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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 005444

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
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
US Takes Turkish Red Crescent Out of Tal Afar - Aksam
Schroeder Rejects a Coalition with Merkel - Hurriyet
Majority of Turks in Germany Voted for Schroeder - Aksam
Germany in Two Pieces - Turkiye
Ereli: US Policy on Armenian `Genocide' Claims Unchanged -
Milliyet 9/18
Annan to Launch a New Initiative on Cyprus - Aksam
Kurdish MP Hussein Killed in Iraq - Milliyet
Two PKK Terrorists Killed in Bingol - Milliyet
Last Two Days' Toll in Iraq: 250 Killed - Sabah 9/17

OPINION MAKERS
Gul: Annan Will Take New Steps on Cyprus - Radikal
Karamanlis to Visit Turkey in November - Yeni Safak
Coalition `Puzzle' Emerges Out of German Ballot Box - Zaman
Blair: BBC is Anti-US - Yeni Safak
Return to New Orleans Begins - Yeni Safak
Tehran to Break Ties with West - Cumhuriyet
Palestine Closes Gaza-Egypt Border Crossing - Cumhuriyet
Hugo Chavez Visits Bronx in New York - New York
Afghanistan Holds `Historic' Elections - Cumhuriyet
Kabul Writes History, First Polls Held Since 1969 - Radikal
Afghans Shrug Off Taliban Threats, Go to Ballot Box - Zaman
Sharon: Israel Does Not Oppose a Palestinian State - Yeni
Safak 9/17
Iarqi Insurgents Unite against Zarkawi - Yeni Safak 9/17
Attack against Shiite Neighborhood Kills 30 in Baghdad -
Cumhuriyet 9/18


BRIEFING

US Continues Transfer of Military Materiel into Iraq through
Iskenderun: Saturday "Cumhuriyet" writes on its front page
that `thousands' of military vehicles and tons of ammunition
continued to be shipped to the US forces in Iraq through
Turkey's Mediterranean port of Iskenderun. The US Embassy
in Ankara said in a written statement Friday that the
Iskenderun Port was not being used for transfer of military
explosives to American forces in Iraq. The paper claims
that a Turkish staff member from the US Embassy called the
port authorities in Iskenderun to ask why they were making
such information public. The "Cumhuriyet" story repeated
its claims, basing them on the `unclassified' data provided
by the Iskenderun Chamber of Maritime Commerce, that 3,404
tons of ammunition and 4,076 military vehicles and
construction equipment were shipped to Iraq through
Iskenderun in the first seven months of the year.
Iskenderun Port authorities said in a statement released
through the Hatay Governor's Office that 66 tons of
ammunition and 118 military vehicles were brought to
Iskenderun in Egyptian and Honduran flagged vessels last
month. Zuheyir Amber, a Motherland Party (ANAP) lawmaker
from the Hatay province said that US logistical support
materiel transfer into Iraq continued through Iskenderun
despite the fact that the Turkish Parliament rejected such
use of Turkish facilities against Iraq, and that he will
submit to the parliament a motion to discuss the issue.

Turkey-US to Work to Cut Financial Support to the PKK:
Saturday "Vatan" reports that Turkey and the United States
decided to adopt some measures in an effort to cut off the
PKK's financial resources and arrest the leaders of the
terrorist organization during a meeting held in Washington
in August. Turkish and American officials came together at
a meeting in Ankara last week to share intelligence and
determine the sources of financial flow to the PKK from
Europe. The two countries will send evidence regarding the
PKK's financial supporters to European capitals, demanding
their arrest. In the same story, "Sabah" quotes US Charge
d'Affaires Nancy McEldowney saying in response to a call by
Murat Karayilan, in which the PKK ringleader invited the
Americans to talk with them instead of beginning action
against his organization in northern Iraq, that the US will
not discuss anything with terrorists. During a meeting with
the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) Deputy U/S Nabi Sensoy
last week, McEldowney pointed to the `joint efforts' of
Turkey and the US in the struggle against the PKK, and said
that a delegation of US experts had recently met with
Turkish officials with regard to the subject. McEldowney
declined to elaborate further, saying that the process
required secrecy.

