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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


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Hughes: Turkey `Democratic,' Egypt `Crowded' - Hurriyet
Hughes Voices Support for Turkey's EU Bid - Hurriyet
Hughes: Turks are Proud to Say `We are All Turks' - Milliyet
Pope Benedict XVI: Peace Requires Cooperation by All -
Wolfowitz: Turkey's EU Drive Positive for Europe, Region -
Buyukanit Warns on Fundamentalism, Terror - Sabah
Istanbul Conference Breaks Turkish Taboos on Armenians -
British Labor Party Pressures Blair to Step Down - Aksam
US Releases 1,000 Abu-Ghraib Inmates for Ramadan - Vatan
Israeli Missiles Kill Islamic Jihad Leader - Hurriyet
Al-Qaida Leader in Spain Sentenced to 27 Years - Sabah
PKK Militants Kill 2 Village Guards in Sirnak - Sabah

Hughes: Turkey is Like the United States - Radikal
Rehn: Turkey-EU Ties Worsening - Cumhuriyet
Talat: Greek Cypriots Turned Me into Another Denktas - Zaman
Nicosia Determined to Hold `Nikiforos' Exercise - Radikal
US Releases 1,000 Iraqi Prisoners - Cumhuriyet
British Want to Pull Out of Iraq - Zaman
UN Steps Up International Pressure on Lebanon - Yeni Safak
HAMAS Stops, Israel Strikes - Zaman
Sheehan Detained Briefly During Rally at White House -

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Hadley and Turkey: Stephen Hadley had visited Turkey on his
first foreign trip as Assistant Secretary of Defense in the
administration of George Bush Sr. He called on Turkey again
on his first trip abroad as President's National Security
Advisor, "Sabah" reports. Ties between Turkey and the US
have gradually improved following the visit of Prime
Minister Erdogan to the US in June. Both sides have
accepted that Iraq's stabilization will not be possible
without Turkey's support. Key officials in the Bush
Administration know that the US will not be able to achieve
its vital interests in the region without Turkish backing.
The Americans have taken into consideration Turkish concerns
with regard to the PKK, and are working on formulas to solve
the problem, according to "Sabah." The paper also claims on
its front-page that Hadley discussed a possible `regime
change' in Syria with Turkish officials during his weekend
visit to Ankara.

Hughes on Turkey en Route to Cairo: Undersecretary of State
for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes is on a regional tour that
will take her to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in an
effort to `restore' the image of the United States abroad,
Turkish papers report. Hughes responded to journalists'
questions en route to Cairo. She said that Turkey is an
`important democratic country' and a `key ally that bridges
Europe and Asia.' `Turkey's EU accession is something that
we strongly support. We believe in support for Turkey.
Turkey has been a key coalition partner in the global war
against terror, and of course it is a key NATO ally. When I
landed in Afghanistan, I was greeted at the airport by a
Turkish general, because the Turkish army was securing the
airport in Kabul. So they are a key ally that has been a
great partner of ours,' Hughes said. She added that Turkey
is a country that encompasses `people of many different
backgrounds and beliefs,' yet is proud of the saying that
`all are Turks.' `Much as the US has assimilated people of
many different backgrounds and from many different places,
Turkey is very proud of its identity, under which all of its
citizens consider themselves to be Turks.'

General Buyukanit on EU, Terror, Fundamentalism: Turkish
Land Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit told the
opening of the new academic year at the War Academy in
Ankara yesterday that the country faced the threat of
fundamentalism and the activities of the terrorist PKK that
targets `ethnic partition' of the nation. Buyukanit claimed
that groups with fundamentalist aspirations long for a
caliphate or sharia-oriented regime for Turkey, and warned
that such groups should be prepared for their `inevitable
end.' `Destructive and separatist activities, supported
from inside and outside Turkey, will be eliminated by the
dynamic forces obliged to protect the Republic,' Buyukanit
stressed. The land forces commander also `condemned' the
characterization of Turkey's fight against terrorism by the
EU Parliament as `aggressive military operations.' `I
regard such expressions as a wake-up call for the Turkish
Republic,' Buyukanit said.

Wolfowitz Welcomes Turkish Progress Toward EU: Turkish
dailies report that World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz told
a joint press availability with IMF Managing Director
Rodrigo de Rato that Turkey's progress toward the EU is `a
positive development for both Turkey and Europe, as well as
the whole region.' Rato, who met with State Minister Ali
Babacan over the weekend, said that the IMF had always
supported the opening of EU accession negotiations with

