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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.

011538Z Aug 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


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


London Police Seek Third Group of Terrorists - Sabah
London Bomber Claims No Link to al-Qaida - Hurriyet
Iran to Continue Nuclear Program - Vatan
Iraqi Insurgents Attack British Consulate Vehicle - Aksam
Uzbekistan Asks US to Leave Hanabad Base - Aksam 7/31
Pope Supports IRA Decision - Vatan
Russia Bans ABC-TV for Basayev Interview - Vatan
Russians Pull Out of Georgia - Milliyet
Pakistan Deports All Foreign Theology Students - Milliyet
Bush's Health `Perfect' - Sabah

PKK Office in US-Controlled Kirkuk - Yeni Safak
EU Sees Turkish Military as Obstacle to EU Membership -
Cumhuriyet 7/31
London Fears Third Wave of Attacks - Radikal
Washington Times: PKK Casts Shadow on US-Turkey Alliance -
Yeni Safak 7/30
US Companies Return to Libya - Radikal
4,000 Killed in Iraq in 7 Months - Yeni Safak
Suicide Attack in Iraq: 25 Killed - Yeni Safak 7/30
Iraqi Constitution Will be Finished on Time - Zaman
Amnesty Denounces Syria for more Political Arrests - Yeni
Safak 7/30
25 Inmates on Hunger Strike at Gitmo - Yeni Safak 7/30
Anti-Mubarak Demonstration in Cairo - Cumhuriyet
Food Aid Sent to Niger After 8 Months - Radikal

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PKK Opens Office in Kirkuk: The Pro-Kurdish Democratic
Solution Party, known to be a political extension of the
PKK, has opened a new office in Kirkuk in the neighborhood
where the US Consulate is located, Monday papers report.
Dailes claim that a PKK flag and a flag symbolizing jailed
PKK leader Ocalan's proposal for a democratic confederation
of Kurds are flying over the building in which the office is
located. Reports further claim that posters of Ocalan have
been hung on the walls of the building. An staff of 60
people are believed to be working in the building, which
also houses a radio station through which the PKK
communicates with its supporters. Dailies report that
"Turkmeneli TV," a Turkmen television channel in Kirkuk,
claimed that neither US nor Iraqi forces have intervened to
prevent the office from functioning. Dailies emphasize that
US and Iraqi promises to block PKK activities in northern
Iraq have not been kept.

Ankara Extends Customs Union Protocol With EU: On Friday
night, Turkey signed a customs protocol with the European
Union, a key condition for the opening of EU accession talks
with Ankara, the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) said in a
statement. The MFA added that Ankara's signing of the
accord, which extends an existing customs agreement to the
10 new members of the bloc, does not constitute a formal
recognition of Cyprus. `The signing, ratification and
implementation of this protocol in no way means the
recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, which is mentioned in
the protocol,' the statement said. The ministry's
declaration, released simultaneously with the new protocol,
stresses that the special relationship between Turkey and
the `TRNC' would continue, and that restrictions on Greek
Cypriot vessels and planes seeking to enter Turkish ports
and airports would continue. Papers speculate that the ban
will be used as a `trump card' in Turkey's efforts to end
international sanctions against the Turkish Cyprus. Turkish
parliamentary approval is required for the protocol to take
effect. Weekend reports suggest that the Government is not
planning to bring the issue to the parliament until after
the talks begin on October 3.

Bartholomew Complains of `Bad Intentions' Toward Minority
Foundations: "Milliyet" reports that Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew I accused Ankara of having `bad intentions' in
its relationship with the Patriarchate based on Turkey's
alleged efforts to seize assets of the Greek Orthodox Church
in Istanbul. Bartholomew was speaking at the opening of a
youth camp for disadvantaged children in Istanbul, which had
been delayed by the insistence of the Foundations
Directorate that the Patriarchate agree to forfeit control
of their monastery on Kinaliada when the youth camp
finished. `People would not leave their homes if there were
no problems,' he said. `If we really want to become
Europeans, we must change our attitudes, not just make some
reforms and pass a few laws that are sometimes implemented
and sometimes not,' Bartholomew added. The Patriarch
criticized the way Turkish authorities have handled the
Patriarchate's institutions and property issues, and the
fact that Turkey has refused to reopen Halki Seminary, which
has been closed for 34 years. `The Ecumenical Patriarchate
has never intended to create problems for the Turkish state
or government. But it demands its rights from the state and
does not accept unfair treatment. We are not foreigners in
this land,' Bartholomew stressed. Deputy PM Mehmet Ali
Sahin rejected any discrimination against minority religious
foundations in Turkey. `The problem is that minority
foundations demand privileges greater than the rights
granted to Muslim foundations,' Sahin said. `Turkey's
General Directorate for Foundations administers 41,550
foundations, and only 40 or 50 of them belong to the
minorities here,' he added. Sahin said that he may initiate
legal action against Patriarch Bartholomew. In the
meantime, Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals issued a ruling
in favor of the Patriarchate, noting that the Foundations
Directorate does not have the right to take over long-term
control of the administration of minority foundations.