US Delays Appointing a New Ambassador to Turkey: The
appointment of the new US Ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson,
who was expected in Ankara in October at the latest, is
delayed until Christmas, claims Monday's "Sabah." The
appointment of Wilson to Turkey is seemingly not among the
priorities of the Bush Administration, says the paper,
adding that the approval of the US Senate is needed for the
Wilson assignment. The report speculates that the US may be
delaying the appointment due to the successful performance
of Charge McEldowney in improving the image of the US in
Turkey with her attitude against the PKK.

Grossman on US Expectations from Turkey: Former US State
Department U/S Marc Grossman told "Milliyet" on Saturday
that the US should work to take the leaders and members of
the anti-Turkish extremist group, the PKK, out of northern
Iraq and have them face justice either in Iraq or Turkey.
The US should take this action now, Grossman stressed,
adding that without American or Iraqi action soon, it will
be difficult to dissuade Turkey from unilaterally
intervening in northern Iraq. Grossman also called on the
Turks to be more `flexible' with regard to the US military
presence in Turkey. Grossman added: `Turkey must accept its
responsibilities concerning a solution to the Cyprus
problem. It must be careful with religious freedom and
display tolerance by reopening the Halki Seminary. It must
open the border with Armenia and declare zero tolerance
against anti-Semitism.'

German Elections: Turkish dailies say that the German
Conservative leader Angela Merkel's anti-Turkey policies did
her no good in the general elections as her party came in
narrowly ahead of Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats. The
results will benefit Turkey most since the anti-Turkey
conservative front will have to make concessions in Turkey's
favor while bargaining over a coalition government, say
papers. Schroeder is quoted as saying that he will not
allow a coalition government headed by Merkel. The German
election outcome brings about the possibility of new
elections, say papers.

Lagendijk Advises Kurds to Stay away from Ocalan: Joost
Lagendijk, the head of the Turkey-EU joint parliamentary
commission, said that `sympathy' for the PKK had declined in
Europe, Saturday Milliyet reports. Lagendijk said that the
opening of EU accession talks with Turkey will lead to the
isolation of the PKK, advising the Kurdish politicians to
distance themselves from Abdullah Ocalan and find a new
leader to wage a democratic struggle.
Annan Prepares for New Cyprus Initiative: Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul said in New York on Saturday that UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan will take several important steps forward
regarding the Cyprus issue. During my meetings with the
foreign ministers of 12 EU countries, I have detailed
Turkey's sensitivities on the eve of October 3, Gul said to
reporters, adding that UNSG Annan will soon launch a fresh
initiative on the subject. Papers expect Annan to release a
statement next week, criticizing the Greek Cypriot efforts
to take the issue away from the UN to the EU.

DEHAP Complains of Provocative Attacks: The head of the pro-
Kurdish DEHAP party branch in Van, Abdurrahman Dogan, has
been arrested for propagandizing in support of the outlawed
PKK and provoking hatred, "Cumhuriyet" reports on Sunday.
Four DEHAP officials were arrested in Adana during security
operations. DEHAP's Ankara office complained in a statement
that the party had become the target of lynching attempts,
criticizing attacks by angry mobs against party branches in
several provinces across Turkey. The statement criticized
Turkish officials for remaining silent in the face of
provocations, stressing that such `provocations' undermined
the `peaceful coexistence' of Turks and Kurds.

Kurdish Politicians Conduct Defense in Kurdish at Court:
Turkey's all-news channel NTV reported Monday that the
leaders of the `Rights and Freedoms Party' (HAK-PAR), on
trial for speaking in Kurdish during their party congress,
made their defense in Kurdish through an interpreter. Party
Chairman Abdulmelik Firat told the press after the court
hearing that the party officials were tried for speaking in
Kurdish during their party congress, but the court allowed
them to conduct their defense in Kurdish.

Aydin Gives US Red Cross 1.5 Million USD: Turkish State
Minister Mehmet Aydin presented the US Red Cross official
Rosemary W. Mackey with an aid check for 1.5 million USD
meant for Hurricane Katrina victims in New York on Friday,
weekend papers report. Mackey thanked Aydin for the
donation, saying that it is a new expression of the
relations between the US Red Cross and Turkish Red Crescent
(Kizilay).

Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan Railroad Project: Turkey will
host a meeting on September 19 to discuss the developments
regarding the Kars-Javakheti-Tbilisi-Baku Railway Project,
weekend papers report. The Turkish and Azerbaijani
ministers of transportation and the Georgian infrastructure
minister will participate in the meeting to discuss the
project, which aims to establish a direct railway between
Turkey and Georgia and between Turkey and Azerbaijan via
Georgia. The three countries signed a memorandum of
understanding in December last year to put the project into
force. The project will further develop the Eurasia-
Caucasus-Asia transportation corridor, and contribute to
efforts to revive the historic Silk Road, say reports.

PKK Terrorists Killed in Eastern Turkey: Security forces
killed two PKK terrorists in separate operations in the
eastern provinces of Van and Tunceli, papers reported on
Sunday. Three terrorists reportedly escaped after the clash
and crossed the Iranian border.

Bus Explosion Kills Two in Turkey: An explosion on a bus
which was traveling from the southern city of Adana to
Antalya killed two people and wounded 10, Turkey's semi-
official "Anatolian Agency" (AA) reported on Monday. AA
said that the blast came from the hand-baggage shelf inside
the bus en route to the tourist centre Antalya. Police
launched an investigation into the blast.

EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq/PKK; German Election

"Expecting Action Against PKK"
Yasemin Congar reported from Washington in the mass appeal
"Milliyet" (9/19): "Attending the UN summit, PM Erdogan left
New York with expectations to see some concrete action
against the PKK presence in Iraq. In a press conference
prior to his departure, Erdogan expressed hope to see some
deeds along with words from US and Iraqi officials by saying
`our expectations continue since there were some positive
developments recently.' . Both Iraqi and American officials
confirm that they are well aware of threat which the PKK
presence in Iraq poses, as well as Turkey's concerns
regarding it. . A Turkish government official who attended
the meetings with both Iraqis and Americans noted that the
Turkish side heard about the PKK exactly what it was hoping
to hear. And such words should follow with actions, Turkey
emphasizes. Regarding the nature of the action, several
speculations can be made. For example, tangible measures by
Iraqi police force is one possible action. But Talabani
said only `we will do our best' and he did not go any
further than that. The US sources, on the other hand,
continue to rule out the possibility of a comprehensive
military operation against PKK at this point. In fact,
Erdogan and his close circles are not expecting a
comprehensive operation either. A Turkish official
described the expectation by giving an example: `For
instance, helicopter fire can hit a PKK target. This will
certainly not solve the issue but can create a huge
psychological impact both on Turkish public opinion and on
the PKK.' The impression I got from American as well as
Iraqi officials indicates that there will be more
cooperation on intelligence matters which may result in on-
the- spot operations. On that note, there is even a
speculation that certain leaders of the PKK may be arrested.
. In an attempt to cope with anti-Americanism in Turkey and
to demonstrate loyalty to its principles regarding combating
terrorism, the Bush administration has recently started
using clear and strong rhetoric about the PKK. The
Americans will use the upcoming Rice-Gul meeting to express
American sensitivity on the PKK issue. FM Gul wants to hear
clearly what the US would do in Iraq. There are some in
Turkey who trust neither Talabani nor Barzani and believe
the US is going to keep the PKK in northern Iraq in order to
threaten Turkey. Therefore, they do not believe that Turkey
can achieve anything by creating cooperation [with the US
and Iraq] against PKK. Washington must have understood that
strong rhetoric will no longer be sufficient to change this
assumption."

"Elections in Germany"
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative "Turkiye"
(9/19): "The prime ministers and foreign ministers of the
UK and Germany, as well as those of Italy and Spain, all
stressed the advantages of Turkey's EU membership and also
all the problems that will occur in the event of Turkey's
rejection. The issue was also a part of the election
debates in Germany. They said many things except one
important one: none of them dared to mention that Turkey's
alternative to the EU is the US. The US is a NATO ally for
all these European countries. Moreover, the US has billions
of dollars of investment in these countries. It would be
contrary to political courtesy to mention that the US is a
rival of the EU. At last, former US Ambassador to Ankara
Marc Grossman has stated that Turkey's EU alternative is the
US. President Bush stressed that approval of the Armenian
genocide draft resolution by the US Senate Foreign Relations
Committee doesn't reflect the US administration's policies.
President Bush reiterated his friendship for Turkey with
this statement."

MCELDOWNEY

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