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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.

281425Z Apr 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 002431

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 28, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

MASS APPEAL
Erdogan: Turkey Will Not Forget US Support - Milliyet
TGS: Halki Seminary Should Not Be Reopened - Hurriyet
General Myers: Insurgent Attacks on Rise in Iraq - Sabah
Washington Post: Bush Support Decreases to 47 Percent -
Sabah
Putin the First Russian Leader to Visit Israel - Hurriyet
Thousands of Israelis Rally Against Withdrawal Plan - Aksam
Turkey to Build 7 Schools in Afghanistan - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan: Ties With US a Main Pillar of Turkish Foreign
Policy - Radikal
Laura Kennedy to Visit Cyprus - Radikal
15,000 Armenian Tourists Visited Turkey Last Year - Zaman
Iraqi Parliament Suffers First Casualty - Radikal
Woman Lawmaker Killed in Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Council of Europe Denounces US Over Guantanamo Abuse - Yeni
Safak
Lebanese Celebrate Syrian Pullout - Radikal
Putin on First Visit to Israel, Palestine - Cumhuriyet
Israel Worried About Russian Missiles in Syria - Yeni Safak

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BRIEFING

Erdogan Underlines Significance of Ties With US; Addressing
Turkey's ruling AK Party group at the parliament on
Wednesday, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey
should not forget the long-standing backing given by the
United States in several areas -- from the struggle against
terrorism to energy cooperation. Ties with the US
constitute a `main pillar' of Turkey's foreign policy,
Erdogan said. `Despite disagreements over ways to handle
certain problems, the need for common understanding and
cooperation continues,' he stressed. The PM identified
Cyprus, PKK terrorism, and Armenian genocide claims as key
issues between the US and Turkey. "Cumhuriyet" regards
Edogan's remarks as an effort to secure more US support in
dealing with growing pressure for concenssions on Cyprus,
the PKK and the Armenian issue. While praising the United
States, Erdogan slammed the European Union, charging that
the EU has not kept promises on breaking the isolation of
the Turkish Cypriots.

US-Turkey to Launch Technical Talks After Presidential
Approval of Incirlik Decree: Technical negotiations between
Turkish and US officials regarding the use of Incirlik
Airbase as a logistical cargo hub for US operations in Iraq
and Afghanistan will begin following the approval of a
related cabinet decree by President Sezer, "Milliyet"
reports. The talks will clarify the number of planes
arriving at Incirlik, the equipment to be carried by US
military cargo planes, flight durations, number of
logistical personnel for the flights, flight corridors, and
inspection of cargo material by the Turks. "Cumhuriyet"
reports that the technical discussions are already underway,
and that the US side has received verbal assurances that a
positive response to the cargo hub request will be given
soon.

Turkish Military Advises Against Reopening of Halki
Seminary: The Turkish General Staff (TGS) has prepared a
document recommending changes to the national security
document drafted by the National Security Council (NSC),
papers report. The TGS document highlights fundamentalist
and separatist activities as `internal security threats'
facing the country. The document advises Turkey not to sign
international accords that legitimize separatist activities,
and indicates that economic imbalances between different
regions in the country should be resolved. The document
also warns against the spread of `Pontic-Greek propaganda,
and recommends that the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in
Istanbul not be allowed to `upgrade' its status. The report
also advises that Ankara reject requests for the reopening
of Halki Seminary.

DAS Kennedy to Visit Cyprus: Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State Laura Kennedy will travel to Ankara, Athens, Nicosia,
Brussels and London from May 1, Turkey's official Anatolian
Agency reports. State Department Spokesman Adam Ereli said
that Kennedy's visit to Cyprus is an extension of current US
efforts aimed at reaching a solution on the divided island
within the framework of the Annan Plan.

Turkey Protests Polish, Russian Votes on Armenian
`Genocide': The Turkish Parliament protested on Wednesday a
decision by the Polish assembly to recognize the mass
killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as
a `genocide.' To express its displeasure, Ankara canceled
some meetings between Turkish and Polish lawmakers that had
been scheduled for May. Russia's State Duma also reiterated
its support for the Armenian claims. The Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA) said it would send a note of protest to
Russia over its position on the `genocide' issue. Prime
Minister Tayyip Erdogan repeated his call on Wednesday to
Armenia to open up its archives and allow historians from
the two to establish historical facts. Erdogan reacted
cautiously to a proposal from Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan that the two countries first work to establish
diplomatic relations. `Before we move on to improve ties,
there is are historic issues that need to be resolved,'
Erdogan said. Meanwhile, the conservative-intellectual
"Zaman" reports that Foreign Minister Gul said Turkey will
receive this year some 40,000 ethnic Armenian tourists from
the United States thanks to a joint tourism initiative
launched with Armenian priests in the US three years ago. A
recent poll conducted by Turks showed that 73 percent of
Armenians want to spend holidays in Turkey, "Zaman" notes.

