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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.

171322Z May 05




E.O. 12958: N/A
TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2005


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


Rice Warns Barzani to Protect Iraq's Unity - Milliyet
Erdogan: Turkey Worried About Anti-Islamist Sentiment -
Erdogan Calls for Cooperation Against Terror - Turkiye
2 PKK Suicide Bombers Killed in Siirt - Hurriyet
Uzbek Troops Kill 200 in Pahtaabad - Milliyet
5,000 Uzbeks Flee Country for Kyrgyzstan - Sabah
Iranian Dissidents Call for Boycott of June Presidential
Polls - Aksam
Bill Gates to Donate $450 Million to Medical Researches -

Iraqi Defense Ministry Bans Operations Against Places of
Prayer - Yeni Safak
Baghdad Bans Raids Against Universities, Shrines - Zaman
White House Wants Newsweek to Retract Koran Abuse Report -
Newsweek Steps Back on Koran Report - Cumhuriyet
Uzbeks on the Run - Radikal
Washington Post: Websites Recruiting Fighters for Iraq -
Tehran-Baku Friendship Pact - Radikal
Serbian Orthodox Monastery Reopens in Mostar - Radikal

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US Congressional Delegation to `TRNC': "Hurriyet" columnist
Fatih Altayli writes that a US Congressional delegation led
by a `friend of Turkey,' Ed Whitfield, is to visit Turkey in
coming days for meetings with politicians and businessmen.
Altayli expects the US delegation to move on to north Cyprus
directly from Turkey. Altayli notes that this would be the
first visit of its kind, and claims that the decision to fly
directly from Turkey to north Cyprus has `driven the Greek
Cypriots crazy.' He notes that Nicosia's efforts to block
the visit have not achieved a positive result. Altayli
emphasizes that Washington, despite its problems with
Turkey, seems determined to take the Greek Cypriots back to
the negotiating table within the framework of the Annan
Plan, and believes the upcoming US visit to north Cyprus
will be a way for the Americans to show the Greek Cypriots
`the iron hand beneath the velvet glove.'

Erdogan-Kocharian at Odds at COE Summit: Turkish papers
slam Armenian President Robert Kocharian for making
reference to `genocide' claims in his address to the Council
of Europe (COE) summit meeting in Warsaw. Papers claim that
Kocharian's statements damaged efforts for dialogue between
Ankara and Yerevan. Kocharian also suggested the annexation
of Nagorno-Karabakh to Europe, a proposal regarded by Turks
as another blow against efforts to keep open a channel of
communication. Ties between Armenia and Turkey have now
become more tense, according to the reports. Addressing a
press conference at the COE summit yesterday, Prime Minister
Erdogan said that Armenia is responsible for the lack of
progress in establishing diplomatic relations between the
two neighbors. Erdogan blamed Kocharian for pursuing
populist policies, and urged Armenia to pull out of Nagorno-
Karabakh `before accusing others.' Erdogan also criticized
countries that adopted Armenian genocide resolutions.
Erdogan noted that Turkey has opened its archives, and he
called on Armenia and third countries to do the same.

Secretary Rice's Messages in Iraq: "Milliyet" claims that

Secretary Rice delivered three important messages during her

surprise visit to Iraq last weekend. The paper reports that
the Secretary called on Iraqi officials to increase the
participation of Sunni elements, including former Baathists,
in the Iraqi political process. She also encouraged Kurdish
leaders to keep their parties engaged in constructive
efforts to build the new Iraq. Finally, Secretary Rice
delivered a harsh assessment of Syria's failure to prevent
the infiltration of foreign fighters into Iraq, and said
that the Syrians had also failed to withdraw all
intelligence forces from Lebanon as required under UNSC

AKP Government Intervenes in Turkey's Defense in ECHR
`Headscarf' Case: Turkey's ruling AK Party will argue on
Wednesday at a hearing of the European Court of Human Rights
(ECHR) that the ban on Islamic headgear in Turkey does not
constitute a violation of human rights, "Radikal" reports.
A Turkish university student, Leyla Sahin, had appealed an
ECHR ruling last year in which the court had decided that
the ban on wearing headscarves in Turkish universities was
not a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
A Turkish government statement drafted under the guidance of
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will inform the ECHR that the
ban on headscarves in Turkish universities has not been an
infringement of religious freedom, "Radikal" claims.
Meanwhile, "Cumhuriyet" reports that Gul has omitted from
the defense statement the argument used by Turkey at
previous hearings that the headscarf has been used as a
`political symbol' in Turkey and an `element of oppression'
against Turkish women. Fearing that the ECHR final judgment
tomorrow may confirm the previous ruling, the AK Party
government has deliberately weakened Turkey's defense in the
case, "Cumhuriyet" argues.

AKP Wants Ocalan Case Discussed at NSC: The AK Party
government, reluctant to take political responsibility for
implementing the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
decision stipulating a retrial for imprisoned PKK leader
Abdullah Ocalan, says the case is a matter that concerns the
state, not the government, "Cumhuriyet" reports. The AKP is
hesitant to change legislation that would allow for a
retrial of Ocalan, even though President Sezer has warned
the government to do so. "Cumhuriyet" claims that the AKP
government, in an effort to evade political responsibility
and ease public pressure, will take the issue to the
National Security Council (NSC) meeting in June.

