Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

Published: Fri 1 Apr 2005 02:07 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
--------------------------------------------- -----
Iraq's Neighbors to Meet in Turkey - Milliyet
Gul: Turkey Won't Allow Greek Cypriots to Use Turkish Ports
- Milliyet
Zarkawi to Strike in Europe With Chemical Weapons - Aksam
Wolfowitz Gets World Bank - Hurriyet
Abbas Launches Operation Against Hamas - Sabah
Iran Opens Nuclear Facility to Press - Hurriyet
Schiavo Dies After 13 Days - Aksam
FM Gul: Use of Incirlik, Armenian `Genocide' Unrelated
Issues - Zaman
Annan to Send Cyprus Envoys After `TRNC' Polls - Cumhuriyet
Wolfowitz, Architect of Iraq War, To Lead World Bank - Yeni
Hunger-Stricken Iraqi Children Increase Two-Fold - Radikal
Assad Declares Special Amnesty for Kurds - Yeni Safak
US Blocks India-Iran Natural Gas Project - Yeni Safak
Akayev Accuses US of Supporting Insurgents in Kyrgyzstan -
The Pope's Health Deteriorates - Cumhuriyet
Americans Weep for Terry Schiavo - Radikal
PM Erdogan on US Requests About Incirlik: PM Tayyip
Erdogan, asked to comment on US requests to use Incirlik
airbase as a logistics hub for Iraq and Afghanistan, said
`we are already supporting our allied country on
humanitarian assistance within the framework of NATo and the
United Nations. We will continue to provide that support.
But it is not possible to meet every request all the time.'
Erdogan added that the Incirlik issue should not be linked
to Armenian `genocide' claims, and he called on the US
Congress not to move ahead with an Armenian `genocide'
FM Gul on Relations With US, Armenia: Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul said in a press conference that he saw no
direct link between US requests for using Incirlik Airbase
as a logistical cargo hub and the issue of Armenian
`genocide' claims that couild be considered by the US
Congress. `There are certain request for cooperation at
Incirlik,' Gul noted, `but they are not reflected properly
by the media. The FM said the Turkish government is working
on certain `technical subjects' in order to reach a decision
soon. Gul also emphasized that the position of the
Armenians has been well known by a succession of US
governments and by President Bush, and he urged the US
Administration to display sensitivity when the issue is
Turkey Grants UK Access to Incirlik Airbase: A news story
by the mass-appeal "Vatan" claims that while the Turkish
government has stalled for nine months in responding to US
requests regarding Incirlik Airbase, British requests for
using the airbase for logistical purposes have already been
approved. FM Abdullah Gul agreed on the UK use of Incirlik
with British FM Jack Straw during a visit to London. The
agreement will allow UK C-17 military transport planes to
use Incirlik Airbase as well as airports in Ankara, Konya,
and Trabzon to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The paper links the AKP government's decision to Britain's
upcoming presidency of the European Union beginning in July.
UN Iraq Envoy Visits Turkey: United Nations Special Envoy
to Iraq Ashraf Jehangir Gazi met Turkish Foreign Ministry
Undersecretary Ali Tuygan on Thursday in Ankara. Gazi urged
all relevant parties to consider the issue of Kirkuk through
peaceful means, Turkey's official "Anatolian Agency"
reported. Gazi said the next meeting of Iraq's neighbors
would take place in Istanbul later this month. The meeting
will provide an opportunity for Iraq's neighbors to assess
recent developments in Iraq, he stressed. Gazi later
departed for New York to submit his report on Iraq to the UN
Security Council.
Iraqi Turkmen Want More Support from Turkey: Kirkuk Turkmen
Assembly chairman Sadettin Ergec believes it is unfair for
Turkey to hold the Turkmen responsible for the political
situation that has emerged in Iraq after the January 30
elections, "Zaman" reports from Kirkuk. `Thus far, we have
received no significant support from Turkey,' Ergec said,
and urged more effective backing from Ankara. `Kirkuk is a
miniature of the Iraqi mosaic,' Ergec stressed, and warned
that instability in the oil-rich Iraqi area would
destabilize the entire country. The Iraqi Turkmen Front
(ITF) received 93,000 votes in the Iraqi general elections,
and is represented by 3 lawmakers in the new assembly.
