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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.

231512Z Mar 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001702

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
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

MASS APPEAL
Kurds to Be Given Iraqi Oil and Foreign Ministries - Aksam
Kurds Want Turkmen Out of Iraq Administration - Hurriyet
Greek F-16s Harass Turkish Jetfighters Over Aegean -
Milliyet
Kemal Dervis is Annan's Nominee for UNDP - Aksam
World Bank Expects No New Crisis in Turkey - Milliyet
Kyrgyz Uprising May Turn Into Civil War - Sabah
School Massacre in US - Turkiye
Feeding Tube Removed From Schiavo - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Iraqi Shiite Leader Issues Warm Messages for Ankara -
Radikal
Shiites, Kurds to Compromise in Iraq - Yeni Safak
Centrist Parties in Europe Shift to Anti-Islam - Zaman
Tulkarim Under Palestinian Control - Cumhuriyet
Arab League Calls on Israel to Compromise - Cumhuriyet
Iran Insists on Nuclear Program - Cumhuriyet
Thousands of Chechens Missing Under Detention - Yeni Safak
Annan Warns Against Rising Racist Terror - Yeni Safak
High-School Frenzy in US - Radikal
Kyrgyz Unrest Continues - Radikal
Kazakhstan Expects Turkeys' Support for `Central Asian
Union' - Zaman

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BRIEFING

Military, Government Condemn Attempts to Burn Turkish Flag:
The Turkish military and government leaders condemned the
burning of the Turkish flag by Kurdish protesters in
Turkey's southern port city of Mersin on Sunday during
celebrations of the Nevruz festival. A group of Kurds
chanted slogans for the release of PKK leader Abdullah
Ocalan and attempted to burn the Turkish flag. Six people
were hurt in clashes with police and 18 others were
arrested. The Turkish General Staff (TGS) strongly
condemned the action, calling it `traitorous': `This
country's unity and the Turkish flag, a symbol of that
unity, will never be left unprotected,' the TGS said in a
written statement. The military is losing patience and was
`forced' to respond to the incident after the government had
said nothing for two days, "Milliyet" comments. PM Tayyip
Erdogan said from Brussels where he was meeting with EU
leaders that prosecutors had launched an investigation into
the incident. Former Democracy Party (DEP) lawmaker Leyla
Zana also condemned the flag burning: `We have to show
respect for the country's shared values. The flag, for
which lives are sacrificed, is the most important value,'
Zana said. Pro-Kurdish Democratic People's Party (DEHAP)
Tuncer Bakirhan condemned the `provocation', and said the
Turkish flag is the flag of the Kurds as well.

Erdogan Attends EU Meetings in Brussels: PM Tayyip Erdogan
said after attending meetings of the European People's
Parties (EPP) in Brussels that Turkey will keep its promise
to sign the additional protocol of the Ankara Agreement
which includes Cyprus in Turkey's customs union agreement
with the EU. Erdogan said he had discussed tourism and
energy cooperation with Greek PM Karamanlis. Erdogan also
rejected criticism that Turkey has slowed its progress in
the European reform process.

OIC Ambassadors Pay `Secret' Visit to Turkish Cyprus: The
ambassadors of 8 countries of the Organization of Islamic
Conference (OIC) paid a discreet visit to northern Cyprus
March 11-14 at the invitation of the Turkish Cypriot
ambassador to Ankara, "Radikal" reports. Envoys from
Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Libya,
Bangladesh and Afghanistan met with Turkish Cypriot leaders
Mehmet Ali Talat and Serdar Denktas during their visit.
Greece attempted to block the visit, and Nicosia sent
protest notes to countries that allowed their envoys to
visit the Turkish Cypriot statelet in the north.

Denktas Says Will Leave Post Over Differences With AKP:
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas said he is leaving his
post because of differences with Turkey's ruling AK Party,
"Milliyet" writes. Denktas said it is the first time he has
not been in agreement with a Turkish government. Denktas
accused the Turkish government of being `insensitive' to the
Turkish people's feelings about Cyprus, and noted that he
would establish a civilian organization in north Cyprus to
unite Turks.

