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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.

211502Z Dec 04

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 007100

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 21, 2004


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Nation's leaders bid farewell to Turkish policemen killed in
Mosul - Hurriyet
Erdogan wants US forces, IIG to capture killers of Turkish
guards - Milliyet
Claims that US is responsible for killing of Turks is `sheer
nonsense' - Aksam
Israel lauds EU decision for entry talks with Turkey -
Hurriyet
Erdogan says solution could be united Cyprus or two federal
states - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan weeps for Turkish policemen killed in Iraq - Yeni
Safak
France continues discussing Turkey - Zaman
Greek Cypriots again threaten to veto Turkey's EU entry
talks - Cumhuriyet
Iraqi Shiite leaders blame al-Qaeda for attacks in Najaf,
Karbala - Cumhuriyet
Turkish truck driver killed in Tikrit - Yeni Safak
Tunisian astrologer predicts Bush will be killed in 2005 -
Yeni Safak
Afghanistan makes first official accord with Turkey - Yeni
Safak


BRIEFING

Funeral for Turkish guards killed in Iraq: Turkey's top
leaders -- President Sezer, PM Erdogan, FM Gul and Chief of
Staff General Ozkok -- attended a funeral ceremony on Monday
at the interior ministry along with hundreds of soldiers and
policemen for five Turkish policemen killed in an ambush
near Mosul, Iraq. The Turkish leaders promised to make
every effort to capture and punish the attackers. `Turkey
should not have paid such a price -the lives of 80 of its
citizens -- for supporting Iraq,' PM Erdogan said. Erdogan
called the attackers `terrorists and murderers' and promised
to urge the US-led coalition forces and the Iraqi interim
government to capture the assailants. `Turkey is a country
that values Iraq's territorial and political unity and
extends it humanitarian aid more than any other country,'
Gul said at the ceremony. `Unfortunately, there are
traitors and cowards who fail to appreciate Turkey's
generosity.' An official from the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF)
in Mosul told the Turkish press that security personnel who
were en route to their embassy in Baghdad were killed in a
gunfight that lasted about an hour. One of the Turks was
reportedly beheaded. US forces who control the region
killed two of the assailants, papers report. "Radikal"
reports that all signs pointed to groups affiliated with
Zarkawi as the perpetrators of the attack. Eyewitnesses
reportedly saw Zarkawi's men checking the route that the
Turks would takes. Other papers, including the mainstream
"Milliyet" and "Sabah," suggest the possibility of PKK
involvement. Yalcin Bayer, a columnist in "Hurriyet,"
claims the attack was carried out by a hit squad trained in
Iraq by Israeli special forces. "Hurriyet" report that a US
official dismissed charges by Turkey's First Army Commander,
General Hursit Tolon, implying that the US was responsible
for the incident: `Holding the US responsible for such a
tragic event is ridiculous,' said the official. He added
that `we have lost more than 1,200 US troops in Iraq so far.
The US Administration and the American people are deeply
saddened by the death of the Turkish policemen,' the
official said. Papers report that US Ambassador Edelman
telephoned Turkish Interior Minister Aksu to express
condolences to the Ministry and the families of the victims.
A similar call was made by US Assistant Secretaryy of State
Elizabeth Jones to the Turkish Ambassador in Washington,
papers report.

Cyprus a thorny issue in Turkey's dealings with EU: Turkish
papers continue to speculate on Cyprus as the key point of
disagreement at the December 17 EU-Turkey accession talks in
Brussels. Ankara has given a verbal commitment to expand
its accession accord with the EU in a way that would cover
new member states. Since such an agreement would imply
indirect recognition of Nicosia by Ankara, the Turks want to
put a derogation on the related clause that would allow
Turkey to deny even an implicit recognition of the Greek
Cypriot government. Turkey will have to sign the accord
before October 2005, the start date for EU-Turkey accession
negotiations. EU regulations are valid only in south
Cyprus, and are not applied in the north, the Turks
reportedly told European leaders at the summit, adding that
Ankara's recognition of Nicosia would constitute a violation
of international law. Ankara wants US and UK help on the
issue before moving ahead to ratify the accord. `There is
not yet a settlement on Cyprus, and this is the main reason
why we will not recognize the Greek Cypriot administration,'
FM Gul told the press on his return form the Brussels summit
over the weekend.

Erdogan suggests fresh efforts for Cyprus solution: PM
Erdogan announced on CNN-Turk Monday evening that 2005 could
be a `year for solution' in Cyprus: `Next year, we may push
the button for a settlement in Cyprus,' Erdogan said. The
Greek Cypriot press strongly expects the US and UK to act on
the issue early next year, Turkish papers report. "Radikal"
urges the UN to renew its efforts for a solution in 2005,
and points out the importance of US and UK mediation in
efforts for reunification of the island.

