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.

171323Z Dec 04




E.O. 12958: N/A


--------------------------------------------- -----



EU Gives Date to Turkey For Accession Talks - Sabah
The Date is October 2005 - Hurriyet
Turkey Must Recognize Cyprus to Start Talks - Hurriyet
Kaddafi: "Turkey is Terrorists' Trojan Horse in Europe" -
Conditional Date For Talks - Milliyet
France/Austria Put Up Obstacles for Turkey - Milliyet
Date: October 3, 2005; Condition: Recognition of Cyprus -
EU Says `Yes' to Turkey - Turkiye
Bargaining in Brussels Focuses on Cyprus Issue - Turkiye
Annan Steps In - Turkiye


The Cyprus Knot - Yeni Safak
Insurgents' Victory in Fallujah - Yeni Safak
Cyprus Issue Deadlocks Talks - Zaman
Cyprus Crisis With the EU - Radikal
Diplomatic War in Brussels - Radikal
EU Presents Turkey With Tough Conditions - Cumhuriyet
Annan Plan Reemerges - Cumhuriyet


EU Summit in Brussels: All papers report on the conditional
date given to Turkey for the beginning of accession talks
with the European Union. The summit draft statement
provides a date of October 3, 2005 for the talks to begin,
with a condition that Turkey recognize Greek Cyprus before
that date. While "Turkiye" reports the decision as a
success, most other papers interpret it as a disappointment.
"Radikal" says the summit been clouded by the demands about
Cyprus. "Hurriyet" says that with or without the condition,
the outcome of the summit will change life in Turkey.
Turkey and the EU reached consensus on all conditions except
Cyprus issue, which deadlocked the talks. "Milliyet"
reports that PM Erdogan worked all night on the formula
offered by the EU and presented his objections to the
Netherlands as EU term president. "Sabah" quotes European
Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso as saying that
`Tonight the EU has opened its door to Turkey. I genuinely
believe this is an offer that Turkey should be glad to
accept.' "Radikal" quotes Berlusconi as saying that `one
cannot join a club without recognizing all of its members.'

The Turkish Response: "Cumhuriyet" reports that PM Erdogan
sent a message to EU leaders saying that Turkey will never
take a step forward on issues in a way that would harm the
national interest. "Aksam" draws attention to the differing
comments about the recognition of Cyprus made by PM Erdogan
and FM Gul. Gul said that the direct or indirect
recognition of Greek Cyprus is `out of the question.'
About an hour later, Erdogan said that Turkey would carry
out the steps dictated by its national interests. "Yeni
Safak" drew attention to a message given by Erdogan prior to
the summit saying that `Turkey can cut off talks with the EU
if not satisfied with the terms of settlement offer.' Most
papers portray the EU as having acted in bad faith on the
Cyprus issue, and most commentators write that the Prime
Minister should not be blamed if he were to walk out of the

Libyan Leader Kaddafi Comments: Speaking to an Italian
radio station, Libyan Leader Muammar Kaddafi said that if
Turkey enters the EU, it would become the `Trojan Horse for
terrorists,' inculding Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and
other radical Islam groups.


"The Fallujah Dispute and Silent US Support for EU
Sedat Ergin observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (1/17):
"Secretary Powell's call to Turkish Foreign Minister to
check on developments in the EU process came at a time when
Ankara is giving its full attention to the December 17
summit. This shows that Washington is also watching these
developments very closely. Similarly, US Ambassador Edelman
asked Turkish PM Erdogan last week if `there is anything we
can do prior to the December 17 decision.' Turkey has no
objection to US support on the EU, but this suggests that
Ankara prefers that the US engage in quiet diplomacy. This
suggestion stemmed from past experience, which was rather
bitter, when George Bush intervened in the process rather
loudly during the Copenhagen summit in December 2002.
Things are very different now. Currently, Washington is
using its utmost influence through quiet diplomacy and is
working for a positive decision from the EU summit.
Turkey's gratitude for the American contribution was
expressed by Turkish PM Erdogan to Ambassador Edelman during
a bilateral meeting on December 13. Interestingly enough,
Turkey was experiencing a serious crack in its relationship
with the US due to the Fallujah issue just at the time when
Turkey's relationship with Europe had taken center stage.
Foreign Minister Gul earlier said that Turkey had devoted
its full energy to the EU, and mentioned the possibility
that Turkey may have `ignored' the US relationship. Turkish-
American ties have gone through a period of turbulence
highlighted by PM Erdogan's delaying for 6 weeks in giving
an appointment to the US Ambassador Edelman. In last week's
meeting, Erdogan managed to put the Turkish-American
relationship back on track before leaving for Brussels.
Ambassador Edelman handed the PM a file of information and
photos in an effort to convince him of the reasons for the
US operation in Fallujah. Erdogan reiterated his concerns
about civilian losses. Neither side convinced the other.
From the American point of view, however, at least the Prime
Minister was shown `the other side of the coin.' In sum,
the two sides agreed that criticism needs to be expressed in
a way befitting allies, and that these kinds of issues
cannot be allowed to cloud the big picture in US-Turkish


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