Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002690
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
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2005
THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
VE Day Ceremonies Mark 60 Years of Freedom - Sabah
Bush `Expects' Erdogan in Washington - Milliyet
Erdogan Meets Annan, Papadopoulos in Moscow - Hurriyet
EU Ambassadors Urge Gul Not to Fan Nationalism - Sabah
US Forces Chase Foreign Fighters in Iraq - Aksam
Sharon Postpones Gaza Withdrawal to Mid-August - Aksam
World Celebrates WW II Victory - Cumhuriyet
Grand Meeting in Moscow - Radikal
Bush Renews Invitation for Erdogan to Washington - Yeni
Georgia Gives Bush a Joyous Welcome - Zaman
Jafari Government Takes `Federal' Oath - Radikal
Iran to Partially Relaunch Nuclear Program - Yeni Safak
Bush-Erdogan to Meet in June: Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
joined more than 50 world leaders in Moscow on Monday to
commemorate the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi
Germany in World War II. Erdogan had a brief chance to meet
President Bush following the ceremonies at Red Square. The
US President said he expected Erdogan in Washington soon,
papers report. On his return home, Erdogan said he will
meet President Bush in Washington during the first half of
June. The private news channel NTV reported from Washington
this morning that the meeting will take place at the White
House on June 8.
Commentary Sees Ongoing Tension in Turkey-US Ties: A
commentary in the mass-appeal "Hurriyet" claims that the
strain in Turkey-US ties has not yet been relieved. The
columnist Fatih Altayli writes that Washington has not yet
forgotten the strong criticism of US policies by Prime
Minister Erdogan, and the fact that Erdogan kept Ambassador
Edelman waiting for six weeks before granting him a meeting.
The commentary expects that Erdogan will be given a meeting
with Bush in mid-June, so that Erdogan will have to travel
to the US twice - once to attend the graduation ceremony of
his daughter at California University, and a second time to
meet with the President. Altayli writes that Ukrainian
President Yushchenko is due to visit Turkey in mid-June,
which may conflict with a Bush-Erdogan meeting in
Washington. He asserts that Washington, in a deliberate
effort to `show Turkey that it is not the center of the
world,' will delay sending a new Ambassador to replace
Ambassador Edelman until the fall.
Gul Meets EU Ambassadors: On Monday, Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul hosted a luncheon for the ambassadors of
European Union countries in Turkey. Gul told the EU envoys
that a negative outcome of the French referendum on the EU
Constitution should not affect Turkey's EU membership
process. He noted that Turkey is ready to expand its
customs agreement with the EU in a way that will include new
member states, including Cyprus. The EU ambassadors
conveyed to Gul their concerns about the Turkish
government's anti-EU statements. They noted especially a
statement by PM Erdogan that some in the EU are trying to
`divide' Turkey. The EU deems such remarks as
`unacceptable.' The envoys also expressed concern about
rising nationalism in Turkey.
CESS Report Recommends That TGS Be Under Defense Ministry:
The Center for European Security Studies (CESS) and Turkey's
Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM) have formed a
working group to prepare a report on military-civilian ties
in Turkey. The report will be used as a reference point for
discussions between Turkey and the EU, "Milliyet" reports.
On April 28, ASAM withdrew from the working group in protest
after CESS recommended in the report to put the Turkish
General Staff (TGS) under the control of the Turkish Defense
Ministry. Such an arrangement is commonplace in EU member
countries. CESS noted that Turkey must abide by EU rules
and practices if it hopes to join the European Union.
PUK: Turkey Supports a Federal Iraq: The Iraqi Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Washington Representative Kubad
Talabani told the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) May 5
that Prime Minister Erdogan, in a letter to the Iraqi
President Jalal Talabani, expressed Turkey's support for a
federal structure in Iraq. Kubad, who is the son of Iraqi
President Jalal Talabani, said the Kurds have done all they
can to ease Turkey's concerns about possible Kurdish
independence. Kubad said Ankara realized that Iraq could
remain unstable in coming years, and that a `buffer zone'
between the two countries would be to Turkey's benefit.
