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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 06 ANKARA 006479

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
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES


MASS APPEAL
`Peshmerge' at the White House - Hurriyet
Bush Gives Barzani a Warm Greeting - Milliyet
Barzani Given Presidential Treatment at White House - Aksam
Iraq Constitution Approved by 78.59 Percent - Milliyet
Iraq Becoming Federalized - Sabah
Al-Qaida Claims Hotel Bombings in Baghdad - Aksam
Another Blow against Bush: US Casualties Reach 2,000 - Sabah
Russia, China Block Sanctions against Syria - Aksam
Hurricane Wilma Kills 6 in Florida - Turkiye
Wilma's Bill: 9 Billion USD, 8 Casualties - Sabah
BBC to Launch Arabic Language TV - Milliyet

OPINION MAKERS
Bush Calls Barzani `Mr. President' - Yeni Safak
Barzani Gets Presidential Welcome at White House -
Cumhuriyet
Bush Welcomes `President' Barzani - Zaman
Talabani: The US is Our Protector - Zaman
Talabani: Iraq Needs Turkey - Yeni Safak
Iraq Constitution Approved by a Narrow Margin - Radikal
Iraq Body count: 30,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq - Yeni
Safak
Basrans Support Insurgency - Yeni Safak
Talat to Push Annan For New Cyprus Initiative - Radikal
UN Convenes on Syria - Yeni Safak
Bush: Military Operation against Syria a Last Option -
Cumhuriyet
Mehlis Report: Hariri Assassin Hiding in Turkey - Yeni Safak

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BRIEFING

Barzani at the White House: All papers report that KDP
leader and Iraqi Kurdistan President Mesud Barzani met with
President Bush yesterday aty the White House. Under the
headline "Peshmerge at the White House," "Hurriyet" stresses
the President's praise for Barzani's `courage' and `vision.'
Papers note that Barzani was afforded `presidential
treatment' in Washington. All papers note that President
Bush repeatedly addressed Barzani as `president,' and said
`it is an honor to host Barzani, President of the Kurdistan
Regional Government in Iraq, at the White House.'

Kurdistan Flag at Habur Border Gate: "Sabah" reports that
Turkey has been angered by a Kurdish flag hoisted on the
Iraqi side of Habur border gate. Officials in northern Iraq
refused to take the flag down, saying that they were
replacing old Iraqi flags from the Saddam Hussein regime era
with Kurdish flags. The paper claims that the flag switch
is a sign that Iraq has now been `federalized.'

Talabani Interview with "Zaman": Commenting to "Zaman" on
Massoud Barzani's Washington visit as the president of the
Kurdish region, Iraqi President Talabani said he expected
issues such as border security and security problems in
northern Iraq to be discussed. `The PUK and KDP have made a
reality their goal to establish a parliament, and a
government will be formed in the very near future' Talabani
said. On Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's recent statement
that Turkey was `running out of patience' because Iraq was
not taking steps to eliminate the presence of the PKK in the
north of the country, Talabani said it was impossible for
them to remove the PKK by using force, and urged that the
issue be solved through political means. `An operation
against the terrorist PKK cannot be carried out given the
condition the Iraqi forces are in, and any military
operation against this terrorist network might push its
militants towards other insurgency groups,' he noted.
Talabani said that Iraqi-Turkish relations have always been
good, and expressed hope for developing these ties further,
adding that he planned to visit Turkey in the near future.
Talabani complained that it is not easy to establish
channels of communication with some `marginal' Turkmen
parties. Although there was widespread speculation during
the pre-election period that the Turkmen in Iraq number five
million, Talabani said that the election outcome proved this
argument to be incorrect. Talabani believes that the
Turkmen are wrong to object to the return of Kurds to
Kirkuk, as the Kurds had been forced to leave the city
during Saddam's era. Talabani pledged that the Iraqi
administration will make every effort to make Kirkuk part of
the `Kurdistan Federation,' and that this clause will be put
into effect as soon as the normalization of Kirkuk is
completed. `It was the Kurds who made great sacrifices for
the constitution,' Talabani stated, adding that although
Sunni Arabs are opposed to the establishment of a Shiite
federation, they do not have a problem with the
establishment of a Kurdish federal entity in the north of
Iraq. The Iraqi president guaranteed that the constitution
will secure the basic rights and freedoms that everyone is
entitled to. `The referendum marks the greatest fight
against terrorist groups in Iraq, and its outcome represents
a grand victory that the nation has won over them,' Talabani
concluded.

