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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.

071503Z Mar 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001208

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, MARCH 7, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
`Friendly Fire' Crisis Between Italy, US - Hurriyet
Zarkawi Operation in Samarrah - Hurriyet
Iraqi Assembly to Convene March 16 - Milliyet
US, UK, France Urge Immediate Syrian Pullback - Milliyet
Lebanese People Divided Over Syrian Withdrawal - Sabah
Washington Post Claims Turkey Killed 1.5 Million Armenians -
Aksam
Turkish Truck Driver Killed in Iraq - Hurriyet 3/6

OPINION MAKERS
Washington Post Lists Turkey Among `Criminal' Countries -
Yeni Safak
French Ruling Party Offers Privileged Partnership for Turkey
- Cumhuriyet
`TRNC PM' Talat Wants Presidency - Zaman
US Launches Samarra Operation to Get Zarkawi - Radikal
Venezuela's Chavez Accuses US of Using Nerve Gas in Fallujah
- Cumhuriyet 3/6
CIA Interrogated 9/11 Suspects Outside the US - Yeni Safak
Powell: No Need to Use Military Force Against Iran - Yeni
Safak
Tehran Warns US Not to Play With Fire - Cumhuriyet 3/6
Assad Signals Gradual Withdrawal From Lebanon - Radikal 3/6
US Finds Assad's Pledges for Withdrawal `Ambiguous' -
Radikal
Hizbullah Calls for Support for Syria - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

US Treasury Praises Turkish Economy: US Deputy Treasury
Secretary John Taylor said that Washington is very pleased

SIPDIS
by the positive economic developments in Turkey, Monday
papers report. `Turkey has taken steps forward toward a
better fiscal policy. Those measures are working,' Taylor
said.

30,000 Turkmen Forced to Leave Tal Afar - Turkmen
Representative: Mahmut Kasapoglu, Chairman of the Iraqi
Turkmen Solidarity Organization in Ankara, charged that
ongoing joint American-peshmerge operations and `looting' in
Tal Afar are aimed at removing the Turkmen presence that
stands between the Syrian Kurds and the northern Iraqi
region controlled by Barzani, "Yeni Safak" reported on
Sunday. Over 3,000 families have left Tal Afar since
September of last year, Kasapoglu said. Removing Turkmen
from Tal Afar would cut off geographical contact between
Turkey and the interior parts of Iraq, he added. Kasapoglu
called on Turkey to support the Turkmen population in Tal
Afar.

EU Encourages Ankara for More Reforms: Turkey must do more
to implement the political reforms it enacted before
membership talks with the European Union begin in October of
this year, European Commissioner for Enlargement Ollie Rehn
said on Sunday. Rehn stressed after talks with FM Abdullah
Gul that it is important that Turkey maintain forward
momentum on legal, political, and economic reforms. He
added that Turkey must do more to eradicate torture, expand
cultural rights and the rights of women, and protect non-
Muslim minorities. Rehn also said he received assurance
from FM Gul that Ankara would sign the EU protocol related
to Cyprus before October 3. Rehn said that signing the
protocol would not amount to recognition of the Republic of
Cyprus, and encouraged Ankara to move quickly on the issue.

Turkey's Directorate of Foundations Blocks Return of
Minorities' Assets: The rights of Turkey's non-Muslim
minorities have not been protected in a new law on religious
foundations despite a warning from the MFA Reform Monitor
Group, "Radikal" reported on Monday. The MFA had asked the
Directorate of Foundations to either return the assets of
minorities or pay a compensation fee. Otherwise, the MFA
believes, Turkey will face lawsuits in the European Court of
Human Rights (ECHR) and the issue will be viewed as a form
of pressure against religious minorities. However, the
Directorate of Foundations opposed the change in its
regulation, and decided that the return of assets to
minority groups is not possible.
Police Detain Women's Rights Protestors: Turkish police on
Sunday detained dozens of protesters after using pepper
spray and batons to break up a demonstration by women's
rights supporters in Istanbul. A group of around 150 people
gathered in Istanbul's Beyazit Square ahead of International
Women's Day on March 8. Police intervened to disperse the
group and detained 59 people, including 29 women.
Television footage showed police beating protesters,
including women, with batons and kicking them as they lay on
the ground.

