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.

291246Z Dec 04




E.O. 12958: N/A


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Powell to "Paris Match": I Have No Regrets - Milliyet
US Calls on Sunnis to Join Iraq Elections - Aksam
Iraq Heads To Elections, Sunnis May Withdraw - Sabah
Bin-Ladin Calls For Death to Turks Doing Business With US in
Iraq - Milliyet
Bin-Ladin Declares Zarkawi His `Emir' in Iraq - Sabah
Abbas Vows to Follow Arafat's Path - Aksam
40 Turks missing after south Asia earthquake - Hurriyet
Humanitarian Aid Floods South Asia - Sabah

Armitage, Number 2 at State Dept, Will Discuss PKK in Ankara
- Zaman
Armitage Due in Ankara to Discuss Iraq, Cyprus - Cumhuriyet
Israel Expects PM Erdogan After FM Gul - Zaman
Bin-Ladin Issues Death `Fatwa' For All in Iraq, Including
Turks - Cumhuriyet
Bin-Ladin Threatens Turkish Firms in Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Slip of the Tongue or Rumsfeld's 9/11 Confession? Yeni Safak
Denktas promises not to run again for `TRNC' presidency -


Armitage due in Ankara: US Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage is due in Ankara on Sunday to discuss
differences over US policy in Iraq and the presence of PKK
terrorists in the region, Turkish papers report. Armitage,
who is to step down from his post along with Secretary
Powell early next year, is scheduled to meet Monday with PM
Erdogan, FM Gul and military officials, according to
reports. "Milliyet" comments that Armitage will also
discuss other issues, including US uneasiness with Iranian
and Syrian efforts to meddle in the Iraq elections, the
security of Turkish truck drivers in Iraq, and the situation
in Afghanistan, where Turkey will once again take over the
ISAF command in Spring 2005.

Turkish FM to visit Israel: FM Abdullah Gul will pay a
visit to Israel and Palestine January 4-5 following a period
of tension in relations between the two regional allies, the
MFA announced Tuesday. `The visit will address bilateral
relations with Israel
and Palestine as well as the Middle East peace process and
other regional issues,' the statement said. Gul is
scheduled to travel on to Jordan for a meeting of Iraq's
neighbors ahead of the January 30 elections there. A high-
level Israeli foreign ministry official told "Zaman" that
the Gul visit would open the path to a long-awaited call by
Turkish PM Erdogan. "Milliyet" notes that Washington does
not want relations between Turkey and Israel to be
downgraded, and considers it significant that FM Gul will be
visiting Israel."

US wants to take Sunnis to Iraqi ballot box: US Secretary
of State Colin Powell said at a press conference on Tuesday
that Sunni leaders ahould aim for the widest possible
participation by their community in the upcoming Iraqi
elections, Turkish papers report. Powell added that once
the Iraqi parliament is elected, it must ensure a
proportionate representation of all ethnic groups in the
country. The US is worried that a Sunni boycott of the
January 30 elections may leave the Iraqi parliament under
Shiite control, which could cause `excluded' Sunnis to join
marginal resistance groups, "Zaman" speculates.

Bin-Ladin calls for death to foreigners in Iraq: Osama bin-
Laden, in a televised statement on "Al-Jazeera" on Monday,
called for the death of all foreigners doing business and
providing goods to the `enemy' in Iraq, including Turks.
`Those who participate in the elections in Iraq will be
deemed infidels,' bin Ladin said.

Erdogan reiterates call on UN, EU for Cyprus settlement: PM
Erdogan told the Turkish parliament Tuesday that the United
Nations should revive peace talks between Greek and Turkish
Cypriots, adding that the EU also had a role to play in
efforts for a settlement on the divided island. `We cannot
protect Turkish interests on Cyprus by staying passive,'
Erdogan said. `Turkey must always be one step ahead and
take the initiative with courageous steps,' he added. The
Prmie Minister rejected opposition Republican People's Party
(CHP) claims that he planned to `sell out' the Turkish
Cypriots to make progress toward EU membership.

Britain releases Turkish drug baron: British authorities
released a Turkish drug baron, Nurettin Guven, following a
brief detention, despite Ankara's demand for him to be
extradited, "Hurriyet" reports. Guven, believed to be among
the key figures in the European drug trade, had been
convicted and sentenced to 15 years of prison in Turkey. He
acquired British citizenship after fleeing Turkey.


