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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2005

THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

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

HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Paris Riots Spread to 4 Belgian Cities - Bugun
German Coalition Suggests `Privileged Relationship' for
Turkey- Sabah
Talabani: Independent Kurdistan `Just a Dream' - Milliyet
RAI: US Forces Used Chemical Weapons in Fallujah - Milliyet
Saddam's Lawyer, al-Zubaydi, Killed in Baghdad - Aksam
74 Turks Killed in Iraq Since March 2003 - Vatan
Azerbaijani Opposition to Take to Streets - Milliyet
UN: 3 Million Earthquake Victims Homeless in Pakistan -
Turkiye
Russia to Set Up Security Fence along Chechnya Border -
Turkiye
Australia Hunts for Terrorists - Sabah
US, China Agree on Textile Imports - Aksam

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OPINION MAKERS
Gul to Meet Rice, Straw in Bahrain - Cumhuriyet
Muslim World to Discuss its Future in Bahrain - Zaman
EU: Turkey Slows Down Reforms - Radikal
France Applies `Civil War' Rules against Rioters - Yeni
Safak
`Martial Law' in France - Radikal
Villepin: Riots Have Nothing to do with Headscarves -
Cumhuriyet
Barzani: Kurds to Seek Independence if Iraq Goes to Civil
War - Cumhuriyet
US, EU Urge Baku to Investigate Election Fraud Claims -
Radikal
Azerbaijani Opposition to Hold Peaceful Rally in Baku -
Zaman
Russia to Build `Wall of Shame' at Chechnya Border - Yeni
Safak
US Religious Freedom Report: Anti-Christian Sentiment on
Rise in Turkey - Cumhuriyet


BRIEFING

Erdogan on Unrest in France: `I invite the 4.5 million
Turks living in European countries to remain calm in the
face of acts of violence in Paris,' Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan told his party group on Tuesday. Erdogan said that
those who claim to have faced discrimination and unjust
treatment cannot acquire their rights by violence, by
`attacking innocent people and their property.' `It has
become a global priority to join hands and establish a world
of peace,' Erdogan said. Erdogan said that Turks in Europe
should integrate into the societies they live, but also
urged governments to implement policies that will pave the
way for `equal rights and opportunities for all parts of
society.' `Mankind should carefully consider the
consequences of terrorism and violence, racism and
discrimination, and the humiliation of religious beliefs,'
he said. Turkish diplomats in France have said that the
Turkish community there has not joined in the rioting. The
unrest is being closely followed in Turkey, which is seeking
to join the European Union despite strong public opposition
by many European countries, including France. On Monday,

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Erdogan had linked the riots to a ban on Muslim headscarves
in French schools, saying it had contributed to Muslim
immigrants' feelings of exclusion and had `provoked' the
unrest. Erdogan said yesterday that the press reports
claiming he had identified the ban on Islamic headgear as
the main cause for the riots had been `distorted,' adding
that he did attribute the unrest to a single cause.

Gul Due at `Forum for the Future' in Bahrain: Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul will travel to Bahrain on November 11
to attend a ministerial meeting of the Forum for the Future,
papers report. While in Bahrain, Gul is expected to meet
with Secretary Rice and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of
Britain. The meeting, which will be joined by the G-8
industrialized nations, will be the second meeting of the
Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative (BMENAI.)
Iran boycotted the first meeting, and is not expected to
attend the meeting in Bahrain.

Bush to Give the Middle East `Democracy Money': The Bush
Administration is to launch a new initiative in an effort to
support democratization and economic development in the
Middle East, "Milliyet" reports from Washington. The US
initiative, to be announced by Secretary Rice at the meeting
in Bahrain on November 12, is being supported by financial
contributions from several European countries and Turkey.
The initiative to support regional democracy will be
allotted 50 million USD, of which 35 million USD will be
provided by the United States, 5 million by the EU, and 1
million by Turkey. Secretary Rice will also announce a
second fund of more than 100 million USD for the development
of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Middle East.
Elizabeth Cheney is the `chief architect' of the US
initiatives, "Milliyet" reports.