Turkey to Build Schools, Hospitals in Afghanistan: Prime
Minister Tayyip Erdogan told his AKP group Wednesday that
Turkey will build seven schools and a hospital in Kabul,
Afghanistan. Erdogan described the situation in Afghanistan
as `heart-wrenching,' saying that in Kabul there is nothing
left that seems `like a city.' He said that Turkey's aid
efforts in Afghanistan will be carried out by the Turkish
International Development Agency (TIKA).

Dervis, New Head of UNDP, Will Work to Reduce Poverty:
Turkey's former economy minister Kemal Dervis, the newly
appointed head of the UN Development Program (UNDP), faces
the tough task of halving by 2015 the number of people who
live with extreme hunger, "Sabah" repotrts. The report
notes that the UNDP has allotted 8 million USD for projects
to reduce poverty in eastern and southeastern Turkey.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan congratulated Dervis on
his election to the UN post.


EDITORIAL OPINION:
Putin to Israel; Incirlik Airbase/US-Turkish Military
Cooperation

"Putin in Israel"
Fikret Ertan observed in the Islamist-intellectual "Zaman"
(4/28): "Putin's visit to Israel will be overshadowed by the
deal on SA-18 anti-aircraft missiles. Despite US and
Israeli pressure, Russia has not backed off its plan to sell
20 SA-18 missiles to Syria. In other words, the military
balance between Israel and Syria will be altered to Syria's
benefit to a certain degree. . Yet the visit of the Russian
leader Israel will be a breakthrough in bilateral ties.
Whether this will be a positive development, however,
remains to be seen. Ignoring the US and Israel and deciding
to sell missiles to Syria is a decision that stems from
Moscow's power. Russia is sure of its strong position on
this matter, and is certain that eventually Israel will need
cooperation with Moscow."

"The Return of Russia to the Middle East"
Akif Emre wrote in the Islamist-opinion maker "Yeni Safak"
(4/28): "Recent developments might be interpreted as the
return of Russia to the Middle East, but we need to look at
this situation with the utmost caution. First of all,
Russia does not have a good record on the question of
Israel's expansionist policy in the region. Even during
Soviet times, Moscow was supportive of Israel and protected
Israel, along with the US. Moreover, as the US pledged full
military, diplomatic, and economic support for Israel, the
Soviet Union produced the human resources, sending hundreds
of thousands of Soviet Jews to settle in Palestine. . During
Putin's visit to Israel, the Iran issue will be higher on
the agenda than Israeli-Palestinian relations. Israel is
worried about Russian-Iranian cooperation to develop Iran's
nuclear capacity. Giving Moscow's close strategic
cooperation with Iran and Syria, Russia is beginning to
emerge as both a key regional players and a balancing
factor."

"What Will Happen in Incirlik?"
Zafer Atay opined in the economic-political "Dunya" (4/28):
"While Turkish officials remain silent on the Incirlik
issue, the US Embassy website is carrying explanatory
statements about the US request. Some unidentified
officials in Washington are also making remarks on the
issue. According to some reports, the US has got what it
wanted. Incirlik will be used as a logistics hub. The
meaning of this is not very clear. Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul said that the rules of permission given to the
US for the use of the base have not changed. According to
Gul, `there is nothing new on the issue. We have only
updated the prevailing practice.' I would like to know the
details of this `updating'. There are some claims that
neither arms nor troops will be transferred through
Incirlik. That is fine. But some others are saying that
`no lethal weapons will be allowed.' Can someone tell me
which weapons are not lethal? It was said right from the
beginning that Incirlik would be used only for cargo planes.
Right after that, rumors spread that Washington would use
Incirlik for operations in Iran and Syria. According to US
sources, this information is false. Cargo flights would be
limited to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they would carry only
humanitarian assistance. These rights at Incirlik will be
valid for the UK as well, as the UK is an important part of
the coalition. . Reportedly, the Americans were hurt by the
fact that the issue took so long to be resolved. They were
also angry that the issue was linked with US Congressional
action on the so-called Armenian Genocide issue. They were
also upset that the announcement of the agreement came just
before April 24. How sensitive the Americans are! .
Apparently, some unidentified officials said that Incirlik
is not very important for the US, and that the US has other
alternatives. Former Deputy Defense Secretary Richard Perle
had already expressed such a view. He said that the
Incirlik issue was kept on the agenda as a symbol of the
friendship and closeness of the two countries. I don't know
about you all, but I am seriously confused. If there are no
changes on the issue, and if everything is the same as
before, then let Turkish officials inform the Turkish public
-- not an American internet site. Maybe then we will
understand the issue better, and we will feel more
comfortable."

EDELMAN

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