Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report,

Published: Wed 15 Sep 2004 01:06 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
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Washington puzzled by Turkey's reaction on Tal Afar -
FM Gul softens his tone toward the US - Milliyet
FM Gul calls on Iraqis to stop killing Turkish drivers -
Powell confesses: Saddam had no WMD - Aksam
Putin to become the sole power in Russia - Aksam
Castro flees `Ivan the Terrible' - Sabah
US demands explanation of Gul's Tal Afar remarks - Radikal
US in `close cooperation' with Turkey in Iraq - Zaman
US army lifts siege of Tal Afar - Zaman
EU forces AKP to backpedal on adultery - Cumhuriyet
Qaeda stages suicide attack in Baghdad, 47 killed -
Every day like hell in Baghdad - Radikal
Sharon gives green light for Arafat's assassination - Zaman
Sharon will exile Arafat at `appropriate' time - Yeni Safak
Discrimination against Muslims on the rise in Europe -
Situation in Tal Afar: The US Army lifted its siege Tuesday
on the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, but few residents
have returned, papers report. Turkey's Foreign Minister had
threatened to end cooperation with the US in Iraq because of
the attack on the mainly Turkmen town. US Ambassador Eric
Edelman asked the MFA for a clarification of FM Gul's
warning, Turkish papers report. FM Gul subsequently
softened his position, and said that Turkey's humanitarian
initiative for Iraq would continue. State Department
Spokesman Richard Boucher acknowledged that Turkey had
raised concerns, but said operations around Tal Afar `are
aimed at eliminating terrorists and foreign fighters who
have been using the city as a safe haven for launching
attacks elsewhere in Iraq.' `We have been working with the
government of Turkey,' he said, `and we have been talking to
the Iraqi interim government about how to conduct our
operations in a way that doesn't cause trouble for the local
civilian population.' `Turkey's government has reiterated
to us, and I think publicly as well, that they want this
cooperation to continue,' said Boucher. "Hurriyet" reports
an unidentified US official as saying that Turkish liaison
officers in the region had been given detailed information
about the US military operation. However, Ankara was not
immediately notified by Turkish liaisons about US actions in
the region. The official claimed that this disconnect
opened the way for `exaggerated' and `speculative' Turkish
press reports.
Iraqi rebels release one Turk, abduct two more: Insurgents
in Iraq released a Turkish translator, but two more Turkish
truck drivers were kidnapped near Tikrit, papers report.
Iraqi militants said in a videotape aired on Turkish
television that they had released Aytullah Gezmen, who had
been abducted in late July, because of Turkey's reaction
against the US military operation on northern Iraqi city Tal
Afar. Two more Turkish truck drivers were kidnapped near
Tikrit. At least three Turkish truck drivers have been
killed by their abductors in Iraq in recent months.
Turkey extends a helping hand to Darfur: The Ministry of
Foreign Affairs said that Turkey would send $275,000 in
humanitarian aid to Darfur, Sudan. On Wednesday, a Turkish
parliamentary delegation will take the humanitarian supplies
provided by the Turkish Red Crescent, the Ministry of Health
and the Turkish General Staff to Sudan on two military cargo
planes. Meanwhile, "Zaman" cites a report by Germany's "Die
Welt" claiming that Syrian and Sudanese units used chemical
weapons against civilians in Darfur in June, claiming tens
of thousands of lives.
`Turkish Cypriot State' joins ECO meetings: PM Erdogan said
Tuesday after returning from the Economic Cooperation
Organization (ECO) summit meeting in Karachi, Pakistan that
`Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)' officials
attended the talks under the name the `Cyprus Turkish
State,' as proposed in the UN plan for reunification of the
divided island. The Organization of Islamic Conference
(OIC) had earlier adopted a similar decision.
Tiff between Ocalan, Zana: Leyla Zana will not be able to
go to Brussels to receive the Council of Europe's Sakharov
Peace Prize due to a 1994 travel ban imposed by the State
Security Court (SSC). The ban applies to Zana and the other
former DEP lawmakers who were released from prison earlier
this year. Zana was supposed to be in Brussels on September
14 to receive the prize she had been awarded in 1995.