US Soldiers Kidnap Girls from Baghdad Orphanage: The
Islamist-oriented "Yeni Safak" and fundamentalist "Vakit"
carry a story first reported by the Ihlas News Agency (IHA)
from Baghdad that two Iraqi girls staying at an orphanage in
the ar-Reshad district of the Iraqi capital claimed they had
been kidnapped by US soldiers along with six other girls
last week. Orphanage director Suad Mahdi al-Hafaji
confirmed that eight girls, aged 15 to 22, had been
kidnapped last week by US soldiers, and that six are still
missing. One of the girls who claims to have been
kidnapped, Vijdan Kazem, said that US soldiers forced the
girls out of the orphanage and into Humvee vehicles. `They
hit me on the neck with the butt of a gun. I started
screaming and then they threw me from the vehicle in an area
I did not know, but I managed to find my way back to the
orphanage. They also told us on the road that we should say
we had been kept in the orphanage against our will if asked
by the police,' Kazem said. Falah, the other girl who says
she was kidnapped but managed to return, said she had been
released in the Alawi al-Hilla district, and added that the
soldiers had given her 2,000 dinars for a taxi back to the
orphanage. Falah said they had asked Iraqi officials about
their friends but had not received an answer. The orphanage
said the names of the other kidnapped girls were Zaman
Jabbar, Dumu Maan, Zainab Hamood, Fatima Askoori, and Ahlam
Abdullah, who is mute.

Cindy Sheehan Interviewed on CNN-Turk: US anti-war activist
Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed while serving with US
forces in Iraq, was interviewed on CNN-Turk yesterday.
Portions of the interview appeared in several papers this
morning. Sheehan harshly criticized President Bush, saying
that the President `and all those supporters who have
cooperated with him in these lies' should be tried for war
crimes.

Iranian Ambassador on Ties with Turkey, Iraq: In an
interview with Turkish TV channel "Kanal-D," Iranian
Ambassador to Ankara Firouz Dowlatabadi said that Iran
supports Iraq's territorial integrity. Dowlatabadi said
that Iraqi Kurdish leaders, aware of the fact that the Kurds
will not manage to establish an independent government, have
chosen to cooperate with the central government in Baghdad.
`As a matter of fact, the desire for an independent
Kurdistan is being provoked by the occupying forces, and
such a scenario is supported by the US, Britain, and
Israel,' he claimed. Asked about the PKK, Dowlatabadi said
that Iran and Turkey have a security cooperation agreement
onh that issue. `Iran does not allow terrorist groups to
take action against Turkey from Iranian territory,' he
stressed. Dowlatabadi also pointed to strong trade and
economic ties between Iran, and Turkey and praised the
political consensus the two countries reached on regional
and international issues.

Talat Visits Ankara before Traveling to US: Turkish Cypriot
leader Mehmet Ali Talat met with Foreign Minister Abdullah
Gul in Ankara on the eve of his visit to the United States.
At a joint press conference with Talat following their
meeting, Gul voiced the hope that `important developments'
would unfold during the Turkish Cypriot leader's calls in
the US. `The time has come to take new steps for a
comprehensive solution in Cyprus,' Gul said, inviting the UN
to get involved in efforts for a settlement. Gul said that
UN Secretary General's efforts should be supported by the UN
and the EU. `Otherwise, this issue will continue to be a
chronic problem, and overshadow many other strategic
issues,' Gul warned. Talat said that while in New York, he
will ask UNSYG Annan to resume the Cyprus talks. `I believe
this visit will help end the isolation of the Turkish
Cypriots,' Talat said. Diplomatic sources expect Talat to
draw attention to Gul's proposal to lift restrictions
simultaneously on all sides in Cyprus during his meetings
with US officials. Talat is also expected to ask Rice to
approve direct US flights to northern Cyprus and to open a
US representation in the north. Meanwhile, "Hurriyet"
Washington correspondent Kasim Cindemir wrote that Talat's
visit would have only `symbolic' value, and predicted that
no significant steps toward ending the isolation of Turkish
Cypriots are expected. Cindemir argued that although
Washington has repeatedly promised to reduce the isolation
of northern Cyprus, US officials now say that such setps
`remain under review.'

