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Media Watch 2003

08 May 2003
Source: Press and Information Office
Author:
Comment: The following a report of the Cyprus government Press and Information Office of 8 May 2003.
Different reactions to Wolfowitz's criticism of Turkey


NTV television (07.05.03) broadcast that there have been mixed reactions to comments from a senior Bush Administration official that Turkey had failed to sufficiently back the US in the recently concluded war in Iraq. In an interview broadcast on Turkish television on Tuesday, US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Turkey should recognise it had made a mistake in not giving greater support to Washington in the war against Iraq. Wolfowitz also said that Turkey should look into ways of how it could help the US in the future, especially in regard to Iran and Syria.

While Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul tried to play down the comments, saying that much had been taken out of context and that many of Wolfowitz's statements had been "sincere and pragmatic", others were not so generous.

A stronger reaction came from Justice Minister Cemil Cicek.

"In fact it is the US and Wolfowitz that should look at themselves and ask, 'Where did we make a mistake?'", the Minister said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also among those to comment on the statement, saying that his country chose its own path and had acted without having expectations in return.

Opposition party leader Deniz Baykal of the Republican People's Party (RPP) said that Wolfowitz's statements were a reflection of his own personal disappointment. Baykal also slammed the US official for criticising the Turkish military for not being decisive enough in pushing for greater support to the US in the war.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said that the US Deputy Defence Secretary had been given the necessary response.

HURRIYET newspaper (08.05.03) reports that the US State Department's Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr Marc Grossman also made statements on CNN Turk's "Headline" programme of Mehmet Ali Birand.

Mr Grossman backed Mr Wolfowitz and called on Turkish leaders to listen carefully to what Mr Wolfowitz, "a friend of the Turks", said, and added:

"What was done was done. We cannot behave as if nothing happened. However, at this moment relations between the US and Turkey are going on in the interest of both side.

In order to carry out a very important issue in Iraq we devoted our energy, our blood and our reserves. The Turks throught that without them we could not achieve it"."