Greenpeace Opens `Peace Office' in Incirlik: Greenpeace has
set up a `Mission Office for Peace' in the town of Incirlik
in Turkey's southern province Adana, declaring that its
objective is to inform people about the nuclear bombs
allegedly stored at the airbase, Turkish media report. A
Greenpeace member, Aslihan Tumer, recalled claims that 90
nuclear bombs are stored in Incirlik within the NATO
framework. He called for the immediate transfer of the
weapons to the United States. `Nuclear arms stored at US
bases in Europe will be reviewed in a proposal that has been
submitted to the US Senate. It is possible that other
nuclear bombs stored in Europe will be transferred to
Turkey,' Tumer said, adding that the proposal will be
submitted for the approval of President Bush on September
23. Greenpeace Chairman Gerd Leipold added that the Turkish
people had the right to be informed about nuclear weapons in
their country. The Greenpeace office at Incirlik will
remain open for three weeks.

US Court Confirms Verdict on Uzans: A US Appeals Court has
confirmed a New York South District Court ruling in which
Judge Jed Rakoff had ordered Turkey's Uzan family to pay a
2.13 billion USD settelement in the Motorola case,
"Milliyet" reports. The Court's judgment ends the appeals
process for the Uzans. Motorola's deputy executive chairman
Peter Lawson voiced his satisfaction with the verdict.
2 PKK Suicide Bombers Killed in Siirt: Two suicide bombers
from the PKK were killed in Turkey's southeastern province
of Siirt on Monday as they were preparing to attack the
governor's residence, papers report. One bomber killed
himself after detonating his explosives, while the other
escaped but was later killed by security forces.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Uzbekistan; Armenia-Turkey

"Uzbekistan is the Toughest Nut"
Nuh Gonultas commented in the conservative-sensational
"Dunden Bugune Tercuman" (5/17): "Uzbekistan has a cruel
leader who seems unwilling to transfer his authority through
peaceful means. Kerimov's brutal methods to break the riot
in Andijan, which has claimed between 50 and 500 lives, show
his true character. Washington will find it very difficult
to lay the groundwork for a `civilian coup' in Uzbekistan.
Kerimov has already closed down the office of George Soros
and deported some American citizens. The recent incidents
also prove that Kerimov is determined to retaliate brutally
in the face of any attempt to bring about a `civilian coup.'
. Kerimov's political record in Uzbekistan is anything but
clean. He even extended his term in January 2002 by
arranging a fake referendum. Kerimov has used every method
available to him to remain in power, including becoming a
close partner of the United States in the fight against
terrorism. Given the current circumstances, Uzbekistan
seems to be the toughest nut to crack for those who want to
provoke a `civilian coup.' Nevertheless, history tells us
that there is an end even for the most brutal of dictators."

"Kerimov Has Solid Support"
Haluk Ulman wrote in the economic-political "Dunya" (5/17):
"Secretary Rumsfeld praised Uzbekistan's role highly when
the US launched its global campaign against terrorism with
the operation in Afghanistan. The former Soviet Republics,
particularly Uzbekistan and Krygyzstan, are very important
for Washington, because they constitute a basis for American
policy in Asia. . Kyrgyzstan has given over its Manas base
for the use of the US, and President Akayev maintained
excellent ties with Washington. Washington, for the sake of
the military base, turned a blind eye to the blatant human
rights violations in Kyrgyzstan. A similar thing can be
seen in Washington's apparent disinterest in the Andijan
riots and Kerimov's mistakes. . The military bases in
Uzbekistan continue to make a great deal of impact on
Kerimov's ability to continue his rule. The Europeans
complain about the country's poor human rights record and
take some measures, but the US administration keeps silent.
The State Department characterizes Uzbekistan government as
`stable and moderate.' This is due to the fact that the US
military needs the bases in Uzbekistan."

"Kocaryan Openly Expresses Yerevan's Hopes"
Semih Idiz commented in the mainstream opposition "Milliyet"
(5/17): "International media attention had been focused on
a possible meeting between Turkish PM Erdogan and Armenian
President Kocaryan at the European Council meeting in Warsaw
yesterday. Despite the expectations, the meeting never
materialized. While diplomats at the summit are not
talking, those covering the event for the media believe that
the meeting failed to take place because no resolution was
reached on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue during the Aliyev-
Kocaryan meeting on Sunday. According to Azerbaijani
sources, the atmosphere of the meeting was very positive.
Some positive developments had already been achieved at the
periodic meetings between the Armenian and Azerbaijani
Foreign Ministers, and Armenia had agreed to withdraw from
the seven areas it had occupied in Azerbaijan. Before
taking any further steps on the Armenia issue, however, the
Turkish wanted to listen to Kocaryan's speech at the summit.
As if trying to confirm Turkey's negative expectations,
Kocaryan made sure to mention the Armenian `genocide' issue
in his speech. Kocaryan added that Europe should have open
borders without any embargoes. It wasn't lost on anyone at
the summit missed that these remarks were directed toward
Turkey. Despite all of these negative developments, Turkish
and Armenian diplomats did not close all doors to positive
developments. Diplomats from both countries emphasize the
continuity of the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh
issue. The Turkish side has made known that Turkey's stance
will be `dynamic and constructive' at the negotiations, even
though the Turks are not prepared to make `one-sided'
gestures. The Turkish side expects different approaches
from Armenia on certain issues. Unfortunately, there were
no signs in Warsaw that these expectations will be met. It
is not yet clear yet whether a meeting between Erdogan and
Kocaryan will eventually come to pass. Given that certain
powers want this to happen, it probably will at some point.
But the success of future talks between the Azeri and
Armenian leaders will likely play a determining role in
Erdogan's willingness to meet with Kocaryan."


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