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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


--------------------------------------------- --


Washington Gives Talat Full Support - Hurriyet 10/30
Bush Nears the End of the Road - Aksam 10/30
Libby the `Scapegoat' of the White House - Aksam 10/29
Ahmadinajad's Israel Remarks `Nothing New' - Milliyet
MFA: Turkey Disapproves of Ahmadinajad Remark - Milliyet
Ahmadinajad Joins Anti-US Rally in Tehran - Milliyet 10/29
Syria Wants to `Soften' International Community - Sabah
Prince Charles to Teach Bush about Islam - Sabah
Aliyev Calls for Support for Northern Cyprus - Hurriyet
`Revolution' Unlikely in Azerbaijan - Sabah

Bush Sends Republic Day Message to Sezer - Cumhuriyet 10/29
Talat Meets with Rice inWashington - Cumhuriyet 10/29
Democrats Ask for Rove's Head - Yeni Safak
Bush Suffers from `Second-Term Syndrome' - Zaman 10/30
Wilson to Replace Edelman in Ankara - Zaman 10/29
Deutsch: Northern Iraq not Suitable for Military Operation -
Cumhuriyet 10/30
Iraq's Non-Existent Weapons Shake Washington - Radikal 10/30
Pentagon: 26,000 Iraqis Killed in 2004 - Yeni Safak
Suicide Attack against Shiites Kills 25 in Iraq - Cumhuriyet
Iran Backpedals: Israel Not Our Target - Cumhuriyet 10/30
Damascus to Launch Hariri Investigation - Radikal 10/30
Aliyev Promises Democracy in Azerbaijan - Cumhuriyet
Europe Watches Azerbaijani Elections - Zaman 10/30
Bomb Attacks Kill 60 in Delhi - Cumhuriyet
Terrorist Attack in New Delhi - Radikal 10/30
US Opens Gitmo to UN Human Rights Experts - Radikal 10/30

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Bush Sends Turkey Republic Day Message: `The United States
and Turkey share a strong commitment to freedom and
democracy. Our two countries have cooperated on the global
war on terror and stand together to advance freedom and
peace throughout the region,' President Bush said in a
message to President Sezer to mark October 29, Turkish
Republic Day, Saturday papers reported. `The United States
also congratulates Turkey on the start of accession talks
with the European Union. This milestone is a tremendous
success for the people of Turkey, Europe, and the United
States. Turkey's reform efforts over the last decade on
human rights, the rule of law, and free market economies
reflect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's vision of a progressive and
free democracy, anchored in Europe, and at peace with its
neighbors,' President Bush wrote.

Wilson a Realist, not a Neo-Con: Ross Wilson, former US
Ambassador to Baku and nominated by President Bush to
Turkey, is described by those who know him as `hard-working
and resourceful as well as a cool, professional dipplomat,'
Monday's "Milliyet" reports from Washington. `Both Edelman
and Wilson, having worked in Moscow during the Soviet era,
played an important part in backing democratic freedoms,'
said a colleague who had worked with both diplomats.
American, European, and Azerbaijani sources described Wilson
as an `intellectual and a pragmatist.' Wilson holds an MA
from Columbia University after having graduated from the
department of International Relations in Minnesota in 1977.
He entered the Foreign Service in 1979. During some parts
of his 25 years of career, which has been on an `upward
curve,' Wilson has focused on economy and trade issues. He
is known as an `economy diplomat' and an expert on Eurasia
and security issues. Wilson, who holds a second MA degree
from the National War Academy, speaks Russian and Czech.
His wife Margo Squire, a career diplomat with expertise on
Eurasia, is expected to take an active position at the US
Embassy in Ankara.

