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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.

271423Z Apr 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002394

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 27, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

MASS APPEAL
US to Modernize Turkish F-16 Jetfighters - Hurriyet
Armenia Wants Political Dialogue With Turkey - Milliyet
Syria Completes Pullout From Lebanon - Sabah
Dervis Appointed as Head of UNDP - Sabah
Dervis Becomes No. 3 Man at UN - Hurriyet
Talabani Voices Support for Blair Before Polls in Britain -
Aksam

OPINION MAKERS
Turkey Agrees With US on F-16 Modernization - Cumhuriyet
FM Gul Lashes Out at EU Over Cyprus - Zaman
Syria Ends 29-Year Military Presence in Lebanon - Cumhuriyet
Damascus' Lebanon Venture Ends After 29 Years - Zaman
Syrian Era Ends in Lebanon - Yeni Safak
Iraq Survey Team: No WMD in Syria - Yeni Safak
UNDP Chief Dervis to Work for Poor Nations - Radikal
Damascus University to Open Turkish Desk - Radikal
Weizman Laid to Rest - Cumhuriyet
Morrison, Father of A-Bomb, Dies at 89 - Cumhuriyet

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BRIEFING

US-Turkey Sign Military Modernization Deal: Defense
Minister Vecdi Gonul said on Tuesday that Turkey had signed
a deal worth $1.1 billion with the United States for
modernizing 117 Turkish F-16 fighter jets. The main
contractor will be the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Gonul
and US Ambassador Eric Edelman held a joint press conference
yesterday to announce the agreement. Gonul said the
modernization work would begin in July and will be completed
by 2012. He added that Turkish firms would also participate
in the project. `We are strategic allies cooperating on
many regional issues such as the Balkans, the Caucasus and
the Middle East,' Gonul said. Ambassador Edelman hailed the
accord as a great example of defense industrial cooperation
between the two allies. Edelman noted that the project will
benefit both countries, improve military ties, and increase
the capacity of Turkey's F-16 fleet.

Gul Attends EU-Turkey Association Council Meetings: The
European Union told Turkey on Tuesday to speed up reforms
before entry talks start in October, papers report. Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul, in Luxembourg to attend the Turkey-EU
Association Council meetings, held a joint press conference
with EU term president Luxembourg Minister Jean Asselborn.
Asselborn stressed the need for Turkey to implement EU-
driven reforms, normalize ties with the Greek Cypriot
administration, and protect religious freedom for non-Muslim
minorities in Turkey. Asselborn, during an earlier meeting
with Gul, voiced concern about the human rights situation in
Turkey, citing the beating of protesters when police cracked
down on a women's rights rally in Istanbul in March. Gul
told the press that Turkey is making progress on the
sweeping reforms demanded by EU. He had earlier told EU
officials that Turkey expects equal treatment with other
candidate countries from the EU. Gul also criticized the EU
for not taking steps to end the international isolation of
Turkish Cypriots. Meanwhile Prime Minister Erdogan,
speaking at a public event in Istanbul, criticized the EU
for `sheltering terrorists' from the PKK and failing to cut
off financial support from the PKK coming from European
countries. Erdogan also warned the EU against `creating
conflict' through its approach to the Armenia `genocide'
issue. The PM denied that Turkey's EU reform process had
stagnated, charging that `any stagnation in the process has
been caused by the other side.'

Yerevan Calls for the Establishment of Relations with
Turkey: Armenian President Robert Kocharyan has responded
to a letter from Prime Minister Erdogan calling for a joint
committee to study the issue of `genocide' claims by
Armenians. The letter said that Armenia is ready to
establish relations with Ankara without any preconditions.
`We can later discuss various issues in an intergovernmental
committee,' Kocharyan suggested. However, the Turkish
Foreign Ministry (MFA) said that Kocharyan's letter is full
of tricky terminology and that Ankara is cautious over
establishing relations without having settled the issue of
`genocide' claims.

Bagis Attends New York Panel on Turkey-US Ties: AK Party
lawmaker Egemen Bagis told a panel meeting in New York that
any step that is taken by US forces in Iraq against PKK
militants would dispel the negative atmosphere in US-Turkish
relations and reduce anti-American sentiment in Turkey
`overnight.' `It is our right to expect our closest ally,
the United States, to hand over PKK terrorists to Turkey,'
Bagis said. He added that Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to
the United States in June will demonstrate the friendly
relations between the two countries. Bagis also criticized
"Wall Street Journal" columnist Robert Pollock for raising
only the negative aspects of Turkey-US ties in his paper
after a visitng the country for just 36 hours. Bagis
slammed Pollock for not writing anything the Turks had said
in favor of the United States.

Dervis Appointed Head of UNDP: Turkey's former economic
minister Kemal Dervis has been appointed as head of the UN
Development Program. Papers say that Dervis, who was chosen
over five other candidates, will be the first UNDP chief who
does not come from a donor country but rather from a country
where the UNDP has an active program. Dervis is expected to
resign his seat in parliament to take up his UN position in
coming days.

US Releases Another Turk from Guantanamo: The repatriated
two Belgian nationals, one of whom is also a Turkish
citizen, to Brussels from Guantanamo Bay, where they had
been held for three years. The dual national, Mesut Sen,
was arrested in Pakistan in December 2001 based on suspected
links to Al-Qaeda.


EDITORIAL OPINION: EU Enlargement; Pope Benedict XVI

"I Hope It Happens to Turkey As Well"
Sami Kohen observed in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (4/27):
"Both Bulgaria and Romania had a speedy transition from
communism to democracy, so they did not find it very
difficult to meet EU standards. Their challenge was more on
the economic side, and the EU commission had to provide
certain privileges on agricultural issues. Although
Bulgaria and Romania are now at the point of integration
into the EU, there are certain conditions being imposed on
them before they can become full members. The agreement
between the two countries and the EU has a special provision
which provides for the postponement of full membership to at
least 2008 unless the reforms, particularly on the judicial
side, are fully implemented. It seems that Bulgaria is not
so concerned about such a condition. The Bulgarian Foreign
Minister has already expressed his satisfaction with the
decision, saying that `such a condition will help us to
implement the reforms with a certain discipline.' This
approach should present a lesson for others. These two
neighbors of Turkey, although they are less developed
economically, have reached a significant point in their EU
accession process. Let's hope that Turkey reaches the same
point eventually. Yet in the meantime, we better look for
the secret of their success."
"Pope Benedict XVI and Turkey"
Zafer Atay opined in the economic-political "Dunya" (4/27):
"The new Pope is 78 years old. He has an interesting past.
He was a member of the Nazi Youth Organization. He joined
the army toward the end of the Second World War. He worked
at an antiaircraft battery. After all this, it is difficult
to understand his claims that he never fought in the war.
Benedict XVI disapproves of many things. He opposes
feminism, for example. He says that popular music is the
`expression of primitive passions.' He doesn't want female
priests. He rejects abortion and euthanasia. He harshly
criticizes priests who favor homosexual marriage in the
church. There are already many nicknames for him, such as
`the bogeyman', `the Panzer Cardinal', `The Rothweiler of
the Vatican', and `the Black Pope.' The new Pope is also
against Turkey's EU accession. Moreover, circles close to
the Vatican believe that Ratzinger's anti-Turkish remarks
will have a negative impact on some member countries. The
same circles urge Turkey to convince the Pope on the
accession issue in order to avoid problems in the future.
We will have to see how Ratzinger, now that he has become
Pope, will act on issues he has commented on in the past."

EDELMAN

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