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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 004607

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, AUGUST 5, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
--------------------------------------------- --
Friday, August 5, 2005

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Iraqi Constitution Gives a Green Light to Kurdish State -
Sabah
Financial Times: Villepin a Political Opportunist - Aksam
Schroeder: Turkey a Historic Opportunity for EU - Hurriyet
France to Declare 2006 `Armenia Year' - Milliyet
London Attackers Used Home-Made Bombs - Milliyet
Iran Postpones Nuclear Program - Milliyet
Chalabi's Aide Killed in Baghdad - Sabah
Arabs Lynch Jewish Terrorist - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
US Gradually Establishing a Kurdish State in Iraq -
Cumhuriyet
EU Complains of Religious Freedoms in Turkey - Cumhuriyet
France-Turkey Ties Strained over Cyprus Recognition -
Radikal
Nicosia, Encouraged by France, Threatens to Veto Turkey's EU
Bid - Zaman
Nicosia to Ankara: Recognize Cyprus without Delay - Radikal
US to Set Up New "Democracy Centers' in Central Asia - Zaman
Mayor Livingstone: Terror Will Stop if Iraq Occupation Ends
- Yeni Safak
Al-Zawahiri to West: Stop Stealing Our Oil, Resources - Yeni
Safak
Iraqi Constitution to Give Kurds Right to Self-Determination
- Yeni Safak
600 Percent Rise in Racist Attacks against Muslims in UK -
Cumhuriyet
Britain Helps Israel to Produce Nukes - Yeni Safak
Israeli Soldier Shoots Dead 4 Arabs - Zaman
Amnesty International Asks US about `Secret' Detention
Centers Abroad - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Edelman: Turkey Shifts Iraq Policy in Line with US Conduct:
Mass appeal "Milliyet" carried a story highlighting remarks
from Edelman hearing in Washington D.C. The story follows:
Eric Edelman, the former US Ambassador to Turkey and
currently Defense Department U/S for policy and planning,
responded to inquiries by the Senate Armed Services
Committee at his confirmation hearing on June 29. He said
the following according to the minutes of the meeting:

-- We were disappointed: It was a huge disappointment to
all of us in the US government at the time of the March 1
vote. It was an enormous disappointment. But we have had
very good cooperation with the Turkish government on a
variety of other issues since the March 1 vote. They helped
maintain the ground links to our forces through the Habur
gate, through which a tremendous amount of stuff for our
forces flows. They have provided overflight rights and have
allowed Incirlik Air Base for refueling missions.

-- Turks changed their policy: Turks share with the US the
goal of a stable, politically and territorially intact Iraq.
I believe that, in time, Turks have changed their policy in
a way to adjust with our policies. Turkey is no longer
merely voicing concerns over the Kurds in northern Iraq, but
looks at Iraq from a wider framework and feels the need to
cooperate more with the other elements of Iraq.

-- Diplomacy First for Iran: I do not believe that the
recent presidential elections in the country were held in a
free and fair way. Because the appointed leadership made
the decision about who could participate in the race and who
could not. Regarding Iran's nuclear program, the best
approach will be to use diplomacy and support talks among
Iran and the EU trio, namely Britain, Germany and France.
If we can't succeed, then we may feel the need to look at
other steps. We are not there right now but at some point,
we might think of applying sanctions against Iran or take up
the issue to the UN Security Council.

AKP Lawmakers May Vote against Turkey's EU Protocol: Papers
expect Prime Minister Erdogan to face a tough battle to
convince his ruling AK Party lawmakers to vote for a
protocol extending Turkey's customs union agreement with the
EU to new members, including Cyprus. Signing the protocol
was a precondition for Turkey to start EU membership talks.
AKP was planning to pass the customs union protocol by
parliament in September, before the opening of EU talks on
October 3. "Aksam" claims that the `nationalist' lawmakers
in AKP will vote against the protocol, together with the
main opposition CHP. "Aksam" warns that a crisis may erupt
between Turkey and the EU similar to the one seen between
Turkey and the US over the Turkish parliament's rejection of
deployment of US troops in Iraq through Turkish territory in
March 2003.