Wilson said that when he went to Moscow in 1980, US -Russia
ties were tense. `I was also in Moscow during the Gorbachev
period from 1987-90. During my second stay, the Russians
were talking to us, they were consulting us,' Wilson said.
Wilson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2000
that `serving behind the Iron Curtain for seven years made
me better realize the value of freedom and liberalism.
Democracy, the respect for human rights, and a system of law
are indispensable components of a free nation.' An
Azerbaijani source praised Wilson for his `very successful'
tenure in Baku. The source said that Wilson had brought `a
fresh breeze' to the US Embassy there after his predecessor,
Stanley Escudero, had drawn an enormous reaction for
supporting the Aliyev family at the expense of the
Azerbaijani opposition: `Wilson was brilliant, pragmatic and
cool-headed. He established the necessary ties with the
opposition and developed a constructive relationship with
Haydar Aliyev. He also established a good dialogue with the
independent press. Wilson improved the image of the United
States.' A Turkish diplomat expects Wilson to show `a
special interest' in Turkey's ties with Russia, Armenia,
Georgia, Ukraine and the Turkic republics. Wilson, who
visited Yerevan during his term in Baku, is likely to
emphasize the US position in favor of Azeri-Armenian
rapprochement. An Azerbaijani observer said that Wilson is
not from the `neo-con' group, but that he is a `moderate
intellectual in the style of traditional American

Talat in the US: Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat,
in Washington for talks, said that the Turkish Cypriots now
have a vision for a solution in Cyprus, and that this is why
US Secretary of State Rice invited him to the United States.
Talat said that the isolation of northern Cyprus will be
eliminated over time, though not in the near term, thanks to
the solution policy his government is pursuing. Talat said
he asked the US to continue moves to end the isolation of
Turkish Cypriots and to encourage other countries and
international organizations to do the same. State
Department Spokesman Sean MacCormack said that such meetings
`help to reduce economic differences between Turkish and
Greek Cypriots by easing the isolation of the Turkish
Cypriots in a way that supports reunification of the
island.' Meanwhile, Douglas Silliman, Director of the
Office of Southeast Europe Affairs at the State Department,
said that the United States is `doing everything it can' to
ease the isolation. No progress has been made, however, on
the issue of direct flights to northern Cyprus or upgrading
the status of the US mission in the north. Silliman noted
that Talat had not been received as `president,' because the
United States does not recognize the `TRNC.' He added that
the US continues to support a solution process for Cyprus
within the framework of the UN plan, the next steps in the
process will depend on the two sides and the UN. In
response to a question, Silliman noted that `Mr. Talat
deserves respect' for his approach. `We are trying to show
him the respect he deserves.' Talat said that the UK has
succeeded in getting accession talks started between Turkey
and the EU, but that its role as a guarantor power in Cyprus
has been `unsuccessful.' Talat denied claims that the
United States wants to open a military base in northern
Cyprus. Talat flew to New York after wrapping up meetings
in Washington. He will meet with UNSYG Annan on Monday and
with UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis at breakfast in New
York on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a Turkish Cypriot delegation
led by Fatma Ekenoglu, `Parliament Speaker of the TRNC,'
left for Washington on Sunday to participate in a panel
discussion to be held by the Turkish Industrialists' and
Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) on November 2.

MFA Disapproves Ahmadinajad's Israel Remarks: Turkish
Foreign Ministry (MFA) Spokesman Namik Tan said on Friday
that Turkey does not approve of Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's recent statement with regard to Israel. `We
follow developments on this issue from the international and
Iranian media. Naturally, it is impossible for Turkey to
approve of such a statement,' Tan stressed, adding that
`Turkey believes that conflicts in the region can only be
solved through dialogue and peaceful means on the basis of
international legitimacy.'

Democracy Seminars for KDP Officials: Ankara is to continue
its support for Iraqi Kurdish groups as part of its
contribution to the restructuring of Iraq, the all-news
channel NTV reported on Friday. Ahead of national elections
in Iraq on December 15, Ankara is staging a series of
seminars on democracy to a delegation of 30 party
administrators from the northern Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP.) Cafer Ibrahim Haci, a senior member of the KDP
delegation, said that they would like to establish similar
institutions to those in Turkey in Iraq. The delegation
said that they see the Turkish democracy as a model for
their country.

