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.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 002810
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
MONDAY, MAY 16, 2005
THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
Armenian FM: Turkey-Armenia Border Must Be Opened - Milliyet
Condi Goes to Iraq - Sabah
Condi in Erbil - Hurriyet
Barzani: No Concessions on Kirkuk - Hurriyet
Uzbek Troops Hunt for Insurgents in Andijan - Aksam
9 PKK Terrorists Killed in Tunceli - Sabah 5/15
Saddam Writes Memoirs in Jail - Hurriyet 5/15
Reaction to Koran Desecration Grows - Milliyet 5/15
Rice Pays Kurds a Surprise Visit - Yeni Safak
Bush to Meet Palestine's Abbas May 26 - Cumhuriyet 5/15
25 US Casualties in Iraq Over Past Week - Cumhuriyet 5/15
Iran Parliament's `Nuclear Approval' - Radikal
Newsweek: Koran Desecration Report May Be Inaccurate - Yeni
Afghan Clergy Threatens US With `Jihad' - Cumhuriyet
Mubarek's Son to Run for Egypt Presidency - Zaman 5/15
US C-17s to Arrive in Incirlik in June: C-17 US military
cargo planes are to be deployed at Incirlik Airbase
beginning in the first week in June to transport logistical
cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan, Sunday's "Hurriyet" reports.
The US and Britain may also request the use of Incirlik for
the rotation of their troops, according to the report.
Diplomatic sources said that for the time being, the Turkish
government decree allows only the transportation of
logistical material like food, clothing, tents, and spare
parts, as there has been no request for troop rotations.
All flight and cargo details will be notified to Turkish
authorities, "Hurriyet" writes.
Erdogan Attends COE Summit in Warsaw: Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan traveled to Warsaw Sunday to attend the two-day
`Summit of European Unity' meetings held by the Council of
Europe (COE), papers report. "Milliyet" expects Turkey to
urge the COE to adopt a decision to fight anti-Islamist
sentiment in Europe. Reports also expect Erdogan to meet
with Armenian President Kocharian on the margins of the
summit. On Sunday, Kocharian met with Azerbaijani President
Ilham Aliyev to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Aliyev
later briefed PM Erdogan about the content of his discussion
with Kocharian. Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan
told "Milliyet" in Warsaw that an Armenian-Turkish
intergovernmental commission can be set up to work toward
the normalization of ties. Oksanyan added that a joint
committee of historians to examine genocide claims, as
proposed by PM Erdogan, could be also be established within
the framework of the intergovernmental commission. Oksanyan
said that the first prioity for both sides should be the
opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia.
Alpogan Due in Israel: Yigit Alpogan, Secretary General of
Turkey's National Security Council (NSC), will visit Israel
on Tuesday as the guest of Giora Eiland, Director of the
Israeli National Security Council, the semi-official
Anatolian Agency reported on Monday. Alpogan and Eiland
will discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two
councils and exchange views on regional and international
developments. Alpogan will also meet with Amos Yaron,
Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and
General Amos Gilad, head of the Political-Military Office of
the Ministry of Defense.
Turkey's New National Security Document: Turkey's revised
National Security Policy Document has been now been
completed, "Radikal" reported on Sunday. The new draft
describes separatist terrorism, religious fundamentalism,
and extreme leftist activities as the primary threats to
domestic security, and global terrorism and nuclear danger
as the leading foreign threats. The draft is to be
submitted to the National Security Council (NSC) in June
and, if adopted, will become official as of July. The
`nuclear axis' of North Korea, China, India, Pakistan, and
Iran tops the threat list, "Radikal" claims. The document
cites Al-Qaeda and the PKK as transnational terrorist
groups. Greece, for the first time, has been removed from
the list of foreign military threats, according to
Turkish Foreign Policy Meeting at UNA-NY: Turkey's Consul-
General in New York, Omer Onhon, told a meeting on Turkish
foreign policy at the United Nations Association of New York
(UNA-NY) that positive aspects of Turkey-US relations should
be taken into consideration when analyzing the relationship,
the semi-official Anatolian News Agency reported over the
weekend. Onhon said that `multidimensional and rooted'
Turkey-US ties ensured positive cooperation in places like
Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and during both Gulf wars.
Orhon reminded that Turkey recently took over the ISAF
command in Afghanistan for the second time, and emphasized
that Turkish-US relations had a brilliant future.
`TRNC' Warns Free Passage May End in Cyprus: Turkish Cyprus
`president' Mehmet Ali Talat warned over the weekend that
Turkish Cypriots may stop traveling to southern Cyprus due
to lawsuits filed by Nicosia against Turks for `illegal use'
of property in northern Cyprus. Talat said that the `TRNC'
has no intention of banning free passage between the two
sides, but added that the Greek Cypriot lawsuits may
discourage Turkish Cypriots from traveling to the south.
The Greek Cypriot administration is demanding compensation
from Turkish Cypriots using properties that belonged to
Greek Cypriots before Turkey occupied the northern part of
the island in 1974.
Turkey Offers Help to Uzbekistan: Turkey is closely
monitoring developments in Uzbekistan, and expressed a
readiness to provide assistance, the Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA) said on Sunday. An MFA statement said that
if the Uzbek government acts moderately against the
protestors and civilian Uzbeks, this could prevent more
bloodshed in the region.
