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.




E.O. 12958: N/A
FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2005


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


US Report: PKK Aims to Establish `Democratic' State -
US `Gaffe' in Terror Report - Milliyet
Ankara Seeks `Middle Way' in Relations With Yerevan - Sabah
Rumsfeld to Saddam: Stop the Resistance and Go Free -
New Iraqi Cabinet Approved - Sabah
Iraqi Government `Partially' Established - Milliyet
Abbas Warns of Tough Retaliation for Cease-Fire Violation -
85 Percent of Americans Find Press News `Biased and
Negative' - Aksam
Britons Find Blair `Charismatic' But `Unreliable' - Aksam

Turkey-US Begin `Bargaining' on Incirlik Airbase - Radikal
US Issues `Contradictory' Terror Report - Cumhuriyet
Iraq's Neighbors to Meet in Istanbul Today - Cumhuriyet
Al-Quds Al-Arabi: Rumsfeld Recently Met Saddam in Iraq -
Rumsfeld Asks Saddam for Help in Halting Resistance - Yeni
Iraq's First Government Formed on Saddam's Birthday - Zaman
Talabani Vetoes 5 Names in New Iraqi Cabinet - Yeni Safak
EU Supports Caferi Government in Iraq - Yeni Safak
US Discusses Dividing Iraq Into 6 States - Yeni Safak
HRW: Despite Reforms, Torture Widespread in Turkey -
Putin: Russian Weapons Pose No Threat to Israel - Zaman


US, Turkey Kick Off Technical Talks on Incirlik Airbase:
Turkey began technical talks with the United States
regarding the US proposal to establish a logistical cargo
hub at Incirlik Air Base for operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan, Turkish media report. On Thursday, the Turks
told the Americans that President Sezer will approve the
related degree soon. Representative of the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) and Foreign Ministry (MFA) attended yesterday's
talks, in which technical details like flight plans,
notification procedures, personnel, and inspection of cargo
planes by the Turks were discussed. Turkish officials told
the press that there are no plans to sign a new memorandum
of understanding on the subject.

US State Department 2004 Country Report on Terrorism:
Turkish dailies are critical of the Department of State's
"Global Patterns of Terrorism" report for describing the PKK
as an organization fighting `to establish an independent,
democratic Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, northern
Iraq and parts of Iran and Syria.' Papers view the Turkey
chapter of the report as `contradictory,' and claim that the
US has made a `gaffe' in describing PKK aims. An MFA source
regarded the mention of `democratic' goals for a terrorist
organization as `a contradiction, "Yeni Safak" writes. The
paper blames the US for extending `covert' support to
terrorism. "Radikal" focuses on parts of the report in
which Turkey's support for the global war against terrorism
is highlighted.
Ankara Welcomes New Iraqi Government: The Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA) said in a statement on Thursday that `the
formation of an elected Iraqi government constitutes a step
forward to establish a democratic regime in Iraq.' Ankara
wished success to the new Iraqi government, `which will
undertake important responsibilities in Iraq's political
transition process.' The statement stressed that the time
has come `to reach a national compromise, heal the wounds,
and create a joint future for the Iraqi people.'
Participation of all Iraqi groups in the writing of the new
Iraqi constitution and acting in unity in solving problems
Iraq may face in the future are very important, the MFA
said, noting that Turkey will support all efforts to help
Iraq reach stability.

Iraq's Neighbors to Meet in Istanbul Today: Iraq's neighbors
are to gather in Istanbul Friday for their first meeting
following the Iraqi general elections. Turkish prime
Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Gul, representatives
of the Arab League and Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC), and the foreign ministers of Iraq, Iran,
Syria, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain will join the

Ankara Seeks a `New Era' With Yerevan: Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that a political
relationship could be established with Armenia while
historians from the two countries examine the archives on
what Armenians claim to be the `genocide' of their kin by
Ottoman forces during World War I. MFA officials told
"Sabah" that `positive elements' in a recent letter by
Armenian President Robert Kocharian to Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan are being taken into account, and that a political
decision will be conveyed to Yerevan. Ankara expects `firm
statements' from Yerevan indicating that Armenia has no
territorial demands from Turkey. The border crossing
between the two countries could be opened if Armenia stops
pursuit of `genocide' claims, say Turkish officials, noting
that they are seeking a `win-win' situation for both sides.