Turkish Cypriot Parties Agree to Form Coalition: The two
leading Turkish Cypriot parties - the CTP of Mehmet Ali
Talat and the DP led by Serdar Denktas - have agreed to form
a coalition government following parliamentary elections in
north Cyprus last month. The present cabinet will remain in
place until the April 17 presidential elections that will be
held in the enclave. CTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat is
expected to enter the presidential race.

Another Turkish Driver Killed in Iraq: A Turkish truck
driver was killed by Al-Qaeda militants near Mosul in Iraq
on Saturday. The driver had been ferrying goods to US
forces. The identity of the driver was not immediately
available.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Transatlantic Relations; Syria

"The Show Staged by George Bush"
Kamuran Ozbir observed in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (3/7):
"President Bush spent a rather long time in the three
countries that were against the war in Iraq. He had
meetings with French president Chirac, German PM Schroeder,
and Russian President Putin. The goal of President Bush's
visits to the European Council and the EU Commission were to
show that he believes in European integration. There are
many reasons for both sides to show their people that they
are friends. The first and main reason is that, whether
people like it or not, George Bush will be in the White
House for the next four years. Another reason is that since
US military forces are very much stretched in Iraq, the
Europeans know that the US will not attack Iran or some
other country in the near future. Moreover, the Europeans
think this is a good chance for them to defend the use of
`soft power' in resolving the Iran crisis. There is no sign
in Bush's latest remarks that he is abandoning his `for us
or against us' rhetoric which has so grated on the
Europeans. Germany, France, and the British have urged
President Bush to support their continuing talks with Iran
within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions.
Bush should consider this position seriously. Moreover,
President Bush should consider Europe's view that the arms
embargo against China should be lifted. For their part, the
Europeans should accept the US point of view that Hizbullah
is a terrorist organization. Europe should take a broader
role in training Iraq's security units. The era in which
the US and Europe were under Soviet threat is now in the
past. Now, both sides perceive the threat in a different
way, yet each side still needs the other. European and US
leaders should now demonstrate that the US and Europe can
act like allies when it is necessary."

"The Common Front Against Damascus, and Turkey's Position"
Yasemin Congar wrote in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (3/7):
"The US administration has adopted the language of democracy
for the Middle East region. This rhetoric has been given
greater impulse after the elections in Afghanistan,
Palestine, and Iraq, and, most recently, the anti-Syria
demonstrations in Lebanon. Washington's argument in favor
of democracy highlights that the reality in this region is
changing. Therefore, every anti-democratic administration
must take this fact into consideration. What's more,
democratization rhetoric is now being used by everyone in
this region, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Both
President Bush and Secretary Rice are calling on capitals in
the region not to be `out of step' with the trend toward
democratization. . Every step toward democracy, whether
large or small, is positively noted. Even local elections
in Saudi Arabia, where women were not allowed to take part,
were regarded as an `insufficient but important step for
democratization.' In Turkey, meanwhile, we see that a group
of Turkish intellectuals and journalists has traveled to
Damascus to `express solidarity' with the Syrians `against a
US threat.' The Turkish Foreign Minister said last week
that President Assad is `beloved by his people and needs to
be strengthened.' If we read Turkish newspapers, we would
assume that only the United States is pressuring the Syrians
to withdraw from Lebanon. In fact, the Europeans, the
Russians, and even the Arab League are calling for the same
thing. It will be interesting to see where Ankara will
place itself on the democratization issue, and whether it
will continue its `different line' on the Syrian issue."

EDELMAN

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