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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.

201604Z Dec 04

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 007066

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 20, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Turkey's engagement with the EU - Hurriyet 12/19
Netherlands: Denial of Turkey's EU accession a strong
possibility - Milliyet
FM Gul says Turkey won't negotiate with Greek Cypriots -
Sabah
Karamanlis says Turkey's EU membership depends on Cyprus -
Hurriyet
"To Vima": Turkey's train to EU will pass through Nicosia -
Zaman 12/19
Greek Cypriots worry that Annan Plan might be `resurrected'
- Aksam
Arab press: Turkey will be our bridge to Europe - Hurriyet
12/19
Iranian reformist papers hail Turkey's `victory' with EU -
Aksam
Turkey's membership will cost EU 27.5 billion Euro -
Hurriyet 12/19
Bush vows new initiative for Israel-Palestine peace -
Turkiye
TIME chooses Bush person of the year - Hurriyet
TIME picks `Sheriff' Bush as person of the year - Sabah
Half of Americans want restriction on Muslims' rights in US
- Hurriyet 12/19

OPINION MAKERS
World talks about a European Turkey - Zaman 12/19
FM Gul: Turkey enters a new era - Radikal
Erdogan `gives in' to Europe - Cumhuriyet
EU grants Turkey date for talks in exchange for Cyprus -
Cumhuriyet 12/19
Netherlands: European referenda may block Turkey's EU
accession - Zaman
Papadopoulos: Greek Cypriot veto would harm efforts for
solution in Cyprus - Zaman
Papadopoulos: We achieved less than we aimed for at EU
summit - Yeni Safak
EU decision on Cyprus below Turkey's expectations - Radikal
12/19
Boucher: Annan Plan the departure point for progress on
Cyprus - Cumhuriyet 12/19
FM Gul: Killers of Turkish police in Iraq won't go
unpunished - Radikal
Shiites a target in Iraq: 60 killed in Najaf and Karbala -
Zaman
Rumsfeld angers US soldiers' families - Radikal
Sharon decides to release 170 Palestinians - Cumhuriyet
Vatican `hawks' back Bush and Blair, support attacks against
Muslims - Yeni Safak
IMF `proud' of Turkey's success with economic reforms -
Radikal


BRIEFING

Turkey takes giant step forward in its EU bid: EU leaders
and Turkey agreed on Friday to grant Ankara `historic'
membership talks with the bloc beginning next October,
Turkish papers report. Before the talks can begin, however,
Ankara will have to take the difficult step of recognizing
the Republic of Cyprus. The United States warmly welcomed
the EU deal with Turkey, but said much work remained to
resolve the issue of Cyprus. Secretary Powell called FM
Abdullah Gul Friday to congratulate him on `very great
victory for Turkey.' Powell termed the deal `historic' and
said it would benefit both Turkey and the European Union.
`A Turkey that is firmly anchored in Europe and that shares
European values will be a positive force for prosperity and
democracy,' Powell said. `This is good for Turkey, good for
the broader European region, and good for the United
States.' EU term president Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot
said on Sunday that there was a good chance that Turkey
would not join the EU because of referenda to be held in
France and Austria. Bot said that the coming 10 years of
talks would allow Europeans to better appreciate Turkey and
would give Turks time to adapt to the European bloc.
British PM Tony Blair, one of Turkey's strongest backers,
said that offering a large Muslim democracy EU membership
was a signal to the Islamic world: `It shows that claims of
a fundamental clash in civilizations between Christians and
Muslims are wrong, that we can work together and cooperate.'
`There was a deal and everybody is happy with it,' German FM
Joschka Fischer said. The Greek government on Saturday
welcomed the agreement to grant Turkey a date for EU entry
talks as an important milestone towards normalizing
relations between Athens and Ankara.

