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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 006312

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, OCTOBER 17, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Bush: Each Vote Cast in Iraq a Blow to Terrorism - Milliyet
10/16
Time for Democracy in Iraq - Hurriyet 10/16
Rice Officially Invites `TRNC's Talat to US - Turkiye 10/16
Initial Results Show Iraq Constitution Approved - Vatan
Aziz to Testify against Saddam - Sabah
Aziz to String Up Saddam - Vatan
5 US Troops Killed in Ramadi - Milliyet
Al-Qaida's `Image-Maker' Captured in Baghdad - Vatan
Iran Develops 3,500 km Range Missiles - Milliyet
Europe within Range of Mullahs - Vatan
`Black Fury' in Ohio - Aksam
Condi to Challenge Hillary in 2008 - Aksam
Afghanistan to Officially Recognize Israel - Sabah

OPINION MAKERS
Rice Confident of Iraq Constitution Approval - Yeni Safak
Shiites Vote `Yes,' Sunnis `No' on Iraq Constitution -
Cumhuriyet
US Planes Strike Ramadi: 25 Killed - Yeni Safak
Russia Provides Iran Missile Technology - Zaman
Putin Denies Rice Support on Iran - Zaman 10/16
Damascus Refuses to Cooperate with US - Radikal
Pakistan Earthquake Death Toll 38,000 - Zaman 10/16
Rebuilding Pakistan May Take 10 Years - Zaman
Russians Train Palestinian Security Forces - Yeni Safak
Nalchik Raid Ends in Bloodbath: 108 Killed - Zaman 10/15
Germany's `Grand Coalition' Won't Work - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Iraq Constitution Has Likely Been Approved: "Milliyet"
reports that, based on preliminary counting in the Iraqi
constitutional referendum, the Iraqi constitution has likely
been approved. The paper claims that nearly 70 percent of
votes cast in the Sunni-majority provinces of Tikrit and al-
Anbar were against the Constitution. However, large
majorities in two other Sunni-dominated provinces, Diyala
and Nineveh, voted to support the document. Opponents had
therefore fallen short of the three-province threshhold
required to reject the constitution. All papers note that
voter turnout in Sunni areas was surprisingly high - over 66
percent in many critical regions. "Milliyet" clams that
Kurds and Shiites voted overwhelmingly in favor of
ratification.

Hughes on Her Regional Tour in September: Undersecretary
for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes said
she heard `strong opinions' during her regional tour of
Afghanistan, Egypt, and Turkey last month, Turkish papers
reported on Saturday. Responding to questions following her
speech at George Washington University, Hughes said that
since she had expected to hear strong opinions, she had not
been `taken aback,' as some have suggested. `I'm not
surprised that I met with a number of very active women in
Turkey -- activist, opinionated, strong-willed, forceful
women - and that some of them disagreed with our decision to
go into Iraq. I suspect that if I met with a similar group
in the United States, I would probably hear the same thing.
I understand that there are a number of people who disagree
with our decision to go in to remove Saddam Hussein from
power,' Hughes said.

US Funds for a Cooperation Project with Turkey: Rifat
Hisarciklioglu, Chairman of the Turkish Union of Chambers
(TOBB), said after meeting with the US Charge d'Affaires
Nancy McEldowney that Turkey wants to further bilateral
trade with the United States, the semi-official Anatolian
News Agency (AA) reported over the weekend. McEldowney said
that the US Government will donate 500,000 USD to support
cooperation between small and medium-scale enterprises in
Turkey and the US. The project will be carried out by TOBB
and the US Chamber of Commerce, according to the AA report.

Al-Jazeera Interviews FM Gul: Doha-based Al-Jazeera TV
hosted Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on its weekly program
`Without Borders' broadcast last week from Ankara.
Responding to a question about Iraq and the Middle East, Gul
said the Turkish Parliament had rejected a US proposal to
open a northern front against Iraq, and that Turkey had
expressed `strong and courageous' criticism to Israel. Gul
said Turkey's objective is to contribute to achieving a
lasting peace between Palestine and Israel, and between
Israel and the Arab world. Gul noted that the Iraqi
Constitution is an issue to be decided by the Iraqi people,
stressing the need to maintain Iraq's unity. `Had the
Sunnis been fully represented in the committee that drafted
the constitution, a better constitution would have been
produced,' Gul said. He nevertheless urged the Sunnis to
seek greater involvement in the political process. Gul
noted that Arab countries neighboring Iraq are worried about
developments there and seek to help Iraq. Asked about
northern Iraq, Gul said that the Turks have not been enemies
of the Kurds. He said that the PKK is a terrorist group
that will eventually harm Iraq as well. `The Kurdish issue
is not the only problem in Turkey. The solution to all our
problems lies in expanding democracy here,' Gul added. On
whether Turkey has a `secret agenda' in Iraq, Gul said that
Turkey wants to see a genuinely democratic state that would
benefit all Iraqis. Responding to a question on a possible
US attack against Syria, Gul said he did not believe the US
is planning to wage war against Damascus. `It's against
Turkey's interests. We don't want another war in the
region. What has happened in Iraq is enough, because it has
harmed all of us,' Gul stressed. With regard to the role of
Turkey as a bridge between East and West following the
opening of EU accession talks with Ankara, Gul said that
Turkey has always had been influential in the region.
`Europe is an important international force that has
interests in the region. So the EU process will enable
Turkey to play a bigger role in the region,' Gul said.