Iraqi Shiite Leader in Turkey: Ammar al-Hakim, son of the
Iraqi Shiite leader Abdulaziz al-Hakim (SCIRI) said that an
Iraqi government representing all sects and ethnicities in
the country will deal a serious blow to terrorism. Hakim
came to Istanbul as the guest of the Turkish Foreign
Ministry. He told a press conference on Tuesday that the
Kirkuk question will be discussed in the new Iraqi
parliament. `We are against the forceful deportation of
people from Kirkuk,' Hakim stressed. He said that PUK
leader Talabani is a `strong candidate' for Iraq president.
Hakim said that the Americans' pledge to leave Iraq is
ambiguous, since `we don't know when security will be
achieved' in the country. Hakim added that Iraqi officials
should have the final say on this issue. Hakim criticized
the killing of women and children by insurgents `who claim
to be acting in the name of Islam.' `Celebrations by some
groups after deadly attacks do not display the real
character of Muslims,' Hakim emphasized. He claimed that
such attacks are intended to increase tension between the
Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, and also help to extend the
presence of foreign troops. Hakim slammed some of Iraq's
neighbors for remaining silent in the face of terrorist
attacks. `Iraq is in a very difficult position,' Hakim
noted, and he urged Turkey to do all it can to help the
Iraqis.

Dervis a Candidate for UNDP Administrator: Candidates from
Kuwait, Britain, Turkey, Japan, Norway and the Netherlands
are in the running to head the UN Development Program
(UNDP), the UN's largest agency with an annual budget of
nearly $3 billion, papers report. The candidate from Turkey
is Kemal Dervis, a member of parliament, a former minister
of economic affairs, and a former World Bank vice president.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq's Second Anniversary; EU
Constitution

"Scenes From An Occupation"
Mete Cubukcu commented in the leftist "Birgun" (3/23): "Iraq
does not present us with a promising picture on the second
anniversary of the occupation. The cost has been more than
100,000 deaths and over 300 billion dollars. And today,
Iraq continues to suffer from a lack of fuel and unbearable
daily shortages, as well as from the ongoing resistance.
This is one side of the picture. On the other side, there
is an election process that was hailed as a big achievement
even though nobody has yet figured how the voting took
place. There is ongoing bargaining about the composition of
the new administration, as religious fundamentalist Shiites
try to reach a deal with the Kurds, who advocate a kind of
federalism. In sum, neither the Americans nor the Iraqis
are happy on the second anniversary of the occupation.
Because of all the chaos and uncertainty, the people of Iraq
are struggling to survive and are forced to focus on meeting
their daily needs rather than thinking about policies for
the future of the country."

"France is Determined to Say No"
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (3/23):
"The possibility that France could reject European
Constitution has the potential to create a real earthquake
in the EU. In this sense, the vote in France will be more
important than similar referenda to be held in other EU
countries. France is still the champion of the European
ideal as well as the driving force behind the union. If
French voters prefer to say no to this constitution, a
disastrous effect will be seen both in French domestic
politics and in the EU. . The issue has a very important
`Turkey dimension' as well. Those who advocate a vote
against the European Constitution in France are raising the
fear of Turkish EU membership to bolster their case. Turkey
has now become an object of fear in France. The number of
opponents of the constitution is on the rise partly because
of the view that a `no' to the constitution also means a
`no' to Turkey."

"Let Us Continue at Full Speed"
Sami Kohen commented in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (3/23):
"There have been recent claims that the AKP government has
lost its enthusiasm for EU entry. At least the signing of
the additional protocol for Cyprus would allow the
government to overcome this important problem.
Nevertheless, it shouldn't be forgotten that the protocol
has to be submitted to the Turkish Parliament for approval,
and that there is no guarantee that the Parliament is going
to support this agreement. The issue has now become a
serious concern for the government. If we accept that there
is stagnation on the part of the AKP government, the EU is
partly to blame as well. After the December 17 summit, EU
leaders also seemed to lose their enthusiasm for Turkey's
membership. They do not want to bring Turkey's EU entry on
to the agenda until the EU referendum in France in May. EU
officials who criticize Turkey for slowing down the process
should also keep this in mind. In any case, Turkey should
continue to move toward the EU at full speed."

DEUTSCH

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