Turkey-Greece Natural Gas Pipeline Project: A 300 km
natural gas pipeline will be laid between Karacabey near the
Turkish city of Bursa and Komotini in Greece, the semi-
official Anatolian News Agency reported on Friday. The
pipeline, which will transport Caspian and Central Asian
natural gas to Europe via Turkey and Greece, is to become
operational in 2006. Turkish officials said that 250
million cubic meters of natural gas will be carried through
the pipeline annually. When connected to Italy in the
coming years, the pipeline will have the capacity to carry
11-12 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Saddam's C-4 in PKK Hands: According to an investigation by
Turkish police, 190 kg of plastic C-4 and A-4 explosives
seized in Turkey over the past year was produced in Portugal
and sold to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War,
"Milliyet" reported on Saturday. After the war, the
explosives were seized by terrorist organizations. The PKK
has reportedly brought some of these explosives into Turkey
from northern Iraq to carry out terrorist actions. The
paper notes Turkish Land Forces Commander General Yasar
Buyukanit's warning last week that C-4 has become `standard
equipment' in the `backpacks' of terrorists infiltrating
into Turkey from northern Iraq.
Turkish Troops' Operation Against PKK: Turkish security
forces killed nine PKK militants, two of them women, in an
operation involving some 10,000 troops in Tunceli province
in eastern Turkey, military officials said on Saturday. On
Friday, three soldiers were killed and four were wounded in
the nearby province of Bingol in an ambush by PKK fighters.
Military officials said PKK members have been preparing for
various actions in the area.
Agar Reelected Chairman of DYP: Mehmet Agar was reelected
as chairman of the center-right True Path Party (DYP) with
1,071 of 1,081votes cast during the eighth congress of the
party held in Ankara on Saturday. Agar was the only
candidate for the party leadership. On Sunday, DYP
lawmakers Reyhan Balandi, Ummet Kandogan, Dursun Akdemir and
Ibrahim Ozdogan resigned from their party when Agar failed
to include their names on the party's new executive board.
As a result of the resignations, the number of DYP seats in
parliament dropped from 7 to 3.
Large Numbers of Theology Teachers Appointed to High
Schools: The ruling AK Party has appointed some 3,022
theology teachers to high schools from 2003 to 2005. The
number of such teachers appointed between 1999-2002 was only
200, "Milliyet" reported on Sunday. The Turkish Teachers'
Union slammed AKP for making appointments in a `partisan'
way, adding that the data indicates discriminatory staffing
of teaching positions.
EDITORIAL OPINION: Uzbekistan; US-Turkey Relations
"A Flower That Did not Bloom"
Erdal Safak commented in the mass appeal "Sabah" (5/15):
"Recent events in Uzbekistan cannot be viewed as another
democratic revolution. This is mainly due to the lack of
organized opposition and the ban imposed in Uzbekistan on
the Soros Foundation. Moreover, Uzbekistan is not having an
election, and President Kerimov is able to control the army
and police force. . Nevertheless the uprising in Andijan
came as no surprise. It had been expected, so Kerimov had
taken certain measures to counter the demonstrations before
they even started. For instance, he ordered the security
forces to respond as harshly as possible. He also ensured
Russian support against the possibility of another `velvet
revolution.' . The US reacted immediately by taking the side
of protesters in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. But the
US was silent about the incidents in Andijan. First of all,
Uzbekistan has strategic importance for the US by virtue of
the two US military bases established there. In addition,
the rioting groups are radical Islamists of a kind that the
US opposes. Given the circumstances, Kerimov is secure, at
least for the time being. But we had better keep an eye on
the other `candidates' for `velvet revolutions' -- Belarus,
Armenia, and Azerbaijan."
"Social Unrest in Uzbekistan"
Yilmaz Oztuna observed in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (5/16): "Although the Tashkent government
presented the riots in Andijan as a revolt by religious
fundamentalists, the issue goes much deeper than that.
Andijan is the capital of the Fergana Valley, which is the
area of the world (after Istanbul) most densely populated by
Turks. Turkey is not against Uzbek leader Kerimov's efforts
to bring all of the Turkic republics together under one
umbrella. Turkey also understands Kerimov's efforts to
protect his country against a Sharia regime. But it is not
right for a person who has a communist background to have
such deep concerns about religious fundamentalists. Steps
he has taken -- closing Fethullah Gulen's schools, limiting
the number of the Uzbek students being educated in Turkey --
are unnecessary measures created by an unjustified
suspicion. Kerimov realized the problems in Afghanistan at
an early stage, and he even allowed the US to establish
military bases in his country. Washington did not approve
of the incidents in Andijan. In short, all of the Turkic
republics - including Uzbekistan -- need more democracy."
"Relations Cannot be Put on Auto-Pilot"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in the mass appeal
"Milliyet" (5/16): "Auto- pilot has become the operative
phrase in Washington for analyzing the current stage of
Turkish-American relations. American experts note that
bilateral relationships cannot be pursued on auto-pilot.
They believe that Ankara's political leadership should take
some steps to overcome the turbulence. . A recent meeting on
Turkish-American relations in Washington resulted in a
number of messages being passed to Ankara. Turkey and the
United States should engage in a more effective political
partnership. Turkish political leaders should be able to
concentrate on this by realizing the two countries' shared
interests in the Middle East and the Islamic world. If the
Erdogan-Bush meeting on June 8 ends with progress on that
issue, then diplomats in both countries will be working on a
better, more productive cooperation between the two
countries in the period ahead."