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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 004127

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
FRIDAY, JULY 15, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Millions Observe Silence for London Victims - Hurriyet
London Attacks' Code Name: Burning Cross - Vatan
US Takes Step Forward for `TRNC' - HO-Tercuman
British Police Seek Egyptian Mastermind of London Attacks -
Vatan
France, UK, Germany Discuss Closer Monitoring of Mosques -
Milliyet
Attacks Against Muslims Continue in Britain - Aksam
Britain Will Deport Religious `Hatemongers' - Sabah
Support for bin-Ladin Declines in Muslim Countries - HO-
Tercuman

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan Denounces BBC, Reuters on Terror Reporting -
Cumhuriyet
Europe Unites for London Victims - Zaman
US Gives Turkish Cypriots 10 Million USD - Yeni Safak
Papadopoulos Proposes Tough Changes to Annan Plan - Radikal
Prince Charles: Islam Not the Cause of Terrorism - Yeni
Safak
Al-Qaeda Denies Responsibility for Killing Children in
Baghdad - Cumhuriyet
US Issues `Routine' Warning to Syria - Yeni Safak
Captive Given `Queer' Treatment at Gitmo - Radikal


BRIEFING

Views Same, Tactics Different Between US-Turkey: On
Thursday, a high-level official of the US Administration
told the news broadcaster NTV that although the US and
Turkey share the same goals about Syria, there is some
disagreement concerning the tactics. According to the US
Administration, the disagreement between President Bush and
Prime Minister Erdogan on the Syria issue surfaced during
the June 8 meeting at the White House. The US official said
the United States and Turkey share the goals that Damascus
will stop supporting terrorism, cease destabilization
efforts in Iraq and Lebanon, and institute democracy.
`There are, however, differences between Turkey and the
United States with regard to tactics,' the official said.
`our view is that if Syria wants to see an end to the
isolation imposed by the international community, it must
change its negative attitude.' Erdogan had said during his
Washington meetings that Syria should not be isolated from
the international community, NTV reported.

General Myers on the PKK: Dailies report that US Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers,
responded to a question regarding a possible Turkish
military cross-border operation into northern Iraq in
pursuit of outlawed PKK militants. `I think the difference
now is that they're dealing with a sovereign Iraqi
government,' General Myers said, adding that Iraq would have
`a lot to say' about any Turkish cross-border operations
into its territory. He noted that this issue is being
worked on with Turkey and Iraq. Myers noted that the PKK
has stepped up its activities in Turkey recently, and that
it has killed Turkish nationals inside Turkey. `We are
trying to work with Turkey on the issue,' General Myers
said. `It's a matter of having the time and the resources
to get to some of these problems,' General Myers said. `But
such killings are certainly not acceptable and, in my view,
will eventually be eliminated.'

US Declines to Take Action Against PKK: Commentaries in
"Hurriyet" and "Radikal" today claim that Washington has
promised Ankara to provide intelligence on the PKK, but
ruled out any US military operation against PKK camps in the
Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq. US officials say that,
given the difficult security situation in the rest of Iraq,
US forces do not have the capacity to shift troops to the
north at the moment. The commentaries say that Ankara has
asked the US at least to arrest and hand over to Turkey PKK
leaders in the region such as Murat Karayilan and Cemil
Bayik, both of whom are being sought and are listed on an
Interpol `red list.' The Turks are also seeking help in
cutting of funds for the terror organization coming from
Europe. The articles estimate the number of PKK militants
in the Kandil Mountains at about 5,000, and claim that at
least 700 of them have infiltrated into Turkey in recent
months. Another column in "Hurriyet" ties the increase in
PKK actions in southeast Turkey to US plans to liquidate
terror camps in the Kandil Mountains. Both Americans and
President Talabani want to remove PKK terrorists from
Kandil, the column speculates, and warns the Turkish
government against intensified attacks coming from the
outlawed organization.

Ankara Seeks Britain's Support in Fighting PKK Terrorism: A
news-commentary in "Cumhuriyet" claims that the US has
dismissed Turkey's request for cooperation in the fight
against the PKK, saying that it was busy fighting against
`global terrorism.' Ankara is annoyed that the US has taken
no measures to secure the border between Turkey and Iraq
against infiltrations by PKK militants. "Cumhuriyet" claims
that Ankara is hoping that London will now better understand
Turkey's concerns following last week's bombings. Turkey
will reportedly ask Britain to put pressure on Washington to
fight against PKK terrorism.. Foreign Minister Gul
discussed the issue with British officials during his recent
visit to London, "Cumhuriyet" writes, adding that Turkish
efforts to enhance cooperation with Britain on this issue
will continue.

