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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.




E.O. 12958: N/A


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


New Torture Scandal in Ramadi - Aksam
Washington Times: Gold Medal to Turks for Anti-Americanism -
Hizbullah Demonstrators Urge Syria Not to Leave Lebanon -
Bush: Freedom Will Prevail in Middle East - Sabah
Russia Kills Separatist Chechen Leader Maskhadov - Milliyet
Bush Assigns `Hawkish' Envoy Bolton to UN - Sabah
Assignment of Bolton to UN is Bush's `Slap' at UN - Milliyet
Clinton to Undergo Heart Surgery - Sabah

US Troops Make Movie of Torture in Iraq - Zaman
Abu-Ghraib Comes to Ramadi - Yeni Safak
Erdogan, Baykal Stand Together Against Armenian `Genocide' -
Yeni Safak
Maskhadov `Martyred' by Russian Army - Yeni Safak
Hizbullah Takes Stage, Lebanon Divided into Two - Cumhuriyet
Hizbullah Urges `Occupier' Syria to Stay in Lebanon -
Abbas Criticizes Israel for Delay in Withdrawal - Cumhuriyet
Israels Test New Lora Missiles - Yeni Safak
London Mayor: Al-Qaeda Terror Inspired by Israel -
Kosovo PM resigns - Zaman
Georgia's FM Zurabishvili Due in Ankara Tomorrow - Radikal

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EU Urges Ankara to Sign Protocol, Continue Reforms: The
European Union's Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said
on Tuesday that a change in mentality is needed for Turkey
to embrace democratic reform and become part of the EU.
Rehn called on Ankara to put an end to the torture of
prisoners, and made a visit to a rehabilitation center for
victims of torture in Istanbul. Rehn said it is important
for Turkey to move in time for an upcoming EU report that
will review progress on democratic reforms. The report will
be published in November, one month after the EU and Turkey
are set to begin membership talks. `It will be embarrassing
for Turkey to receive a critical review one month after the
opening of the negotiations,' Rehn noted. Rehn's visit was
overshadowed by a police crackdown on a women's rally in
Istanbul last weekend. Brussels sharply criticized the
police for using `disproportionate force' against the
demonstrators, mostly women. Rehn also called on Ankara to
extend its customs union agreement with the EU in a way that
will cover all new members, including Cyprus. This
condition must be fulfilled before the start of entry talks,
he stressed. `The European Commission continues to support
the resumption of Cyprus talks under the auspices of the
United Nations. We are ready to play an active role to
prepare the ground for this goal,' Rehn added. Before
flying out of Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Tuesday, Rehn
called on Ankara to show `zero tolerance' toward torture, to
broaden political reform, to facilitate development in
southeast Turkey, and to stabilize the economy. He
cautioned that the road to accession will be `long, uneven
and winding.'

US Accuses Islamist Paper of Working With Al-Qaeda Websites:
The US Embassy in Ankara claimed that the Islamist-oriented
"Yeni Safak" daily used a report taken from a jihadist
website to accusw American forces of using chemical weapons
in Iraq, "Milliyet" reports. According to the Embassy
statement, the real source of the report was the pro-al-
Qaeda website. The statement notes that the
false claim later appeared on the official Cuban news
service, Prensa Latina. The story appeared in newspapers in
Turkey, Iran, and China, according to the Embassy.

AKP, CHP Unite to Counter Armenian `Genocide' Claims: On
Tuesday, PM Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference in Ankara
after talks with opposition leader Deniz Baykal that Turkey
is ready to open its archives to those who charge that Turks
committed `genocide' against Armenians in 1915. He also
called for an unbiased study by historians of such claims.
`If there remains a need for a political settling of
accounts after such a study takes place,' Erdogan said,
`then Turkey's government and opposition are ready to do
that.' Baykal joined Erdogan at the press conference to
stress his party's backing for an independent inquiry into
the accusations, which he said are being fed by `political
lobby groups' and others with a political agenda.