Grossman on US-Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria: Former US
Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, speaking at a
conference on the issue of Turkish-US relations, predicted
that the bilateral relationship may undergo a new `test' on
the issue of Iran, Saturday's "Zaman" reports. Grossman
said Turkey and the US had `common interests' with regard to
the democratization of Iran and Syria. `It is in Turkey's
interest thatIran not acquire nuclear weapons. We also have
a common view that Iran must not export terror.
Consultations in a more strategic sense may enable us to
pass this test,' Grossman said, adding that Turkey must try
to convince Tehran not to acquire nuclear weapons. Grossman
said that Syria is not as urgent an issue as Iran, but noted
that it is possible to achieve a more democratic Syria that
does not support terrorism. Grossman argued that the PKK
presence in northern Iraq must be removed if anti-
Americanism in Turkey is to be brought to an end. He
stressed that Turkey and the US must work together to reach
the goal of a united Iraq that is politically and
economically stable.
HRW Concerned About Lack of Freedom of Expression in Turkey:
In a letter to Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, Human
Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Government to make Turkish
judges and prosecutors who restrict freedom of expression
understand that the human rights agreements signed by Turkey
had become part of national law, Monday's "Yeni Safak"
reports. The letter expressed concern over the charges
filed against novelist Orhan Pamuk and the prosecutor's
decision to use force to bring Pamuk to the courtroom. HRW
also drew attention to similar cases against "Agos" editor
Hrant Dink, publisher Ragip Zarkolu, Mazlum-Der vice-
chairman Sehmus Ulek, and journalists Rahmi Yildirim and
Ersen Korkmaz. HRW noted that the new penal code still
contains provisions that infringe freedom of expression.

Avian Flu under Control in Turkey: The Turkish Ministry of
Health announced that the bird flu outbreak in the Manyas
near the Aegean Sea has exceeded its incubation period and
that it is no longer dangerous. Some 10,000 birds were
culled in Manyas, and a quarantine in the region continues.
The Ministry asked its officials around Turkey to report any
further detection of avian flu. The European Commission is
to send a group of experts to Turkey to investigate the
situation. A spokesman for the Commission said that EU
experts are discussing precautionary measures against avian
flu, which could spread from the Balkans to the West. The
European Commission representative in Turkey, Hansjoerg
Kretschmer, said that there is no need for panic. Prime
Minister Tayyip Erdogan assured the nation that all measures
are being taken to prevent the spread of the disease.
`There is not a single case of bird flu diagnosed in a human
being in Turkey,' Erdogan stressed. The Council of
Ministers is to discuss the avian flu outbreak at its
monthly meeting today.

Turkish Aid to Pakistan Earthquake Victims: On October 20,
Prime Minister Erdogan is to take a check for 22 million USD
in assistance to victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. The
money has been collected from businessmen in Istanbul,
Monday papers report. Turkey will also send 50,000 tons of
flour, as well as vegetable oil and sugar to the region over
the next 10 days.

MFA Condemns Terror in Nalchik: In a statement released on
Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) condemned the
acts of terrorism that took place in Nalchik, the capital of
the mainly Muslim autonomous republic of Kabardino-Balkariya
in Russia, weekend papers report. The MFA expressed
`profound sorrow' over the loss of civilian lives in clashes
between Russian security forces and terrorists. At least 85
people, including 61 attackers, were reportedly killed
during the fighting in Nalchik.

Bomb Explosion at a Gas Station in Istanbul: An explosion
at a gas station in Istanbul's Maslak neighborhood on
Saturday evening that injured five people was caused by a
remote-controlled bomb planted in a car, police said on
Sunday. Police say they believe the outlawed PKK is
responsible for the bombing.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq

"Gaining Time in Iraq"
Ferai Tinc observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (10/16):
"The approval of the Iraq constitution is part of the Bush
administration's strategy to get out of Iraq. This has been
a slow, phased process, but so far the Iraqi government has
not gained much authority outside the US-controlled green
line. The Iraqis are still suffering from instability, and
they are still living in fear. The daily problems they face
are not ending, but are in fact growing. Despite President
Bush's rhetoric about fighting terrorists in Iraq, the
obvious reality indicates that this is a war of interests
between Kurds, Shiites, and Sunni Arabs. The occupation
forces do not have control over this war. . The two most
influential elements in Iraq are the Kurds and the Shiites.
They used to work together in efforts to topple Saddam
Hussein. Today, these two groups are again in an alliance,
but this time it is in an effort to divide Iraq step by
step. It remains to be seen whether the constitutional
process will be successful in forging a consensus with the
Sunnis. But it is certain that this process at least gained
everybody in Iraq some time, including the US."

"Supporters of the War and the Iraq Referendum"
Yasemin Congar wrote from Washington in the mainstream
"Milliyet" (10/17): "The Iraq referendum took place at a
time when President Bush's popularity and support for the
war in Iraq is at an all-time low. But the last-minute
consensus forged among the Iraqi groups, largely through US
pressure, has become good news for the White House. It has
prevented the referendum process from turning into a defeat
for the Bush administration. The number of loyal
supporters of the Iraq war in Washington has been dwindling
for some time. This narrow circle considers the referendum
as a sign of potential success for the Iraq mission. . Both
the pessimistic and optimistic observers in Washington have
one thing in common: they believe the referendum process,
including the upcoming general elections set for December
15, is part of the American strategy to get out of Iraq.
The only differences they have relate to the timing and
specifics of a pullout."

MCELDOWNEY

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