Iraqi Constitution to Give Kurds Referendum Rights: The
draft Iraqi constitution envisages that Iraq's Kurds will be
able to vote in a referendum on their future in eight years'
time, Turkish papers report. News commentaries voice
concern that Kurds can decide to set up an independent state
following that time limit. Papers report that at a meeting
in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Selahaddin yesterday,
KDP leader Barzani, US Ambassador to Baghdad Khalilzad and
the former PM Allawi decided to include in the draft
constitution a provision granting the Kurds referendum
rights on sovereignty. Barzani said after the meeting that
they have agreed to include in the Iraqi constitution the
right for the Kurds to hold a referendum rights on self-
determination in eight years. Barzani also stressed that
Kurds will never concede on federalism in Iraq. Ambassador
Khalilzad said the activities of the PKK in northern Iraq
should not be allowed, warning against actions that may
`disturb' Iraq's neighbors. Turkish papers also report that
last week, Kurds submitted to the Iraqi parliament a new map
of Kurdistan in which the areas under the control of Kurds
were expanded to cover Badra and Cassan towns 150 km south
of Baghdad.

High Military Council (YAS) Meetings End: The Turkish High
Military Council's (YAS) three-day meetings in Ankara on
streamlining the Turkish military for the next decade were
concluded on Thursday, papers report. YAS also discussed
promoting or retiring a few top military officials.
Commander of naval forces Admiral Ozden Ornek and commander
of the air force General Ibrahim Firtina will retire after
completion of their term of service this year, to be
replaced by Admiral Yener Karahanoglu and General Faruk
Comert, respectively. The Land Forces Commander Yasar
Buyukanit is the strongest candidate for the post of the
chief of general staff (TGS), which is currently being
filled by General Hilmi Ozkok. Ozkok's term of service ends
next year. The YAS meetings, presided over by PM Erdogan,
examined the links of some officers in the military with
unsanctioned religious fundamentalist groups and expelled 11
officers for `improper conduct,' which is a code term for
being involved in extreme Islamist activities. Since AKP's
accession to power, the YAS has expelled 47 members of the
military for improper conduct. Turkish law does not allow
appeals for decisions made by the high military council.

PKK-Affiliated Office in Tuzhurmatu: The terrorist PKK-
affiliated Democratic Solution Party has put a flag of
`Kurdistan' on top of its office building in Tuzhurmatu on
Thursday, reports "Hurriyet." Tuzhurmatu, 70 km from
Kirkuk, is a northern Iraqi city with a Turkmen majority,
says the report.

Turkish List of `Wanted' PKK Leaders: Turkish Deputy Chief
of the General Staff, General Ilker Basbug gave Washington a
list of 150 wanted PKK militants in northern Iraq during a
visit to the United States last month, "Aksam" reports. The
top 10 PKK leaders in the list are: People's Defense Forces
commanders Dr. Bahoz Erdal, Murat Karayylan, Osman Ocalan,
Cemil Bayik, Beritan Dersim, Irfan Amed (for Erzurum), Dr.
Ali Zilan (Diyarbakir), Azad Siser (Hakkari), Riza Altun and
PKK chairman Zubeyir Aydar.

US to Set Up New `Democracy Centers' in Central Asia:
"Zaman" carries a report by Turkey's semi-official
"Anatolian Agency" (AA) that the US is preparing to set up
new `Democracy Development Information Centers' in the
Central Asian republics. The US State Department has
allocated USD 613,000 for five new centers in Kyrgyzstan.
USD 540,000 have been reserved for Azerbaijan where training
on institutionalization and effective propaganda campaigns
will be provided. USD 557,000 have been made available for
Kazakhstan for information exchange and coordination among
independent media organizations. USD 887,000 will be given
to Tajikistan for training of qualified personnel for radio
stations, and media workers. The report says that for the
year 2005, the US State Department Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights and Labor has apportioned USD 43.7 million for
democracy development centers in Central Asia.

EU Complains about Religious Foundations' Situation in
Turkey: The European Commission on Thursday complained to
Turkey in a letter about legislation on religious
foundations which did not meet EU standards for the rights
of non-Muslim communities, papers report. `Freedom of
religion is the highest priority for us and it will be an
essential point during the entry talks with Turkey,' an EU
spokesman said. EU diplomats have said earlier that a draft
bill aimed at easing property restrictions on Turkey's non-
Muslim minorities was far from satisfactory. The EU
spokesman said Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn had
contacted chief Turkish negotiator Ali Babacan on Wednesday.
Ankara revised the draft bill once, but did not make
sufficient changes, the spokesman said. The EU letter to
Turkey pointed to `serious problems' with regard to the
management of the non-Muslim communities' foundations and
property rights, say papers. Deputy PM Mehmet Ali Sahin
said yesterday that the EU was pressing Turkey to return to
minority foundations 230 assets that have been sold to third
persons. Sahin noted that the return of the assets was not
possible and that the government was considering
possibilities for payment of compensations to non-Muslim
foundations. Sahin also claimed that freedoms granted to
foundations of minority groups in Turkey were much broader
than freedoms granted to similar foundations in EU
countries, and accused the EU of pursuing double standards.

