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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.




E.O. 12958: N/A


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

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Al-Qaida's Key Man Arrested - Milliyet
Erdogan: Democracy the Only Solution to Kurdish Problem -
Bush Bypasses US Senate for Edelman Appointment - Milliyet
6 US Troops Killed in Iraq - Milliyet
Iran State Radio: US Meets `Iranian PKK' in Mosul - Milliyet
Israel to Pull Out of Occupied Palestine - Sabah
Gaza Pullout Will be Painful - Aksam
Jewish Settlers in Gaza Want Palestinian IDs - Aksam
Abbas Calls on Palestinian Groups to Obey Ceasefire - Aksam
Iraqi `Brains' Move North for Jobs - Zaman

Al-Qaida Operation: 2 Syrians, 10 Turks Detained -
Edelman Now Responsible for US Bases Around the World -
Greek Cypriots Angry at Americans for Visiting `Occupied'
Areas - Yeni Safak
Attacks Kill 38 in Iraq - Yeni Safak
Hamanei `Fatwa' Bans Nuclear Weapons - Yeni Safak
EU Invites Tehran to Negotiating Table Again - Zaman
Netanyahu Declares War on Sharon Over Gaza Pullout - Zaman
Dissident Journalist Genci Continues Hunger Strike in Tehran
- Radikal
Serbian War Criminal Lukic to Surrender - Cumhuriyet

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Turkish Police Arrest al-Qaida Suspects: A Syrian man, 21-
year-old Hamed Obysi, was arrested in Istanbul on charges of
belonging to al-Qaida, while another Syrian, who is a
suspect in the Istanbul bombings of November 2003, is being
interrogated by anti-terror police, Turkish media report.
Obysi was detained in Turkey's Mediterranean province of
Antalya. The second Syrian, Luai Sakra (32), was detained
in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir Saturday. Sakra
was reportedly carrying forged Turkish identity documents,
and was brought to Istanbul for questioning on Sunday.
Papers report that police arrested the two Syrians following
the discovery of two forged passports and one ton of
explosives and chemicals used in the manufacturing of bombs
in a flat in Antalya. Sakra is allegedly a high-level al-
Qaida militant with links to Abu-Musa al-Zarqawi, and Obysi
is charged with acting as a courier in the suicide attacks.
Turkish television reports claimed yesterday that at least
10 suspects had been detained in connection with suspected
terrorist attacks aimed at Israeli visitors in Turkey. The
detainees were reportedly gathering information on
synagogues in Turkey and on Israeli ships to prepare for
attacks. Israel on Monday warned its nationals to avoid a
strip of Turkey's Mediterranean coast between the resorts of
Alanya and Kemer in Antalya province, citing `grave' terror
threats. On Friday, Israel rerouted four Israeli cruise
liners from their destination in Alanya to northern Cyprus
based on fears of a possible attack. Responding to press
questions about the police operations, Interior Minister
Abdulkadir Aksu advised the media to have `patience' for `at
least two more days.'

Erdogan: Kurdish Question Cannot be Solved by Violence: A
12-member delegation of Turkish activists and intellectuals
that met with Prime Minister Erdogan on Wednesday repeated
its call for the PKK to lay down its arms immediately and
unconditionally. Professor Gencay Gursoy told the press on
behalf of the delegation that many `positives' had come out
of the three-hour meeting. `The PM assured us that the
Kurdish question will be solved without any compromises to
democracy,' Gursoy said, adding that PM Erdogan would give
positive messages during his visit to the southeastern city
of Diyarbakir tomorrow. Guroy underlined that the
delegation sees a solution to the Kurdish problem not by
shrinking democracy but by expanding it. `The Kurdish
question is not a simple problem of security, and cannot be
solved by military and security measures alone. Civilian
leaders must exercise their authority, and the parliamentary
will should come the forefront. Relations with local
authorities should be strengthened,' Gursoy said. Gursoy
repeated a call for the PKK to lay down its arms in view of
the increasing democracy in Turkey. Ahead of his meeting
with the delegation, Erdogan said that the Kurdish question
is a problem of democratization, stressing that the
government would not tolerate those who resort to violence.
`We believe that all problems in Turkey have their solutions
in democratization,' Erdogan said. The PM also noted that
the terrorist PKK in no way can be seen as the
representative of the Kurds. `Our government believes that
our people should have better living standards. We are
carrying out a transformation program based on democracy and
fundamental rights,' Erdogan stressed. Papers report that
at the meeting, the delegation asked the PM to ensure that
emergency rule in southeast Turkey is not restored, that the
government continue steps for democratization, that the
Kurdish issue should be considered separately from PKK
terrorism, and that the government should prepare the
necessary grounds for the formation of alternate political
organizations as the Kurdish political movement in Turkey
becomes more pluralistic. FM Abdullah Gul, State Minister
Besir Atalay, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, parliamentary
commission for human rights chairman Mehmet Elkatmys, AKP
MPs Ihsan Arslan, Huseyin Besli, and Omer Celik, PM U/S Omer
Dincer, and PM advisors Yalcyn Akdogan and Nabi Avci also
participated in the meeting.

