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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 006352

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 19, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
Bush Gives Iftar for Muslims at White House - Hurriyet
Bush Hosts Fifth Iftar Dinner for Muslims - Milliyet
Holy Koran Added to White House Library - Aksam
`Army of Lawyers' to Defend Saddam - Sabah
Time of Account for Saddam Hussein - Vatan
China's Military Strength Scares Rusmfeld - Aksam
Guliyev Crisis in Azerbaijan - Milliyet

OPINION MAKERS
Erdogan to US: Our Patience Running Out on the PKK - Yeni
Safak
MacCormack: We are With Turkey in Fight against Terror -
Radikal
`Iftar Diplomacy' at the White House - Yeni Safak
Bush to Muslims: Ramadan Mubarak - Radikal
Bush Calls on Muslims to Denounce Terror - Zaman
Iraq Constitution Vote Tainted - Radikal
Trial Time for Saddam Hussein - Radikal
China Discomfits Rumsfeld - Cumhuriyet
Anti-War Grandmothers Detained in US - Radikal
UNICEF: 40 Million Children Face Violence, Abuse - Yeni
Safak

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BRIEFING

Erdogan Issues Warning against PKK in Northern Iraq: Papers
report Prime Minister Erdogan's warning on Tuesday that
Turkey will take `necessary measures' to end the presence of
PKK terrorists in northern Iraq. `Turkey has shown a
certain degree of tolerance up to now, but we cannot
continue this anymore,' Erdogan told a meeting of his party
group, stressing that the terrorist presence in northern
Iraq must be rooted out. Erdogan warned `everyone who bears
responsibility in the region' that Turkey will take
`appropriate steps' when the time comes. Erdogan said
Turkey wanted the Iraqi Constitution to be shaped in a way
that will represent all Iraqi groups. He voiced hope that
the new parliament to be formed after the December 15
elections will amend the constitution. `We are evaluating
the upcoming elections along with the US and UN
representatives,' Erdogan said. The PM also noted that
Turkey is working closely with the UN to determine the
future of Kirkuk.

US Stands with Turkey against the PKK: The US State
Department said yesterday that it stands firmly behind
Turkey in the fight against terrorism, Turkish papers
report. Department Spokesman Sean MacCormack told a press
briefing on Tuesday that US forces in Iraq are aware of the
PKK problem and are `taking steps to address it.'
`Certainly the PKK is a terrorist organization, and we
certainly stand with the Turkish government in our common
fight against terrorism,' MacCormack stated.

Jeffrey on Turkey, Iraqi Kurds: Turkish state television
(TRT) reported US Iraq Coordinator Jim Jeffrey as saying
yesterday that Turkey has played a `very helpful role' in
Iraq. `Turkey has received high-level visits, including the
prime minister, from Iraq, and that's a particularly
important relationship,' Jeffrey said in reponse to a
question from a journalist in Washington. He noted that the
US is pleased with the role the Kurds are playing in `a
federal, united, democratic' Iraq. Jeffrey added that `we
consider the integration of the Kurds into the new Iraq to
be one of the more successful achievements of the past
several years.'

President Bush Hosts Iftar at the White House: President
Bush hosted an iftar dinner for Muslim representatives in
the United States for the fifth consecutive year at the
White House, Turkish papers report. `As we work together to
defeat the terrorists, we must be very clear about the
enemies we face. The killers who take the lives of innocent
men, women, and children are followers of a violent ideology
very different from the religion of Islam,' Bush told the
Muslim leaders before the iftar. `Their strategy will
fail,' Bush said, and he called on `all responsible Islamic
leaders' to denounce `an ideology that exploits Islam for
political ends.'

Gul Proposes Lifting All Restrictions on Both Sides in
Cyprus: Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul proposed that all
restrictions on the Turkish and Greek sides in Cyprus,
including the closure of Turkish ports and airports to Greek
Cypriots, should be removed simultaneously. Gul was
responding to press questions in Ankara on his return from a
trip to Finland. Yasar Yakis, head of the parliamentary
commission for EU harmonization, had said on Monday that the
Greek Cypriots could be granted access to Turkish ports even
before Ankara recognizes Nicosia. Dailies comment that the
Turkish government does not seem inclined to support Yakis's
proposal.

Erdogan to Visit Earthquake Victims in Pakistan: Prime
Minister Erdogan told his party group meeting yesterday that
Turkey has sent 173 search-and-rescue and health personnel,
7 vehicles, 3 ambulances, a field hospital, 3 sniffer dogs,
22 tons of food and 17 tons of medicine on 9 cargo planes to
Pakistan following the massive earthquake on October 8.
Erdogan added that 104,000 blankets, 10,000 tents and 20
stoves in United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) warehouses in Iskenderun will also be sent to the
region through an air corridor to be opened between Incirlik
Airbase and Islamabad. Turkish businessmen donated 20
million USD to earthquake victims over the weekend in
Istanbul. On Thursday, Erdogan will fly to Pakistan to meet
with President Musharraf and Prime Minister Aziz.