Meanwhile, imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, skeptical
about European intentions to `use' Zana, has urged the
former lawmaker to reject the prize, "Cumhuriyet" claims.
The paper regards the Ocalan statement as a warning for
Zana, and expects a new division within the PKK/Kongra-Gel.
AKP to drop `adultery clause': Turkey's ruling AK Party
signaled on Tuesday that it may be dropping plans for a
controversial adultery ban that has outraged liberals and
caused concern among European Union officials. At a last-
minute meeting before parliament was due to debate the
reforms, top officials of the AKP and main opposition
Republican People's Party (CHP) said they would present the
penal code package as a joint proposal. The AK Party
decision to agree to a joint motion with the CHP was
interpreted as an admission by the Government that the
adultery provision would be quietly dropped.
"Hard Truths on the Turkmen Issue"
Semih Idiz opined in the mass appeal-sensational "Aksam"
(9/15): "Turkey and the US are not happy with each other,
but, because of their strategic relationship, they can
express these feelings only indirectly. Neither country
wants these tensions to reach a critical point. As a
result, the Turkmen should not have any illusions about
Turkey's support. It is a sad fact that the Turkmen are in
a minority position and have a very weak political hand.
Also, the Turkmen population has always been on the losing
side in Iraq. The main reason for this is that, despite
very modest support by Turkey for the Turkmen, the UK, the
Americans, the Arabs, and the Kurds have always viewed the
Turkmen population as a kind of `fifth column' for Ankara'.
This was clearly demonstrated in the Suleymaniye incident
last July. The US claims that Turkish military officials
were caught while preparing a terrorist attack against Kurds
together with their Turkmen allies in order to increase
Turkmen military and political power in the region.
Although this claim is strongly rejected by Ankara, it
remains a part of US thinking. As long as the crisis
continues in Iraq, the Suleymaniye incident will shadow
Turkish-US military cooperation and limit the ability of the
Turkmen to articulate their interests. Moreover, the US has
not forgotten Turkey's decision from March 1, 2003. As the
US gets into deeper trouble in Iraq, this issue continues to
fester. When Turkey draws attention to Kirkuk, Tal Afar,
and similar issues, the US response is always the same: `If
you had such sensitivity to issues in Iraq, why didn't you
explain these clearly in parliament prior to the March 1
vote?' For parliamentarians to have evaluated the US
proposal last March from a strategic angle, they would have
had to know everything in detail. But Turkey was engaged in
settling some internal scores, and therefore missed the big
picture. Only time will show which side was right, but at
least for now, it is clear that Turkey cannot protect the
interests of the Turkmen. In fact, there is very little
that Turkey can do on this issue. Could Turkey close the
Habur border gate, for example? The answer to this is
clearly no."
"Tal Afar-Tel Aviv Line"
Mehmet Ocaktan commented in the Islamist-opinion maker "Yeni
Safak" (9/15): "What kind of an alliance is this? Weren't
Turkey and the US supposed to be strategic partners? Our
ally and strategic partner bombs the Turkmen population in
Tal Afar and people are forced to flee the city. Now the
city is fully under the control of US occupation forces.
Most dramatically, the Turkmen who left the town during the
bombing are not being allowed to return. Most likely,
Kurdish peshmerge will be brought into Tal Afar, as they
have been in every other region in Northern Iraq.
Belatedly, Turkey has realized the mistake of its strategic
partner. In his statement the other day, Foreign Minister
Gul gave a harsh message to the Barzani-Talabani duo, to the
United States, and to the puppet administration in Iraq.
From now on, US plans in Northern Iraq will be implemented
without Turkey. This plan will probably be based on the
cunning British occupation plans from three centuries ago.
The methods Britain applied in those days and US methods
today are very much alike. Just as the British tried to
divide Iraq, now the US is planning to divide Iraq into
three. No one can convince us that these are innocent plans
to remove terrorist groups from the region, because there is
always mischief when Barzani and the Israelis get together.
No matter what anyone else thinks, I believe the occupation
forces are playing a dirty game in Tal Afar. It looks like
a plan that leaves Turkey and the Turkmen out, and allows
the US to control this very strategic region for the
transport of oil from northern Iraq to the Mediterranean. I
wonder if the almost daily sabotage against the Kirkuk
pipeline is also part of this plan?"
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