Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

Published: Fri 5 Nov 2004 02:12 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
051412Z Nov 04
E.O. 12958: N/A
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More `hawkish' names for new Bush administration - Aksam
Powell to leave, Rumsfeld stays - Milliyet
Rove, Hughes architects of Bush victory - Sabah
Hillary is US Democrats' new hope - Milliyet
Arafat in coma, Palestine in mourning - Aksam
Fallujah is new Bush Administration's first target -
Fear of Bush causes Tehran to arm Kurds - Hurriyet
Bush's move on Macedonia shakes Athens - Milliyet
Macedonia tension between US, Greece - Sabah
1,800 Turkish troops to Afghanistan in February 2005 -
Bush may form new `war government' - Cumhuriyet
World leaders expect change from Bush - Zaman
World warns Bush - Radikal
Arab world forecasts `dark clouds' following Bush's
reelection - Yeni Safak
Bush vows to fight until enemy is defeated - Radikal
US a land of conservatives - Radikal
Church wins US Elections - Cumhuriyet
Palestine loses its leader - Zaman
Civil war worries after Arafat - Cumhuriyet
Athens `outraged' by US recognition of Macedonia - Zaman
Shirin Ebadi to sue US - Radikal
Annan urges swift action for Sudan - Yeni Safak
Turkish leaders on reelection of President Bush: Turkey
congratulated US President George Bush on his second term in
the White House, pledging support for his war against
terrorism while also stressing the need for global peace.
`I believe our partnership, which is of great value not only
in terms of bilateral ties but also in terms of cementing
peace and security in a vast region, will gain a new
dimension in your second term in office,' President Ahmet
Necdet Sezer said in a message to Bush. PM Tayyip Erdogan
mentioned `the struggle against terrorism, trans-Atlantic
cooperation, regional stability and the establishment of
harmony between civilizations,' and added that the close
dialogue and cooperation between the two allies will
contribute to global peace, stability and the acceleration
of trans-Atlantic ties. "Cumhuriyet" speculates that if
Bush assigns more `hawkish' figures to his administration, a
unilateral and aggressive approach may characterize US
foreign policy. Bush's reelection has ruled out a `worst-
case scenario' for Turkey, which would have been a US
withdrawal from an unstable Iraq after granting wide
autonomy to Kurdish groups, according to "Cumhuriyet." The
Iran issue has been a growing concern for Turkey, but Ankara
does not expect the US to attack Iran. Washington is also
preparing to request a more flexible use by US forces of
allied military bases within the framework of the new US
global defense posture, "Cumhuriyet" reports.
FM Gul on Iraq with Bush president for a second term: FM
Abdullah Gul told "Milliyet" that he expected President
Bush, who has emerged stronger following the US election, to
review some past mistakes and make a new evaluation of the
Iraq issue. Gul noted that the US has grown more open to
international initiatives regarding Iraq. The G-8 will join
the November 28 Iraq's neighbors conference in Cairo,
turning the event into a significant international platform,
he stressed. Gul underlined the importance of Iraq's
territorial integrity: `Developments such as granting
autonomy for Iraqi Kurds will disturb regional balances and
cause enormous problems.' `The Iraqi elections might be
postponed, but when they are held they must include all
groups in Iraq,' Gul emphasized. He added that Turkey has
been trying to convince Sunni Arabs to join the election
process. Gul said that Turkey has been advising the US and
the Arab League to work to that end in an effort to prevent
the Iraqi elections from being `crippled' by a Sunni Arab
boycott. If the US Administration does not review its
mistakes in Iraq, a democratically elected government in
Baghdad will turn against the US, Gul said he has told
Washington. A failure to respect local customs, no matter
how well-intentioned US aims in the region may be, will
create enemies for the Americans in Iraq, Gul noted.
Turkish officials, while in US, allegedly dealt with Bin
Laden's men: Opposition CHP lawmaker Kemal Sag has
submitted a motion to State Minister Kursad Tuzmen claiming
that two Turkish customs inspectors who had been sent to the
US for training in 2002 stayed in the house of men close to
Osama bin-Laden, several papers report. Sag did not reveal
the names of the inspectors, but papers gave their initials
as `HG' and `NE.' Both men remain employed at the Treasury
Undersecretariat. After finding out that the Turks were
staying with Bin Laden's associates, US authorities asked
Ankara to recall them to Turkey in 2003, Sag claimed. The
Treasury employees have denied the claims, saying it was out
of the question that such a thing would be allowed in the
US, particularly after September 11.