Turkish Leaders Observe Silence for London Terror Victims:
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday denounced the BBC
and Reuters for not describing the armed separatist PKK as a
terrorist group, instead characterizing them as a `militia.'
Speaking to the Ankara Chamber of Industry after observing a
two-minute silence for the victims of last week's bomb
attacks in London, Erdogan warned against `double standards'
in tackling terrorism in Turkey and in Britain, and called
for the `reinforcement' of the spirit of solidarity.
`Turkey has lost about 40,000 of its nationals in terrorist
killings,' Erdogan said. He urged global media to show an
impartial stance regarding the PKK. `If this mentality
continues, they should know that the terror that strikes
Turkey today will strike them tomorrow, and will cause them
pain,' Erdogan said. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Abdullah
Gul noted that `yesterday 24 innocent children died in
similar attacks in Iraq. These incidents showed once again
to the entire world how violent terrorism can be.' `TRNC
President' Mehmet Ali Talat and the `TRNC Parliament' also
observed the two minutes of silence in north Cyprus.

Assad Won't Spend Holiday in Turkey: "Milliyet" claims that
Syrian President Bashar Assad has changed his plans for
spending his holiday in Turkey. The Turkish press had
earlier reported that Assad would come to Turkey on a
working visit, prompting a denial from the Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA). The Prime Ministry spokesman subsequently
annoucned that Assad was coming to Turkey for a private
visit in late July. According to today's papers, that visit
will be postponed or canceled. "Milliyet" also speculates
that US First Lady Laura Bush refused to meet PM Erdogan's
wife Emine during a state visit by the Turkish PM to the US
because of US displeasure that Mrs. Erdogan had held
meetings in Damascus. US uneasiness over the rapprochement
between Turkey and Syria cast a shadow on Erdogan's official
visit to the United States last month, the paper notes.

ITF Complains About Kurds, Kirkuk Management: The Iraqi
Turkmen Front (ITF) Washington representative Orhan Ketene
told a press gathering in Washington that despite guarantees
from the US, American forces in the region have given silent
consent to the occupation of all major towns including
Kirkuk and Mosul in northern Iraq by the Kurdish militia,
papers report. Meanwhile, the ITF Turkey office released a
statement yesterday claiming that all US military operations
conducted against Turkmen cities `went beyond' the goal of
doing away with the insurgents. The ITF also blamed the
insurgents for attempting to use the Turkmen to further
their interests. The ITF said that Kirkuk has not been
administered well since the establishment of the new
government in Iraq, and stressed that the Turkmen want to
help manage Kirkuk.

USAID Helps Turkish Cyprus to Improve Business Climate: The
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
is to give the Turkish Cypriots 10 million USD to help
improve business practices and increase the quality of the
banking sector over the next three years. The overriding
goal of the project is to help create a climate that will
support the reunification of the island, "Zaman" reports.
The money is part of an overall 30.5 million USD assistance
package for the Turkish Cypriots approved following the
April 2004 referendum. Papers also report that "Improtex
Travel" will begin direct flights from Baku to Ercan Airport
in northern Cyprus every Sunday as of July 31.

Pew: Impact of Islam Strengthening in Turkey: A survey
conducted by Pew Global Research Foundation shows that 47
percent of Turks believe that the impact of Islam has
increased in Turkey. Half of the respondents regard the
increase as a negative development. According to the survey
conducted among 1,000 Turks, 68 percent support European
membership. 64 percent want the ban on wearing Islamic
headgear in schools to be removed. Only 29 percent support
the headscarf ban. 48 percent of Turks believe that
democracy can work in Turkey -- a relatively low ratio
compared to other Islamic countries. The survey, conducted
in 16 countries including the US, Canada, Turkey, Jordan,
Morocco, Germany and France, shows that support for Osama
bin-Ladin among youth in Islamic countries is declining. It
also shows that bin-Ladin still enjoys almost 50 percent of
popular support in Islamic countries other than Turkey.

