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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.

151538Z Aug 05




E.O. 12958: N/A


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


Last-Minute Bargaining on Iraqi Constitution - Aksam
Sunnis Key in Last-Minute Constitutional Talks - Sabah
Kurds Rally for Right to Self-Determination - Milliyet
Iraqi Turkmen Demand Autonomy - Milliyet
Peshmerge to Undertake Security in Northern Iraq - Milliyet
Women Demand More Representation in Iraq - Hurriyet 8/14
Italy Begins Iraq Pullout - Milliyet 8/14
Israel Leaves Gaza 38 Years After - Milliyet
No Women in New Iranian Cabinet - Miliyet

London Advises EU Members to Contact `TRNC' - Zaman
Iran's Former Ankara Ambassador Appointed as FM - Zaman
Ahmedinajad Forms Hardline Cabinet - Cumhuriyet
Kurds' Show of Force in Kirkuk - Cumhuriyet
Kurds Protest Against Jafari - Yeni Safak
Muqtada Sadr Opposes Autonomous Shiite Region - Yeni Safak
US Kills 15 Civilians at Ramadi Mosque - Yeni Safak 8/14
Bush: We May Use Force Against Iran - Yeni Safak 8/14
Schroeder Warns Bush Not to Attack Iran - Yeni Safak
Historic Gaza Withdrawal Begins, Settlers Resist - Zaman
Gaza to Remain Under Israeli Control - Hurriyet
Gaza, Iraq Critical Tests for US in the Middle East - Zaman
Abbas: Jerusalem to Become Capital of Palestine - Yeni Safak
UN, Amnesty Warn UK Against New Terror Law - Cumhuriyet 8/14
Bakiyev Pledges Independence - Yeni Safak
Castro Turns 79 - Radikal
US on Yellow Security Alert - Yeni Safak 8/14
Minorities to Outnumber White Americans in 2050 - Cumhuriyet

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Bush Letter to Erdogan: US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Nancy
McEldowney passed to Prime Minister Erdogan a letter from
President Bush in which the President stressed determination
to continue cooperation with Turkey through a shared
`strategic vision,' Monday's "Yeni Safak" reports. Bush
expressed hope that cooperation would include political,
military, and economic elements. President Bush also
stressed the importance of the joint struggle against
terrorism, reiterated US support for Turkey's integration
into the EU, and pledged that the US would continue to take
steps to resolve the Cyprus problem. A US diplomat
confirmed the existence of the letter, saying that it was a
sign of continuing dialogue between Ankara and Washington.

Sakra Admits Involvement in 9/11 Attacks: Al-Qaida militant
Luai Sakra, a Syrian national arrested for organizing the
bombings against British and Jewish targets in Istanbul on
November 2003, claimed to have provided the attackers of
September 11 with passports and money, weekend papers
reported. Sakra said he knew Muhammad Ata, plotter of the
attacks against the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon,
adding that he had also met with Zarqawi in Iraq. Sakra
claimed he had organized terrorist activities for `jihad,'
but added that he drinks alcohol and does not pray. Sakra
is believed to be among the five top leaders of al-Qaida.
Security officials said that Sakra had been undergoing
psychiatric therapy. Medicine discovered on Sakra when he
was arrested indicated that he was receiving treatment for
manic-depression or panic attacks. Sakra was charged by a
Turkish court last Thursday with plotting to bomb Israeli
cruise liners near Turkey's Mediterranean resort of Alanya.
Papers also report that police found a large cache of
weapons at a villa recently purchased by Sakra and an
accomplice in the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya,
where the two men had reportedly lived with three women.

Iraqi Diplomat Denies Charges of al-Qaida Connection: Tarik
Hamdi al-Adhami, a diplomat at the Iraqi Embassy in Ankara
accused of links with Osama bin-Ladin, told the Turkish
Foreign Ministry (MFA) yesterday that the allegations
against him are unfounded. The Iraqi Embassy in Ankara is
expected to make a statement on the matter today, Monday's
papers report. Turkish officials said they had no evidence
confirming al-Adhami's involvement in terrorist activities.
Al-Adhami, who is married to a Palestinian US citizen,
allegedly took satellite telephone batteries to Osama bin
Ladin in Afghanistan last year. He was assigned to the
Iraqi Embassy in Ankara in May. A lawsuit was filed against
him in the United States for providing false information on
his citizenship documents and loan applications. How al-
Adhami managed to leave the US remains unclear, according to
the press.

