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.

151545Z Mar 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


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Edelman Calls on Turkey to Join International Consensus on
Syria - Milliyet
Sezer to Urge Syrian Pullback During Damascus Visit -
US Embassy Denies Turk Released From Guantanamo - Hurriyet
General Buyukanit: Turkey Has No Iraq Policy - Hurriyet
Zarkawi Plans Attacks Against `Soft Targets' in US - Sabah

Edelman Advises Turkey to Support UN Resolution on Syria -
US Urges Turkey to Pressure Syria - Radikal
Straw Reiterates UK Support for Turkey's EU Drive - Radikal
Turkish Driver Killed in Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Syria Leaves Northern Lebanon - Yeni Safak
Lebanese Hold Mass Rally in Beirut - Cumhuriyet
Sharon Rebuffs Palestinian Calls for Ceasefire - Cumhuriyet
Palestinian Groups Ready for `Conditional' Ceasefire - Zaman
Turkey Leads European Countries with 9.6 Percent Growth -


Ambassador Edelman on Syria, US/Turkey: US Ambassador Eric
Edelman called on Turkey to join the international call for
a full and immediate Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. The
Ambassador made the statement during his visit to the
northwestern city of Bursa. Responding to questions after
calling on the Bursa governor, Edelman stressed the
international consensus behind a UN Security Council
resolution 1559: `We hope that Turkey will also join that
international consensus, in supporting a thorough and
immediate Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. A number of
reports commented that the US views President Sezer's
planned visit to Damascus in April as `untimely.' On claims
of anti-Americanism in the Turkish press, Edelman said he is
aware of turkish concerns about the situation in Iraq and
the US military presence in Iraq. But he also stressed the
need for accuracy in press reports: `What concerns us most
is that much of the time news reports are based on
conspiracy theories. Ambassador Edelman also said the US
wishes to have a long-term friendship with Turkey.
Mainstream dailies regard the Edelman remarks as an official
`warning' or even an `ultimatum' to Ankara. Despite
`warnings' by the United States, "Hurriyet" proclaims,
President Sezer has not canceled his visit to Syria. The
Turkish President will likely urge Syrian president Assad to
accede to demands by the US and EU to pull out of Lebanon,
the paper speculates. An unidentified US official told
"Hurriyet" that Sezer's visit to Damascus could be positive
if he were to clearly call on Assad to comply with the
demands of the international community.

FM Gul Visits Britain: In a joint press conference after
meeting with the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in
London Monday, FM Abdullah Gul said that Turkey will sign an
adaptation protocol with the EU for expanding Turkey's
customs union agreement with the EU in a way to cover new
member states, including Cyprus. Gul stressed, however,
that the signing will not amount to recognition of the Greek
Cypriot administration. Straw reiterated Britain's support
for Turkey's bid to join the European union. In earlier
remarks the same day, Gul recalled the broad support given
by the Turkish Cypriots to the UN-backed plan for
reunification of Cyprus last year. `Despite this fact, the
isolation of the Turkish Cypriot side has continued, while
the Greek Cypriots are being honored,' he added. The
Turkish foreign minister said relations between Turkey and
Armenia have been improving in recent years, saying efforts
are continuing to reach a compromise between Armenia and
Azerbaijan. Gul rejected claims that the AK Party is
Islamist, or that it had a `hidden agenda.' On Iraq, Gul
said there is no alternative to a political solution,
underlining the significance of the first general elections
held in the war-torn country in January.

US Denies Turkish Detainee Released From Guantanamo: A US
Ankara Embassy official denied on Monday that a Turkish man
accused of ties with Al-Qaeda had been released from
Guantanamo and handed over to Turkish authorities. `There
has been no release of a Turkish citizen in recent days,'
the American official said, denying press reports claiming
that 23-year-old German-born Murat Kurnaz had been released
and flown to Incirlik Airbase in the southern city of Adana.

General Points to PKK Efforts to Regroup in SE Turkey: On
Monday, Turkey's Land Forces Commander General Yasar
Buyukanit said the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
has reformed itself in both Turkey and Iraq. General
Buyukanit said the position of Turkey in the struggle
against the PKK has been weakened, whereas the armed
strength of the terrorist organization in Turkey has reached
a level not seen since 1999, when PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan
was captured. Buyukanit complained about restrictions
placed on military actions in southeast Turkey following the
lifting of emergency rule in the region.