PKK a Threat for Iraq: : "Milliyet" reports that Robert
Deutsch, advisor to the US Secretary of State on Iraq, told
Turkish journalists on Friday that `The US position against
the PKK is clear: the PKK is a terrorist organization.
President Barzani does not take issue with this view. We
talked about this issue with Barzani here this week, and
this isn't the first time. We have discussed the PKK issue
with him and with other Iraqi leaders at the highest levels
of the US Government. The Government of Iraq describes the
PKK as a terrorist organization, and Barzani is
representative of that view. In the past, the IKDP has
fought alongside Turkish forces against the PKK.' Asked
about the treatment Barzani received in Washington, Deutsch
said that `the constitution that has gone into effect in
Iraq officially recognizes the Kurdistan Regional
Administration and the region's institutions. It also
provides for the election of a president by the regional
parliament. Mesud Barzani is this elected President.'
Asked whether US forces would seek to apprehend PKK suspects
in Iraq, Deutsch said `Turkey has given the names of many
PKK members to Interpol. We also have these names, as do
Iraqi forces and coalition forces in Iraq. There is an
existing agreement between Turkey and Iraq for the exchange
of criminals. If someone is caught in Iraq, an extradition
request can be made to the Iraqi authorities.' According to
"Cumhuriyet," Deutsch said that the PKK is `a terrorist
organization and a threat for Iraq.' He added that the
mountains in northern Iraq did not lend themselves to the
launch of a military operation against the terrorist
organization. He noted that Turkey was unable to eliminate
the PKK by sending tens of thousands of troops into northern
Iraq in 1990s, and added that a quick military operation
would not be sufficient to combat the PKK. Deutsch also
said that Barzani and US officials had agreed on the
importance of Iraq having positive relations with Turkey.

Turks Press US Officials on Kurdish Flags at Habur: "Sabah"
reports today that at a recent trilateral meeting among
Turkish, Iraqi, and US officials at Habur to discuss routine
border control issues, the Turkish side pressed the US to
force the Iraqis to take down Kurdish flags on the Iraqi
side of the Habur border gate. When US officials said they
would not get involved in a dispute over the flag issue,
several Turkish officials reportedly walked out of the
meeting. "Sabah" notes that the Kurdish flags have been in
place at Habur since the beginning of the US-led invasion of
Iraq in 2003.

Ozkok Warns Separatists, Fundamentalists: Chief of the
Turkish General Staff (TGS) Hilmi Ozkok told reporters at
the Republic Day reception held at the Presidential Palace
that some in Turkey were `testing the patience of the
military.' `These groups are using the Internet to wage a
campaign against the Turkish military. Their messages are
spreading, and this is worrisome. On Massoud Barzani being
received at the White House as `President' of the Iraqi
Kurdish region, Ozkok said: `We used to see him as a tribal
chief. Now, Talabani is the president and Barzani holds a
different position. We must accept that things have
changed. If Talabani comes to Turkey tomorrow he will come
as a head of state. How will we behave then? If we
recognize Iraq, we will act in accordance with these
changing circumstances.' Ozkok also commented on the
statement by Iran's President Ahmadinajad that Israel should
be wiped off the map. `We feel more secure to the extent
that our neighbors are more democratic.'

Turkish Nationalists Want Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Out:
Some 200 protesters marched at the Greek Orthodox
Patriarchate in Istanbul on Friday, kicking off a campaign
by Turkish nationalist groups to have the patriarchate
transferred to Greece, weekend papers report. Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I said on Sunday that the nationalist
actions against the Ecumenical Patriarchate targeted
Turkey's European course and Prime Minister Erdogan, who
wants to take the country into the EU. `The place of the
Ecumenical Patriarchate has been here for the past 17
centuries. No one has the right to drive the Ecumenical
Patriarchate from its historic seat. This is a truth
confirmed by time and history. We are on the side of the
Patriarch and we defend justice and truth,' the
Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece said.

Israel Warns Tourists During Travel to Turkey: Israel's
"Yediot Aharonot" daily warned travelers to Turkey on Friday
that warnings have been received to the effect that
terrorists will try to place bombs in Israeli tourists'
luggage before they board airplanes in Turkey. Security
officials said that terrorist organizations may try to bribe
hotel employees in Turkey to give them access to secure
rooms to put explosives in Israelis' luggage. Israeli
tourists recently returning from Turkey underwent thorough
security checks at the airport. `In any case, it is
preferable to stay with your suitcase and not to give it to
any unknown person,' said officials, `not even to a
bellboy.' Several months ago, the Israeli counterterrorism
office issued a travel warning regarding a portion of the
Turkish coast in the wake of information about an al-Qaida
cell planning to blow up an Israeli cruise liner. The
warning was lifted after Turkish security forces broke up a
terrorist cell in Antalya.

