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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 04 ANKARA 006012

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
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Gul: Europe a Global Actor Now - Milliyet
Erdogan: EU the Best Route to a Democratic Turkey - Vatan
Rice Urges Cypriots Not to Push for NATO Membership - Sabah
US `Silences' Greek Cypriots - Milliyet
Condi's Intervention Ended EU-Turkey Crisis - Hurriyet
Straw: Secular Turkey is Ataturk's Legacy - Aksam
Chirac: Turkey Needs `Cultural Revolution' to Join EU -
Milliyet
Rehn: Entry Talks with Turkey Will be Fair - Sabah
The Independent: Turkey is Europe's New Frontier - Milliyet
Bush Congratulates Muslims on Ramadan - Hurriyet

OPINION MAKERS
Gul: EU-Turkey Negotiations Will be Tough - Zaman
Rehn: Turkey Screening To Begin October 20 - Radikal
Barroso: Turkey Must Win European Hearts and Minds - Yeni
Safak
Zarkawi Calls for More Attacks During Ramadan - Cumhuriyet
Kurdish Leaders Threaten to Pull Out of Government -
Cumhuriyet
Blair, Putin Meet in London - Cumhuriyet
NATO to Send 6,000 New Troops to Afghanistan - Yeni Safak
US Imposes Arms Embargo on Uzbekistan - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

US Presses EU on Behalf of Turkey: Turkish dailies write
that the elimination of the `Cyprus and NATO obstacle' from
Turkey's path to EU membership talks was made possible by
the pressure the US put on the Greek Cypriot administration.
On Monday, Secretary Rice called Papadopoulos to warn the
Cypriot president not to use the EU as a `wedge' in
Nicosia's aspirations to join NATO, US diplomatic sources in
Washington told "Milliyet." State Department Spokesman Sean
McCormack said that Secretary Rice met with the 25 EU
ambassadors in Washington on Tuesday. `Secretary Rice
reiterated the US view that a Turkey firmly anchored in
Europe will best serve the interests of the transatlantic
family and will be a positive force for advancing peace,
prosperity and democracy,' McCormack said. Many papers
highlight the key role played by UK Foreign Minister Straw
and PM Blair, who reportedly called PM Erdogan on Monday
afternoon to urge him to accept the EU framework document.
Turkey's oppositino parties are divided on the outcome of
the Luxembourg talks. CHP leader Deniz Baykal charged that
the government came home with a bad deal, and charged the
AKP leadership of not sharing information with the
opposition during the decision-making process. ANAP leader
Erkan Mumcu praised the start of accession talks as a
`success for the Republic,' but cautioned that Turkey could
face problems during the negotiaion process. Turkey's
financial markets soared on Tuesday as a result of Turkey's
deal with the EU. The Turkish stock market was up nearly 4
percent, and the central bank was forced to intervene to
prevent a sharp appreciation in the Turkish lira.

EU Screening of Turkey to Begin October 20: EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn is expected to arrive in Ankara
Wednesday evening to discuss with government officials
Turkey's EU screening process, which will begin on October
20. The talks will be carried out in 35 policy areas in
which Turkey will try to bring its system into line with EU
regulations. Rehn told a news conference in Brussels that
the screening process will begin with the chapter on
education and culture, adding that this chapter could take
as long as one year. `We are talking about an open-ended
negotiation process that could take 10-15 years,' Rehn said.
He also noted that recognition of Cyprus is a part of
Turkey's accession process.

Gul: Europe Will Benefit from Turkish Membership: Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul told the press in Luxembourg yesterday
that EU membership will boost Turkish economic growth and
help convince wary Europeans of the benefits of Turkey
joining the EU. `In five to six years time, the EU will
recognize the advantages of admitting Turkey,' Gul said. He
said the prospect of opening the talks had bolstered
Turkey's privatization program, attracting more foreign
investors and contributing to economic growth. `Increased
investment will create more jobs in Turkey, reducing the
desire of Turks to go and work abroad,' Gul said, addressing
a key concern among EU members who fear a considerable
influx of cheap Turkish labor once Ankara joins the European
club. `In the medium to long term the EU will bring
prosperity and Turkey will be stronger and more stable,' Gul
said. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting
yesterday with the Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc that
Turkey hoped to reach its target of full membership soon.
`The two important topics of the negotiation process are the
Copenhagen and Maastricht criteria. During entry talks, we
will take advantage of our customs union relationship with
the EU, which has been in place since 1996. Other EU
candidate states did not have such an advantage,' Erdogan
said. Arinc characterized the outcome with the EU as
`positive,' and voiced hope that Turkey will take its place
within the EU family very soon. Turkish papers claim that
Ankara's efforts to remove provisions concerning the EU
capacity to `absorb' new members and about permanent
derogations failed. Some warn that the provisions and
restrictions on the free movement of Turkish labor will
become a source of problems for Turkey.

Ramadan Message from President Bush: President Bush
congratulated Muslims on the holy month of Ramadan in a
message to Muslims in the United States and around the
world, Turkish papers report. Bush said that Ramadan, the
holiest month of the Muslim year, is a special time of
`reflection, fasting, and charity.' `It is also a time of
spiritual growth and prayer and an occasion to remember the
less fortunate by sharing God's gifts with those in need,'
Bush said, and wished Muslims a blessed Ramadan season. The
President's message was carried prominently by "Hurriyet."