MFA Criticizes HRW Report on Displaced Kurds: Turkey's
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) criticized a report by
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the situation of displaced Kurds
in Turkey, describing the report as `far from realistic.'
The MFA statement claimed that the HRW report ignores
ongoing efforts to enable Turkish citizens displaced in the
1990s due to terrorism to return to their homes. The
statement noted that Turkey is cooperating with
international organizations including the UN and EU in an
effort to establish international standards with regard to
this issue. The HRW report had characterized figures
provided by the Turkish Government on returns of displaced
people to the southeast as `not credible.'

Court Ruling Bans Foreigners From Purchasing Real Estate:
Turkey's Constitutional Court on Monday annulled provisions
of a law allowing foreign nationals to buy land and property
in the country. The law, adopted by the Turkish parliament
in July 2003, had been strongly criticized by the opposition
and Turkish nationalists. A Court official said the ruling
did not mean that `foreigners cannot buy anything in
Turkey,' and called on the Parliament to pass modifications
that would put certain controls on foreign real estate
purchases. Some recent reports in the Turkish press have
claimed that companies from Israel have acquired large
amounts of land in southeast Turkey. "Zaman" says on its
front page that foreign business and tourism representatives
believe the court decision will mean a substantial loss of
revenues for Turkey. The Constitutional Court gave the
government until a summer deadline to passs modified

Turkish Truck Driver Killed in Iraq: A truck driver in a
Turkish convoy escorted by US troops was killed when his
vehicle hit a roadside bomb near the village of Al-Hajaj,
north of Baghdad. Reports say the convoy was traveling
south from the Turkish border and that the driver died
shortly after being rescued from the burning truck by US
soldiers. A similar attack in the same area over the
weekend killed an unidentified truck driver who was presumed
to be Turkish.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Regional Foreign Policy

"Beware of a Derailment on Foreign Policy"
Ilter Turkmen wrote in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (3/15):
"The ruling party AKP have presented us with a series of
confusing, if not horrifying, moves on foreign policy issues
such as Cyprus, the EU, and the Middle East. . Turkish
policy on the Middle East contains enough contradictory
elements to confuse anyone. While the entire world enthused
about the Iraq elections, Turkey was busy questioning their
legitimacy. Turkey's support for the Iraq Turkmen Front
(ITF) did not work very well, as we saw more Turkmen elected
from the Shiite and Kurdish candidate lists than from the
ITF. Turkey has been reluctant to support the UNSC
resolution calling for a complete Syrian pullout from
Lebanon. We somehow elevated the role of the Islamic
Conference Organization out of all realistic proportion.
Turkey has also given the impression that religious motives
are playing a determinative factor in Turkish foreign policy
making. It seems that Turkish foreign policy has lost its
sense of priorities. . A multi-faceted foreign policy, as
AKP seems to prefer, is not a bad principle as long as it
does not prevent us from focusing on our priorities. As for
a `rhythmic' foreign policy, I have no idea what that means.
In any event, it appears that Turkish foreign policy is
suffering from `arhythmic' symptoms, and that Turkish
diplomacy has been reduced to a matter of internal

"Questions for Edelman"
Melih Asik argued in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (3/15): "US
Ambassador Edelman has called on Syria to comply with UN
resolution 1559 by withdrawing from Lebanon. It is indeed a
must for Syria to pull out. Yet this issue brings some
other questions to one's mind. Why is the Ambassador not
been making any comment regarding Israel's refusal to comply
with UN resolutions? Why is the US not pulling out of Iraq?
How is the American occupation of Iraq compatible with UN
resolutions? And one last question: the US is provoking
Israel against Iran -- how does this fit in with UN

"Washington Report: Trust in Turkey Has Been Shaken"
Sami Kohen observed from Washington in the mass appeal
"Milliyet" (3/15): "Turkey's credibility and its image in
Washington have been weakened. The US no longer views
Turkey as the old, loyal ally. Even if Turkey's reliability
is not being questioned oublicly by the US administration,
such doubts are being increasingly raised by researchers and
journalists. Growing anti-Americanism in Turkey and
Ankara's direction in foreign policy are the main sources of
skepticism and concern in Washington. An official told me
that although the US is being criticized in many allied
countries, the criticism in Turkey is more like an `attack'
that is bound to cause negative effects in bilateral
relations. It is noticeable that the Turkish government's
recent policies on regional issues have been a huge
disappointment and have created skepticism in Washington.
The US' expectation from Turkey is that Ankara would make
its differences known through diplomatic channels rather
than through the press. Both the US administration and the
other circles related to Turkey share the common hope that
the turbulence in the Turkish-US relations will be
eliminated by good-faith efforts on both sides. US
observers stress that the US Administration's pro-Turkey
stance depends on Turkey's behavior in its relations with
the US. The US has apparently passed responsibility to
Turkey to improve the bilateral relationship."

© Scoop Media

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