PM Tayyip Erdogan was given a hero's welcome after attending
the historic summit in Brussels. Erdogan said: `This result
will not spoil us. We will not rest on our laurels. Our
aim now is to move forward,' he said at Istanbul Airport
Saturday. Erdogan had reportedly threatened to walk out of
the negotiations over demands that Ankara recognize the
Greek Cypriot government. Some papers slam Erdogan for
accepting `open-ended' negotiations, permanent safeguards on
the free movement of Turkish labor, and other derogations.
`Tomorrow's Turkey will be very different from today's
Turkey, both politically and economically,' FM Abdullah Gul
told the cheering crowd. Gul said that entry talks with the
European Union will bring Turkey higher democratic
standards. `Military coups are a thing of the past,' he
said. Former economy minister Kemal Dervis said that Turkey
could be ready for EU accession within five or six years,
adding that the country could draw $5 billion in foreign
direct investment each year during the period of
negotiations.

Arab journalists told the conservative/intellectual "Zaman"
that Turkey's membership will have crucial and positive
effects on the region, particularly with regard to
democratization. The Arab world's popular daily "Sark-ul
Avsat" reported an `historic deal for accession of the first
Muslim state to Europe.' London-based "Al-Hayat" said the
`EU accepts Turkey's cultural significance.' The Jordanian
newspaper "Dustur" wrote: `We have written history in
Brussels. Turkey agreed on the start of accession talks
with the EU.' `The Islamic world should be happy,' FM Gul
told "al-Jazeera." `We won't just represent only Turks, but
the whole Muslim world.' But Khaled al-Maeena, editor of
Saudi Arabia's leading English-language daily, "The Arab
News" told "The Wall Street Journal" (WSJ): `We are appalled
that the Turks are being treated as beggars, groveling just
to get into Europe, where the majority doesn't want them.'
The WSJ notes that Mr. Maeena brushed off the idea that
Turkey's political and economic advances could be seen as an
inspiration for change in the Middle East.

Turkish security guards killed in Iraq: Five Turkish
security guards were killed in an ambush as they were en
route to Baghdad, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on
Saturday. An MFA statement said that eight guards had
entered Iraq through the Habur border crossing, and were on
their way to the Turkish embassy in Baghdad when they were
attacked around Mosul. Five of the security guards and two
Iraqi drivers were killed. Two survivors reached Baghdad,
while a third returned to the border at Habur, the statement
said. `Armed men made the passengers get out of the cars
and lie on the ground. They were then machine-gunned and
one of them was beheaded,' an official of the Turkmen Front
in Mosul told the Turkish press. He also said that US
forces controlling the region had killed two of the
attackers. All Turkish papers speculated over the weekend
that the killings might have been perpetrated by the PKK in
retaliation for the killing of five of their members in the
same region on October 29.

Turkey's First Army Commander, General Hursit Tolon, said
that Turkey will not forget the killing of five Turkish
policemen in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. `This attack
clearly indicates the hostility toward Turks by the regional
people whom we have propped up for years,' Tolon said in
remarks interpreted by papers as blaming KDP leader Barzani
for the killings. Tolon warned that more attacks would
follow. General Tolon also said that Turkey `took note of'
the incident that occurred in a region controlled by a
`country known to be a friend and ally of Turkey.' Tolon
was making a direct reference to the United States, and the
fact that US State Department spokesman Boucher `took note
of' the Government of Turkey's action to prohibit state
employees from attending a US reception in honor of the
`ecumenical' Patriarchate.

Denktas sets date for early polls in `TRNC': Turkish
Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas set February 20 as the date for
general elections in his breakaway enclave, putting an end
to months of political uncertainty. Turkish Cypriot `PM'
Mehmet Ali Talat resigned in October in an apparent bid to
boost his party's mandate. Turkey gave an assurance at the
EU summit in Brussels that it would sign an EU protocol that
would effectively recognize Cyprus before entry negotiations
with the EU in early October of next year. Before then,
Ankara hopes the two sides will reach a comprehensive peace
settlement on the island. Papers report that the Greek
Cypriots are expecting the UN to present the Cypriots with a
new peace plan after the April presidential elections in
north Cyprus next year. Denktas has said he will not be a
candidate in those elections.

