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.
141250Z Jun 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 ANKARA 003380
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, JUNE 13, 2005
THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
Erdogan Gives Bush Administration Warm Messages - Milliyet
Erdogan: A New Era in Turkey-US Ties - Aksam 6/12
Erdogan: Iraq Becoming a Training Field for Terrorists -
Rice: EU Should Keep Word, Begin Entry Talks With Turkey -
US `Wanted' List for 150 PKK Members - Sabah 6/11
Nicosia Rejects Direct Trade With northern Cyprus - Hurriyet
The Observer: Turks Have No Chance of Joining EU - Milliyet
Bloody Day in Iran: 9 Killed - Sabah
Nothing New on the Iraq Front: 90 Killed - Milliyet 6/12
Another Turkish Truck Driver Killed in Iraq - Sabah 6/12
G-8 to `Erase' 40 Billion USD Debt of Poor Countries -
New York Times: Turks, Angry With EU, Turn to US - Zaman
Turkey to Sign EU Cyprus Protocol - Cumhuriyet
Annan Looking for Ways to Facilitate Cyprus Solution -
Merkel: EU Not Ready for Turkey - Cumhuriyet 6/12
Barzani Becomes President of Kurdish Region - Zaman
Osman Ocalan Quits Active Politics - Yeni Safak
Bush: Syria Has a `Death List' for Lebanon - Yeni Safak 6/12
Lebanese Christians Win Third Round of Elections - Yeni
Bombs Shake Iran on Eve of Presidential Polls - Radikal
Belgrade Bargains With The Hague to Surrender Mladic -
Erdogan Returns From US: In an assessment of his visit last
week to the United States, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
told Turkish columnists on his return flight to Ankara that
anti-Americanism in Turkey is not as high as some have said.
The recent visit to northern Cyprus made a positive impact
in Turkey. If Americans take action against the PKK, the
atmosphere will be further improved,' Erdogan said. US-
Turkey ties are `multi-dimensional and well tested,'
according to Erdogan, and they are `strengthened' every day
with a `vision for the future.' On Syria, Erdogan noted
that Ankara and Damascus have been enemies for 40 years.
`We have turned a new page in bilateral relations with
Syria. Turkey will assist any democratic step taken in
Syria,' he noted. Erdogan also voiced hope that the
`positive energy' of his visit to the United States would
bring `concrete cooperation,' which would yield positive
results for both countries.
Before leaving for Turkey, Erdogan attended a dinner hosted
by Ahmet Ertegun, a Turkish businessman living in the US.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and several American
politicians, journalists, and artists attended the dinner.
Earlier on Friday, Erdogan met with the editorial board of
the New York Times (NYT) where he faced criticism regarding
the postponement of a conference planned by the Bosphorus
University in Istanbul to debate the official Turkish
position regarding claims of genocide against Armenians by
the Ottomans in 1915-17. Erdogan said that Minister Cicek's
statements criticizing the conference represented his
personal views, and not those of the Turkish government: `I
support these kinds of conferences even though I do not
agree with the views that were to be expressed there,'
Erdogan said. He invited the NYT editors to come to Turkey
to look at the official archives on the issue. Erdogan also
voiced his displeasure over the paper's refusal to publish
an advertisement by 36 Turkish NGOs rejecting charges of the
mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces. Editors said
the decision was made by the NYT advertisement section, and
they promised to look into the advertisement and inform the
Turks about the results of their inquiry.
Saturday papers report Erdogan's remarks at a meeting of the
Foreign Policy Association in Washington, which were seen by
the Turkish press as messages aimed at `pleasing' the US.
`Disagreements between Turkey and the United States are
transitory, but our ties are strong enough to overcome these
differences,' Erdogan said. Erdogan noted that the
leadership of a global power such as the US is necessary to
handle international problems like terrorism, weapons of
mass destruction, and demographic imbalances.
Saturday's "Cumhuriyet" claims that Washington was not
satisfied by Erdogan's messages highlighting the importance
of Turkey's ties with the US. The paper reports US
officials as saying that the Erdogan government is expected
to demonstrate leadership in boosting strategic cooperation
with the US. While Erdogan voiced support for the US
Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENAI), he
also criticized some aspects of it and defended Turkey's
close ties with Syria, the paper claims. Turkey's policies
with regard to Iran also remain a source of anxiety for US,
according to "Cumhuriyet."
