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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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 ANKARA 003104

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, JUNE 2, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Dutch Say a Louder `No' - Milliyet
French Kill, Dutch Bury EU Constitution - Vatan
France to Demand Privileged Partnership for Turkey - Sabah
Pakistan Gives Turkey Support on Cyprus - Aksam
Turkey, Pakistan to Increase Military Cooperation - Hurriyet
Brussels to Hold International Iraq Conference June 22 -
Milliyet
Assassination Attempt Against Barzani - Vatan
Nixon Knew Who `Deep Throat' Was - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
US Delegation: Sanctions on North Cyprus Must be Removed -
Cumhuriyet
Whitfield: Hope Papadapoulos Got Our Message - Yeni Safak
Dutch Overwhelmingly Reject EU Constitution - Radikal
Chirac Says France Will Stay in EU Despite `Non' - Zaman
Syrian Kurds Preparing for Mass Rally - Yeni Safak
Rafsanjani Pledges to Open Iran to World - Yeni Safak
Wolfowitz Takes World Bank Helm - Yeni Safak
US Puts Up Webpage to Fight Misinformation - Radikal
Suicide Bomb Attack at Kandahar Mosque Kills 20 - Cumhuriyet
Bishkek in Turmoil Again - Radikal
Detainee Testimonies Verify Torture at Gitmo - Yeni Safak
CIA Uses Civilian Planes for Covert Operations - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

US Delegations Continue Meetings in Turkey, North Cyprus: A
delegation led by Congressman Ed Whitfield, co-chairman of
the Turkey Caucus in the US House of Representatives, paid a
visit to Turkey's influential business organization, The
Union of Chambers (TOBB), in Ankara on Wednesday. Whitfield
told the press after meeting with TOBB Chairman Rifat
Hisarciklioglu that the fourth Congressional study group has
been formed, adding that the fact that this group focuses on
Turkey shows the importance given to Turkey by the US
Administration. He noted that the US delegation's visit to
northern Cyprus had been a `symbolic statement' to help lift
the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
Whitfield added that his delegation will propose some new
ideas to the American administration on that issue wht it
returns to Washington. Specifically, Whitfield said the
group would propose direct flights between Ercan airport and
Washington by Turkish Cypriot Airlines. Whitfield said that
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the US next week
will contribute to further cooperation in US-Turkish
relations: `There may be differences of opinion between
friends, but mutual visits can help overcome these
differences.' TOBB Chairman Hisarciklioglu praised the
Americans for entering Turkish Cyprus directly from Turkey:
`This visit will help in ending the unfair isolation of the
Turkish Cypriots, and will contribute to the integration of
northern Cyprus with the rest of the world.' Another US
Congressional delegation crossed over into the `TRNC' from
the southern part of the island, papers report. The head of
that delegation, Congressman Jim Kolbe, said after meeting
`TRNC President' Talat that all Americans are waiting for
the day when they will see Cyprus reunited.

Turkish papers report US State Department Spokesman Richard
Boucher as `defending' the US Congressmen's visit to
northern Cyprus. Responding to a question, Boucher, a
former US ambassador to Cyprus, said there is a `different'
environment in Cyprus now: `There have been various steps on
the part of the US to ensure that the Turkish Cypriots do
not feel as isolated as they have in the past.' Boucher said
the visit had not been a violation of international law.
Boucher described the `TRNC' and Ankara as the side that
sincerely wants a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Johnson: US Visits to Cyprus a First Step for Dialogue:
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, a member of
the US delegation that visited north Cyprus, told "Tercuman-
HO" that there is no impediment to Americans who want to
travel to Turkish Cyprus. Johnson said the US Congressional
delegation now had a better grasp on the situation of the
Turkish Cypriots. `We also aim to understand Turkey
better,' she noted. Johnson added that visits by US
delegations to northern Cyprus and Turkey marked a beginning
for opening channels of dialogue. Johnson said she was
surprised to see several women lawmakers in the Turkish
Cypriot `parliament,' including `speaker' Fatma Ekenoglu,
the paper reports. `American women have not had such an
opportunity yet,' Johnson said. Johnson, named as one of
the 10 most powerful women in the US by "Ebony" magazine in
2001, was first elected to the US House of Representatives
in 1991.