Force Commander Says Turkey Needs Strong, Deterrent Army:
Turkish Land Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit said
at a graduation ceremony at the Land Forces Academy in
Ankara that Turkey, located in the center of an area full of
risks and threats, needs a very strong army with deterrent
capability. Gen. Buyukanit pointed out to terrorism,
racism, fundamentalism, organized crime, and drug
trafficking as growing threats around Turkey.
Parliament Postpones Implementation of New Penal Code: The
AKP government decided to delay implementation of the new
penal code that had been scheduled to take effect on April
1. The delay will give the Government time to consider
changes in the face of domestic and international criticism
from press and human rights groups. Revisions to the penal
code demanded by the European Union aim to bring Turkey's
criminal justice system into line with recent political
reforms passed to fulfill EU criteria. The Turkish
Parliament on Thursday approved a request from the ruling AK
Party to postpone implementation of the revamped penal code
until June 1. Journalists and rights groups have staged
several protests against the new law in recent weeks, saying
it would curb freedom of expression and press. The European
Union expects the law to be in effect before Turkey begins
EU entry talks in early October.
President Vetoes Law Allowing Sale of Media Outlets to
Foreigners: President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Thursday vetoed
a law that would have allowed foreign investors to purchase
majority stakes in Turkish media outlets. Sezer argued that
the provision threatened Turkey's national interests. The
law, passed by parliament in March, lifted restrictions on
foreign ownership, but maintained limits on the number of
television and radio stations that foreigners could own.
Turkey Sets Record Growth Rate: Turkey's economic growth
reach in 2004 reached 9.9 percent, the highest in the world.
Per capita income in dollar terms increased to $4,172 from
$3,383 in 2003, according to statistics released Thursday by
the State Institute of Statistics (DIE). The Turkish
economy produced a net increase of 644,000 jobs, and
unemployment dropped from 10.5 to 10.3 percent in 2004.
Lawmaker Quits Opposition CHP: Muhsin Kocyigit, a deputy
from Diyarbakir, resigned from the main opposition
Republican People's Party (CHP). Kocyigit's resignation
reduced the number of CHP seats in parliament to 162.
EDITORIAL OPINION: Kyrgyzstan; US-Turkish Relations; Turkish
"Who's Next?"
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in the nationalist "Ortadogu" (4/1):
"The dictatorial regimes of the former Soviet republics are
changing one by one. The poverty and corruption in these
countries is the major reason, but the contribution of
President Bush's policy to spread democracy and freedom is
also obvious. There is significant influence by NGOs as
well. This is an ongoing process. The focus now seems to
be to try to predict who will be next. . Russian leader
Putin has managed to rehabilitate his country's ailing
economy, yet this has not been reflected in the lives of
ordinary Russians. Moreover Russia is still trying to cope
with issues in its neighborhood, including Chechnya. It is
certain that the Washington-led winds of democracy and
freedom will eventually blow toward Russia."
"Keeping a Balance Between the EU and the US Has Turned Into
a Trap"
Erhan Basyurt wrote in the Islamist-intellectual "Zaman"
(4/1): "Turkey has been intensifying efforts to establish a
balance between the US and the EU in its international
relations. But this approach is turning into a self-made
trap for Turkey. Ankara had high hopes regarding the EU
membership process, and hoped to use the process as a way to
get out from US and Israeli pressure. But the result is
that Turkey now faces pressure coming from both the US and
the EU. . The US has intensified pressure on the ruling
party through accusations of anti-Americanism and the
manipulation of the American media. Even the possibility of
a Congressional resolution on the Armenian issue is now
being used as a trump card against Ankara. . The growing
pressure seems to focus on a specific goal: to get Turkey's
permission for requests on Incirlik airbase. Incirlik is
part of a larger plan that is described in the `American
Century Project," a report written by the neo-cons of the
Bush administration. This report clearly advocates more
extensive use of Incirlik and suggests that a back-up base
be found in Turkey as well. . Brussels is looking for
`Cyprus concessions' while Washington is going after
`Incirlik concessions.' Turkey should abandon its efforts
to achieve `balance' and revise its foreign policy
priorities in accordance with current conditions."
