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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 04 ANKARA 003495

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
MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

MASS APPEAL
Rice Voices Support for Palestinians - Milliyet 6/19
Chirac: EU Budget Crisis Won't Affect Turkey - Sabah 6/19
European Press: Turkey in EU `Deep Freeze' - Hurriyet 6/18
Israel to Demolish Settlers' Houses in Gaza - Aksam
Iranian Reformists to Vote for Rafsanjani - Aksam 6/19
`Orange' Demonstration in Baku - Aksam 6/19

OPINION MAKERS
Ambassador Edelman Leaves Ankara for US - Radikal
Rice on Middle East Tour - Yeni Safak
Wolfowitz Tours the `Black Continent' - Radikal 6/19
Lebanese Opposition Declares Election Victory - Zaman
Israel Apologies to US for Arms Sales to China - Cumhuriyet
Bloody Day in Iraq: 26 Dead - Radikal
US Forces Kill 50 Insurgents on Syrian Border - Cumhuriyet
6/19
The Independent: US Used Napalm-Like Bombs in Iraq - Radikal
6/19
Chirac-Blair Fight Over EU Budget - Radikal
Serbia's Tadic to Apologize for Srebrenica Killings - Yeni
Safak 6/19
Vietnam's Khai Visits US - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Ambassador Edelman Leaves Turkey: Ambassador Eric Edelman
left his post in Ankara and departed for the United States
over the weekend, Monday papers report. The new Deputy
Chief of Mission, Nancy McEldowney, will serve as the acting
ambassador until the new ambassador arrives in Ankara some
time this fall, US Ankara Embassy sources told the press.
Papers expect that the former US Ambassador in Baku, Ross
Wilson, will be assigned to Ankara. Before leaving Turkey,
Ambassador Edelman noted at the US National Day reception in
Istanbul on Friday that Turkey and the United States have
supported each other in the fight against terrorism.
Edelman stressed that his country had always supported
Turkey's modernization, adding that the two countries would
maintain their cooperation.

Ambassador Edelman Interview With "Milliyet": The following
is a summary of the second part of an interview with
Ambassador Edelman carried Saturday in "Milliyet":

`The Turkish military is an extremely professional and
capable institution. The ties between our two militaries
and defense institutions have traditionally been an
important element in Turkey-US relations. The Suleymaniye
incident caused a crack in this relationship. During my
term in Ankara, I have worked to put the military
relationship back on track. If the US Congress approves my
nomination to the Pentagon, I will work to see that the High
Level Defense Group meetings are held annually. The Deputy
Chief of the TGS, General Basbug, and his US counterpart
General Pace held a very productive meeting last week, and I
believe we have made enormous progress. The Land Forces
Commander, General Buyukanit, and our land forces commander
in Europe, General Wald, have been working to establish such
contacts at lower levels as well.'

`The Turkish press has written repeatedly about the enemies
of Turkey at the Pentagon. If there are enemies of Turkey
at the Pentagon, I've certainly never met one. Paul
Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, who both recently left the
Pentagon, have worked for the benefit of US-Turkey
relations. It would not be fair to say that Wolfowitz held
the Turkish military solely responsible for the
parliamentary rejection of the deployment of US troops in
Iraq through Turkish territory on March 1, 2003. He just
voiced some disappointment over the lack of a strong
statement from the military leadership on the importance of
the March 1 decree. It would be wrong to say that Wolfowitz
put all the blame on Turkish military. During my term here,
I haven't known anyone at the Pentagon who has been a
stronger supporter of Turkey than Wolfowitz.'

`We need more time and talks to repair the damage the
Suleymaniye incident has inflicted on our military-to-
military ties. The incident provoked a lot of
disappointment and anger in Turkey. I don't know how long
will it take, but I hope that we will manage to overcome
that damage. We need time to heal all of the scar tissue
left by that incident.'

`I prefer looking to the future, not the past. Instead of
debating what happened on March 1 or July 4, 2003, let's try
to build a stronger and better relationship. From that
standpoint, I am leaving Turkey in a much more optimistic
mood.'

Turkey Makes Goodwill Gesture Regarding Afghanistan:
Monday's "Sabah" claims that during his meeting with
President Bush at the White House earlier this month, Prime
Minister Erdogan said the majority of Turkish troops in
Afghanistan would remain there to help in civil
reconstruction projects even after Turkey hands over the
ISAF command. Erdogan also suggested forming regional
reconstruction teams in high-risk zones outside of Kabul,
and sending engineers and doctors to Afghanistan. President
Bush welcomed the `surprise' Turkish proposal as an effort
to restore the strategic partnership between the two
countries, "Sabah" speculates. The paper reports that a
senior US official said that President Bush `thanked the
Prime Minister for his proposal, and asked the US National
Security Council to look into what could be done.'

US `Flirts' With Turkish Opposition Parties: The United
States has started searching for alternates to Turkey's
ruling AK Party, and has invited the leaders of the
opposition True Path Party (DYP) and Democratic Left Party
(DSP) to visit Washington on November 10, Monday's "Aksam"
asserts. Turkish opposition parties have been pressing for
early polls in an effort to block the election of Prime
Minister Erdogan as Turkey's next president.