US Talks with Israel on Assad: "Yeni Safak" cites the
"Debkafile" webpage as reporting that a UN-led investigation
has found proof that Syrian President Assad's brother Mahir
and brother-in-law Asaf Sevket were involved in the
assassination of former Lebanese PM Hariri. President Assad
may hand the suspects over in an effort to save his regime,
"Yeni Safak" claims. The paper notes that Assad's
`flirtation' with Iran and Russia is continuing. "Yeni
Safak" also cites Israel's "Ha'aretz" as reporting that US
diplomats have asked their Israeli counterparts who would
replace the Syrian president if he is ousted. The report
claims that the US is looking for a replacement for Assad,
and favors a name that would not disrupt stability in the
region.

Oyak Outbids Competitors for Erdemir Steel: Oyak, a company
managed by the Turkish military pension fund, outbid 5 local
and international competitors to win the privatization
tender for a 47 percent stake in the Erdemir steel works.
Oyak will pay nearly 2.8 billion USD for the shares in what
is Turkey's most profitable state-owned enterprise.

PKK Bomber Killed in Blast in Istanbul: One PKK member was
killed and another wounded in an explosion in a building in
Caglayan, Istanbul Tuesday night, papers report. Police
said the blast occurred while the two militants were making
a bomb. Six bystanders were also injured in the blast.

Two PKK Terrorists Killed in Hakkari: Two PKK militants
were killed and one other was captured on Tuesday in
Yuksekova in the southeastern province of Hakkari, papers
report. Another terrorist managed to flee the area.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Turkey and the EU

"Turkey Has to Fight on Three Fronts"
Oktay Eksi opined in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (10/5):
"Yesterday, a new era began in Turkey. We are happy today,
but as the Prime Minister said, `the difficult process
starts now.' From now on, Turkey will be fighting on three
fronts in the EU accession process. First, Turkey will be
struggling with the EU member states in the membership
negotiations. The second struggle will take place in
Turkey. From the state administration to individuals, we
will have to start living according to EU reforms in order
to transform our daily life in line with EU standards.
Finally, and most importantly, there will be a struggle for
international public opinion. We have to introduce Turkey
to the people of the EU countries, and convince them to
support Turkey's membership in the union. This will be the
hardest fight of all, because as Turks we will have to erase
prejudices rooted in history from the minds of Europeans,
and replace this with a new image of Turkey's beauty and
civilization. There are difficult tasks before us, but the
goal is worth all the effort."

"The Right Not to be Pleased"
Murat Yetkin argued in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(10/5): "I would like to draw your attention to two
political reactions from Turkey's opposition leaders: DYP
leader Mehmet Agar criticized the EU framework document, but
in the end described the start of EU negotiations as `a
success for the Republic.' CHP leader Deniz Baykal, on the
other hand, wasn't too pleased with developments, and
criticized those who are happy with the result. If Turkey
had cut off its relations with the EU and walked away from
the negotiation table, which direction would it have gone?
Political and economic liberalization would have come to an
end, and foreign companies would have stopped investing in
Turkey. It is a basic democratic right to draw attention to
a government's mistakes. But it is also part of democracy
to be able to separate bad from good, and to be happy for
developments that are clearly in the interest of the
country."

"Why Did Washington Kiss Turkey?"
Rusen Cakir wrote in the mass appeal "Vatan" (10/5):
"Secretary Rice intervened at a time when Turkey's relations
with the EU were at a breaking point. This support was
given as a result of the changed Turkish attitude toward the
US. Recently, Turkish officials have exerted every effort
to strengthen Turkey-US ties. Washington extended support
to Turkey when it was needed the most. Nevertheless, this
support should not be exaggerated. The accession talks
started after huge efforts exerted by Turkish politicians,
diplomats, NGOs, academicians, and the Turkish public. As
for foreign support, Europe's leftists and Green parties
deserve more applause than President Bush and his team."
"Like a Gunshot Wound"
Cuneyt Arcayurek wrote in the leftist-nationalist
"Cumhuriyet" (10/5): "Despite our objections, language on
the `absorption capacity' of the EU remained in the
framework document. Our ability to veto Greek Cypriot
membership in international organizations such as NATO has
been called into question, and we had to content ourselves
with a letter and verbal assurances. The idea of a
privileged partnership is still being discussed. This is
all very important. The ruling party and its toadies and
flatterers in the press don't mention that the EU insists on
these things, or that they are absolutely binding on us.
Restrictions on free movement and on agricultural subsidies
which have never been applied to any other candidate country
are being imposed on Turkey. The Prime Minister takes his
government to the AK party building and receives foreign
ambassadors there. Our writers, who have such a burning
love for the EU, view it as normal that the state is being
run by a party. After giving concessions to the EU that
should have never been given, and accepting conditions that
should never have been accepted, the Prime Minister then
calls the President and the opposition leader in a cosmetic
gesture to blunt the accusation that he withheld information
from them during the decision-making process. This
document, which binds Turkey hand and foot and humiliates
the nation, is like a gunshot wound. A person who is shot
doesn't feel the pain at first. It is only after a little
while that it starts to bleed and cause suffering. That is,
after it's already too late."

MCELDOWNEY

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