"Improvements in the Turkish-American Relationship"
Hasan Mesut Hazar observed in the conservative-mass appeal
"Turkiye" (4/1): "I am sure some people will be annoyed
even by the title of my column. But the fact is that
Turkish-American relations are not as bad as has been
reflected in the media. There are some emotional tensions,
anger, and reaction, but these are nothing more than a
reflection of politicians using foreign policy issues to
gain points in domestic politics. As a matter of fact,
there is a comprehensive coordination in Turkish-American
relations. Moreover, this close coordination is not limited
to Iraq, Afghanistan, and NATO. It also covers Turkey's EU
accession process, the Cyprus issue, counterterrorism, and
trade. It is shown in US support for Turkey's foreign
policy and close coordination in Eurasia. There will be
intense official visitor traffic to the US from Turkey
during April, May, and June. These visits will allow the
media to reflect on the truths about Turkish-American
relations. . Meanwhile, if agreement is reached on the
Incirlik issue, cooperation between the two countries will
only intensify. There are no doubt steps the US could take
in Cyprus and in Northern Iraq in line with Turkey's
expectations that would help ease the emotional tensions in
the relationship. Diplomatic sources also say that PM
Erdogan's visit to Israel at the beginning of May will have
a positive effect on Turkey-US relations. Improvement in
Turkish-US relations will not only be in the interest of
both countries, but would contribute to the establishment of
peace and stability in a broad area from the Middle East to
"Copenhagen and Sutculer"
Erdal Guven wrote in the liberal-intellectual "Radikal"
(4/01): "There is an inscription in the wall of the
Holocaust Museum in Washington from the German poet Heinrich
Heine: `In a country that burns books, the burning of people
will not be far behind.' The recent decision of the
subgovernor in Sutculer to collect and destroy all works by
Orhan Pamuk in his district reminded me of this observation.
The frightening part about the subgovernor's decree is the
fact that state institutions only learned about it only 45
days after it was issued when it was reported on NTV and in
"Radikal." What's even worse than this is that the
subgovernor remains in his position. When things are like
this, doesn't the logic behind the EU's insistence on
`implementation, implemtation, implementation' become more
understandable? Laws, regulations, and decisions have been
passed in connection with the Copenhagen Criteria. But none
of these changes prevented the subgovernor in Sutculer from
issuing this order. This shows that passing laws is not
enough to achieve `harmonization' with the EU. The laws
have to be taken as our own and internalized. We could, for
example, remove this subgovernor from his position without
delay, then turn to the European Union and say: `you wanted
implementation, well here it is.' Of course the Sutculer
subgovernor isn't really the issue. There is at the same
time a rise in nationalism that has now reached the point of
being a subject for sociological theory in Turkey. The
subgovernor's response is reflective of this trend. It is a
rage against `the other,' not only against Americans or
Europeans, that is being fanned at the official and
political level, and in public opinion. Nonsensical
conspiracy theories are circulating, books based on such
theories are becoming bestsellers, nightsticks are being
used to beat women, politicians are criticizing the media
for reporting on it, laws are being passed that tie the
hands of Christian minorities, sanctions are being meted out
against cartoonists.The worst part is that there doesn't
seem to be any solution. If there is, I don't know what it
would be. As far as I can tell, there has been only one
side-effect: it has caused people to become blind. We
bemoan the fact that the US hasn't done anything in northern
Iraq about the PKK, but we never think of what we have done
to improve the lives of Kurds in east and southeast Turkey.
We have mobilized ourselves to explain to the world the
rightness of our arguments against claims of Armenian
`genocide,' but we don't see that our embargo against
Armenia has achieved nothing and brought no benefit to us or
to the region. We accuse people of `having pushed the
button' or believe that `games are being played' in Turkey,
but we don't even feel that we are constantly shooting
ourselves in the foot."
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media