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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.

091542Z Sep 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 005282

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, SEPTEMBER 9, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
US Commanders Jones, Smith in Ankara - Milliyet
Pope Benedict Awaits Invitation from Ankara - Hurriyet
Merkel a `Disaster' for German Women - Sabah
Germany Closes PKK Websites - Milliyet
Katrina `Blackout' in US Media - Sabah
Egypt Says Mubarak for Another 6 Years - Sabah
Egypt's `Arabesque' Election - Milliyet
Yuschenko Dissolves Government - Hurriyet
Schwarzenegger Vetoes Gay Marriage - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Turkey-US Cooperation against Terrorism - Yeni Safak
US-Turkey Bargain Over Kirkuk - Cumhuriyet
EU Divided Over Turkey - Cumhuriyet
London Puts Up a Good Fight for Turkey - Radikal
Schroeder: Merkel is Blind - Cumhuriyet
New Orleans Sinking - Yeni Safak
`Orange Crisis' Grows in Ukraine - Zaman
No Surprises in Egypt Elections - Zaman
Arafat's Death Remains a Mystery - Yeni Safak
Security Forces Clash with PKK in Tunceli - Cumhuriyet
Islam `Enchants' Cherie Blair - Radikal

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BRIEFING

Volker on EU-Turkey Talks: Kurt Volker, US Principal Deputy
Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, said
after a meeting with EU officials in Brussels that the
opening of accession talks with Turkey on October 3 was in
the interests of both the EU and the US, "Sabah" reports.
`The EU should look beyond the issue of the recognition of
Cyprus,' Volker said, adding that both sides should `seek a
way forward without drawing red lines.'

US Commanders Jones, Smith Visit Ankara: Commander of US
Forces in Europe (EUCOM), General James Jones, and Central
Command (CENTCOM) Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Lance
Smith arrived in Ankara on Thursday for talks with senior
Turkish military leaders. General Jones signed an agreement
yesterday for the formal participation of the US in the
Center of Excellence - Defense Against Terrorism (COE-DAT)
established in Turkey within the context of NATO
restructuring efforts. During talks at the Turkish General
Staff (TGS), the Turks presented the US commanders with a
report on PKK activities against Turkey, and asked that the
terrorist organization be eliminated in northern Iraq.
Unrest in Kirkuk and Tal Afar was also raised during the
talks. The two sides will hold more extensive discussions
on Friday.

Pentagon Helps Turkey to Modernize F-16s: The US Defense
Department on Thursday notified Congress about a possible
sale to Turkey of munitions and aircraft components worth
175 million USD in an effort to help modernize F-16 fighter
jets, international wires reported. The Pentagon said that
if approved, the sale would include equipment produced by
BAE Systems, Boeing Co., ViaSat, and Raytheon Co. Turkey
had requested to purchase a variety of weapons and
equipment, including attack missiles, bombs, and other
items. `This proposed modernization will enhance the
Turkish Air Force's ability to defend Turkey by patrolling
its extensive coastline and borders against future threats,
and will contribute to the global war against terrorism and
NATO operations,' the Pentagon said in a statement.

Erdogan Due in New York: Prime Minister Erdogan will seek
world leaders' support to end the deadlock on Cyprus at the
UN summit in New York next week, "Zaman" reports. In an
address to the UNGA on September 15, Erdogan will call on
the UN to discuss a Cyprus report drafted by Secretary
General Annan, which calls on world leaders to help remove
international sanctions on the Turkish Cypriots.

Barzani to Set Up Professional Army: Iraqi Kurdistan
Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani is preparing
to turn his 70,000-strong peshmerge forces into a
professional army, "Yeni Safak" reports. Barzani will pay
1,300-1,700 USD to the recruits, and he invited his
relatives in southeast Turkey to join the new army,
according to the report. Former Kurdish lawmaker Serafettin
Elci said that Barzani had thousands of peshmerge in
northern Iraq, and that he did not need recruits from
Turkey. "Yeni Safak" also claims that Barzani has sent 30
of his peshmerge to Israel, the US, and EU countries to
receive pilot training. The report also claims that 500
peshmerge officers have been trained by US special forces in
the northern Iraqi cities of Suleymaniye and Erbil, and will
soon take command of peshmerge special forces.

Erdogan Warns of `Tougher' Security Measures if Violence
Continues: Prime Minister Erdogan warned in a televised
speech yesterday that Turkish security forces cannot be
expected to remain indifferent in the face of rising
terrorist actions in southeast Turkey. Erdogan claimed that
the escalating violence is closely linked to Turkey's EU
accession efforts, and stressed that the `terror
organization' is harming the interests of the Kurds. If
tensions continue, security forces may shift to tougher
methods, the PM added.

Turkey Asks European Countries to Capture PKK Members: The
ruling AK Party government is to send the files of 23
members of terrorist organizations to the UK, Germany,
Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands in an effort to have
them captured, "Zaman" reports. Former Kurdish lawmakers
Zubeyir Aydar and Remzi Kartal are among the 23. The
Turkish government is also forwarding documents proving
links between the PKK and front organizations in Europe.
Papers also report that Germany has closed several websites
affiliated with the PKK, including that of the Mesopotamia
News Agency. Earlier in the week, the German Interior
Ministry banned publication of the pro-PKK daily "Ozgur
Politika," which is based in Germany.

