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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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 001980

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, APRIL 6, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Assad Gives Significance to Sezer Visit - Hurriyet
German Ambassador Advises Kurds to Break PKK Ties - Milliyet
Turkish Security Forces Launch Operation Against PKK -
Milliyet
Iraqi Parliament May Nominate Talabani as President - Sabah
Washington Times: US' New Friend is Greece, Not Turkey -
Sabah
Chevron-Texaco Buys Unocal - Aksam

OPINION MAKERS
200 Leaders to Attend Papal Funeral - Zaman
British Parliament: US Troops Use Excessive Force in Iraq -
Yeni Safak
Over 1 Million Iraqis Leave Country Following US Occupation
- Cumhuriyet
Sharon to Request US Financial Assistance for Withdrawal -
Yeni Safak
US Financial Support for Israel's Withdrawal - Cumhuriyet
US Issues Nuclear Warning for Israel - Yeni Safak
Blair Declares Early Polls on May 5 - Radikal
US Launches TOPOFF 3 Anti-Terror Exercise - Yeni Safak
Bush Supports Ukraine for NATO Membership - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Syria's Assad Comments on Upcoming Sezer Visit to Syria:
Syrian President Bashar Assad said on the eve of a visit by
President Sezer to Damascus April 12-13 that the visit by
the President of Turkey is important at a time of pressure
from the United States and other countries. Assad lauded
Turkey for not allowing other countries to interfere in its
decisions. The Syrian President said he would discuss with
Sezer the new role that Turkey has undertaken in the region:
`This role is appreciated not only in Syria, but in other
Arab countries as well,' Assad said, adding that the two
sides would also discuss Ankara's possible contribution to
peace between Israel and Syria. Assad stressed that
`feelings of brotherhood' prevail in Turkish-Syrian
relations. `Syria and Turkey are important states in the
region, but we are not superpowers in the international
arena, which gives us a reason to be concerned by
developments,' Assad noted. Assad blamed foreign
interference for the slow pace of reforms in Syria, and said
he regards former colonial powers and superpowers as the
main obstacles to democracy in Syria.

CHP Wants Parliamentary Decision on US Use of Incirlik
Airbase: Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader
Deniz Baykal warned the ruling AK Party that a decision to
allow the US wider use of Incirlik Airbase should be sent to
the parliament for approval, "Cumhuriyet" reports. CHP
deputy chairman and retired diplomat Onur Oymen claimed that
the US request to use Incirlik as a logistical support
center for military interventions fall outside of NATO's
mandate. `The US aims to control, through military force,
oil and the means of transport in the Middle East,' he said.
`Incirlik is an important base with its connections to
motorways, railways, and ports,' Oymen noted, and warned the
Turkish government against taking a decision without
approval from the parliament.

Armenian Diaspora `Splits' in US: Cracks have appeared
within the Armenian diaspora in the United States,
"Hurriyet" reports. The Armenian National Congress in
America (ANCA), an extension of the extremist Asnyaksutun
Party, accused the Armenian Assembly in America (AAA) of
supporting a `plot' hatched by the White House that would
work toward encouraging Ankara's recognition of Armenian
`genocide' claims in exchange for guarantees that Turkey
will not be asked to make territorial concessions or pay
compensation to Armenians.

EU Official Lashes Out at Turkey for Lack of Freedom of
Expression: Speaking to the private news channel NTV, Joost
Lagendijk, head of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary
Commission in the EU Parliament, said that the violent
reaction to a Women's Day rally by Turkish police and the
order by a provincial governor to confiscate the books of
renowned Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk because of his defense
of Armenian `genocide' claims had caused great
disappointment in Europe. `These are sad events,' Lagendijk
said, adding that such incidents are more important than the
passing of new laws. He criticized Turkish leaders for not
having issued statements in defense of Pamuk's freedom of
expression. Langedijk said that Turkey's `internal affairs'
are now `EU affairs,' and warned Turkey to expect further
criticism from the EU. He urged Turkey to be pro-active in
dealing with the Kurdish and Armenian issues. `You
shouldn't just sit there and wait for a sledgehammer to fall
on your head before you act,' he said. Responding to a
question on Ankara signing the expansion of the customs
union for new members of the EU, including Nicosia,
Lagendijk said that this would not mean Turkish political
recognition of the Greek Cypriot side.

German Ambassador on Turkey, Iraq, US: German ambassador
Wolf-Ruthart Born urged Kurdish activists in Turkey to break
ties with the PKK rebel movement and keep open channels for
dialogue. Born called on former Democracy Party (DEP)
lawmaker Leyla Zana and her colleagues to openly declare
their opposition to terrorism and violence. Born also
pointed to problems encountered by religious minorities in
Turkey, including the issue of the training of Orthodox
clergy. The German ambassador stressed that Armenian moves
in Europe to gain recognition of `genocide' claims should
not be regarded as a sign of enmity towards Turkey. Germany
has agreed to contribute to democratization efforts in Iraq,
Born asserted. `Germany, like Turkey, is an ally and friend
of the United States, so we should be careful in our
criticism of Washington,' Born noted.

