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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.

301429Z Mar 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


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


Ankara Approves EU Protocol, No Recognition of Cyprus -
90 US Congressmen Send Armenian `Genocide' Letter to Bush -
Erdogan Lobbies for Cyprus in Tunisia - Hurriyet
Moliviatis: Cyprus Talks to Begin After April 17 Elections -
US Says it Will Not Overthrow Assad in Syria - Cumhuriyet
Extremist Jews Oppose Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal Plan - Sabah
UN Investigative Committee Clears Annan, Blames Son - Sabah

FM Gul: Turkish Ports Closed to Greek Cypriots - Cumhuriyet
Armenian `Genocide' Lobby Launches Attack in US - Yeni Safak
Leading retired US Diplomats Challenge Bolton's Assignment
to UN - Radikal
The Soros Network: `Open Society' and `Dark' Funds -
Iraqi Democracy `Stumbles' at Second Parliament Meeting -
Barzani Opposes Dissolving Peshmerge Forces - Yeni Safak
US: Meeting Syrian Opponents Not an Attempt to Topple Assad
- Yeni Safak
Sarkozy: If Turkey is European, Why Not Morocco? - Zaman
Washington's Favorite Takes Power in Kyrgyzstan - Cumhuriyet
Lebanese PM Kerami to Resign Again - Radikal

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US Human Rights and Democracy Report: Turkish papers cover
the US State Department report on `Supporting Human Rights
and Democracy: The US Record 2004-2005.' Under its `Turkey'
chapter, the United States noted considerable progress but
urged the Turkish government to expand religious freedom,
prevent of torture, and work to combat human trafficking in
Turkey. The report also mentioned limitations on religious
expression in Turkey, and called for the government to
reopen Halki Seminary and acknowledge the `Ecumenical'
nature of the Patriarchate. Islamist-oriented "Zaman"
complains that the report did not touch on the issue of
headscarves, which affects tens of thousands in Turkey.

Ankara Extends EU Protocol to Include Cyprus: Turkish media
report that Ankara has sent a letter to the European
Commission confirming it is ready to sign an additional
protocol extending its customs union with the EU to 10 new
members, including Cyprus. Ankara and Brussels exchanged
letters Tuesday to agree on the wording of the protocol,
which must be approved by the European Parliament before
being signed by Turkey and the EU term president. The
additional protocol needs to be approved by the Turkish
Parliament before taking effect. The protocol does not
include a reservation with regard to Ankara's recognition of
Cyprus. On Tuesday, FM Gul told AKP lawmakers at a group
meeting that the Customs Union agreement between Turkey and
the EU was related to the free circulation of goods, and
that the opening of Turkey's ports and airports to trade
with Greek Cyprus was out of the question. Gul stressed
once more that Turkey will not recognize Nicosia before a
lasting solution is found for the divided island. Turkish
papers comment that the final obstacle to membership talks
with the EU in October has now been removed, and the ball
has now been passed to the Europeans. Leftist-nationalist
"Cumhuriyet" claims that, although the signing of the
protocol does not technically constitute political
recognition of Cyprus, it is a `de facto' recognition within
the EU framework. "Milliyet" believes that Ankara will give
the Greek Cypriots access to Turkish ports and airports in
exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions on the
Turkish Cypriots.

Paper Evaluates Soros' `Interest' in Turkey: George Soros'
`Open Society Institute' has spent $5 million in Turkey
since 2001, largely to support civil society projects to
encourage domestic reform, the leftist-nationalist
"Cumhuriyet" reports. The Institute has granted $200
thousand to needy people in Turkey through the Turkish `Food
Bank Project,' which covers many underdeveloped provinces.
The Soros Institute's Turkey branch is founded and run by
prominent local journalists, academics, and NGO
representatives. The "Cumhuriyet" report says that the
`Open Society Institute' has been instrumental in political
uprisings in the former Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Georgia, and

Vorkink Praises Turkish Economy, Points to Inequalities:
World Bank Turkey Director Andrew Vorkink said on Tuesday
that Turkey has shown remarkable macroeconomic progress in
recent years. Vorkink noted that whjile there are still
some risks, the banking sector has improved drastically.
Vorkink was speaking to a seminar held by the World Bank
Turkey and sponsored by the Turkish Industrialists and
Businessmen Association (TUSIAD) and the International
Finance Corporation. According to Vorkink, the Turkish
economy remains fragile due to high budget deficits, high
unemployment, a large unregistered economy, and insufficient
privatization. He urged Turkey to bring down the inflation
rate to 5 percent in the near future. Vorkink underlined
that 27 percent of Turks earn less than $2.15 per day and
live under the poverty line. Vorkink urged the Turkish
Government to accelerate steps to improve conditions for
foreign investors in Turkey.

