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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 004490

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
TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Ankara Urges US to Take Concrete Steps Against PKK - Sabah
US Supports Ecumenical Patriarchate - Milliyet
Iraqi Kurds Press for Kirkuk, Independence - Hurriyet
US Loses Its Most Loyal Ally: King Fahd Dies - Sabah
Rumsfeld: Iraq Pullout Will Not End Terror Attacks - Aksam

OPINION MAKERS
Turkey Urges US to Close PKK Office in Kirkuk - Cumhuriyet
EU: Iraq Exports Terrorism - Cumhuriyet
US Presses Iraqis To Meet mid-August Deadline - Zaman
Burns Cancels Uzbekistan Visit Over Base Crisis - Zaman
Fahd Dies, Abdullah the New King - Zaman
Fahd Raised US-Saudi Ties to their Highest Level - Yeni
Safak
Fresh Nuclear Crisis With Iran - Radikal
Iran Agrees to Delay Nuclear Program for 2 Days - Yeni Safak
Garang's Death Shocks Sudan - Radikal
Garang Killed in Suspicious Helicopter Crash - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

DAS Bryza Visits Ankara: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State Matt Bryza said in Ankara on Wednesday that Turkey,
Iraq, and the United States will hold the second trilateral
meeting on the PKK in Washington later this week to discuss
possible steps to eliminate the PKK threat against Turkey
from northern Iraq, papers report. Bryza told the press
after meeting high-level officials at the Turkish Foreign
Ministry (MFA) yesterday that the opening of a PKK office in
Kirkuk `goes against US and Iraqi policies. `We see the PKK
and its political extensions as terror organizations. There
is no place for the PKK in a free and united Iraq,' Bryza
stressed. Ankara gave Bryza the message that Turkey expects
concrete measures by the US against the PKK, "Sabah"
claimed. "Hurriyet" notes that Bryza offered the Turks
cooperation in law enforcement against the PKK, help in
cutting the terror organization's financial resources in
Europe, and closer monitoring of PKK militants. The Turkish
Embassy in Baghdad asked both Iraqi and US officials to
close the PKK office in Kirkuk, papers report. Meanwhile,
"Vatan" claimed that the PKK and its front organizations
have 16 offices in Kirkuk alone, and more in Mosul and
Baghdad.

Spokesman Casey on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Cyprus: `We
encourage the government of Turkey and all governments to
provide the maximum opportunity for people to freely express
their religious beliefs and opinions,' State Department
acting spokesman Tom Casey responding to a question on the
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul. State Minister
Mehmet Ali Sahin had warned that the Government could
initiate legal action against the Patriarch for `going too
far' in asking for `privileges' for his community. `We
support the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul and talk with
the Turkish Government on a regular basis about the
Patriarchate. The United States is committed to religious
freedom, not only in Turkey but around the world,' Casey
said. Asked to comment on a Turkish declaration stressing
non-recognition of Nicosia by Ankara, Casey said that the US
policy is to seek a solution to the dispute on the island on
the basis of the Annan plan. `The Secretary General has
spoken with the parties, and asked them to come up with
ideas and suggestions on how to proceed. That's where we
are, and that's where our focus is on Cyprus,' Casey noted.

Turkish Police Interrogate Terror Suspects at Abu Ghraib: A
special Turkish police team interrogated Sadettin Aktas and
Burhan Kus, suspected of involvement in the November 2003
terrorist bombings in Istanbul, at Abu Ghraib prison in
Baghdad in the presence of US officials, papers report. The
two suspects were arrested in Iraq last month. Reports
claim that Gurcan Bac, an explosives expert and the alleged
number-two man in the plot, was killed by US troops in Iraq
earlier this year. The whereabouts of another top militant,
Abdulkadir Karakus, remain unclear. Reports say that US
officials allowed the interrogation of Aktas and Kus because
their extradition process is expected to take some time to
be completed.