Kretschmer on Turkish Military's Impact on Politics:
European Union (EU) Commission Turkey representative
Hansjoerg Kretschmer said at a dinner with businessmen in
Turkey's southern city of Adana that the Turkish military is
still very influential in Turkish politics, and that this is
one of the obstacles to the country's adaptation process to
the EU. Kretschmer reportedly said that military-civilian
relations are different in EU countries from those in
Turkey, and that European practices should be analyzed by
the Turkish side.

Shiites, Sunnis Protest Killings, Detentions: Thousands of
Sunnis and Shiites marched together after Friday prayers in
Baghdad to protest torture and arbitrary detentions by
coalition forces, "Yeni Safak" reports. The protesters, who
were supported by the Iraq Islam Party, called for an end to
killings and torture, the release of suspects under
detention, and for an independent commission to investigate
killings during security operations. The protest ended

Turkey-US Military Exchange Program: The US has offered a
new plan of bilateral exchange. 60 military officers would
be exchanged between the US and Turkey each year in an
effort to create new opportunities and improve military
ties, "Sabah" reported on Sunday. The Turkish General Staff
(TGS) welcomed the plan, but has not yet given an official
Young Turks Pin Hopes to EU: Young Turks see their future
hopes linked to the EU, according to a poll of high school
students. The poll showed that the students believe that
unemployment will fall and education standards will rise
with Turkish membership in the EU. The poll was conducted
among 4,542 students in 60 high schools in 12 major Turkish
cities. 66.9 percent of the students believe that EU
membership will yield positive results for Turkey, and only
18.6 disagreed. 71.6 percent said EU membership will reduce
inefficiencies in state services in Turkey. 60.4 percent
expect an erosion in ethical values if Turkey joins the EU,
and 65.5 expect drug addiction to rise. 18.6 percent said
Turkey should join the Islamic world instead of other
international groupings.

Turkish Truck Driver Missing in Iraq: A Turkish truck
driver, Mehmet Konac, has been missing in Iraq for 25 days,
papers report. Konac's wife believes her husband was
kidnapped. Konac was ferrying goods to US forces in Iraq.

EDITORIAL OPINION: The Global War on Terrorism

"An Historical Duty"
Washington-based Yasemin Congar wrote in the mainstream
"Milliyet" (8/1): "Turkey's identity is a composition of
Muslim, democratic, secular, and Western elements. This fact
makes Turkey unique in the region, from Iran to Greece.
Moreover, it may bring us a valuable advantage. . It may
seem like a paradox, but Turkey's Muslim identity provides a
chance as well as a heavy responsibility to stand against
the Islamist nature of global terrorism and anti-Muslim
sentiment in the EU. Turkey will only be able to take
advantage of this opportunity by emphasizing its identity
even more than before, and by developing firm position
against the Islamist terror and the ideology it represents.
The western, democratic, Muslim and secular characters of
Turkey should be combined with a creative message to both
Western and Islamic nations. This is an historical duty
that stems from Turkey's identity. Carrying out this
mission will also help the West, particularly the EU, to
understand and appreciate Turkey. This will require a
change in the current political reflexes. It will require
that we denounce Islamist terror by naming it for what it
is, stop looking for excuses for Al-Qaida terror, and stop
taking offense at the depiction of Turkey as a `moderate
Muslim' country. If one day Turkey becomes a full member of
the EU, it will not happen not in spite of our identity, but
precisely because the EU appreciates the value of our

"The Transatlantic Failure"
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (8/1):
"The current picture looks like a conspiracy against Turkey
in the fight against terrorism. The US is refusing to deal
with the 5,000 armed Kurdish PKK militants in northern Iraq.
As if this were not bad enough, the US has also started to
see increased PKK attacks in Turkey. The European Union, on
the other hand, is providing credible evidence to justify
Turkey's prejudice about Western countries' unwillingness to
take in a Muslim nation. Developments are heading in a
negative direction, and neither EU nor the US seems capable
of coping with the problems. . The US strategists seem enjoy
acting in a vengeful way by not taking any action against
PKK movements along the Turkish-Iraqi border. This is
probably a retaliation for Turkey's refusal to pass the
March 1 decree before the Iraq war. But the US should also
consider the possible consequences of such retaliation.
Washington will not be happy to see Turkey turn to partners
outside of NATO, such as Russia and Iran."

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