Erdogan Meets Anti-Defamation League: The Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) gave Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan a medal of
valor to honor Turkish diplomats who saved Jews from Nazi
Germany's concentration camps during World War II, weekend
papers report. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, State
Minister Ali Babacan, and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul
joined Erdogan at the breakfast with ADL representatives in
New York on Friday. `The genocide committed against the
Jews is the most unbelievable crime committed in human the
history. Millions of Jews became the victims of this
crime,' Erdogan said, adding that `anti-Semitism is a
perversion which led to a massacre. Genocide, ethnic
cleansing, racism, anti-Islamism, anti-Christianity,
xenophobia and terrorism are different faces of the same
wickedness. If we understand the danger of these calamities
and fight against them effectively, our children will live
in a better world.' Erdogan said that anti-Semitism has not
been a part of Turkish culture. `Islam is a religion which
sees people as equals regardless of whether they are Jewish,
Christian, or Muslim,' he emphasized. Erdogan reminded that
the Ottomans had sheltered Jewish people 500 years ago.
`Jewish people living in Turkey are respected members of our
nation. We have friendly ties with the Jewish people in the
US, and they always have supported Turkey in difficult days.
We continue to trust your friendship and you should continue
trusting our friendship,' Erdogan stressed. He also noted
that Turkey is determined to further deepen its partnership
with the US: `This partnership is an indispensable common
initiative that serves honorable aims. Turkey and the US
want to launch efforts to achieve a democratic peace by
stressing shared values and common goals.'
Bush Makes Economic Demands From Turkey: During his meeting
with Prime Minister Erdogan, President Bush asked Prime
Minister Erdogan to address the difficulties faced by US
firms active in Turkey, particularly lawsuits against the
agribusiness giant Cargill Inc., Monday's "Cumhuriyet
"reports. Bush responded to Erdogan's request for help with
US investments in Turkey by saying that US companies'
investment decisions are made according to the respect shown
to business contracts signed by foreign investors.
"Cumhuriyet" believes the remarks reflect disappointment
with the problems faced by Cargill and Motorola in Turkey.
Turkey is expected to work out lasting legal solutions to
these problems, sources said. Erdogan's trip to the US
failed to make a breakthrough in economic relations between
the two countries, "Cumhuriyet" comments.
Turkey Agrees to Buy 12 Sikorsky Helicopters: Turkey agreed
with the Sikorsky firm to purchase 12 helicopters worth 389
million USD, weekend papers report. Defense Minister Vecdi
Gonul told reporters that Turkey ranked second, after the US
military, in the list of buyers from Sikorsky, with 125
helicopters purchased since 1985. Gonul noted that the
helicopters will be delivered to Turkey within 3-4 years.
US Issues a `Wanted List' for PKK Members in Iraq: The
United States ordered two months ago its units in Iraq to
capture 150 PKK members, including Osman Ocalan, but no
action has been taken to that end, weekend papers report.
Reports claim that the order for the capture of PKK members
was issued shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Jafari's visit
to Turkey. The US list includes former PKK leaders who
later founded the Patriotic Democratic Party (PWD) -- Osman
Ocalan, Faysal Dunlayici, Hidir Tas -- and those who are
known to be on Kandil Mountain: Cemil Bayik, Murat
Karayilan, Ali Haydar Kaytan and Hidir Yalcin.
PKK Militants Continue Infiltration into Turkey: Turkish
security forces continue operations against PKK groups on
the Iran-Iraq border, Saturday's "Cumhuriyet" reports. The
PKK has intensified its activities by sending new groups
into Turkey, particularly via Iran. Military sources said
that two PKK groups of 20 specially-trained militants
infiltrated into Hatay, Sivas, and Erzincan provinces as
well as the Black Sea region. Military sources estimate the
number of PKK militants in Turkey as 3,000, and those in the
Kandil Mountains as 4,000. Security officials said ten PKK
bombers have been captured in Istanbul with a total of 30 kg
of explosives last month, and that new militant groups
continue to infiltrate into Turkey to carry out bomb attacks
in major Turkish cities.
Erdogan to Attend Arab Summit in Lebanon: Prime Minister
Erdogan is to travel to Beirut June 15-17 to attend the Arab
Economic Forum meetings in the Lebanese capital, Sunday
papers report. At the forum, Erdogan is expected to voice
support for the US Broader Middle East and North Africa
Initiative in line with the `soft' messages he issued during
his visit to the United States.