"Kaide" Magazine Collected: The prosecutor's office in
Istanbul has decided that the first issue of a new magazine,
"Kaide," will be collected in line with Turkish Press Law
provisions before an investigation is launched against the
periodical, papers report. "Kaide" is being published by
the radical Islamist group IBDA-C (Islamic Great Eastern
Raiders) in support of Al-Qaida. Its founders have said
that they support the idea of El-Kaide `as a concept.'

PKK Releases Abducted Soldier: Outlawed PKK militants
released a Turkish soldier in the Tunceli province of
southeast Turkey on Thursday four weeks after abducting him,
papers report. The soldier, Coskun Kirandi, said he was not
treated badly. PKK militants had set up a road block on
July 11 in Tunceli, stopped some 40 vehicles to check
identity cards, and abducted Kirandi in one of the cars.
PKK militants also kidnapped the mayor of a town in the
eastern province of Bingol at the end of last month and
released him on Monday. Meanwhile papers claim that the PKK
plotted the explosion in an Istanbul suburb of Pendik that
killed two women on Wednesday night. On Thursday, thousands
in the city of Bursa attended the funeral of a soldier
killed by a PKK landmine in eastern Turkey.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq; EU Enlargement/Turkey

"Games over Kirkuk"
Erdal Guven wrote in the conservative-sensational "Halka ve
Olaylara Tercuman" (8/5): "The US started gaining full
control in Turkey's backyard while Turkey focused entirely
on the EU process. Kirkuk, a historically Turkish city is
now undergoing `Kurdishization.' The influx of Kurds to
Kirkuk is a deliberate attempt to change the demographic
records. . Moreover, the PKK militants are also part of this
process because they are registered in Kirkuk city as well.
The PKK militants who live under Barzani's protection are
paid 100 to 250 dollars in exchange for registering in
Kirkuk. It is not easy to understand what exactly the US is
trying to achieve in this area. The US will never succeed
if its aim is to create a demographic force against Turkey.
Every attempt to insert Kirkuk into the Kurdish region is
doomed to fail sooner or later even if Barzani tries to
accomplish it with US support."

"Government Goes on Vacation, Waits to See EU Moves"
Murat Yetkin wrote in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(8/5): "Turkey challenged the EU by making a declaration
that it will not accept any new conditions for the start of
accession negotiations. . The recent visit of Turkish
Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to Turkey helped to
demonstrate a consensus not to recognize the Greek Cypriot
side as the representative of the Republic of Cyprus until a
settlement is reached. President Sezer, the government, the
parliament, the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff all
supported this view. . PM Erdogan's recent harsh statements
indicated that Ankara is not willing to start accession
talks with the EU at all costs. Following those
statements, PM Erdogan and some other top-notch officials
went on holiday. Why did Turkish officials decide to go on
holiday despite the turmoil with EU affairs? Turkey feels
fully confident that all necessary conditions for the start
of accession talks were met. . Turkish officials strongly
believe that the ball now is in the EU court. The leaders
of the EU should be able to reach a compromise about the
Cyprus issue and to decide whether their commitment made in
December 17 is valid."

"Europe Pressures Turkey"
Cengiz Candar commented in the conservative-sensational
"Dunden Bugune Tercuman" (8/5): "Greece and the Greek
Cypriot side did not use their veto power when Turkey was
given a negotiation date on December 17. They knew that any
crisis in Turkey resulting in a change in the current
government and a possibility of having a pro-Ataturk
administration in charge would not serve their interests.
Yet there is still a possibility that Greece and the Greek
Cypriot side could use their right to veto on October 3.
It is interesting that the Greek PM Karamanlis postponed his
visit to Turkey until after October 3. What happens if the
Greek Cypriots, Greece, France or maybe Austria try to
obstruct the start of the negotiations? It is not possible
for Prime Minister Erdogan to accept the recognition of
Cyprus for the sake of ensuring the date for October 3. If
the EU process comes to a bottleneck it will shake the
domestic power of the ruling AKP. A bottleneck situation in
the EU process might boomerang to the Union and shake them
as well. It is a clear disadvantage for the EU to alienate
Turkey or to have a conflict with Turkey. PM Erdogan should
use this argument before the EU as a trump card. There are
some exciting days ahead until October 3."

MCELDOWNEY

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