US Report: Religious Freedoms Deteriorate in Turkey: The US
Report on International Religious Freedom for 2005, released
yesterday by the State Department's Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights, and Labor claims that there has been a
deterioration in respect for religious freedom in Turkey
over the past year. The report says that Muslims wishing to
convert from Islam to another religions sometimes experience
social harassment and violence from relatives and neighbors,
and adds that headscarf restrictions remain in effect in
universities and public schools. It notes that members of
religious minorities are effectively blocked from careers in
state institutions. The Directorate of Religious Affairs
(Diyanet) initiated a public campaign against Christian
missionary activity in the country, the report underlines,
adding that high-level government officials made statements
depicting missionaries as a threat. The report also notes
that there was an increase in anti-Christian media coverage,
and that threats and vandalism against Christians and church
facilities increased. Meanwhile, the state-run Athens News
Agency (ANA) said yesterday that the US report noted that
last year, the Turkish government continued to shrug off
appeals for the reopening of Halki Seminary in Istanbul.
`Given the position of Ankara against the Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I and the debates over the ecumenical
character of the Patriarchate, the report's reference to the
activities of the Patriarchate acquires particular
importance,' ANA said.

EU Reports on Turkey to be Released Today: Dailies expect
the 149-page EU progress report on Turkey to be released
today to laud the performance of the Turkish economy, but to
highlight shortcomings in the fight against corruption, the
independence of the judiciary, the control of military
spending, and the protection of religious freedoms. The

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report claims that Turkey's reform process has slowed over
the past year, and calls for accelerated progress on freedom
of expression and religious minority issues. The report
questions why the High Broadcasting Board (RTUK) has still
not issued permission for Kurdish language broadcasting on
private television stations. The report urges changes in
military regulations that would reduce the influence of the
military in politics. The report says that military
statements should be limited to military, defense, and
security issues, and should be made under the auspices of
the government. The report argues that Deputy Chief of
General Staff (TGS) General Ilker Basbug went too far with
his comments regarding the EU progress report in November
2004, and notes that in March 2005 the TGS released a
statement criticizing `Nevruz' celebrations. In April 2005,
Chief of the TGS General Hilmi Ozkok made detailed comments
on domestic and foreign policy issues. The report further
claims that the case filed for the closure of the Egitim-Sen
teachers' union was filed under military pressure. The
accession partnership accord calls on Turkey to normalize
ties with all EU countries, including Cyprus. It also urges
Turkey to speed up privatization, especially for state-owned
banks.

Talabani, Barzani on Kurds' Independence: Turkish papers
quote Iraqi President Jalal Talabani as stating in an
interview with "La Repubblica" that an independent Kurdistan
is `only a dream.' Talabani said the Kurds in the north
are striving only for what is possible and achievable.
`Democracy and federalism will strengthen the unity of Iraq.
It is possible that this will constitute a model for the
Middle East,' Talabani said. Talabani noted that Kurds in
Turkey must prove wise enough to take advantage of the
policies pursued by Prime Minister Erdogan, who has pledged
to resolve their problems in a democratic manner. `Turkey's
Kurds must avoid violence, condemn terrorism, and put an end
to armed activities. They must run for the Turkish
parliament in the elections, and join the public debate in
their effort to claim their rights. That is the only way
for Turkey's Kurds to win in the end,' the President of Iraq
said. Meanwhile, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader
Massoud Barzani told the London-based "As-Sark al-Avsat"
that if civil war breaks out among Shiites and Sunnis in
Iraq, the Kurds will inevitably seek `full independence.'
Barzani added, however, that as long as the Sunnis and
Shiites in Iraq comply with the new constitution, the
Kurdish population in northern Iraq will respect it as well.

US Allegedly Used Chemical Weapons in Fallujah: Turkish
dailies report that some US soldiers told the Italian
broadcaster RAI that the US had used chemical weapons during
the military operation launched against Fallujah last year.
A documentary aired on RAI claimed that US authorities had
removed the evidence that would have proven the use of
`white phosphorus bombs' against civilians in Fallujah. The
US rejected the charges, saying that phosphorus bombs were
used only to illuminate targets during clashes.

Pentagon Prohibits Torture of Captives: The US Defense
Department issued a policy directive prohibiting the
application of physical or mental torture during military
interrogations of detainees from Afghanistan and Iraq,
Turkish papers report. The directive calls for the humane
treatment of all captured personnel.

Istanbul Mayor Sacks Aides: Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas, in
a surprise move, sacked his aides known to be close to Prime
Minister Erdogan, papers report. In a statement yesterday,
Topbas announced that under a new system, other municipality

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officials will not be allowed to sign documents on behalf of
the mayor of Istanbul. Papers speculate that deputy mayor
Idris Gulluce, Secretary-General Ramazan Evren and his
deputy Mihmail Mangan were forced to resign over
disagreements with Topbas and claims of irregularities in
the municipal administration. Gulluce had been criticized
for signing a controversial decision to authorize
construction of a mosque in the Goztepe neighborhood and a
new bridge over the Bosphorus without consulting Topbas.
The fact that the popularity of the ruling AK Party had
declined by 13 percent in Istanbul was another factor in the
decision.