Ereli on Talat Visit to US: State Spokesman Adam Ereli
answered a question yesterday on the visit of Turkish
Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to the US, and his comments
were picked up on the all-news channel NTV. `We have
periodically met with leaders of the Turkish Cypriot
community,' Ereli said: `This is an opportunity to hear from
him the views of that community and discuss our mutual
interest and mutual goal of achieving a peaceful settlement
of the Cyprus issue based on the Annan plan.' Ereli said
that US policy on Cyprus has not changed, and called on the
leaders of both communities to engage in `serious and
sincere discussions' based on the UN-sponsored peace plan.

Merve Kavakci's Headscarf on Display in US Senate: All
papers report that the headscarf of former Turkish
parliamentarian Merve Kavakci, who was ejected from the
parliament in the 1990s for wearing a headscarf, is now
being displayed in the United States Senate building as part
of an exhibit called "Body of Belief." Secular papers claim
that some of the information in the display is incorrect.
They argue that Kavakci was not stripped of her Turkish
citizenship because of the headscarf issue, but because she
`attained US citizenship without permission.' Islamist-
oriented "Yeni Safak" traks a different tack, arguing that
Turkey's `shame' on the headscarf issue is now `on display'
ni the United States.

Gul Calls on OIC to Help Pakistan, Palestine, Iraq and
Afghanistan: Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul called on the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) ambassadors at
a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner on Tuesday to support
earthquake victims in Pakistan. Gul also urged the OIC to
continue economic and political support to the Palestinian
people. Gul noted that Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip
had been a `step forward' with regard to the implementation
of the road map, adding that efforts of the Palestinian
administration for reforms should be supproted. Gul also
said that political processes in Iraq and Afghanistan should
be strongly supported, underlining the need in both
countries for humanitarian aid and reconstruction. Gul
noted that the opening of EU accession talks with Turkey had
been welcomed in the Islamic world.
`Turkey's new position in Europe will be a positive element
with respect to the Islamic world's relations with Europe,'
Gul said.

Baykal Claims Secret Agreement on Incirlik Airbase: Main
opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal told his party group
yesterday that he had heard news claiming there is a new
`secret' legal arrangement for operations at Incirlik
Airbase, "Milliyet" reports. `The agreement is being kept
secret. If it envisages foreign troops entering Turkey,

SIPDIS
then a parliamentary decision is needed. Use of Incirlik
Airbase is being demanded through agreements that violate
the Turkish Constitution. The government has to inform the
nation and the opposition on this matter. It cannot by-pass
the authority of the parliament,' Baykal said.

Mesrob II Criticizes `Racist' Remarks by AKP Lawmaker:
"Hurriyet" reports that Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II said
yesterday that AK Party lawmaker Ramazan Toprak had spoken
as `racist' when he said that Yucel Askin, the rector of
Yuzunci Yil University in Van, was `of Armenian heritage.'
Askin was arrested on corruption charges in a controversial
move allegedly manipulated by the AKP government in an
effort to rid the university of `secularist elements.'
Mesrob II said Toprak's remarks aimed at humiliating
Armenians, and that such an attitude cannot be accepted in
modern, pluralistic, and democratic countries.