Minorities' Hands `Tied' on Property Assets: Turkey's
National Property Directorate hurriedly sold a building it
had seized from the `Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital' in
Istanbul without waiting for the outcome of an appeal by the
Armenian community to the European Court of Human Rights
(ECHR) to annul the sale, "Radikal" reports on its front
page. Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of Turkey's only Armenian
daily, "Agos," sharply criticized the sale, saying that
`mafia' methods had been used to expropriate and sell the
property. Dink said that 41 assets of the Armenian
community had been confiscated through decisions by the
Court of Cassation (Yargitay).

Denktas Approves New Coalition Government in North Cyprus:
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas approved a new coalition
government on Tuesday presented by outgoing PM Mehmet Ali
Talat, who won early elections last month. The new
government is a renewed alliance between Talat's Republican
Turkish Party (CTP) and the Democrat Party (DP) of Serdar
Denktas. Talat's CTP won led the February 20 polls, gaining
24 seats in the 50-member parliament, while Denktas' DP
obtained 6 seats. Talat is widely expected to run in the
April 17 presidential elections in north Cyprus. If Talat
is elected president, papers expect CTP Secretary-General
Ferdi Sabit Soyer to follow him as the next `prime

Erdogan-Annan to Meet in Spain: PM Tayyip Erdogan is to
meet tomorrow with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at an
international security symposium organized by the "Club de
Madrid" in Madrid, Spain. Erdogan is expected to urge Annan
to renew attempts to resolve the Cyprus question under a
United Nations framework, "Yeni Safak" reports.

Fifth Lawmaker Quits AKP: Mehmet Erdemir, a member of
parliament from the ruling AK Party's nationalist wing,
resigned from the party on Tuesday, saying party had become
too far removed from the people who elected it. He charged
that decision-making in the AKP is concentrated in a few
hands, and that democracy is being blocked. The AKP retains
a large majority, holding 362 seats in the 550-seat

Protests Against Emine Erdogan on Headscarf Issue: All
papers report small protests against Emine Erdogan during
her appearance yesterday at a conference at Ankara's Bilkent
University. As the Prime Minister's wife was delivering her
remarks, two leftist students began shouting and were
roughly removed from the hall by Mrs. Erdogan's security
detail. Four young women in headscarves subsequently held
up signs protesting the Government's inaction on the
headscarf issue. The women were escorted from the hall by
famale police.


"No to War"
Mete Cubukcu commented in the leftist-opinion maker "Birgun"
(3/9): "A small group of Turks who stand against all wars
and occupations paid a modest but effective visit to Syria
to draw attention to such dangers in the region. Around
sixty people from the `East Conference Initiative' and the
`Global Peace and Justice Coalition' went to Damascus to
give support to the Syrian people in their struggle against
the threat of war and occupation. The main aim of the
civilians who went there was to express their opposition to
the occupation policies in the region and draw the Turkish
people's attention to this issue. This was an entirely
civilian initiative undertaken order to bring these
occupation policies to the world's agenda. The people of
this delegation oppose repressive policies all over the
world, including in Turkey. . Syria is nothing more than a
symbol to show that we should not surrender ourselves to
repressive policies. Therefore, the joint message from our
trip to Syria is rather important: `La Lil Harp,' which
means `No to War.'" (embassy editor's note: the `purely
civilian' delegation from Turkey met with Mrs. Asad and
several ministers of the Syrian Government during the visit
to Damascus.)

"The Peace is Still Far Away"
Kenan Akin observed in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (3/9):
"In May 2000, Israel ended its 22-year occupation of South
Lebanon. This initiative has increased the pressure on
Syria to withdraw its military forces from Lebanon as well.
In June 2001, Syrian forces pulled out from large areas of
the Beirut region. In September 2004, the UN Security
Council demanded that Syria withdraw its military forces
from Lebanon and refrain from interference in Lebanon's
internal affairs. At the insistence of Syria, the Lebanese
Parliament extended the term of the pro-Syrian President
Lahud. Former Prime Minister Hariri was killed in an
assassination on February 14. After this development, Syria
started to withdraw its military forces from Lebanon,
heeding a warning from the United States. But still, the
winds of war in the region have not stopped. One danger is
that the Syrian `hawks' may use this withdrawal as a pretext
to take action against the young President Assad. It is a
well established custom that the Syrian military topples
presidents who oppose it."


© Scoop Media

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