Turkish Cypriot Leaders Due in Ankara: Turkish Cypriot
leaders - `President' Talat, `Prime Minister' Soyer and
`Foreign Minister' Denktas -- are to visit Ankara on
Thursday for meetings with PM Erdogan and FM Gul for a final
retouching of the Turkish position on Cyprus in advance of
Erdogan's upcoming visit to the United States next week.
The Turkish Cypriots will return home on June 3 after
meeting Parliament Speaker Arinc. Talat said yesterday
before arriving in Ankara that the attitude of the Greek
Cypriot side is `far outside the parameters' of the Annan
Plan. `It is uncertain how the Cyprus problem will be
resolved,' Talat said.

Erdogan to Visit Sikorsky While in the US: Prime Minister
Erdogan will pay a `surprise' visit to the Sikorsky
helicopter plant in Connecticut after meeting with UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan on June 9, "Sabah" reports.

SIPDIS
The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation had previously held talks
with the Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) in a bid to make
Turkey its main production center for all models of Black
Hawk helicopters, but no progress was made on the project,
"Sabah" notes. Erdogan will discuss with Sikorksy the
manufacture of helicopters using Turkish parts and
technology, according to the report.

Turkey's National Security Policy Document: Turkey's draft
`National Security Policy Document,' which outlines the
priorities with regard to threats to Turkey's security, is
to be finalized at the National Security Council (NSC)
meeting on June 21, papers report. The document describes
fundamentalism, separatism, and extreme left-wing activities
as the main domestic threats. The 25-page document also
delineates unemployment, the uneven distribution of national
wealth, and disproportionate development levels between
regions in the country as among the primary domestic threats
to public order. Cyprus is of `first-degree importance' to
Turkey's security, the document says, and it goes on to list
Iraq and Iran as among the risky elements that create
uncertainty in Turkey's neighborhood. `Turkey has to
maintain a deterrent military force to preserve the current
balances against symmetric threats and defend its national
interests,' the document notes. It also regards
international terrorism and narcotics and human trafficking
as `asymmetric threats' to Turkey.
US Creates Website to Fight Misinformation: The US State
Department has created a webpage for responding to
misinformation about American policies and actions with
regard to issues such as Iraq and Afghanistan, Turkish
papers report. The webpage, posted in English and Arabic,
responds to allegations such as those claiming that the US
military used non-conventional weapons in Iraq, and that
former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri had been killed by
Americans, say reports.

Pakistan's Aziz Visits Ankara: Visiting Pakistani Prime
Minister Shaukat Aziz said after meeting his Turkish
counterpart Tayyip Erdogan yesterday that Pakistan is ready
to support Turkish efforts to ease the isolation of Turkish
Cyprus. During meetings between the delegations, Aziz said
Pakistan wanted to purchase electronic warfare products from
Turkey, and proposed a joint investment for the production
of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and assault boats.
Erdogan voiced support for Pakistan's position regarding
Kashmir, and urged Aziz to make further efforts to enhance
trade ties.

Ankara Expects `Gestures' From Yerevan: Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA) Spokesman Namik Tan said at a weekly press
briefing on Thursday that an `evaluation' of Armenian
President Robert Kocharian's letter to Prime Minister
Erdogan is continuing. Erdogan had earlier proposed to
Kocharian the establishment of a joint delegation of Turkish
and Armenian historians to examine the incidents of 1915.
The Armenian President responded by saying that the
commission should have an inter-governmental status.
`Future positive statements and gestures will affect our
assessment of the Kocharian proposal,' Tan said.

TOBB Chairman to Travel to Jerusalem: Rifat Hisarciklioglu,
Chairman of Turkey's Union of Chambers (TOBB), will visit
Jerusalem June 7 to attend the second round of meetings of a
`dialogue group' made up of Turkish, Israeli, and
Palestinian businessmen. He first round of meetings was
held in Ankara on April 27. During his two-day stay in
Jerusalem, Hisarciklioglu will discuss trilateral business
cooperation opportunities and problems in trade between
Turkey and Palestine.

Turkish Intelligence Admits to Wiretapping: The Turkish
intelligence service (MIT) admitted wiretapping telephone
conversations across Turkey for the past two months, but
said the measure was necessary to gather information on the
activities of the outlawed PKK. A senior police source told
the press that the monitoring of civilian communications in
Turkey had been continuing for more than a decade. The
source noted that the wiretaps had enabled police to prevent
a bomb attack in Antalya and to seize explosives in
Istanbul, Izmir, and Diyarbakir. Human rights activists,
NGOs, and some lawyers strongly criticized the practice,
claiming that it was illegal.