Court Fines 20 for Using Kurdish Alphabet Characters: A
court in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Siirt fined
20 people for using the letters Q and W on posters at a
Kurdish new year (Nevruz) celebration last year, under a law
banning characters not used in the Turkish alphabet. The
court fined each of the 20 people 100 YTL (76 USD) for
carrying the placards, written in Kurdish, at the event last
year. The letters Q and W do not exist in the Turkish
alphabet, but are used in Kurdish. At the urging of the EU,
Turkey lifted bans on Kurdish education and broadcasting in
2002, but strong resistance from the bureaucracy has delayed
implementation of the reforms. Many shops and companies in
Turkey have names and signs using the letters Q, W and X,
but they have not been prosecuted.

DIE: 2.317 Million Unemployed in Turkey: Turkey's average
unemployment rate from June to August stood at 9.1 percent,
the same as in the three months from May-July 2005,
according to the Household Labor Force Survey results
announced by the State Statistics Institute (DIE) on
Tuesday. The number of unemployed during the June-August
period was 2.317 million, up slightly from 2.305 million in
the May-July period. The unemployment rate stood at 9.1
percent as of July 2005. Unemployment has remained high in
Turkey despite significant economic growth in the last few
years, partly due to austerity measures taken by businesses
after the 2001 financial crisis. Unemployment was 10.3
percent in 2004, and 10.5 percent in 2003.

BBC to Launch Arabic TV: The BBC is planning to launch a
new television channel that will broadcast in Arabic to
compete with channels such as Al-Jazeerah, papers report.
The BBC radio will end broadcasts in 10 other languages in
order to finance the new channel, but the BBC Turkish
service is not among the broadcasts to be terminated. BBC
services for Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece,
Kazakhstan, Poland, Slovakia, and Thailand will be ended.

Turkish Airliner Makes Emergency Landing in Budapest after
Bomb Threat: A An Airbus A-321 passenger plane belonging to
the Turkish Fly Air Company with 80 passengers aboard had to
make an emergency landing in Budapest, Hungary after
receiving a bomb threat yesterday. Emergency checks showed
that the threat had been a hoax.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq

"Democracy and Stability: Having Both is Best"
Sami Kohen commented in the mass appeal "Milliyet" (10/26):
"The connection between stability and democracy continues to
be a major topic for political discussion, which has become
even more important in light of George Bush's democracy
initiative in the Broader Middle East. The drive for the US
leader's initiative undoubtedly comes from national interest
calculations rather than from some commitment to high-minded
ideals. Iraq is the most telling piece of evidence in this
regard. The Bush administration began the occupation by
giving different pretexts, but now the theme of the
occupation is presented as `establishing democracy.' But
the chaos and disorder that has followed the toppling of
Saddam has led to enormous bloodshed and a process of
democracy imposed from outside. The immediate choice for
the man on the street in Iraq on the `democracy or
stability' question would be stability."

"Iraqi Kurdistan"
Okay Gonensin wrote in the mass appeal "Vatan" (10/26):
"First, Talabani was invited to the White House by President
Bush as a president. Following that, Barzani went to
Washington as the `President of Iraqi Kurdistan.' These two
invitations show that the US Administration accepts Iraqi
Kurdistan as a federally independent structure. The
integrity of Iraq has come up frequently the American
occupation of the country. Each relevant party has talked
about support for Iraq's territorial integrity, but each
phase of developments in Iraq has brought the country closer
to disintegration. Turkish official policy for Iraq has
been based on Iraq's territorial integrity. This means that
Turkey opposes an independent Kurdish state in Iraq. Turkey
has also expressed its concerns about the problems faced by
the Turkmen community in Iraq. Despite Turkey's
expectations on this issue, none of these sensitivities
about the Turkmen have been eliminated. On the contrary,
every necessary measure has been taken to enhance the de
facto Kurdish state in Iraq. . Given the current
circumstances, the only option for Turkey is to establish
peaceful, neighborly relations with Iraq. The Turkish
border is the only outlet through which Iraqi Kurdistan can
breathe normally. Turkey has all the elements to assist in
Iraq's economic development. If Iraqi Kurdistan chooses to
cooperate with Turkey and the Turkish people, it will be an
important step for the improvement of regional peace."

MCELDOWNEY

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