Roadside bomb kills Turkish truck driver in Iraq: A
roadside bomb killed a Turkish truck driver traveling to
Tikrit in a US military convoy on Monday, papers report.
The driver has not yet been identified.

Erdogan due in Damascus: PM Erdogan will begin a two-day
official visit to Damascus on Tuesday. Erdogan will discuss
with the Syrians Iraq and the Middle East, and is expected
to sign two trade agreements.

ECHR head lauds Turkey's human rights improvement: European
Court of Human Rights (ECHR) President Luzius Wildhaber told
a Swiss newspaper that Turkey's flawed legal practices are
gradually approaching European standards. `Much work
remains to be done, but Ankara has modified its laws in
crucial areas,' Wildhaber said. `It is approaching our
system of fundamental values, which it had strongly opposed
before. Today, there are no longer many serious cases of
people who have disappeared under detention, or who have
been executed or tortured.' Turkey still has a long way to
go, Wildhaber said, noting that it would be `absurd' to
imagine that the country could change the practices of
several generations in a short time.


EDITORIAL OPINION:

Cyprus
The United States
Attack Against Turkish Personnel in Mosul

"How to Solve the Cyprus Issue"
Muharrem Sarikaya commented in the mass appeal "Sabah"
(12/21): "The Turkish Parliament gathered yesterday to
debate 2005 budget issues, but the deputies were more
interested in the results of the EU summit. Both the
government and the opposition members agree on the need for
a solution of the Cyprus issue. The responsible State
Minister, Abdullatif Sener, said that if a concrete solution
is needed for Cyprus, it could be achieved only after Turkey
becomes a full member of the EU. The reality is that no
viable plan has been developed for solving the Cyprus issue.
State officials are aware that resurrecting the Annan plan
would be rather dangerous. The solution lies with the
countries who can force the Greek Cypriots to resolve the
problem. The US and the UK are the most effective countries
in this regard. France is influential as well, but the
French are clearly in opposition to Turkey's full EU
membership. In short, for the next ten months Turkey should
stop acting so defiantly against the US, particularly
regarding issues that came up in the recent past and on
which other countries were seen to have remained silent."

"Our Five Martyrs"
Yilmaz Oztuna observed in the conservative, mass appeal
"Turkiye" (12/21): "The killing of five Turkish police
special forces is very serious, historic incident. This was
a vicious ambush. Most likely the movements of the Turkish
convoy were passed to the attackers by the PKK in Southeast
Turkey. Our intelligence should definitely find out the
identity of the attackers. They could be PKK members in
Northern Iraq or Barzani's peshmerge. Turkey should be
very careful in its approach to allegations that US forces
in Iraq did not intervene to prevent the killings. Surely
there have been negative factors like the March 1 vote, the
ecumenical Patriarch crisis, and criticism of the US on the
operation in Fallujah. However, accusing the US of
deliberately not protecting our men will put Turkey into a
dangerous and wrong position. It would be healthier to
approach the incident with the understanding that it was
done as part of an effort to spoil our alliance with the US.
Let us not fall into this trap. It is Turkey's fate to have
the challenge of keeping our relations with the US and the
EU in balance. If we fail to meet that challenge, we will
be harmed more than anyone else."

"Listen to Tolon Pasha"
Hikmet Cetinkaya wrote in the opposition "Cumhuriyet"
(12/21): Who is behind the shooting of the five Turkish
security personnel in Mosul? While this is being debated,
First Army Commander Hursit Tolon underlined a very
important point - there are those in the region who will
bite the hand that feeds them. On November 29, five leaders
of the PKK group responsible for Syria were killed between
Kirkuk and Mosul. Two days later, some in the PKK/Kongra-
Gel accused Syrian intelligence of orchestrating the attack.
But subsequent to that, Kongra-Gel vice chairman Duran
Kalkan said that Turkey had killed the five PKK.He also said
that the "Mosul attack would not go unanswered." The
vicious killing of five of our security personnel in Mosul
causes us to think, because five PKK were killed in the same
place 20 days earlier. Was this action a case of the PKK
taking revenge? No announcement has been made yet, but it
is something people are talking about. The likelihood that
other Kurdish groups and the United States had a hand in
this as well is also gathering strength. This confusing
chain of relationships needs to be sorted out. Ocuupiers
who would put sacks over the heads of Turkish soldiers could
be capable of all kinds of things. The government needs to
get to the bottom of this bloody incident. The political
leadership should be as sensitive and open about this as
General Tolon.
DEUTSCH

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