Belgium to Hand Over Terror Suspects to Turkey: Justice
Minister Cemil Cicek said that Belgium will soon hand over
Fehriye Erdal, the suspected assassin of prominent Turkish
businessman Ozdemir Sabancy, and Nuriye Kesbir, a high-level
PKK militant, to Turkey, "Aksam" reported on Sunday. Cicek
said that Turkey's perseverance had produced results, and
that US pressure had helped change attitudes in Belgium and
the Netherlands.

Independent MP Joins AKP: Independent lawmaker Naci Aslan
joined the ruling AK Party on Saturday, increasing the
number of AKP seats in parliament to 356. Aslan had
recently resigned from the main opposition Republican
People's Party (CHP). The following is the current
distribution of seats in parliament: AKP 356, CHP 154, ANAP
22, SHP 4, DYP 4, HYP 1, Independent 5, Vacant 4.

Terrorists, Soldier Killed in Fighting in Southeast Turkey:
One soldier died and three terrorists were killed in
fighting between security forces and terrorists in the
eastern province of Bingol, papers report. One terrorist
was arrested in Midyat in the southeastern city of Mardin.
Meanwhile, PKK militants staged an attack against the BOTAS
(Pipeline Transportation Corp.) pipeline in the town of
Nusaybin (Mardin province), causing a fire on the pipeline.


"Difficult Days for the President"
Washington-based Omer Taspinar commented in the liberal-
intellectual "Radikal" (10/31): "It seems that second terms
are never easy for US presidents, and Bush is no exception.
President Bush is dealing with a serious crisis, just as his
predecessors Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton were forced to do in
their second terms. Things started to go wrong for George
Bush during the first year of his second term. Washington
is currently being rocked by one crisis after another, and
people around town are wondering how tough the next three
years will be for the current administration. The White
House, which had not yet recovered from the Katrina
hurricane, has experienced another serious political blow.
The Libby indictment is possibly the administration's worst
crisis in terms of its timing and symbolic importance.
People learned about these charges, which relate to the non-
existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, only a day
later after hearing that the death toll for American
soldiers in Iraq surpassed the 2,000 mark. . The other
crisis in Washington is the withdrawal of the candidacy of
Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. This is being
interpreted as a sign that President Bush has lost his
decision-making capability and his political reflexes. All
of this means that there are three troublesome years ahead
for this administration in Washington. . There is, however,
another aspect of this crisis which might be useful for
those who engage in conspiracy theories. Why do you think
those ill-intentioned neo-cons did not take some uranium
into Iraq and plant it there? The answer lays in the fact
that, regardless of the situation, the rule of law still
prevails in the United States."

"Talat's Different Style in Washington"
Yasemin Congar wrote in the mainstream daily "Milliyet" from
Washington (10/31): "Last week Washington saw the
reassuring style of Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
Evaluating Talat's Washington visit, State Department
Southeast Europe Director Douglas Silliman said that Talat's
positive attitude for a solution in Cyprus will open the way
for a political solution. Silliman explained Talat's
approach in the following supportive terms: `We consider the
lifting of the isolation as a positive element toward a
solution. The UN General Secretary also believes that
lifting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is part of
finding a solution to the Cyprus issue. Moreover, we
believe that it will be much easier for the island to merge
as one state in the future if we can reduce the economic
inequality between the northern and southern parts of the
island.' Within this framework, the US is taking various
steps. The US has started a financial assistance program to
northern Cyprus. The US has also encouraged business
relations with northern Cyprus. It is possible that some US
companies could invest in the `TRNC' soon.' From the
political angle, US officials say that official visits to
northern Cyprus and meetings with high-level `TRNC
officials' will continue and increase."


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