Erdogan Losing Trust of West: European diplomats are
disappointed with Prime Minister Erdogan for criticizing EU
ambassadors' statements with regard to ongoing fighting
between security forces and PKK militants in southeastern
Turkey, and for lashing out at the German Chancellor over
Berlin's approval of a resolution on massacres of Armenians
by Ottomans during World War I, Monday's "Cumhuriyet"
reports. `Turkish officials seem to think they can go to
the press and deny things that were said, and that everyone
will accept this,' an EU diplomat complained. The paper
also says US diplomats have criticized PM Erdogan for
remaining silent in the face of criticism by AKP lawmaker
Cavit Torun, who compared President Bush to Saddam Hussein.
Diplomats also criticized Erdogan for disrupting Western
efforts to pressure Damascus for reform. They also believe
that the AKP's interest in Turkey's EU membership process
had started to decline, "Cumhuriyet" argues.

Protest Demonstration at Incirlik Airbase: A large group of
protestors rallied in Incirlik village near the southern
city of Adana on Saturday to demand the closure of the
Incirlik Airbase, Sunday papers report. A spokesman for the
group said that expanding US access to Incirlik Airbase
meant that Turkey is joining the `invasion' of Iraq, and he
called for the closure of all `foreign bases' in Turkey.
Political parties, NGOs, and labor unions joined the
demonstration.

Survey: Two-Thirds of AKP Supporters Oppose the US: A
survey of AKP members and supporters showed that 72 percent
of the party's Istanbul rank-and-file have a negative view
of the United States, and 83 percent express negative views
of Israel, "Milliyet" reports on Monday. 28 percent of
those interviewed are graduates of theology high schools
(imam-hatip), 46.3 percent are positive about the European
Union, while 35.1 percent oppose Turkey's membership in the
European bloc. 68 percent of AKP supporters reportedly hold
negative views about Greece, and 81.9 percent have a
negative view of Armenia. 49 percent voiced positive
opinions of the Turkish military in Turkey, according to the
survey, which was carried out by a team organized by the AKP
mayor of Eminonu, Istanbul.

Terrorists Killed in Security Operations: Security forces
killed 17 leftist terrorists in operations in Turkey's
eastern provinces of Erzincan and Tunceli, papers reported
over the weekend. Security forces seized weapons and four
kg of C-4 explosives. On Friday, two PKK militants were
killed in eastern Van province near the Iranian border in a
separate operation by the Turkish army. Meanwhile, four PKK
members were captured with 3.9 kg of C-4 explosives in a
security operation in Istanbul over the weekend.


EDITORIAL OPINION: The European Union

"The Future of the EU"
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (6/20):
"The rejection of the European Constitution by France and
the Netherlands not only brings question marks about the
future of the EU, but also about Turkey's possible EU
membership. It is interesting that shortly after Turkey
changed its penal code as part of the democratization
process, the two founding members of the EU rejected the
European Constitution and established a link between
Turkey's EU membership and the referenda results. . The
general atmosphere in Brussels is not giving any indication
about a new formula for Turkey, and the official rhetoric
insists that the previous decisions taken by the EU will
apply. On the other hand, Germany, the largest country in
the EU, is likely to go through a change of government.
This would bring about a serious crisis in Turkey's EU
membership process. Such a development would be more
critical for Turkey than Europe's constitutional crisis."

"The Transatlantic View Of the EU Crisis"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in the mainstream
"Milliyet" (6/20): "Washington is determined to support
Turkey's EU membership. Despite what some in Turkey are
saying, Turkey's EU membership goal should not be considered
as an alternate to Turkish-American ties. It is obvious
that advocates of anti-Americanism and anti-Europeanism in
Turkey have common goals, and they continuously feed off
each other's arguments. Therefore, Washington's advice to
Ankara was that the EU will overcome its current crisis one
way or another, so Turkey should move forward in the reform
process so as not to give more ammunition to its opponents
in Europe. . Washington wants to see Turkey as a strong and
influential partner within the EU, as well as a strong
regional player and reliable partner in its relations with
the US. . In fact, recently developments suggest that
Ankara should pursue a `transatlantic vision' in pursuing
its relations with Washington and EU capitals."

"Biggest Concern of the US"
Omer Taspinar commented from Washington in the liberal-
intellectual "Radikal" (6/20): The US' biggest fear is that
Turkey's EU membership dream could come to an end. If
Turkey changes deviates from its EU goal, the Americans
believe this will threaten democracy in Turkey. Prime
Minister Erdogan's recent meeting with President Bush in
Washington demonstrated once again that there is no serious
crisis between the two countries. It looks as if the
difficult period in the relationship has been at least
partly overcome in light of Erdogan's positive messages. .
In the period ahead, the Kurdish issue will be a subject
ripe for exploitation by the common interests of the anti-
American/anti-EU fronts in Turkey. If Turkey pursues its
policy on northern Iraq based on paranoia about the Kurdish
issue, it will work against US interests and make a more
significant improvement in US-Turkish relations less
likely."

EDELMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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