Official Orders Pamuk's Books Destroyed: A district sub-
governor in Isparta province (western Anatolia) issued a
directive ordering that novels written by the world-famous
Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk be removed from libraries in his
district and destroyed. The sub-governor said his decision
was in reaction to Pamuk's comments on claims that 1 million
Armenians were killed by Ottoman forces in World War One.
According to some press reports, the sub-governor's
directive had no practical effect, because none of Pamuk's
novels could be found in the Isparta district.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Kyrgyzstan; Transatlantic Relations;

Abdulhamit Bilici wrote in the Islamist-intellectual "Zaman"
(3/30): "It came as no surprise to see a revolutionary
process take place in Kyrgyzstan, especially after similar
events in Georgia and Ukraine. There are parallels to be
drawn from all three cases, and it is clear that the current
international current of events has helped to create another
`velvet revolution.' All three countries had systems that
were liberal enough to allow for some kind of opposition,
even though political conditions were far from meeting
international standards. All three witnessed enormous
efforts on the part of non-governmental organizations to
influence the outcome. . A fast-paced market economy
characterized by corruption and endemic poverty among the
ordinary people was also a factor in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and
Georgia. . The only unexpected thing was was the timing of
revolution in Kyrgyzstan. Nobody expected it to happen less
than a month after the general elections."

"It is a Virtue to Be Capable of Admitting a Mistake"
Fehmi Koru argued in the Islamist-opinion maker "Yeni Safak"
(3/30): "The US has always been a powerful country, and
everybody used to regard its norms as a benchmark. There
is, however, a big difference between the US in the past and
the US as it is today. American power used to be based on
US values that played a significant role in giving the
United States moral authority to act in the world. Current
US values can be summed up in one phrase - the use of force.
With the exception of Israel, the US does not care what
other nations think of its policies. Joining the US used to
have a very positive meaning. Today, it has come to mean
just the opposite. . Every opinion leader has an historic
responsibility -- mistake should be called mistakes, and
positive developments should be portrayed in an objective

"Turkey, the US and Iraq"
Taha Akyol opined in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (3/30): "Up
to now, US military activity at Incirlik has fallen within
the Defense And Economic Cooperation Agreement (DECA) or
under UN resolutions. No one is talking about making
changes to the DECA. But the United States has proposed
that Incirlik be used as a `cargo hub.' This is not as
simple a concept as the name implies. The US wants to bring
large cargo planes full of military equipment, heavy
weapons, ammunition, and troops to Incirlik airbase. The
troops, weapons, and equipment would be massed at Incirlik
for a certain period of time, then transferred to smaller
planes for delivery to Iraq and afghanistan. When this
happens, Incirlik will become a `logistical control center'
as well as a military base. There is no truth to reports
that the US wants to use the cargo hub for operations beyond
Iraq and Afghanistan. In principal, Ankara views the US
request positively. But Turkey is also concerned about the
political angle of this issue. The Government does not want
to be seen as a US staging area for the Middle East. In
order to balance these worries, the US should eliminate
Turkey's concerns about Iraq. The United States should also
relent in its objections to Turkey's efforts to maintain
`neighborly relations' with countries in the Middle East.
But it seems that the US cannot accept this. The US stance
in Iraq contains lots of lessons for Turkey. By stopping
the US troop deployment on March 1, Turkey managed to stay
out of the war, but at the same time lost the chance to play
a significant role in the future of Iraq. Since the
rejection of a US troop deployment through Turkey on March
1, the US has turned a blind eye and even supported a change
in ethnic balances in Kirkuk. As a result of some other
mistakes by the US, there are now many obstacles to
establishing a legitimate Iraqi government. If the US had
listened to Turkey's warnings, Iraq's reconstruction would
be moving ahead on a sounder basis. In order to establish
stability in the region and to improve US-Turkey relations,
a more general political agreement is necessary. Incirlik
would be a very important element of such an agreement."


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