Erdogan Visits Diyarbakir: `The Kurdish problem is
everybody's problem -- but above all mine,' Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan told a crowd in Turkey's mainly Kurdish
southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Saturday papers reported.
`We will solve all problems through democracy,' Erdogan
said. `We have made mistakes in the past. There was
regional discrimination. We are ready to face these
mistakes,' Erdogan said, adding that that the nation and the
state would fight those who supported violence and terror.
`The Kurdish issue will be solved within the framework of
republican principles and constitutional order by boosting
democracy, law, and welfare,' Erdogan stressed. The PM
later met with Diyarbakir mayor Osman Baydemir at the
governor's office. Papers highlight Erdogan remarks
promising more democracy to solve the problems in the
region. However, only 700 people turned up to hear
Erdogan;s remarks. Some commentators say that Erdogan had
made a goodwill gesture that was left without a response.
Mayor Baydemir told "Milliyet" that he would have gathered
`a crowd of one million people' if the PM had issued the
proper messages for the region. Baydemir said that while
some of Erdogan's comments were inspiring, the visit was
`far from meeting all expectations.' `If the necessary
conditions are created, we can convince those in the
mountains to leave their weapons,' he stressed. Baydemir
also called on the PKK to end its attacks without waiting
for a new step from the Turkish government, saying that a
positive response should be given to Erdogan, who had
accepted the existence of the `Kurdish problem.' Baydemir
admitted that the legal representatives of the Kurdish
movement are having difficulty in convincing the PKK to give
up its attacks. Papers note that PKK attacks continued in
the wake of Erdogan's visit. A PKK militant trying to plant
a roadside bomb near Hakkari was killed in fighting with
security forces over the weekend. On Sunday, Elazig
Governor Kadir Kocdemir escaped unhurt from an attempted
assassination by the PKK. In Mersin, a bomb-laden car
exploded 100 meters before it could reach a local police
station. One terrorist was killed in the blast. The PKK
said that its `legitimate resistance' would continue in the
face of the government's polices of isolation, denial, and

Turkey to Give Iraq Protest Note Against Terrorist
Infiltrations: Ankara is to give Baghdad a note of protest
against the infiltration of terrorists from Iraq into
Turkey, Monday papers report. If the Iraqi government fails
to prevent infiltrations, Turkey will reportedly ask Baghdad
for permission to carry out cross-border incursions against
the terrorists inside Iraq territory. If Baghdad turns down
the request, Turkey could invoke article 51 of the UN Treaty
to launch cross-border military operations. At the three-
party security talks among the US, Turkey, and Iraq in
Washington last month, US officials had advised Turkey to
handle the PKK problem with the Iraqis, the reports claim.
An unidentified US official told "Sabah" that the US is
encouraging Turkey to work more closely with Iraq on the PKK
issue. The official said it would be `natural' for Turkey
to urge Baghdad to meet Turkish expectations on the issue.

US to Open Consulate in Suleymaniye: Sunday's "Yeni Safak"
reported that the US is preparing to open a consulate in
Suleymaniye in northern Iraq. The report originated on the website, whiich known to be close to Barzani and
the KDP. If a suitable area is not found in the northern
Iraqi city, the US consulate will be opened in Erbil,
according to the report.

Turkmen Want Autonomy in Iraq: Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF)
Turkey representative Ahmet Muradli told Monday's "Milliyet"
that the Turkmen in Iraq would demand autonomy in the face
of similar demands by the Kurds and Shiites. Muradli said
the proposed Turkmen Federation would cover an area from Tal
Afar in the north to Altinkopru, Kirkuk, Dohuk, and
Tuhurmatu in south. Muratli noted that the Turkmen also
wanted to be recognized as a constituent people of Iraq, and
insisted on having their language accepted as an official
language in the Turkmen region. Muardli warned that the
Turkmen would vote against the constitution if their demands
are not met.

EU Calls for Special Commission for Southeast Turkey: The
European Union (EU) has urged Ankara to set up a special
commission including the EU, World Bank and IMF
representatives to tackle the economic and social problems
in southeastern Turkey. Diplomatic sources said the EU had
offered Turkey cooperation in the effort to address regional
imbalances in the country. Turkey was urged to prepare an
emergency action plan for the southeast.

RTUK to Issue Licenses for Kurdish Broadcasts: Turkey's
radio and television watchdog RTUK has asked several local
broadcasters in the southeast to submit the necessary
documents to get a license for broadcasts in Kurdish after
receiving orders from PM Erdogan to speed up work for
broadcasts in languages other than Turkish, Monday's "Yeni
Safak" reports. Despite the fact that regulations allowing
broadcasts in Kurdish were passed two years ago, no
applications by private channels for broadcasting in Turkish
have been approved. The paper expect RTUK to issue the
licenses for Kurdish broadcasting before October 3, the
starting date for EU entry talks with Turkey.