Edelman Appointed Defense Undersecretary: Former US
ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman, has been appointed as
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy by President Bush to
replace Doug Feith. President Bush had nominated Edelman
for the number three post at the Pentagon shortly after the
former US ambassador to Ankara resigned from his post. The
US House Armed Services Committee held a hearing for Edelman
in late June, but efforts led by Senator Carl Levin (D)
aimed to force the Pentagon to submit some documents
pertaining to Doug Feith prevented Edelman from getting
Senate confirmation, according to "Milliyet." President
Bush, however, opted to `bypass' the US Senate by signing a
`recess appointment' on August 9. Edelman assumed his post,
but will have to appear before the Armed Services Committee
in early 2007. "Zaman" reports that Edelman will take over
the job of restructuring US bases around the world, a task
left unfinished by Feith.

Grossman Interview with "Milliyet": The following is a
summary of former Ambasador Grossman's remarks in the last
installment of a four-day interview carried today in

`Turkey's full membership in the European Union is
definitely in the interests of the United States. If the EU
does not keep its pledge to open accession talks with Turkey
in October, it will be making a huge mistake. Under the
leadership of three US presidents, we have worked hard for
Turkey's EU membership, because Turkey's path toward
membership enabled the country to progress in the direction
of more democracy and freedom. Turkey had a largely
centralist and state-controlled economy 15 years ago.
Turkey's relationship with the EU has changed the country in
a positive sense. When you go to Denizli, Kahramanmaras, or
Gaziantep, you can witness a business success in the Turkish
style. Turkey's relationship with the EU has also expanded
Turkey's strategic perspective. When Turkey's openings to
the Turkic states began, it became easier for an EU-oriented
Turkey to show these countries that change brings a more
promising future. The same is true for the Middle East. As
a democratic and secular country with a Muslim majority,
Turkey's chances of joining one of the most productive
organizations in the world, the EU, brings hope for change
in the Middle East.'

`The US should do something if the EU loses interest in
Turkey. Turkey is a country that must continue in the path
of democracy and be successful economically. If the EU
cannot succeed in integrating Turkey, that responsibility
will fall on the US. We must help Turkey, whether through a
free trade agreement or something else.'

`I believe that US ambassadors' raising their voices in
Turkey on the side of democracy and human rights and against
torture -- and I put Ambassador Abramowitz at the top of the
list here -- has always yielded positive results. I am not
saying that Turks have made those reforms just to please US
ambassadors, but our discussions on such issues have
provided the grounds for debate in Turkey. All of this
makes me believe that the Turkish-American relationship has
a great future -- and that is a military, political and
economic future.'

`I can't help but remember Turkey's policy a few weeks prior
to when Ocalan left Damascus. Troops were moved to Turkey's
southern border, and Turkish leaders made tough declarations
about the need to get Ocalan out of Damascus. At that time,
Turkey offered Damascus a choice. Now, the US and the
international community are offering Damascus a choice.
Turks, who successfully gave an ultimatum to Damascus now
say they cannot understand why this regime is being
confronted with an ultimatum. This is, to say the least,

`One thing that must be understood is that after September
11, every nation has become a front country. Geography
matters less today. If you remember that people can fly
planes into the World Trade Center, and that this operation
was dreamed up in Afghanistan and planned in Hamburg, you
will see that the importance of geography has diminished.
But Turkey is still very important, because it is the place
where the historical experiment of being secular, democratic
and Muslim is taking place. I believe that Turkey will
succeed in this experiment, and because it will succeed,
nobody around the world will say that this is impossible!
If you are an Iraqi, a Lebanese, or a Syrian, and somebody
tells you that `you will never become democratic,' you know
that it is no longer true, because there is the example of

`The biggest cause of anti-American sentiment in Turkey is
Iraq. A considerable number of Americans cannot understand
how strong feelings the Turks have regarding what is going
on in Iraq. To struggle against anti-Americanism, the
Turkish government and opinion leaders must make statements
to protect the Turkish-American relationship. There is an
important strategic relationship between Turkey and the US.
Turkish leaders must tell their people that `we understand
your concerns about Iraq, but you must not miss our
country's larger strategic interests.'

US Meets with `Iranian PKK': "Milliyet" reports Iran state
radio as claiming that `US commanders' met in Mosul with the
leadership of the `Free Living Party' (PEJAK), the PKK-
affiliated organization which recently killed four Iranian
soldiers. Iran state radio said that the PEJAK members had
given the Americans a report on their activities. The radio
also claimed that Iran had recently signed a cooperation
agreement with Turkey with regard to combating the PKK.