UN `Alliance of Civilizations': UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan has appointed PM Erdogan to represent Muslims and
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to
represent Christians in the UN initiative called the
`Alliance of Civilizations,' a campaign that aims to bring
the Muslim and Christian worlds together, Turkish papers
report. `The Alliance of Civilizations is intended as a
coalition against extremists, a movement to advance mutual
respect for religious beliefs and traditions, and as a
reaffirmation of humankind's increasing interdependence in
all areas, from the environment to health, from economic and
social development to peace and security,' Annan's spokesman
said in a statement yesterday. The spokesman said the
governments of Turkey and Spain would support the campaign
as co-sponsors, and added that several other governments and
organizations have expressed interest in joining them.
Turkey, Iran to Ease Customs Controls on Goods: Iran's
state-controlled news agency IRNA reported Thursday that
Iran and Turkey have agreed to ease border checks on the
transit of goods in an effort to boost border trade. An
Iranian Ministry of Commerce delegation, in Ankara on an
official visit, told a meeting of the Iran-Turkey joint
border committee that the two sides will ease regulations
that hinder imports and exports. A delegation member said
that the border trade between Iran and Turkey amounts to
about 15 million annually.

US Report Claims Mistreatment of Inmates at Gitmo: A
military commission report on claims of mistreatment at
Guantanamo Bay detention acknowledged that one inmate,
Mohammed al-Kahtani, was forced during his interrogations to
wear a bra and panties on his head, Turkish papers report.
During questioning that lasted 20 hours per day, Kahtani was
humiliated and forced to dance with male interrogators.
Kahtani is alleged to be the `20th hijacker,' who missed the
plane that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside while
preparing to attack another target in the US on September
11.

Most PKK Landmines Made In Italy: 60 percent of the
landmines used by the outlawed PKK against Turkish security
forces in the southeast were made in Italy, "Vatan" reports.
The PKK keeps 5,500 armed terrorists at 17 camps in the
Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, the report claims.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Terrorism

"Concerns About Terrorist Activities"
Mustafa Balbay commented in the leftist-nationalist
"Cumhuriyet" (7/15): "Yesterday, people all over in Europe
stood in silence for two minutes to pay respects to the
victims of the London bombings. We criticize every single
terrorist action anywhere in the world, including London,
Baghdat, Istanbul, New York, and Kabul, and offer our
respects to all the victims before stressing our concerns.
Unfortunately, in recent times the concept of terrorism has
become firmly established on the world's agenda. Each
country is searching for measures to protect itself.
Recently, France announced that it has suspended
participation in the Schengen Agreement. If France
exercises this right to protect itself, then what about
other EU countries? Since they all have terrorism problems,
couldn't the EU find a joint solution to this problem? But
France is demonstrating a disturbing selfishness in taking
its own precautions. Britain is still in shock after the
terrorist attacks, and is also planning to apply new
measures. One of those measures is rather worrying. The UK
is urging all Muslims in the country not to shelter radical
Islamists, and to cooperate with the authorities to root out
radical groups. This means the country will be divided into
`us' and `them,' and all Muslims will be held responsible
for the terrorists among them. This is a very wrong kind of
discrimination. The US, which considers the fight against
terrorism as its primary responsibility, recently commented
about terrorism activities in Turkey, saying that `Turkey
has the right to conduct operations against terrorists
within its territory.' This means the US is `allowing'
Turkey to protect its own citizens! The US adds that
operations can continue `as long is there are no large-scale
human rights violations.' This reminds us of the advice the
US administration gave to the PKK some years ago. They
advised the PKK to return to Turkey, and pledged not to
allow Turkey to conduct operations in areas where they
settled. The worst part of all this is that the Turkish
government is either not aware of these developments, or
doesn't have the will to intervene."

"Terror in Turkey"
Fuat Bol wrote in the conservative "Turkiye" (7/15):
"Turkey has been battling terrorism for almost a quarter of
a century. We have lost 30,000 lives and many resources to
terrorism. Today, militants from the terrorist
organizations are entering Turkey from Northern Iraq and
conducting terrorist activities in Turkey. Turkey has lost
114 soldiers in terrorist actions within the past year. As
long as the terrorist swamp remains in Northern Iraq, we
will not have peace in Turkey. Syria has no value for
Turkey today, because it is on the US list of countries that
shelter terrorists and contribute to instability in Iraq and
Palestine. Turkey lost its historic chance to eliminate
terrorism when it rejected the US request to deploy troops
to Iraq through Turkey. Turkey also lost the trust of the
United States, to the point where the US has preferred to
collaborate with Kurdish groups in Northern Iraq rather than
with Turkey, a 50-year NATO ally. If Turkey had won the
approval of Parliament for the US request, we would be in
control of Northern Iraq, and would never allow terrorists
to enter Turkey from there. Still, it is never too late to
reverse the damage. The first and main issue we have to
bring to the agenda with the US and the Iraqi Administration
is the terrorist organization in Northern Iraq and its
activities."

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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