Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report,

Published: Thu 20 May 2004 02:36 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
THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2004
Americans bomb Iraqi wedding: 40 killed - Hurriyet
Day of massacres: US kills 45 civilians, Israel 15 -
Israel massacres 23 civilians - Turkiye
Israel, US shed blood in Middle East - Sabah
FM Gul hopeful of EU accession talks date for Turkey -
FM Gul wants release of Leyla Zana - Sabah
First torture conviction: Pvt. Sivits sentenced to one year
in prison - Aksam
Another `shame' of torture: One year jail term for torturer
- Turkiye
Gas price in US goes over $2/gallon - Hurriyet
Georgia's Saakashvili visits Turkey - Aksam
American forces kill 45, wedding becomes massacre - Radikal
US, Israel kill 75 civilians in Iraq, Palestine - Yeni Safak
Israeli missiles hit civilians - Cumhuriyet
Black Wednesday in Middle East - Zaman
Israel applies unseen brutality - Yeni Safak
US troops torture Reuters members in Iraq - Yeni Safak
Israeli missiles kill 22 Palestinians protesters - Radikal
Torturer US soldier sentenced to one year - Zaman
Karamanlis can't convince Annan to revise Cyprus plan -
Zebari opposes withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq -
Zarkawi claims responsibility for killing IGC chairman -
EU, Turkey: At the EU-Turkey Accession Partnership Council
meeting in Brussels, EU representatives told Turkish
officials that Turkey it is falling short in six areas of
reform, including Kurdish-language broadcasting, freedom of
religion for non-Muslims, and elimination of torture. The
EU also made clear that the imprisonment of pro-Kurdish DEP
lawmakers is not in line with EU political criteria. FM Gul
said after the meeting on Tuesday that the only cloud
hanging over Turkey's efforts to win a date to begin
accession talks with the EU is the imprisonment of Leyla
Zana and three other pro-Kurdish lawmakers. `I wish that
the Kurdish lawmakers had been released, but we cannot put
pressure on the judiciary to that end,' Gul said. A US
official praised the Turkish reform effort as `excellent,'
but urged further concrete steps forward in implementation,
"Hurriyet" reports from Washington. `The EU should give
Turkey a date for accession talks by the end of the year.
We will be stressing that repeatedly at the June NATO Summit
in Istanbul,' the anonymous US source said.
Turkish parliamentary delegation visits Palestine: Seven
members of the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Group traveled
to Palestine on Wednesday to meet with Palestinian leaders
Arafat, Ahmad Qurei and Nabil Shaath, and with local NGOs.
AKP lawmaker Huseyin Tanriverdi, the head of the delegation,
said the group intended to make a humanitarian contribution
to the peace process in the Middle East. Israel's
Ambassador to Turkey, Pinhas Avivi, said after meeting with
Tanriverdi in Ankara that the lawmakers are `biased.' Avivi
called on the delegation to meet with Israeli officials as
well. Tanriverdi stressed the Turks' sensitivity with
regard to the killing of civilians in Palestine, and urged
Israel to end military operations there.
Cyprus: FM Abdullah Gul, in Moscow to attend a meeting of
the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) with Russia,
the US, the UN and the EU, is expected to urge Russian
Foreign Minister Lavrov not to veto a prospective UNSC
resolution that would end the international isolation of the
Turkish Cypriots. Meanwhile, `TRNC PM' Mehmet Ali Talat
said that early elections are an option in northern Cyprus
following the resignation of three lawmakers from the
coalition's parliamentary group. Talat said the current
distribution of seats in the `TRNC parliament' did not
represent the 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots who voted for
the reunification of Cyprus in the referendum held in April.
Broadcasts in Kurdish: Despite a parliamentary decision to
allow broadcasting in languages other than Turkish, papers
report that implementation is still lacking. A disagreement
continues between the public broadcaster TRT, Turkey's media
watchdog Radio and TV High Council (RTUK), and the related
state ministry about whether such broadcasts should be done
through TRT or by private broadcasters. PM Erdogan has
instructed all three institutions to end the disagreement
and begin broadcasts in Kurdish as soon as possible.
EU report on compulsory military service: A report
submitted to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
called on Turkey and other countries to recognize the right
of conscientious objection to compulsory military service.
Turkey rejected down the call, saying the right to
conscientious objection was not protected in all European
countries. The EU will discuss the report at a meeting in
EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq/Abu Ghraib; World Economic Forum
"Human Rights Report and Racism"
Turgut Tarhanli wrote in the liberal-intellectual Radikal
(5/20): "The US approach toward human rights is designed to
help the US have more influence over world affairs. In
other words, the Washington administration treats the human
rights concept as a tool to be used both in domestic
politics and in international relations. .. This year the
Department of State Human Rights Report has seemed to lose
its influence following the Abu Ghraib photos. For the
people of the US as well as the Washington administration,
there is a serious violation of human rights - namely,
racism. This racism was even endorsed by Secretary Rumsfeld
in his approach to the Abu Ghraib case during the
Congressional investigation. It is very important that
human rights organizations around the world, and especially
those in the US, stand up and call the US administration to
account for this racism."
"A La Americana"
Oktay Eksi wrote in the mass appeal Hurriyet (5/20): "The
one-year sentence for US soldier Jeremy Sivits does not
constitute justice at all. President Bush tried to argue
that the torture in Iraq was an individual case, but
evidently the abuse was systematic. There is even more to
this scandal, because General Sanchez, who is now advocating
the most severe punishment for the torturers, had in fact
been providing guidance to the torturers since October 12,
2003. . General Miller, who was placed in charge of the
prisons, was portraying some of the torture methods as
legitimate. His remarks reminded me of President Bush's
comments defending Rumsfeld. It was also interesting to see
Wolfowitz admitting that there had been miscalculations in
Iraq at the same time Bush was defending Rumsfeld full
"The Train of Reform"
Hasan Cemal commented in the mass appeal Milliyet (5/19):
"The World Economic Forum continued to discuss reforms and
changes that are at the top of the agenda in the Arab world.
Although this issue has been under discussion for a long
time, the tone at this event was rather different. . During
last year's World Economic Forum, change and reform had been
mentioned more seriously and with greater urgency. This
year it is not the same. What changed over the past year?
The Bush Administration's credibility has fallen
drastically. The US' moral authority has been fatally
crippled by the abuses at Abu-Ghraib and by the ongoing
problems in Iraq. President Bush has lost his credibility
in the Arab world. US officials such as Secretary of State
Powell and Paul Bremer gave very confident statements at
last year's meeting. This year, the picture is different.
American officials are downbeat. The positive atmosphere
has disappeared. The atmosphere is dominated by worry and
uncertainty. The violence, terror, and torture will never
end in this geography unless the train of reform finally
arrives. But, it doesn't appear likely that the reform
train can take leave the station as long as the Bush-
Rumsfeld duo stays in power."
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