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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.

071414Z Apr 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002028

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
THURSDAY, APRIL 7, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
A Kurdish President for Iraq - Milliyet
From Peshmerge Chief to Iraq Presidency - Sabah
Ankara Responds Positively to Election of Talabani - Vatan
Kurds' `Uncle Jalal' Elected Iraqi President - Aksam
Italy Takes Tight Security Measures for Papal Funeral -
Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Talabani Iraq's New Leader - Cumhuriyet
A Kurdish President in Baghdad - Radikal
Talabani Issues Message of Unity - Zaman
FM Gul: Talabani `An Experienced Politician' - Yeni Safak
Bush Assigns Muslim Khalilzad as Iraq Ambassador -
Cumhuriyet
Thousands Protest Mubarak in Egypt - Yeni Safak
US Helicopter Crashes in Afghanistan: 16 Killed - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Turkey Welcomes Talabani's Election as President of Iraq:
Turkey welcomed the election of Jalal Talabani as Iraq's
president on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul
congratulated Talabani, saying the former leader of the PUK
is an `experienced politician who attaches importance to
Iraq's territorial unity.' `Relations between the two
countries are indispensable,' Gul said during a visit to
Dubai. The FM voiced confidence that Iraq would now become
more stable under a new, democratically elected government.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan characterized Talabani's
election as `an expected decision,' and wished success to
the new administration. The PM said he expected the new
Iraqi government to ensure that Kirkuk in northern Iraq did
not fall into solely Kurdish hands. President Sezer sent
Talabani an official message of congratulations.

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Turkey Agrees to US Use of Incirlik Airbase as Logistics
Hub: State-controlled "Star" newspaper claimed that Turkey
has agreed `in principle' to allow the US to use Incirlik
Airbase as a logistics hub for operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan. An agreement determining the principles for
using the airbase is based on UN resolution 1546, which
calls on member countries to contribute to Iraq's political
restructuring. Since troops and weapons will not be allowed
to transit through Incirlik Airbase, the agreement will not
be taken to parliament for approval, "Star" reports. The
base will be used solely for logistical support for
operations for Iraq and Afghanistan. Cargo planes will be
allowed to carry food, clothes, medicine and a limited
number of personnel. The equipment will be taken to the
base from cargo vessels anchored in the port of Iskenderun.
The US will inform Turkish authorities on the same day that
logistical flights will take place, and `distribution' will
be allowed only after an inspection of the cargo on each
plane.

Iraq's Neighbors Meeting to be Held in Turkey: Turkey will
host the foreign ministers of countries neighboring Iraq in
Istanbul on April 18-19 if the new Iraqi government is in
place by then, the Foreign Ministry (MFA) said on Wednesday.
`The meeting will serve as an opportunity for Iraq's
neighbors to confirm their support for democratization in
the country,' the MFA said in a statement released Wednesday
afternoon.

Khatemi on Nuclear Program, Relations With US: In an
exclusive interview Thursday with Turkey's private news
channel NTV in Paris, Iranian President Mohammed Khatemi
defended his country's `legitimate right' to acquire nuclear
energy for civilian purposes. `The 2004 Paris agreements
recognize our right to that end,' Khatemi said. He added
that if Europe remains free of US pressure, the nuclear
talks will be concluded much more quickly. Khatemi noted
that Iran had suspended its uranium enrichment program on
its own on the condition that Europe give guarantees for
Iran's development and security. The Iranian President
regards the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein
regimes as `positive developments' if new administrations in
those countries do not turn into authoritarian regimes.
Khatemi also said that reforms in Iran will be carried out
`through the internal dynamics of the country,' and that
Iran's attitude toward the United States will be determined
by US policies.

Straw Calls for Partial Turkish Troop Withdrawal from
Cyprus: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the House
of Commons on Wednesday that a partial pullback of Turkish
troops from Cyprus would contribute to efforts for a
settlement on the divided island, "Cumhuriyet" reports.
Straw criticized the European Union for shelving a bill that
would permit direct trade between EU countries and north
Cyprus. Straw added that although a Cyprus settlement is
not a prerequisite for the EU to open entry talks with
Turkey, a solution must be reached before Turkey gains
membership to the bloc.