US Forces Capture 200 Insurgents in Tal Afar: An Iraqi
military official said US military forces have detained 200
insurgents in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, 150 of
them foreign fighters from Sudan, Yemen, Jordan, and Syria.
The report also claims that many civilians have been killed
during clashes between security forces and insurgents in Tal
Afar.

Pope Benedict Wants to Visit Turkey: Pope Benedict XVI
would like to visit Turkey in November, but is waiting for
an official invitation from Ankara, Turkish papers reported
today. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has invited
Benedict to Istanbul for the Orthodox feast of Saint Andrew
at the end of November, but a formal invitation from the
government in Ankara has not been forthcoming. No immediate
comment was available from the Turkish government.

New Grouping of Turkish Nationalists: "Milliyet" reports
that Taner Unal, head of the `Union of Patriotic Forces,' a
movement of `non-allied' nationalists set up in April 2005,
said that the new group was founded to counter `destructive'
activities, both foreign and domestic, that target Turkey.
The new movement, which is backed by retired generals,
academics, bureaucrats, and other prominent representatives
has no violent intentions, Unal said, stressing that the
group is launching a new `war of independence' by following
the path of Ataturk. The movement has recruited one million
members since April, he claimed. The movement has 90
offices in 40 provinces, and publishes a magazine called
"Turkeli" (Turkish Land). Unal had previously run for the
chairmanship of the extreme nationalist Nationalist Action
Party (MHP).

28 Million Turks Earn Less Than 4.13 USD per Day: "Radikal"
carries on its front page today the details of the Human
Development Report released by the UNDP. United Nations
data shows that 28 million Turks (42 percent of the
population) earn less than 5.5 lira (4.13 USD) per day
despite the strong growth in GNP over the past two years.
UNDP Turkey representative Jacob Simenson warned that
poverty and a lack of democracy are proving hazardous to
Turkey, and he urged the state to give priority to reforms
in education, health, and land distribution. Simenson
advised the state to continue to make investments in rural
areas, and underlined the need for private investment to
create new jobs. The report also pointed to gender
inequality as a major problem in Turkey.

Iran Carries Out Cross-Border Strike Against PKK: "Sabah"
reports that Iranian military forces fired rockets and
mortar rounds against PKK positions across the border in
Iraq. The report notes that Turkey had sent troops to the
same area to fight the PKK in the summer of 2000. The
article adds that Turkey's proposal for a cross-border
operation has been rejected by the United States.

Seven PKK Militants Killed in Eastern Turkey: A military
source told the press that Turkish security forces killed
seven PKK fighters in an operation in the east of the
country on Thursday. The source said that troops engaged in
an armed clash with a group of 30 PKK militants in the
Munzur Mountains between Tunceli and Erzincan provinces
yesterday. The operation is reportedly continuing.
Meanwhile, 300 DEHAP supporters held a protest march in
Tunceli yesterday, calling for an end to military operations
against the PKK.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq; Hurricane Katrina

"Constitution Crisis in Iraq"
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (9/9):
"The history of politics includes many lessons about
federalism, which can either be a unifying force or a source
of division for a country. A country can be unified if all
groups can be satisfied under a federal system. If this
condition cannot be met in Iraq, the federal system will
inevitably lead to division and civil war. The referendum
on the new constitution means that the future of Iraq is in
the hands of Iraqis. An effort toward federalism in Iraq
was resurrected after the demise of Saddam's regime, and it
currently serves the interests of the Shiites and the Kurds.
. There are 22 countries in the world that have adopted a
federal system, most prominently the United States,
Switzerland, Belgium, Malaysia, and Australia. Federal
systems are capable of treating racial, religious, and
culturally distinct groups in an acceptable way. But the
most important element for the success of a federal system
is whether the people in a country believe that living under
the same roof will be to their benefit. It remains to be
seen if Iraq will be an example of such success."

"Is the US Joining the Third World League?"
Haluk Sahin commented in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(9/9): "It was not a coincidence that one of the American
local newspapers mentioned the increase in oil prices after
the hurricane even before it mentioned the death toll. .
American life, especially after WWII, has been designed by
taking for granted cheap and available oil. For an ordinary
American, it is normal practice to drive long distances
every day, and filling the gas tank is a common event in
Americans' daily lives. . In the eyes of ordinary
Americans, there was a strong expectation that the US
invasion of Iraq would result in a significant decrease in
oil prices, and perhaps gasoline prices as low as one dollar
per gallon. In fact, what has happened is just the
opposite, and experts now suggest that Americans should be
ready to pay 4 dollars per gallon for their gas in the near
future. This means a significant tightening of the belt for
ordinary Americans, who are usually short of cash and
burdened by high mortgage payments and other bills. This
phenomenon in the US will have global effects as well."

MCELDOWNEY

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