus effort: UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan has asked the UN to approve a $570,000 fund to
assign a new UN special Cyprus representative to replace
Alvaro de Soto, Turkish papers report. The reports evaluate
Annan's request as an indication that he intends to launch a
new peace initiative on the divided island in 2005.

Turkey's Kurds request more rights from Ankara: Turkish
papers report an advertisement placed in the "International
Herald Tribune" by former DEP lawmaker Leyla Zana and her
colleagues, in which the Kurdish activists call on Turkey to
grant its Kurds exactly the same rights that Ankara is
demanding for Turkish Cypriots. A new and democratic
constitution should be hammered out in Turkey, the Kurds
said. Papers regard the advertisement as a call for
autonomy for Turkey's Kurds, and imply that Zana has engaged
in `treason' given the timing of the announcement on the eve
of the EU summit. The reports claim that the Kurds' action
strengthens the hands of those in Europe who oppose Turkey's
accession to the EU.

Armenian FM on ties with Turkey: Armenia's foreign minister
Vardan Oskanyan told Reuters that the European Union should
press Turkey `aggressively' to reopen its border with
Armenia. Oskanyan said that recognition of the Armenian
`genocide' was still high on Yerevan's foreign policy
agenda: `In the event of Turkey's EU membership, we hope
there will be a much freer discourse in Turkey on this
issue, which may lead eventually to recognition of the
Armenian genocide.' Oskanyan noted that if Turkey opens the
border, it would facilitate trade and boost the economy in
Turkey's poor eastern regions as well as in Armenia. He
added that Armenia had lost an estimated $1 billion in trade
over the last 10 to 15 years because of the border closure,
and urged the EU to push for its reopening.

EDITORIAL OPINION:

Turkey's EU Prospects

"The EU And The Alternatives"
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (12/10): "In one week's time we will learn about
the contents of the EU report that will directly affect
Turkey's future. Even if the announcement contains
troublesome conditions, Turkey should keep calm. The
reforms that have been applied so far have strengthened our
democracy. We should continue in this direction. Even if
we are angry by the EU decision, we shouldn't give up on
Europe, because we are Europeans as well. Turkey will never
feed an atmosphere of hatred against Europe. We should be
very careful in our relations with the US as well. We
should not insult our strategic ally with meaningless
statements. We should criticize the US only if it is
necessary to defend Turkey's interests, and even then it
should be done in a decent and responsible manner. Turkey
suffers under the weight of many years of mistakes. We
don't have the patience for more mistakes, so we need to
define our direction as clearly and perfectly as we can."

"Let Us Do The Best We Can"
Oktay Eksi observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (12/10):
"France has been following a rather underhanded policy
toward Turkey for some time. France applies part of this
dirty policy itself and forces the EU term president Holland
to apply the other half. Europe's -- or more correctly,
France's -- discriminating behavior toward Turkey in the
name of EU will not last for long. This is just a cyclical
position. It is well known that France has prejudice
feelings against Turkey. The only way to beat this
prejudice is to introduce the modern, democratic, and
secular Turkey to the world. But if you try to find out who
is doing what on this issue, you cannot find an answer. If
the State Promotion Fund is not used effectively in this
process, when will it ever be? In other words, if we have
such an institution, and if this institution fails to do its
job effectively, do you believe that efforts spent in this
direction will ever be successful? On December 17, the EU
will decide one way or the other, but regardless of that
outcome we need to be more successful in presenting the real
Turkey to the world."

"Will Another February 28 Process Begin?"
Editor-in-Chief Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in the mass appeal
"Hurriyet" (12/10): I don't believe it is possible to say
anything definite until December 17. But I do want to raise
the question: do we need a `B Plan' for December 18 if
things go badly with the EU? In my view, the answer is no.
Because if an unexpected result emerges on December 17, life
will continue, we will still live in this country, our
factories will continue to produce, people will still go to
the movies.But there are two questions in all of our minds:
First, will the economy take a downturn, with capital flight
and reduced investment? Second, will democratization and
the reform process continue? Let me write it more openly -
will another February 28 process be launched? It will not.
Those days are now in the past. Everyone in Turkey now
understands the limits of legitimacy. Unless there is a big
mistake, Turkey will continue on the civilized path it has
taken over the past three years. So Turkey's `B Plan' is to
make more progress on its current path. If everyone keeps
in mind their institutional roles, if the democratic process
works through all of its institutions, and if the shouting
and howling by marginal people and institutions is
disregarded, there is no need for a `B Plan.' Turkey will
continue on this road.

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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