Tehran arms Kurds in the face of American threat: The
Iranian government has decided to arm Kurdish tribes living
along Iran's border with Turkey and Iraq as a precautionary
measure in the face of a possible attack by the US,
"Hurriyet" reports. On Wednesday, Iranian government
officials met with Kurdish tribal leaders in the country's
Urumiye province. The tribal leaders welcomed Tehran's
offer to provide military training for about 250,000 Kurdish
`border guards' to be selected from among the local
Papadopoulos warns Ankara: Greek Cypriot leader
Papadopoulos has warned that if Ankara does not officially
recognize Cyprus before the EU summit on December 17,
Nicosia could veto an EU decision to grant Turkey a date for
entry talks. The Greek Cypriot administration has also
urged EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to ensure a
pullout of Turkish troops and immigrants from the Turkish
mainland, the opening of Turkish airspace and territorial
waters for Greek Cypriot aircraft and vessels, and an end to
Turkish vetoes against Nicosia regarding joint defense
issues in NATO.
German Greens in Diyarbakir: In Diyarbakir to investigate
whether German battle tanks sold to Turkey had been used
against the local population in the southeast, Germany's
Greens Party leader Claudia Roth said she had seen no
evidence to that end. Turkey's EU membership is tightly
linked to improvements in Turkey's southeast, where the
Kurds constitute a majority, Roth told Turkish papers. Roth
later paid a visit to the Habur border crossing with Iraq,
and talked with Turkish truck drivers shuttling between the
two countries. Turkish drivers are aware of the risks of
entering Iraq, and are therefore afraid, Roth said.
"Ankara is not Unhappy About Bush's Victory"
Sedat Ergin observed in the mass appeal "Hurriyet" (11/5):
"The first 4 years of the Bush administration produced a
record of remarkable damage in international relations and a
significant weakening of ties between the US and the
international community. Had the US chosen the Democratic
candidate, there might have been a new chapter in
international relations to overcome the mistrust that has
built up during the Bush era. . It remains to be seen
whether an easing of tension in the international system
will be experienced during the second Bush administration.
Even though President Bush has already given some signs of
change in the new administration, it will not be easy to
overcome negative views around the globe. For Turkey, the
first Bush administration included a period in which the US
sought to pressure Turkey into the Iraqi adventure, then
punished Turkey for the rejection of the March 1
parliamentary motion. It also included the infamous
Suleymaniye incident on July 4, 2003. Moreover, the first
Bush administration presented enormous uncertainty for
Turkey to deal with after creating chaos in Iraq, Turkey's
next-door neighbor. The relationship between Turkey and
the US is still in a process of repair through a series of
mutual steps confidence building. The course of bilateral
relations in the new period will be determined by the Bush
administration's willingness to revise its former approach
and to avoid a continuation of flawed policies. . It is a
positive thing that President Bush is well aware of Turkey's
geo-political importance, and that he has a close
relationship with Turkey's Prime Minister. In any event, it
is also realistic to predict that the Iraq issue will be the
most perilous point of possible contention in the future of
the bilateral relationship."
"Bin Laden Congratulates Bush"
Turker Alkan commented in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(11/5): "Ironically enough, Bin Laden played a more
important role in Bush's election victory than the American
voters. It seems that the Bin Laden video threatening the
US made an impact on the voters' choice. Bin Laden most
likely did this deliberately, because a hawkish Bush is
bound to serve his interests. A war-mongering
administration in Washington, engaged in conflicts with
Afghanistan and Iraq, and possibly Iran will help the Al-
Qaeda terror organization to grow. Yet it remains to be
seen whether the second Bush administration will continue
its current campaign against terrorism without any change in
course. There are two possibilities: Bush might continue
the same policy by interpreting his election victory as a
vote of confidence, or he might take some significant steps
toward pulling out of the Iraqi quagmire. Regardless of the
US administration's preference, however, the very negative
image of Islam will continue. The murder of the Dutch movie
maker Van Gogh seems to be a portent of things to come."
"Is Bush Any Different Now?"
Sami Kohen opined in the mass appeal Milliyet (11/5): "Is
Bush going to change? Or, more correctly stated, can George
W. Bush change the policies of his first term? During his
second term, could we see a different Bush, especially on
foreign policy issues? This is a question currently being
debated in Turkey and throughout much of the world. .Of
course, for the time being the answer to this question
cannot go beyond a mere guess. We are hoping that in the
new era, President Bush's foreign policy approach will be
more pragmatic, realistic, and conciliatory instead of
aggressive, arrogant, and unilateral. In short, at least
for now, the hope is that Bush will be forced to reevaluate
his policies based on the negative results. There is no
doubt that such change would have a positive effect on
Turkey-US relations."
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