Turkish Security Forces' Operation Against PKK: Air and
ground operations launched by Turkish security forces
against PKK militants in the Cudi and Gabar Mountains of
Sirnak in southeastern Turkey are expanding, papers report.
Two brigades and 2,000 village guards are participating in
the operations, which are said to be the largest-scale
operations in the southeast in the past 5 years. Some 1,500
PKK terrorists are estimated to be in the region, and 9 PKK
militants and a Turkish sergeant have already been killed
during the clashes.

PM Erdogan to Attend Papal Funeral: Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan will travel to Italy on April 8 to attend funeral of
Pope John Paul II. State Minister Mehmet Aydin, AKP
lawmakers Irfan Gunduz and Akif Gulle, and Erdogan's Foreign
Policy Advisor Egemen Bagis are in the Turkish delegation
that will go to the Vatican with Erdogan. The Armenian
Orthodox Archbishop in Istanbul, Mesrob Mutafyan II, will
also attend the funeral on Friday.

IPF Slams New Turkish Penal Code: The International Press
Federation (IPF) said Tuesday that the new Turkish Penal
Code is a clear sign that the government is trying to censor
the media, and called on the ruling AK Party to amend the
code to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of the
Turkish media. In a letter to PM Tayyip Erdogan, the IPF
voiced concern that more than 25 articles of the new code
would restrict the right of free reporting and could result
in arbitrary jail sentences. The Turkish parliament
deferred implementation of the new penal code, which was
supposed to take effect April 1, after widespread criticism
of many of its provisions.

Turkish Photographer Receives Pulitzer Prize: Photographer
Murad Sezer of the Associated Press (AP) in Turkey became
the first Turk to win a Pulitzer prize for his picture of US
soldiers in Iraq praying for dead comrades, Turkish papers
report. Sezer received the prize for his photograph showing
a group of American troops praying for fallen comrades in
Fallujah in April 2004. The photograph was used by number
of US dailies.

President Sezer Vetoes Law Allowing More University Students
to Become Policemen: President Sezer blocked a draft law by
the ruling AK Party which would have allowed more university
students to enter the police force. Reports speculate that
Sezer feared that graduates of religious (imam-hatip)
schools would have wanted to become policemen.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Pope John Paul II; Fight Against
Terrorism

"After the John Paul II"
Mehmet Aydin, a university professor, commented in the
Islamist-intellectual "Zaman" (4/6): "John Paul II, known as
a dynamic, tolerant, moderate pope, was made a beloved
figure both in the Catholic and Protestant worlds. During
his term, a Jewish Synagogue and a magnificent mosque for
Muslims were built in Rome. This was a strong indication of
his commitment to religious tolerance. His death has caused
a profound sadness all over the world. We have been
watching masses of mourning and prayer for him in St.
Peter's Square, and we feel solidarity with those who have
gone there. . The Vatican, meanwhile, is now busy with
choosing a new pope. It is more important than ever before
that the new pope is a democratic, tolerant peacekeeper who
is open to dialogue rather than an aggressive, ideologically-
obsessed fanatic. A good selection would make a significant
contribution to world peace."

"John Paul II"
Ergin Yildizkan wrote in the leftist-nationalist
"Cumhuriyet" (4/6): "The timing of choosing the new pope is
very important. John Paul II was a pope of the power
(`instrumentum regni'). It remains to be seen whether the
new pope will manage to be a pope of love and justice
(`instrumentum Christi'). . John Paul II stood against the
Iraq war, but that can be seen as part of the cultural power
struggle between Catholics and Protestant Evangelists. The
new pope will serve in a highly critical point in
international affairs. The Bush administration is trying to
pursue an imperial policy, so the stance of the new pope is
very important for Washington. The Bush administration
might run into difficulty trying to implement its imperial
policies unless it has the stamp of approval of the Vatican.
. Nevertheless, there seems very little hope that the new
pope will be the `instrumentum Christi.'"

"The US Flirt with Radical Islam"
Mete Cubukcu commented in the leftist-opinion maker "Birgun"
(4/6): "There is speculation that developments in Iraq,
Palestine, and Lebanon will push supporters of radical Islam
to a more moderate position in the political arena.
Developments in Iraq to one side, the positions of Hamas and
Hizbullah position will also redefine radical Islam's goals
in the region. Will it be beneficial to draw these
organizations into the legal political system? If these two
organizations could become legalized, in time they could
surrender their arms, follow a moderate policy, and help to
change the future of the Middle East. It is also possible,
however, that if these organizations were allowed into the
political arena they would insist on Islamic practices or
perhaps even Sharia. Of course, all these developments
depend directly on the stance of Israel, the US, and the EU.
In recent months, the US and the EU have signaled a
willingness to improve relations with Hizbullah and Hamas
only if they were to reject their terrorist past. Moreover,
it is known that the certain circles in the US have had
meetings with the radical Islamic organizations in the
region. In short, it is possible for Washington to move
closer with Islamic groups regardless of their radical
orientations. That is why the US has recently presented the
hideous elections in Saudi Arabia as an example of
`democratization.' While the threats and occupations
continue in the Middle East in the name of democratization,
one should be prepared for more `democracies' to surface in
the coming years."

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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