Turkey a Transit Country for Refugees: Jurgen Blechinger,
an immigration specialist linked to the German Protestant
Church, said that the problem of global migration cannot be
solved without close cooperation with Turkey, Sunday's
"Zaman" reported. Blechinger said that refugees coming from
Asian and African countries use Turkey as a transit country
before taking asylum in European Union (EU) countries. `The
EU cannot solve the refugee problem by closing its borders
to refugees,' he noted. According to data released by the
International Organization for Migration, 250,000 migrants
use Turkey as a transit country to move on to other
countries. Only a few thousand of the refugees apply to
Turkey for asylum.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Iran, Turkey-Iraq/US Relations/PKK
"Will the US Strike Against Iran?"
Ferai Tinc commented in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (8/15):
"President Bush has said once again that the military option
remains on the table for Iran. But this brings a question
to one's mind: can President Bush really be thinking of, and
would he pursue, a military option against Iran while the
bodies of American soldiers continue to come from Iraq. The
answer to this is "why not?" It may not happen in the
immediate future, but the military option is certainly on
the table. . Moreover, the US is not the only country
talking about a military option against Iran. Israel has
been talking about this for a long time. Israel considers
the Iranian nuclear capacity as a direct threat, as the
mullahs' regime aims to wipe Israel off the map. . If the
IAEI's upcoming report on Iran's nuclear capacity turns to
be negative, the UNSC will take up the issue and an embargo
against Iran will be discussed. Russia and China are
expected to oppose the embargo option, a development that
would in fact make things easier for the pro-war advocates.
Once this polarization occurs, the possibility of an
intervention becomes more likely. It seems there are more
troubles ahead in this region."

"Washington's View of PM Erdogan's Visit to Diyarbakir"
Washington-based Yasemin Congar wrote in the mass appeal
"Milliyet" (8/15): "Washington welcomed the messages given
by PM Erdogan last week in Diyarbakir, where he acknowledged
the existence of the Kurdish problem, indicated the need for
more democracy, and warned about not repeating the mistakes
of the past in seeking a solution. . A US official who is
well informed about Turkey recalled previous statements by
Erdogan about the Cyprus issue, and emphasized that `when
Erdogan talked about the Copenhagen criteria as Ankara's
guideline for a settlement, he remained true to his word.
It remains to be seen what concrete steps will follow his
statements in Diyarbakir about the Kurdish issue.'
Regarding the nature of those steps, the US official gave a
short but important answer: `It is for the Turkish
government to decide what steps to take. But you might also
want to go back to the relevant part of the State
Department's annual human rights report for some ideas.' By
referring to the DOS Human Rights report, I believe
Washington wants to see full freedom to express the Kurdish
identity, both socially and politically. That obviously
includes a more liberal use of the Kurdish language."

"There is no Alternative to Turkey"
Kamuran Ozbir commented in the nationalist "Ortadogu"
(8/15): "Turkey's rejection of the passage of US troops
across its territory in 2003 had a damaging effect on Turkey-
US relations. The US needs Turkey as much as Turkey needs
the US. There have been some recent efforts on both sides
to improve the relationship. Meanwhile the US has found
itself a new ally -- the Kurds. There was no such alliance
before, but the huge assistance the US received from the
Kurds in Iraq paved the way for this new alliance. . But
the US-Kurdish partnership in northern Iraq is negatively
affected by the continuation of a weak economy in the
Kurdish area. It seems certain that Washington, taking
these factors into account, will focus more on Turkey to
improve bilateral relations. As I mentioned, such efforts
have already started. . Turkey is an indispensable part of
NATO, with its unique geographical location. I believe the
Americans also appreciate this fact."

"The Kurdish Problem"
Murat Yetkin wrote in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(08/14): "When Barzani was elected head of the Kurdish
region some weeks ago, Hak-Par chairman Abdulmelik Firat
organized a group of tribal leaders, representatives of
religious orders, and regional opinion makers for a visit to
Erbil to congratulate Barzani. In "deep Diyarbakir," people
were talking about how Barzani had treated the delegation
with great honor and displayed a very friendly attitude.
They were also talking about the fact that Barzani received
the group in a room adorned with a photograph of Sheikh
Sait, Firat's grandfather and the instigator of the first
large-scale Kurdish rebellion in the history of the Turkish
Another grandson of Sheikh Sait, the lawyer Muhammad Akar,
is head of the AKP district party office in Diyarbakir. He
explained how an old woman from a village had come to see
him just before the Erdogan visit. The woman came with her
son, who was currently doing his military service. She
cried as she explained that while her son was charged with
the responsibility of fighting the PKK, her husband and
daughter had joined the ranks of the PKK in the mountains.
The woman said she was afraid that they would come up
against wach other during a clash and that one of them would
be killed. The problem was how to get them to come down
from the mountains. (TGS Deputy Chief General Ilker Basbug
has said that a way must be found to entice the militants to
leave the mountains. From Prime Minister Erdogan's words
yesterday, we understand that an amnesty of the kind
advocated by DEHAP and the PKK is currently not on the
Meanwhile, every day the PKK is developing new ways to test
its strength among the local population. When we look from
Ankara or Istanbul, we think that Kurdish language courses
have been closed due to a lack of interest. But seen from
Diyarbakir, it becomes clear that the courses have been left
to wither as the PKK has intimidated the population in an
effort to force the government to accept mandatory primary
school education in Kurdish. MHP leader Devlet Bahceli
criticized Erdogan yesterday for using the phrase `Kurdish
problem,' which he viewed as a sign of weakness and
surrender in the fight against terrorism. The CHP, DSP, and
ANAVATAN made similar criticisms. But we need to ask this
question: Suleyman Demirel, when he was President, said
that "this is the 29th Kurdish rebellion." Without
acknowledging that there is a "Kurdish problem," can we
really resolve this? Can we find a way out?"


© Scoop Media

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