Germany Sells 298 Leopard-2 Tanks to Turkey: Germany agreed
to sell Turkey 298 surplus Leopard-2 tanks, German officials
said yesterday. The German Defense Ministry declined to
give a price for the sale, but it is known that Berlin sold
333 of the same tanks to Greece last August for 270 million
Euros. The sale of tanks to Turkey drew sharp criticism in
the past due to concerns over Turkey's commitment to human
rights and its treatment of its Kurdish minority. Such
concerns have eased in light of recent Turkish reforms
implemented as part of the country's EU drive.

Al-Qaida Seeks Turkish Recruits: An organization of German
policemen (BDK) said that al-Qaida had called on Turks to
join Holy War (Jihad) in websites launched in Turkish,
"Cumhuriyet" reports from Frankfurt. BDK chief Klaus Jansen
warned that the terror organization may succeed in
convincing young Turks with its `poisonous' messages.
Jansen noted that Turks account for 2.4 million of Germany's
total Muslim population of 3.2 million. He stressed that
Germany could face riots similar to those now taking place
in France.

74 Turks Killed in Iraq Since March 2003: Information
issued by officials at the Habur border gate indicates that
74 Turkish nationals have been killed in Iraq since the US-
led invasion of the country in March 2003. The 74 Turkish
nationals killed in Iraq include drivers, businessmen, and
laborers. Thirty-six of those killed lost their lives in
traffic accidents. Mosul has proven to be the most
dangerous place for Turks working in Iraq, according to the
figures. Five Turkish nationals are currently missing in
Iraq: Seyhmus Ilan and Ibrahim Kilicparlar (Mardin,) Seyhmus
Karatas (Diyarbakir,) Mehmet Nuri Kurtok (Sirnak,) and Halef
Kunefeli (Sanliurfa.)

Independent MPs Join AKP: Former Republican People's Party
(CHP) lawmakers Naci Aslan and Muharrem Eskiyapan joined the
ruling AK Party (AKP) at a ceremony with PM Erdogan on
Tuesday. The current distribution of seats in the
parliament is as follows: AKP 357, CHP 154, ANAP 22, SHP 4,
DYP 4, HYP 1, Independent 4, Vacant 4.


EDITORIAL OPINION: Paris Burning

"France in the Sickbed"
Sami Kohen wrote in the mainstream daily "Milliyet" (11/9):
"The blazing flames in Paris have helped the people of
France and all over the world to see the serious illness
within the French system. The main reason for the dangerous
spread of these incidents lies in the integration model of
the French Republic. In theory, France considers all its
citizens equal and aims to eliminate the distinct identities
of its immigrants. In practice, however, this policy
discriminates against immigrants of African origin. For
example, these immigrants do not have equal opportunity for

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employment. . So far, neither religion nor ideology appears
to be a significant factor in these incidents. In other
words, this is neither a `Muslim uprising' nor a `French
intifada.' Representatives of the Muslims living in the
ghettos are criticizing those involved in the violence.
Turkish Associations in France are giving similar messages.
So at this point there is no need to refer these incidents
as an indication of a `clash of civilizations'. Avoiding
such incidents in the future depends on the establishment of
order in the French suburbs and in other European
countries."

"This is a Civil War"
Erdal Guven argued in the conservative "Tercuman" (11/9):
"The events in France have gone beyond popular unrest and
have turned into a civil war. The reason for the bloodshed
in the streets concerns the denial of minority rights in
France. Local administrations have been provided increased
authorities, and now have the option of imposing a curfew.
French politicians, interestingly enough, always know how to
give lessons in democracy to everyone except themselves.
This is reflected in their discrimination among citizens of
France. The fact is that France has become one of the most
dangerous countries in the world. . These events are now
spreading to other countries in the EU. The recent street
riots caused by ethnic groups in Germany and Belgium
demonstrate that some other EU countries are also not
granting equal rights to all of their citizens. This is all
very interesting, and comes at a time when the European
Commission issues its `progress report' on Turkey and talks
about shortcomings in democratization and human rights in
this country."

MCELDOWNEY

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