Turkish Popular Support for EU Diminishes: A monthly
opinion poll conducted by the ANAR research company for the
ruling AK Party shows that Turkish popular support for EU
membership has dropped to 63 percent from the previous level
of 70 percent, "Sabah" reports. The poll was conducted
among 3,300 Turks in major Turkish provinces during the
first week in April. While rising nationalism in Turkey has
apparently diminished support for the EU, it has also
boosted the potential votes for pro-Kurdish DEHAP and the
extreme nationalist MHP, the report claims. The
distribution of votes among political parties in a
hypothetical general election is as follows: AKP 46.6
percent, CHP 14.3, MHP 9.6, DYP 9.2, DEHAP 6.3, and ANAP
4.5. 22 percent of respondents view Erdogan as the most
trusted political leader in Turkey, followed by President
Sezer at 6.3 percent, according to the poll.
Gul to Visit Romania, Ukraine, Crimea: Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul left for Bucharest, Romania on Monday to attend
the 8th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the
South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP). Following
the summit, Gul will proceed to Ukraine on May 11 to lay the
groundwork for the upcoming meeting of President Sezer with
his Ukrainian counterpart in Kiev in June.
Dervis Resigns to Take Over UNDP Post: Former Turkish
economy minister Kemal Dervis resigned from his post in
parliament as a deputy from the opposition Republican
People's Party (CHP) in order to take up his new position as
head of the UN Development Program (UNDP). Dervis will
begin his UN posting in August 2005.
Baghdad-Istanbul Flights to Resume: Turkey has decided to
allow Iraqi flights into Istanbul after a 15-year hiatus,
"Yeni Safak" reports. Iraqi Airlines will reportedly fly
from Baghdad to Istanbul five times a week.
EDITORIAL OPINION: VE Day; President Bush in Georgia
"Democracy is the New Weapon"
Emin Pazarci wrote in the conservative "DB Tercuman" (5/10):
"The US has adopted democracy as a weapon and has started
using it in every international circumstance. NGOs will be
the tool for achieving this goal. The US plans to support
and finance NGOs and allow them to manipulate public
opinion. The US hopes and believes that its interests will
be served by using the `democracy weapon.' Cyprus has been
one example of this process. The non-governmental
organizations played a determining role in the outcome of
the Turkish Cypriot elections. A similar process took place
in Ukraine and Georgia. . The US is now preoccupied with
Russia. Growing Russian control over Eurasian energy
resources is a matter of immediate concern for Washington.
So Bush has launched a campaign against Moscow by
questioning the nature of Russian democracy. The Russian
leader is very aware of the next step, and is therefore
reacting harshly to Bush's remarks. . But there is one thing
that is odd about all of this: nobody is questioning
American democracy or raising the obvious contradictions
such as the continued use of the death penalty in the United
States and the Americans' propensity to collaborate with
"The Debate On Freedom"
Smi Kohen commented in the mainstream "Milliyet" (5/10):
"The VE Day celebrations demonstrated friendship between the
old winners and losers, but they also highlighted
differences between friends of today. The celebrations
included a debate about facing up to history, which
predictably led to tension between Russia, Europe, and the
US over the Baltic states. Russia wants to distance itself
from the historical responsibilities of the Soviet Union.
Putin thinks that a one-time apology is good enough. But
the current debate is more about the future than the past.
The differences stem from policies for the future. In fact,
the architect of this debate is President Bush. His
speeches, both in Latvia and the Netherlands, set forth a
doctrine of democracy and freedom. Bush not only expressed
support for democracy, but also named a number of countries
that need to go through the democratization process. Bush
believes that the time has now come for countries like
Belarus and Moldova. The US is urging Moscow not to be
afraid of democratization in neighboring countries. But the
Russian leadership is expressing its discontent, effectively
telling the United States to mind its own business. This
debate looks like it could be a source for new conflicts
around the world. It may not lead to the development of new
and opposing `blocs,' but it certainly has the potential to
create new tensions and disputes."
"Bush in Georgia"
Fikret Ertan commented in the Islamist-intellectual "Zaman"
(5/10): "Georgia's capital Tbilisi is going to host a very
important and special guest today. Of course, this guest is
US President George W. Bush. This is the first-ever visit
by a US President to Tbilisi. The people of that city have
been preparing for this important visit for a long time.
They will no doubt crowd the `Independence Center' today to
listen to Bush's speech on democracy and freedom with great
excitement. With this visit, President Bush will try to
improve and strengthen relations between two countries that
have been moving closer together for the past ten years.
Bilateral relations between the US and Georgia have been
growing in three areas: military, economic, and politics.
Bilateral military relations are definitely ahead of the
political and economic dimensions, but President Bush's
historic visit highlights Georgia's growing importance for
the US, and its position as the Americans' closest friend
and ally in the Caucasus."