Ankara Awaits EU Reaction to Turkish Declaration on Cyprus:
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said there are `no
obstacles' to the opening of EU entry talks with Turkey on
October 3 now that Ankara has expanded its customs union
agreement with the EU by signing a protocol to cover the
newest members of the bloc, including Cyprus. Rehn said
accession talks with Turkey would begin on October 3 as
planned. He noted that Ankara's declaration of continued
non-recognition of the Greek Cypriot administration by
Turkey would be examined by the EU. Rehn stressed that the
declaration `does not appear to block implementation' of the
protocol. Turkey is afraid that the EU may release a
document to counter Ankara's declaration, and that Turkey's
opponents may press for adding new conditions to the
negotiations framework document, including access to Turkish
ports and airports by the Greek Cypriots. Cyprus, Greece,
France, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg
are reportedly unhappy with the Turkish declaration. Papers
also note that the declaration released by Ankara has not
been officially accepted by the EU.

High Military Council (YAS) Convenes: Turkey's High
Military Council (YAS) convened on Monday to discuss
promotions and expulsions in the military, papers report.
Dailies estimate that up to 10 officers could be dismissed
for involvement in radical religious activities. Dailies
expect Prime Minister Erdogan to note his objection to the
expulsions, as he has in past years. Papers also expect the
YAS to discuss tougher measures to prevent corruption in
military.

Leftist Terror Organization Plans Attack Against BTC
Pipeline: Turkish police have reportedly uncovered a
terrorist organization's plans to carry out an attack
against the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. The
discovery was made during an investigation of Eyup Beyaz, a
member of the outlawed radical leftist DHKP-C (Dev-Sol)
group, who attempted to carry out a suicide bombing in
Ankara last month. Beyaz was killed by police before he
could detonate his bomb. Security measures along the
pipeline have been enhanced, officials said.

Karamanlis Postpones Turkey Visit: Greek Prime Minister
Kostas Karamanlis has postponed a trip to Turkey scheduled
for August, international wire services report. `PM
Karamanlis will visit Turkey later in the autumn,' a Greek
official said. Greek officials did not elaborate on why the
trip, which would have been the first official visit by a
Greek PM to Turkey in over 46 years, had been postponed.

Iraqi Turkmen Demand Constitutional Rights: Iraqi Turkmen
Front (ITF) Ankara representative Ahmet Muratli told "Yeni
Safak" that the Turkmen will boycott the new Iraqi
constitution if their language is not recognized in the
constitution draft. Muratli said the Turkmen want to be
recognized as one of the constituent peoples of Iraq, and be
granted the right to self-determination. Muratli noted that
the PKK has entered the political process in Iraq, and
recalled that PKK-affiliated parties had entered the January
general elections. `PKK members continue coming to Kirkuk.
In the future, they may demand land from the Turkmen. The
US must solve this problem,' Muratli said. Muratli claimed
that the PKK is being supported by the KDP and PUK.

European Parliament to Hold Kurdish Conference: A group of
leftist parliamentarians in the European Parliament plans to
host a conference on `the EU, Turkey, and the Kurds' in
Brussels September 19-20, "Cumhuriyet" reports. European
Parliament Speaker Joseph Borrell and EU Expansion
Commissioner Olli Rehn will participate in the conference,
as will former DEP lawmakers Leyla Zana and Hatip Dicle,
Peter Galbraith (described as an American "expert" on the
Kurdish question), the wife of former French President
Francois Mitterrand, author Orhan Pamuk, Human Rights
Association (IHD) Chairman Yusuf Alatas, and Diyarbakir
Mayor Osman Baydemir.

PKK Releases Abducted Mayor: The PKK has released Hasim
Akyurek, mayor of Yaylidere in Turkey's eastern province of
Bingol, whom the Kurdish militants abducted last week.
Akyurek, a member of Turkey's ruling AK Party, said his
captors had treated him well. `The PKK militants told me
they had observed a ceasefire with Turkey for seven years,
but could find nobody in the government to speak with them,'
Akyurek said following his release. PKK militants also told
Akyurek that they planned to release a Turkish soldier they
abducted last month.