Bar Associations Warn About New Turkish Penal Code: Bar
associations of 13 Turkish provinces issued a joint
statement warning the nation against the dangers caused by
changes made in Turkey's draft penal code, Sunday papers
report. The statement said that the changes promote the
establishment and operation of illegal educational
institutions. `If the draft becomes law,' the statement
said, `the way will be opened to separatist terrorist
organizations, missionary activities, and religious orders
(tarikats) seeking a state-based on religion in Turkey.'
Turkish-Greek Natural Gas Pipeline: The prime ministers of
Turkey and Greece are to join groundbreaking ceremonies for
the Turkish-Greek natural gas pipeline project on July 3,
Sunday papers report. The project, which is to be completed
in 15 months, will carry natural gas to European countries
Businessmen Close to AKP on the Rise: Businessmen close to
the ruling AK Party (AKP) have started expanding their
influence in Turkey's business world by taking over the
chairmanships of influential organizations such as the
Chamber of Trade and Chamber of Industry in Istanbul,
Monday's "Sabah" reports. Most of these businessmen own
small and medium-scale enterprises, and although their
capital is limited, the influence they have gained is
enormous, according to "Sabah." Monday's "Aksam" carries a
report about the activities of Islamic holding companies in
Turkey. According to the report, which has been submitted
to the parliament, Islamic business groups have collected
some 4 billion Euro from shareholders with promises to pay
generous profit shares. Most of these holding companies
subsequently went bankrupt.
Turkish Truck Driver Killed in Iraq: A Turkish truck driver
was killed by unidentified attackers in Ishaki, north of
Baghdad, Sunday papers report. The identity of the driver
was not immediately known.
EDITORIAL OPINION: US-Turkey
"The US-AKP Dance"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in the mainstream
"Milliyet" (6/13): "The dance between the US administration
and the AKP is certainly not a tango, because we can't
really talk about common emotion or shared passion between
the two. Yet after the White House meeting, it seems that
both sides are determined to continue dancing even though
they may occasionally step on each other's toes. This means
the Bush administration does not have any intention of
leaning toward a different partner in Turkey and distancing
itself from the ruling AKP. . Prior to the White House
meeting, PM Erdogan was welcomed to Washington by
Undersecretary Zoellick's negative remarks on the bilateral
relationship. Zoellick stressed the disappointment,
concern, and confusion in bilateral relations, and he
suggested ways to overcome these difficulties. On the issue
of anti-Americanism, Washington is not satisfied with
Erdogan's explanation. Although Erdogan finally admitted
there is anti-Americanism in Turkey, he put the blame on
figures in the opposition, the media, and `marginal groups.'
Washington wants to see the AKP actively engaged in
countering anti-Americanism in every possible platform, and
to speak louder to defend the value of Turkey's friendship
with the US. During the White House meeting, PM Erdogan
expressed support for the BMENAI and did not mention some of
his former reservations about the project. But this time,
Washington wants to see deeds rather than words. The Bush
administration is also very impatient about certain
differences between the two capitals on the fight against
terrorism. Syria is certainly the most notable example of
these differences. The White House countered Turkey's
argument on the need to `establishment close relations' with
Damascus to `encourage reform' by pointing out that such an
approach is out of step with US policy and the approach of
the rest of the world. For Washington, Damascus constitutes
a direct threat against the lives of US soldiers in Iraq,
and a threat to the process of democratization in Lebanon.
Washington is working on several options regarding Syria,
including diplomatic and economic isolation and `hot
pursuit' of insurgents from Iraq to Syria. It looks like
the Syria issue will soon become a litmus test for the
strategic relationship between Turkey and the US."
"Turkish Foreign Policy"
Yilmaz Oztuna observed in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (6/13): "During his visit to Washington, Prime
Minister Erdogan did not convey a positive message to
President Bush on the Syria issue. President Bush was
expecting to hear a promise more in line with the US
approach. On the contrary, Erdogan presented Bush with an
offer in complete contradiction to Washington's Syria
policies. For its part, Turkey has become exceptionally
sensitive about the PKK issue. As I wrote in my previous
columns, the US should have taken concrete steps against the
PKK if it was expecting to hear something different on
Syria. If the US had surprised Turkey by eliminating the
PKK in Northern Iraq, would the Turkish government have
acted as a partner to the US on its Syria policy? The
answer to this question is uncertain. But it seems clear
that issues beyond Syria and Iran are currently outside of
Washington's field of vision."