Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report,

Published: Thu 29 Apr 2004 03:11 PM
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
Ankara woos EU, considers Cyprus troop withdrawal - Milliyet
EU opens door to `TRNC' goods - Milliyet
Karamanlis, Papadopoulos call for a new referendum -
Karamanlis: No intention of killing the Annan Plan - Sabah
Annan praises `TRNC' courage - Turkiye
Papadopolous: We're not against Turkey in EU - Aksam
AK Party seeks ways to release Zana - Sabah
US forces enter Fallujah - Milliyet
EU to soften embargo on `TRNC' - Yeni Safak
Papadopoulos, Karamanlis say Annan Plan still alive - Zaman
Russia against removal of `TRNC' sanctions - Cumhuriyet
Bombs rain on Fallujah - Cumhuriyet
Ankara urges Russia to review Cyprus policy - Zaman
US closes embassy in Damascus - Yeni Safak
Perpetrators of Damascus attacks still a mystery - Radikal
Wolfensohn: Turkish government must continue working with
IMF - Radikal
Cyprus: In an initial step to ease sanctions on the Turkish
Cypriots, the EU will allow its nationals to travel directly
to the `TRNC.' Northern Cypriots will be granted
unrestricted travel rights within the EU, and goods
manufactured by the `TRNC' will be exported under EU
regulations. PM Erdogan welcomed the 259 million Euro
assistance package offered by the EU, and asked for a
loosening of sanctions for Turkish Cypriots. Ankara is
planning to reduce the Turkish military presence in Cyprus
before an EU decision for giving Turkey a date for accession
negotiations, "Milliyet" reports. Ankara can strengthen its
position by announcing a withdrawal of some troops from the
island within the next 6 to 12 months, according to an
anonymous European source. MFA officials said Ankara did
not expect immediate international recognition of the
`TRNC,' and said that the opening of a US official presence
in the Turkish north of the island is unlikely. Observers
say that Ankara may recognize the Greek Cypriot state in the
face of pressure by the EU, but they do not expect the Turks
to allow the opening of a Greek Cypriot embassy in Turkey.
Greece's PM Karamanlis said Athens would back moves to
support the northern Cypriot economy, and added that the
Cyprus problem should not damage Turkey's relations with the
EU and Greece.
Constitutional reform package: A reform package containing
proposed changes to the Turkish Constitution was submitted
to parliament on Wednesday. The package envisages the
complete elimination of capital punishment and the state
security courts, removal of military representatives from
the Higher Education Council (YOK), establishment of
civilian authority over the audit of military property,
guarantees against the confiscation of press and printing
material, and allowing international agreements to take
precedence over domestic law with regard to human rights.
The package, signed by around 200 lawmakers from the AK
Party, will be debated by parliament's constitutional
committee on Friday and could become law as early as next
Government seeks formula for release of Kurdish lawmakers:
The ruling AK Party government is seeking a formula for the
release of the former DEP deputies. Turkey's Constitution
could be amended to scrap the State Security Court (SSC)
system before the final appeals court decision in the case
of the four Kurdish lawmakers -- Leyla Zana, Orhan Dogan,
Hatip Dicle and Selim Sadak. The Turkish government fears
that Zana could be given the Nobel peace award while she is
in jail, "Sabah" speculates.
a) US policy issues: Caucasus
b) Iraq
c) EU-Turkey
"The US and Armenia"
Fikret Ertan observed in the Islamist-intellectual Zaman
(4/29): "The US seems very determined to expand its
influence over the Caucasus region. US efforts toward this
end are continuing with new steps and new agreements, though
some of them do not get much press attention. For instance,
the recent military agreement between the US and Armenia is
a large and important step toward the US goal to gain more
influence in this geography. . The agreement is about
military logistics, and provides certain privileges to
American forces, including the permission for US forces and
planes to use Armenian military bases. In return, Armenia
tries to mark its presence in the region by sending a
transportation unit to serve in Iraq. Georgia and
Azerbaijan have already sent small military forces to Iraq.
. The US is doing its best to reduce Russian and Iranian
influence over the Caucasus. The military agreement with
Armenia comes on the heels of a comprehensive military
agreement between Georgia and the US, which signed a short
time ago. These are parts of a US plan to weaken Russian-
Armenia and Armenian-Iranian relations over the long run."
"The Language of a Flag"
Akif Emre argued in the Islamist-opinion maker Yeni Safak
(4/29): "The newly designed Iraqi flag has the potential to
create new tension and conflict in the country. A flag is
supposed to represent a country's common history and
cultural values. However, the IGC's new flag for Iraq
serves as a reminder of the occupation. . It looks like the
US is trying to take on a colonial mandate from where the
Brits have left off. Moreover, the resemblance between the
Israeli flag and the new Iraqi flag should not be ignored.
Colors and stripes may look very innocent. Yet bearing in
mind the strong US-Israel collaboration during Iraq's
occupation, it might be more provocative than innocent.
There is more. The yellow stripe in the flag symbolizes the
Kurdish entity, and is a clear incitement to ethnic tension.
. It seems the US wants to achieve its plan for peace and
security in the region by bringing together the Zionist star
and the Iraqi crescent!"
"The Test"
Hasan Cemal commented in the mass appeal Milliyet (4/29):
"The European Council has an audit room, which is considered
the `waiting room' of the European Union. In other words,
the doors to the EU do not open without first passing
through the council's audit room. This room was built for
the Eastern European countries after the fall of the of the
Berlin Wall. Research in this room previously focused on
whether the bad habits inherited from communist regimes ere
still being applied in Eastern Europe. The studies were
made from three different angles: democracy, human rights,
and the rule of law. The eight East European countries that
will join the EU officially on May 1 had to stop in this
room. Their reforms and implementation of those reforms
were inspected carefully, and they were given dates to join
the EU. The former East bloc countries were `graduated'
ages ago, while Turkey has been waiting since 1996. There
are 45 members of the European Council. Turkey is among the
founders of the Council. However, Turkey has been kept in
the audit room because of human rights and rule of law
issues. This month, Turkey came very close to `graduation.'
The relevant commission of the European Council had to admit
that Turkey had moved forward in implementing the Copenhagen
Criteria. As the report on Turkey was about to pass the
council's Parliamentarian Assembly, the whole atmosphere
changed suddenly. The DEP trial and developments in the
Leyla Zana case again postponed Turkey's `graduation' - this
time until at least June. This should be carefully noted:
If Turkey wants a date from the EU, it has to `graduate'
from the European Council with good marks on the rule of law
issue. Otherwise, there can be no hope for a
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