IBDA-C Launches Magazine In Support of Al-Qaida: "Aksam"
and "Cumhuriyet" report on a new magazine, "Kaide," that is
being published by the radical Islamist group IBDA-C
(Islamic Great Eastern Raiders) in support of Al-Qaida. The
magazine reportedly hit the newsstands July 28, and 10,000
copies have been printed. Commentaries in the magazine are
`chilling,' according to "Aksam." An article entitled "El-
Kaide is Liberating the World" covers a full two pages in
the magazine's first issue. Attacks in which women and
children died are being described as "actions in which 35
Jews were among the dead." The founders of the magazine say
they support the idea of El-Kaide `as a concept.'

NGO Head Fined for Using Kurdish Name: "Hurriyet" reports
that Ridvan Kizgin, provincial head of the Human Rights
Association (IHD) in the mainly Kurdish city of Bingol, was
fined 1,120 YTL for using the city's former Kurdish name in
a letter to the governor's office. Kizgin has appealed the
decision, and seeking to have the fine canceled.

Kurdish Language Schools Close Doors: Kurdish language
schools in Istanbul, Diyarbakyr, Van, Kyzyltepe, Adana,
Sanlyurfa, Batman and Dogubeyazyt have closed due to lack of
interest, "Cumhuriyet" reports. School administrators said
in a statement that the Kurds in Turkey were not interested
in going to language schools, but would like to receive
public education in Kurdish.


EDITORIAL OPINION: King Fahd; Uzbekistan

"Death of the King"
Nuh Gonultas wrote in the conservative-sensational "DB
Tercuman" (8/2): "The Saudi royal family is facing a tough
period following the death of King Fahd. The events of
September 11 marked a new beginning for Saudi Arabia, which
faced a debate over the legitimacy of the Saudi regime and
its relationship with the US. King Fahd used to support the
US at all costs. But the new ruler, King Abdullah, is known
for his stance against the Bush administration's foreign
policy, especially its Iraq policy. There is also an
unsettled issue over oil prices between Riyadh and
Washington, with Saudi Arabia remaining the largest oil
producer in OPEC. American financial circles are worried
about the continuing decrease in Saudi investment in the US
because of anti-Americanism that began following 9/11.
Saudi Arabia is facing difficult times ahead in its
relations with the US, because Riyadh is not acting
enthusiastically in the war on terrorism."

"The King Died, Long Live the New King"
Erdal Safak commented in the mass appeal "Sabah" (8/2):
"Saudi King Fahd died and crown prince Abdullah, his 82-year-
old half brother, was appointed as the new monarch. This
means that the old generation will continue to rule the
country for a while longer. They are old, conservative, and
against all kinds of social reform. King Abdullah, who has
been the de facto ruler for the last ten years, is exerting
great efforts to save the regime. In order to ease tension
in the country, he opened the way for some new steps,
including a discussion about women's rights and holding
elections for local administrations. But Abdullah has
continued to jail people who act against his wishes. Will
these few, limited measures be sufficient to save the
kingdom? Unless certain reforms are implemented in the
education system, King Abdullah and his dynasty cannot have
peace, and the war against bin-Laden cannot be won. The
regime in Saudi Arabia will have a hard time until a younger
and more liberal administration replaces the current one.
Of course, that is, if the regime can survive until then."

"Kerimov vs. Bush"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (8/2): "Uzbekistan President Kerimov has taken a
stand against George Bush, asking Washington to close down
its bases in the country. Kerimov's move is not a surprise,
and is related to recent events in the former Soviet
republics. The democracy movement in Andijon started as a
riot, in which the US was believed to have played a strong
role. But the events in Andijon did not end as they did in
Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine. Moreover Washington has
accused Tashkent of opening fire against civilians. The
response from Kerimov came swiftly. Kerimov is clearly
telling Washington that `Uzbekistan is my business. Keep
your nose out of it.' So he set a deadline for the US to
evacuate the American airbase there within 6 months.
Kerimov seems unaware that the Soviet era is over. In
today's world, everybody interferes in everyone else's
business."

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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