Turkey, Israeli, Palestinian Businessmen Explore
Cooperation: Turkey's Union of Chambers (TOBB) said that
Israeli and Palestinian businessmen met for the first time
in Ankara, expressing a common will for cooperation. TOBB
Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu held a joint press conference
on Thursday with Shraga Brosh, president of the
Manufacturers' Association of Israel, and Ahmad Hashim al-
Zogheir, chairman of the Palestinian Chambers of Commerce
and Industry, in which Hisarciklioglu announced the
formation of the `Ankara Forum for Economic Cooperation
Among Palestine, Israel and Turkey.' Hisarciklioglu noted
that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Gul
supported the `union' among the three countries. The groups
will meet again in Jerusalem in the first half of June to
discuss cooperation in tourism, industry, and agriculture.
Brosh said that some good proposals, such as opening doors
to Palestinians and facilitating their living conditions
through trade with other countries, may be discussed at the
June meetings. "Milliyet" expects Erdogan to raise the
issues of restoration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem by
TOBB and a possible Turkish contribution to the construction
of Gaza Airport in Palestine during his weekend visit to the

`Yarmulke' Issue in Erdogan's Israel Visit: Israeli
officials are concerned that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan may not cover his head during a visit to Yad Vashem
in Jerusalem, "Sabah" reports. Erdogan is scheduled to
arrive in Israel on May 1 on a state visit. The Israelis
are concerned that he may not cover his head at the
Holocaust museum, out of fear that a Turkish prime minister
seen in a yarmulke may anger his Islamic grassroots. Last
month, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul refused to cover his
head during a visit to Yad Vashem.


"The Grave Situation in Turkish-US Relations"
Fatih Altayli argued in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (4/29):
"Visiting the US to check the pulse on Turkish-American ties
led me to an important conclusion. The situation is more
grave than widely believed in Turkey. The seriousness of
the problem cannot be explained by reducing it to a few anti-
Turkish articles in the American media or a few television
shows that portray Turkey in a negative light. Criticism of
Turkey is being expressed by all groups at every
opportunity. Television channels watched by a predominantly
Muslim audience are constantly talking about the lack of
religious freedom in Turkey. Others are criticizing Turkey
for more general violations of human rights. Even the man
in the street is aware of Turkey, and not in a positive
sense. Robert Pollock, the writer of the well-known article
on Turkey, says he likes Turkey a lot. Regarding his `ugly
depiction' of the country in "The Wall Street Journal," he
argues that `there is a problem that everybody was ignoring,
most particularly the Turkish side. I wanted to bring this
up. I highlighted the problem and diagnosed it. Now it is
time to correct the problem, and I am on Turkey's side in
this process.' . Nevertheless it seems that the healing
process will not be that easy. Prime Minister Erdogan is
planning a visit to the US in June, but President Bush is
apparently reluctant to give him an appointment. Turkish
MFA Undersecretary Tuygan made a recent visit to Washington,
but failed to make progress on this issue -- another
indication of Washington's disappointment. Here in the US
everybody considers the upcoming Turkish PM's visit to
Israel as an important step toward the normalization of
bilateral ties. According to some influential names in the
Washington administration, the crisis in Turkish-American
ties is not only about the relationship, but also about the
broader international picture. They believe that Turkey has
to redefine its ties with the US. They saythat Turkey
should abandon the definition of strategic partnership that
rests solely on Turkey's geo-strategic location. That
factor is no longer very important. Turkey should have a
different and deeper type of cooperation with the US. It
seems that Turkish-American relations will have a different
dimension in the period to come. Whether that change will
be negative or positive will be for Turkey to decide."

"From Anti-Americanism to Official Americanism"
Cengiz Candar observed in the conservative-sensational
"Dunden Bugune Tercuman" (4/29): "I think it has been
noticed by everyone that Ankara has turned its course more
toward Washington an away from Brussels. The first signals
of this came from thw Deputy Chief of Staff at a TGS press
briefing in January. This course became clearer with the
remarks of TGS Chief General Ozkok last week. On the same
day General Ozkok spoke, the amendment for Incirlik, which
had been held up in the Prime Minister's office, was
presented to the Council of Ministers for approval. It
seems that the US got everything it requested from Turkey on
the Incirlik issue. Then, at the AKP group meeting, PM
Erdogan praise for the US was the top item on the agenda.
When Erdogan was received in the White House for the first
time, he was neither a Prime Minister nor a parliamentarian.
Until that time, such a privilege was only given to real
strategic partners of the US - the UK and Israel.
Unfortunately, the AKP government didn't perceive that, and
instead chose to surf the growing wave of `anti-
Americanism.' Now PM Erdogan, is sending positive signals
to Washington. Will the doors of the White House be opened
for him when he is there in May or June? He has been
knocking on that door for quite some time now. The door
that was opened for him in December 2002 with just a wave of
the hand has not been opened even a crack so far this time.
The likelihood of Erdogan eventually being received at the
White House remain quite high. But the White House seems
determined to make Prime Minister sweat a little bit before
opening the door."


© Scoop Media

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