Fried on Turkey-Armenia Ties: US Assistant Secretary of
State for Europe and Eurasia Daniel Fried said in Yerevan
yesterday that the US will continue its efforts to normalize
Armenian-Turkish relations. Responding to questions by
Armenia's independent news agency Mediamax, Fried said that
`the difficult issues of the past' are being discussed at
conferences today, and that some leading politicians in
Turkey are `ready to launch more efforts.' `This will
depend partly on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict and partly on how people will change over the
course of time. I keep in touch with Armenian organizations
in the US, and some of them have played a very constructive
role in normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations.
Specifically, I mean the process that took place within the
framework of the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation
commission,' Fried said.

Survey on Honor Killings in Southeast Turkey: A survey on
honor killings in the mainly Kurdish southeast found that
37.4 percent of respondents approved of killing `unfaithful'
women who have `stained' the family honor, "Hurriyet"
reported. The survey was carried out by Dicle University in
Diyarbakir, and included 430 people in the southeastern
provinces, 335 of whom were men. 21.6 percent of
participants thought the women should be punished in other
ways such as having their ears, nose, or hair cut off.
Papers comment that the results are `scary' at a time when
Turkey is striving for membership in the European Union.
Turkey Improves on Corruption Perception: Turkey placed
65th in Transparency International's (TI) 2005 Corruption
Perceptions Index (CPI), papers report.
Turkey's corruption perception indices rose to 3.5 in 2005
following results of 3.1 and 3.2 in 2003 and 2004,
respectively. France, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan,
Nigeria, Qatar, Taiwan and Turkey showed a decline in
perceptions of corruption. Iceland leads the list as the
least corrupt country with 9.7 points. More than two-thirds
of the 159 nations surveyed scored less than 5 out of a
score of 10. The worst corruption is seen in Chad,
Bangladesh, Turkmenistan, Myanmar and Haiti, all of which
are also among the poorest countries in the world.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq; Turkish Cypriot Leader to
Washington

"Will the Constitution Be Good Enough to Save Iraq?"
Omer Taspinar wrote this commentary from Washington in the
liberal-intellectual "Radikal" (10/19): "The Bush
administration is maintaining its usual optimism, expecting
that the new constitution will help reduce the chaos in
Iraq. The rate of Sunni participation in the referendum is
a reason for some optimism. But neither the American people
nor international opinion share this optimistic expectation.
. It will be very hard to keep Iraq intact, as it has no
strong government and no overarching Iraqi identity. A
Yugoslavia-style dissolution process looks like the most
realistic scenario for Iraq's future. A civil war in Iraq
seems inevitable, and will likely take place right after the
pullout of American forces. But the US is very determined
to pull out of Iraq, and various scenarios on this issue are
being avidly debated in Washington. Due to a decrease in
public support for the war, the Pentagon wants to leave Iraq
as quickly as possible. . As for the civilians, despite
President Bush's effort to disseminate optimism, the growing
belief is that the terrorism in Iraq will not end as long as
American soldiers are stationed there. The US has become
like a magnet for terror in Iraq. Thus, the Pentagon and
the White House have agreed on the need for a significant
reduction of US troops in Iraq. The debate now is about
timing and numbers. The location of military bases is
another issue, in which northern Iraq looks like the most
rational option."

"Possibility of US Action against the PKK is Very Weak"
Hakan Celik wrote in the mass appeal-tabloid "Posta"
(10/19): "Prime Minister Erdogan once again criticized US
policy on the PKK yesterday. This issue is very important
for Turkish-US relations. The increasing PKK terror
activities sting the Turkish Government, which is acting
with good intentions on the issue. The US has repeatedly
said that it considers the PKK to be a terrorist
organization. . But the occupation of Iraq and Washington's
close relations with the Kurds in northern Iraq have caused
the Bush administration to be unwilling to take any concrete
steps on this issue. The Americans keep repeating the same
sentence, which Turkey finds it hard to believe: `we would
like to eliminate the PKK, but for the time being we don't
have enough firepower to do it.' Despite PM Erdogan's
rightful rebuttal, the US Administration's agenda seems too
full to deal with the PKK. I hope I am mistaken."

"It Should not Remain Only Symbolic"
Sami Kohen wrote in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (10/19): "The
invitation to Mehmet Ali Talat to Washington as a `Turkish
Cypriot leader' by Secretary Rice is a very important event,
both symbolically and substantively. . This invitation
indicates that the US administration is determined to
maintain direct contact with the Turkish Cypriot side. This
means that Washington, at least, does not ignore the
existence of Turkish Cypriots on the island. It also
provides hope that the US will take an active role in the
settlement of the Cyprus issue. Every step taken by the US
to end the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, which
is the main expectation from the Rice-Talat meeting, will
encourage others to take similar action. . Along with its
symbolic importance, the Rice-Talat meeting in Washington
could be the harbinger of some new developments on Cyprus."

MCELDOWNEY

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