125,000 displaced Turks can't return home: A parliamentary
commission draft report advised the Turkish government to
facilitate the return of displaced people to their villages
in the mainly Kurdish area of southeastern Turkey, and thus
prevent any possible damage to the image of the country,
Monday's "Hurriyet" reports. Statistics released by the
Interior Ministry show that 930 villages and 2,018 hamlets
had been evacuated during Turkey's struggle against
separatist terrorism. 353,000 people left their villages
from 12 provinces in the southeast, and only 130,000 had
returned as of November 2004.

Ankara eases work of minority foundations: Turkey has
transferred 296 pieces of real estate to non-Muslim
foundations as its first move in continuing the reforms
following the EU decision to begin entry talks with Ankara,
"Hurriyet" reports. Henceforth, minority foundations will
be allowed to accept donations and sell assets. Turkey has
161 minority foundations, mostly owned by Greeks and
Armenians.

Iraqi war causes heavy psychological problems: "Cumhuriyet"
quotes international wire reports concerning the Iraq war's
heavy psychological toll on US troops. American soldiers
fighting in Iraq suffer from severe depression, deep
anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to
research by the US military. Experts expect about 100,000
soldiers to require psychological therapy soon.


EDITORIAL OPINION:

"Worrying Aspects of the EU Decision"
Sedat Ergin observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (12/19):
"Getting a definite date for the start of EU accession talks
is a development of historic importance. Nevertheless, this
positive development doesn't stop us worrying about some
parts of the decision adopted in Brussels. The most
controversial aspect of the report is that accession talks
with Turkey would be `open ended,' and the outcome can not
be guaranteed. The report also states that full membership
is not given, Turkey should be kept `closely anchored' to EU
structures. Naturally, Turkey has been disturbed by these
phrases. None of these conditions has been given to other
candidate countries. Moreover, the end of the process had
been clouded right from the start by implying a `special
status' for Turkey as an alternative to full membership.
Similar problems are evident on the issue of free
circulation as well. Each EU country has been given the
right to enforce its own rules that would restrict the free
travel of Turks within the EU. This will make it difficult
for Turkey to become a part of the Schengen system. It is
only natural to apply temporary restrictions on free travel,
as has been done with the ten new members. However,
permanent restrictions would give Turkey a kind of second
class membership. In addition to all of this, the opening
of the negotiations - though announced for October 3, 2005 -
will actually be delayed for six months until a `screening
process' is completed. This means that, in reality, the
talks will not begin until April 2006 - assuming, of course,
that the Cyprus issue is sorted out by then. In short, one
can say that Turkey has gained an additional nine months by
freezing the Cyprus problem in Brussels. The big fight with
the EU will come next autumn."

"What is Historic in this `Historic' Summit?"
Selcuk Gultasli commented from Brussels in the Islamist-
intellectual "Zaman" (12/20): "What does the EU summit in
Brussels mean for Turkey? Are we getting closer to the end,
or are we going to be stopped on the outskirts of Brussels?
It is not possible to interpret the final communique from
the summit as a victory or a great success. Unfortunately,
Ankara could not fend off the condition of a `privileged
partnership' and permanent restrictions on free movement.
Moreover, the October 3 negotiation date been connected with
a resolution on the Cyprus issue. Despite all of these
negative elements, the summit does represent an historic
turning point for Turkey. If we leave the technical angle
to one side and look at the big picture, we see that the
flame of reform, which has been burning for the last two
years in Turkey, has been strengthened. Turkey will bring
itself to contemporary standards. This has great
importance. While the EU tries to keep Turkey anchored to
its own structures during this process, Turkey will become a
regional power through the application of these reforms. In
short, turning the EU's hesitant, reluctant decision into an
historic one depends on Ankara. Let's continue the
reforms."

EDELMAN

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