? US-Turkish Relations
? Iraq Elections
? PA Elections

"Our Old Friend America"
Turker Alkan wrote in the liberal intellectual "Radikal"
(12/29): "We are angry at the Americans, and from our point
of view, of course, we are right. They've taken our
soldiers, put sacks over their heads, and treated them as
prisoners. They haven't lifted a finger against the PKK,
which is in the process of regrouping. They are spoiling
Barzani and Talabani. They don't seem to care about Turkish
truck drivers being killed and Turkish businessmen being
kidnapped. They don't keep their word. The Turkmen in Iraq
are being pressured or ignored. But isn't there a message
that the United States is trying to send through all of
this? I think America is trying to say this: `Turks, we are
your friends, your brothers, even your strategic ally, but
you haven't done what is necessary in this relationship. You
left us alone at the most critical moment, when we were
about to go to war. You didn't keep your word. We are
supporting you now to the same extent you supported us
then.' This kind of language doesn't fit with diplomacy,
but I think that is the message being sent to us, at least
indirectly. There is something else that we are being told:
`Our work in Iraq is not yet finished, and it might even get
more difficult. Either you will give closer cooperation on
these issues, or else.there will be a Kurdish state in
northern Iraq, and the PKK presence will continue.' The
inattentiveness that the United States has shown toward our
requests may be a sign that a longer-term, strategic
bargaining is underway. America has many things it is
trying to achieve, not only in Iraq but in the Middle East
and North Africa as well. It may be able to achieve these
goals without Turkey. But there is no doubt that the job of
the US will be much easier, and the US will pay a much lower
price, if it has the support of the most developed and
powerful country in this region. But we also have the
responsibility to try to solve our own problems. We should
avoid thinking that everything in Iraq is under US control,
so the US is responsible for everything that happens there.
In fact, it is a debatable point how much control the US
actually has in Iraq. For example, in the case of the
attack against our security officials in Mosul, we blamed
the United States, we blamed the Kurds, we blamed the
Arabs.all of these accusations may be justified, but don't
we also need to point the finger of blame at ourselves?
Everyone going into Iraq is taking his life into his hands,
especially the Turks. In that environment, how smart was it
to load a car full of Turkish officials and send them down
that road like lambs to the slaughter? Didn't anyone stop
to think that they would be an easy mark? Would it have
been so hard to send them by plane, or at least in armoured
vehicles or with a security escort? I'm not accusing
anyone. But I am asking how appropriate it is to accuse the
US when there are things that we should have done but failed
to do.

Taha Akyol asserted in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (12/29):
"Iraq is rapidly moving toward an ethnic and religious
conflict. The recent assassination attempt against Shiite
leader El-Hakim is an obvious act of provocation. .
Fortunately, this provocative act did not have the intended
effect. The Shiite leadership decided not to retaliate, and
to continue to support the upcoming election process. On
the other hand, the terrorist leader Bin-Laden seems to be
working hard to pour more gasoline onto the fire. In a
recorded message, he did not condemn the assassination
attempt against El-Hakim, but rather called for a boycott of
the elections in Iraq. Moreover, he announced that El-
Zarkawi is the Al-Qaeda representative in Iraq. . Tension
between the Shiites and Sunnis is accelerating. The
election process will only serve to exacerbate that tension.
It is almost certain that the Kurds will take advantage of
the chaotic situation and take steps toward the division of
Iraq. There are tough days ahead for Iraq and the entire

"New Hopes in the Middle East"
Sami Kohen wrote in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (12/29):
"There are signs that some things may be going right in the
Middle East. These are small things and tiny details, yet
they constitute an important whole when we look at the big
picture. Given the current atmosphere, the upcoming visit
of the Turkish Foreign Minister to Israel and Palestine
becomes even more important. . The winner of Palestinian
elections will most likely be Mahmoud Abbas. He is known as
a moderate figure who has a realistic position regarding
Israel. There are credible signs that he will be willing to
establish a dialogue with the Israeli government when he
takes charge. The release of 159 Palestinian prisoners by
Israel is also an important gesture. Mahmoud Abbas does not
support violence, and he has characterized the intifada as
wrong. . Putting the pieces together, some positive
developments can be expected after the elections. It is not
possible yet to speak about optimism, but the newly
developing atmosphere in the region cannot be denied."


© Scoop Media

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