Hatay Interfaith Conference Ends: Leaders of Turkey's non-
Muslim communities told an interfaith conference on
erligious tolerance on Monday that they face constant
prejudice from the Muslim majority in Turkey. Greek
Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I complained that his
community had difficulty understanding the mentality which
sees their religious activities as a `show of force' and
their visits around Turkey as `missionary activities.'
Bartholomew addressed the conference in Turkish, claiming
that he had not been allowed to perform religious services
during the past two years at the church of Saint Nicholas in
the Mediterranean town of Demre. Bartholomew noted that the
presence of the Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey makes the
country an `important bridge between religions and
civilizations, as well as between east and west.' The
spiritual leader of the Turkish Armenian community,
Patriarch Mesrob II, voiced similar complaints, appealing
for `greater understanding and empathy' from the Turks. The
leader of the Jewish minority, Rabbi Ishak Haleva, said that
many indications showed that civilization is inclined to
destroy itself today: `Every year, some six million children
around the world die of malnutrition before they reach the
age of five. Theft, robbery, rape, and other criminal and
immoral activities have become widespread. Drug traffickers
are looking for young customers among primary school
children. And what are civilized countries doing? They are
spending 100 million dollars on tanks, artillery units,
rifles and ammunition every hour. If this is civilization,
we can do without it. Civilization is committing suicide.'
The head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate,
Professor Ali Bardakoglu, said that religions play an
important role in establishing peace, love, and friendship.
`Love, tolerance, and peace are the essence of Islam. Islam
never permits terror,' Bardakoglu said.
Armenian Conference Ends in Istanbul: A conference on the
suffering of Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman
Empire wrapped up yesterday. On its second day, the
conference was protested by a small group of nationalists
who threw eggs and tomatoes at the university building, some
of them protesting against an EU flag hoisted beside the
Turkish flag in front of the conference venue. A total of
786 guests were invited to the conference, and about 300
participants attended the 12 sessions held during the two-
day gathering. The talks were covered by scores of domestic
and foreign reporters, including two journalists coming from
Armenia. Professor Tosun Terzioglu, President of Sabanci
University, said that the Armenian conference had been an
important event in showing that universities in Turkey were
independent and that academics and thinkers could freely
debate diverse opinions.

Dogan Media Group Buys Star-TV: On Monday, Turkey's first
private TV channel established in 1990, "Star TV," was
auctioned. "Star TV," in state receivership since last year
after the authorities seized dozens of companies from the
now-defunct Uzan business conglomerate following a bank
scandal and corruption charges, was sold to the Dogan media
group for 306.5 million USD. "Yeni Safak" says on its front
page that the transaction increased the Dogan Group's viewer
ratings as well as its share in the advertisement market. A
commentary in the paper warns that the Dogan Media Group has
taken a major step toward dominating the media by purchasing
"Star-TV," adding that the tender will have implications for
Turkish politics. It calls on the Parliament to take
measures to prevent the monopolization of Turkish media by
the Dogan Group. The sale of the state-seized companies of
the Uzan family kicked off last week with "Super FM" and
"Metro FM" radio stations to the Canadian CGS Group

Iraq-Turkey Oil Pipeline Bombed: Insurgents bombed a
junction on Iraq's crude oil export pipeline near Kirkuk and
briefly detained nine employees of the facility over the
weekend, wire services reported Monday. The sabotage is
expected to delay efforts to resume Iraqi oil exports to
Turkey, which had been brought to a standstill by the
bombing attacks.

PKK Trains 400 Bombers in the Kandil Mountains: "Zaman"
reports on an intelligence report by Turkish security which
claims that the PKK is training some 400 militants in the
Kandil Mountains to carry out bomb attacks in the
southeastern provinces in an effort to block Turkey from
joining the European Union. The report says that the
terrorist organization is planning to send some 150
militants to Turkey from northern Iraq.

Police Arrest PKK Members, Seize Weapons: Police arrested
three members of the outlawed PKK in the town of Nusaybin in
southeast Turkey, seizing arms and munitions. Security
forces seized 4,500 AK-47 rifle (Kalashnikov) bullets during
a separate operation in Siverek near the southeastern city
of Sanliurfa. Two village guards were killed in an armed
attack by PKK rebels against a military unit checking road
security on the Sirnak-Hakkari motorway. The terrorists
escaped after the attack. Meanwhile, police arrested
yesterday a female PKK terrorist on charges of planning a
bomb attack against security forces in Diyarbakir, and
seized 2.2 kilograms of explosives, revolvers, mobile phones
and bullet cartridges.


"Regime Change Scenarios for Syria"
Asli Aydintasbas noted in the mass appeal "Sabah" (9/27):
"The expectation in Washington, as well as in international
circles, is that as the result of the ongoing Hariri
investigation, regime change in Syria is an increasingly
likely possibility. The Bush administration views Assad as
a weak leader, and does not see any progress by the regime
regarding security and democratization issues. Ankara and
other Western capitals have started discussing possible
names to replace Assad. This issue was brought up during
National Security Advisor Stephan Hadley's recent visit to
Ankara as well. . Ankara worries about possible chaos in the
event of a regime change in Syria, even if it comes about
through the UN investigation. On the other hand, the
Turkish government does not intend to continue to play a
`big brother' role for the Assad administration any longer.
But Ankara does not want to see instability in Syria similar
to what we have seen in Iraq. Moreover, Ankara wants to see
tangible evidence from the UN investigation if it points to
Syrian complicity. This message was also conveyed to

"Strategic Partnership?"
Uluc Gurkan argued in the tabloid "Star" (9/27): "Given the
fact that National Security Advisor Hadley made his first
tour abroad to Turkey, the Hadley visit was a very important
event. During the visit, Hadley conveyed President Bush's
message about forgetting the past and reestablishing the
strategic partnership. When Turkish authorities asked about
the PKK, Hadley confirmed that the issue is covered by the
strategic partnership as well. The meaning of this message
is very clear. The US wants Turkey to accept and assume the
role designed for it within the Broader Middle East
Initiative. The message also indicates that meeting this
expectation is the only way to eliminate the PKK threat in
northern Iraq. . Turkey is now being dragged into an
adventure that will result in a redesign of the Middle East
map. It is vitally important that Turkey stand on its own
feet instead of fooling itself with carrots, such as
possible US action on the PKK issue. Any adventure taken
with the US will bring nothing but lost lives, blood, and a
threat to our territorial integrity."


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