Syrian Kurds Prepare for Protest Rallies Over Clergy's
Death: Syrian Kurds are preparing to protest against
Damascus in mass rallies over allegations that the revered
Kurdish clergyman, Muhammad al-Haznawi, was tortured to
death by Syrian intelligence, "Yeni Safak" reports from
Damascus. Haznawi's son claimed that his father, president
of the Islam Center in Syria's mainly Kurdish border town of
Kamishli, had been abducted by Syrian government forces
during a visit to Damascus in early May.


EDITORIAL OPINION:

The EU Constitution; US-Cyprus; Syria

"An Impact is Most Certain"
Gunduz Aktan commented in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(6/2): "The French `no' vote on the EU Constitution is a
very important development that puts the future of the Union
in doubt. Nevertheless, EU institutions will continue to
function, as the Nice Treaty remains in effect. So there is
no question of a legal or institutional vacuum in the
European Union. . On the other hand, the defeat of the EU
Constitution by one of the two important founding members
certainly pushes the EU toward a crisis it has never seen
before. . If these developments lead the UK to decide
against holding a referendum, it would create a final blow
against the dream of an EU `superstate.' If and when that
happens, the EU will move toward the British model -- in
other words, a full commercial integration to be matched by
a more limited political and economic integration. Such a
development will be a positive factor for Turkey's
membership in the medium term."

"Non, Nee, And What Comes After That?"
Sami Kohen opined in the mainstream daily "Milliyet" (6/2):
"Although, the French `Non' was sufficient for the EU
constitution to be considered invalid, the additional `Nee'
vote in the Netherlands has strengthened the rejection. In
a way, the people of France and the Netherlands used this
referendum to punish their governments for the economic and
social problems they are facing. Increasing nationalist and
anti-foreign sentiments in both countries caused the people
to reject the EU constitution. These referenda proved that
Europeans generally value their national identities and
national interests more than they value integration. The
European Union's idea of `being European' doesn't get much
support in an atmosphere where nationalism is on the rise.
It seems that after the referenda, efforts should be exerted
to protect the unity of Europe rather than to protect the
constitution."

"The US Has Done What The EU Could Not"
Fikret Bila observed in the mainstream daily "Milliyet"
(6/2): "The EU has long promised to take steps to end the
isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. These pledges include
direct flights, direct trade, and financial assistance to
northern Cyprus. However, the EU failed to meet any of its
promises, and has hesitated to start a real effort in that
direction. On the other hand, US Congressmen have made an
historic visit to the Turkish side of Cyprus and achieved
exactly what the EU has failed to accomplish. The visiting
US delegation made some important statements, both in
northern Cyprus and after coming to Ankara. They promised
to push for additional US measures to break the isolation of
Turkish Cypriots, including the possibility flights by
Turkish Cypriot Airlines from Ercan directly to Washington.
Their statements also strengthened Prime Minister Erdogan's
hand on the eve of his trip to Washington. The Americans'
`Cyprus gesture' prior to the Washington visit has given the
Turkish side a big boost in morale. Congressman Whitfield's
remarks were supportive enough to help smooth Prime Minister
Erdogan's meeting in the White House."

"America's Anger Over Syria Continues"
Semih Idiz wrote in the mainstream daily "Milliyet" (6/2):
"Florida Congressman Robert Wexler is one of the leading
figures in the Turkish Friendship Group in the US Congress.
I ran into him the other night at a reception given by the
German Marshall Fund. I asked him what the feeling was in
Washington toward Turkey, mentioning that it seemed as if
things were getting back to normal. But Wexler doesn't
really see it that way. Although he says the disappointment
over the March 1 vote has largely been overcome, he added
that Turkey's friends in the United States face a `Syria
problem.' As I understand it, the Americans view the recent
high-profile visits of PM Erdogan and President Sezer to
Syria as a kind of `challenge' from Turkey. The effects of
this are still being felt in Washington. When I tried to
explain the Turkish view that Bashar Assad is trying to
change things in a way more favorable to US interests,
Wexler would have none of it. He argued that the regime is
full of holdovers from Hafez Assad's days, and that it is
following the same hard-line policies as it did in the past.
`As long as American soldiers are dying in Iraq,' Wexler
told me, `ordinary Americans are not going to buy that kind
of subtle distinction.' To make a long story short, what
the Americans are saying is this: `We are trying to do now
what you did with Syria over the PKK issue. But when you
encourage Damascus through these kinds of visits, you are
bringing that process to a halt. How can you think that
there won't be negative fallout from this?' This is enough
to show that US-Turkish relations still haven't quite gotten
back on track."

EDELMAN

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