Prime Minister to Open Lawsuit Against ANAP Leader: Lawyers
for Prime Minister Erdogan confirmed that the PM will open a
100,000 YTL (approximately 75,000 USD) lawsuit against
former Culture Minister Erkan Mumcu, who recently left AKP
and was elected chairman of the center-right Motherland
Party (ANAP). The lawyers argue that Mumcu's claims in
"Vatan" newspaper that the PM had bargained with CHP leader
Deniz Baykal over the headscarf issue amounted to a
`personal insult' to Erdogan. The suit will demand
compensation from Mumcu, "Vatan," and the reporter who
interviewed the ANAP leader.

Protesters Face Lynching Attempt in Trabzon: Four
university students were almost lynched when they were
mistaken for PKK supporters in Trabzon, a port city in
northern Turkey. The four students were handing out
leaflets calling for an end to death and torture in Turkish
prisons when they came under the attack by an angry mob
provoked by rumors that the protesters would hoist a Kurdish
flag in Trabzon. Police rescued the protesters and took
them away in armored vehicles after they were badly beaten.
Police did not disperse the group of 2,000 nationalists,
which later marched on the governor's office and shouted
slogans against the PKK.

Opinion Poll on Turkey/US, EU, Armenia: According to a
recent public opinion poll conducted by "Pollmark," 63.5
percent of Turks want membership to the European Union while
29.6 percent oppose it. 86 percent said their opinion of
the United States has changed negatively following the Iraq
war, and 81.5 percent have a negative view of President
Bush. However, 78 percent have positive feelings for
American tourists visiting Turkey. 60 percent of those
surveyed do not see themselves as anti-Armenian, and 58
percent want claims of `genocide' to be discussed. If
general elections were held today, the distribution of votes
would be as follows: AKP 33.7, CHP 10.3, MHP 6.9, DYP 6.6,
DEHAP 4.5, and ANAP 3.2.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq/Talabani

"President Talabani"
Zafer Atay opined in the economic-political "Dunya" (4/7):
"There is speculation that Talabani has been supported by
his rival, Mesud Barzani, to become the new president of
Iraq because the position doesn't carry any real political
power. In fact, Shiite groups did not want to run for this
position, which is largely symbolic. The Shiites instead
insisted on the Prime Minister position. Under orders by
Sistani, the radical Shiites will not be permitted to take
part in the new administration. Washington will support
this moderate government. Will all of this be good enough
to stop the bloodshed in Iraq? The Sunni insurgents
connected to Al-Qaeda in Iraq are the biggest enemies of
Talabani and the Shiites. In their view, elected officials
and even voters are considered collaborators with the enemy.
Millions of other Iraqis who want to go back to their
routine lives have been intimidated. In short, both
Talabani and the new government will have very little
support outside the US military. This situation will make
things difficult for the new government. Talabani is no
longer the militant party leader. We hope that `President
Talabani' will act according to the responsibilities of his
new position."

"A Proper Election"
Gungor Mengi commented in the mass appeal "Vatan" (4/7):
"The pain suffered by the Kurds under the Saddam regime
might have caused them not to trust anyone. But there is a
complete new future ahead of Iraq. Will the religious and
ethnic components of the state understand that living
together in a regime with equal rights is an opportunity not
to be missed for their own prosperity and security, as well
as for regional peace? I don't think a more effective and
experienced politician than Talabani could have been found
to explain this fact to Iraqis. Who else could persuade the
Kurds that there is no reason left to establish an
independent Kurdish state? Talabani's election is a great
opportunity for protecting Iraq's territorial integrity. It
is obvious that Turkey is going to support this chance.
Ankara should make its support clear not only in Baghdad,
but in Washington as well. Turkey should also try to
accelerate the process."

"President Talabani"
Erdal Safak contended in the mass appeal "Sabah" (4/7):
"Talabani's term in as president will last until the end of
this year. The period will be watched closely and with
concern in Ankara. Turkey has enough experience with
Talabani to be suspicious about his trustworthiness and
susceptibility to quick policy changes. It remains to be
seen whether he will work for an Iraqi federation or for
some other goal. Kirkuk continues to be an important issue
to test Talabani's policy. It will be interesting to see if
he will focus on all elements in Iraq instead of just the
Kurds and Kurdish rights. . There are a number of reasons
to be concerned about the future of Iraq at this point.
Leaving aside local tensions, the general picture is also
not very promising in that it resembles the situations in
post-division Yugoslavia or the former Soviet republics. .
We can only hope that Iraq will not have a future like those
countries and can at least manages to become more like
Lebanon."

EDELMAN

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