Karasu: US Won't Dare to Confront the PKK in Northern Iraq:
Mustafa Karasu, a member of the PKK leadership, told the PKK-
affiliated "Ozgur Yasam" that the US will not take action
against the organization's militants in Iraq, "Milliyet"
reports. `We have been in northern Iraq for 20 years
without getting permission from anybody. If the US suffers
casualties by confronting us, it will not be able to explain
this to the American people,' he stressed. Karasu also
called on the people of Diyarbakir not to show interest in
the visit of PM Erdogan, who is to visit the mainly Kurdish
city on Friday.

Turkey Uneasy About Iraqi Draft Constitution: The Iraqi
draft constitution, which envisages leaving the
administration of Mosul and Kirkuk to a Kurdish federal
entity, has raised concerns in Ankara, according to
"Cumhuriyet." Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) sources said
that Turkey will `have a say' if Iraq's constitution is
finalized this way. `Iraq's constitution is not only Iraq's
business. From the international standpoint, it will affect
Turkey as well,' the sources told "Cumhuriyet." The paper
claims that Ankara has warned the Iraqi administration to
change the draft.

US Congressional Staffers in Cyprus: A delegation of US
Congressional staffers met `TRNC Parliament Speaker' Fatma
Ekenoglu, `Prime Minister' Ferdi Sabit Soyer, National Unity
Party (UBP) lawmaker Tahsin Ertugruloglu, and Peace and
Democracy Movement (BDH) leader Mustafa Akinci. `PM' Soyer
said after meeting the Americans that such visits by foreign
diplomats and bureaucrats helped to show the position of the
Turkish Cypriots with regard to the Cyprus problem. Soyer
said he briefed the delegation in detail on recent
developments in Cyprus, and called for more such visits.
The US delegation will leave northern Cyprus on August 14.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Fight with Terrorism

"Democracy is the Remedy for Terrorism"
Okay Gonensin observed in the mass appeal "Vatan" (8/11):
"The ongoing debate in Western countries regarding measures
against terrorism is sending the wrong signal to some in
Turkey who advocates a decrease in democracy in order to
combat growing PKK terrorism. The advancement of human
rights in Turkey is not the source of PKK terrorism. The
defenders of this argument are trying to take Turkey
backward. Going back to a limited democracy will definitely
not solve the terrorism issue. In fact, PKK terrorism
emerged and managed to grow when Turkey was suffering from a
lack of democracy. Democracy across the country, including
in Turkey's heavily Kurdish areas, is the only way to
counter terrorism today. That will continue to be the case
in the future. There is reason to be hopeful for the
future, because the government is so far standing against
calls for a return to the past. The Turkish people should
never be deprived of their contemporary rights. . Ankara
hosted an important event when PM Erdogan discussed the
Kurdish and terrorism issues with a group of intellectuals
yesterday. Presenting this meeting as `bargaining about
terrorism' is a cheap and dirty political game. Every
political party outside the government should give its
support to this process. In other words, they should
support democracy."
"Being Like the UK"
Zafer Atay argued in the economic-political "Dunya" (8/11):
"Following the terrorist attacks in London, the Blair
administration acted in a very determined way to counter
terrorism. The streets of London were immediately full of
huge numbers of police. Requesting help from the army was
also put on the table as an option. The British authorities
continue to raid, pursue, and arrest members of the evil
axis linked to Al-Qaida. Nobody in the UK is arguing about
freedom of religion or freedom of expression. It seems that
the Copenhagen criteria, which was imposed on Turkey as if
by holy writ, is not binding for the Blair government. . The
European Union, with its current composition, will never be
able to unite in the fight against terrorism. Therefore,
the UK is trying to finish the job on its own. This is the
UK example. As for Turkey, we are still late in passing new
laws to cope with terrorism. It does not necessarily mean
that Turkey has to copy the UK, but why not take lessons
from a good example?"

"Terror and Politics"
Turgut Tarhanli wrote in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(8/11): "After the terrorist attacks in London, the British
government started changing the law in the name of
countering terrorism. Under the new laws, it seems that the
rights of a suspect in this democratic country will be
limited, and in some cases completely lifted. The rule of
law should not be limited to ordinary periods. The general
rules should apply for extraordinary situations as well. It
only requires an experienced lawmaker to adapt the general
rules to extraordinary circumstances. But now we see there
are contrary applications in many countries around the
world. The US after the 9/11 attacks and the UK after the
July attacks are examples of this trend. Although these
initiatives can supposedly be controlled in the future, many
unexpected developments will occur in the course of time.
Unfortunately, if legal amendments tend to increase
limitations on civil liberties, any future changes will
likely be made in the same direction."


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