US embassy cable - 86ANKARA9130

ISTANBUL SYNAGOGUE ATTACK: PRESS COVERAGE

Identifier: 86ANKARA9130
Wikileaks: View 86ANKARA9130 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ankara
Created: 1986-09-08 14:33:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PTER TU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 081433Z SEP 86
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3869
INFO AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL ADANA PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL IZMIR PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 
USINFO WASHDC PRIORITY
ALL NATO CAPITALS
EUROPEAN POLADS COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 
HQ16THAF TORREJON AB SP//CCE//
USDELMC BRUSSELS BE
39TACG INCIRLIK TU//CC/PA//
TUSLOG DET 33-3 ISKENDERUN
CDRSETAF/5TH VICENZA IT//AESE-GIC//
USAFOS HURLBURT FLD FL/EDOD//
USDOCOSOUTH NAPLES IT
628MAS INCIRLIK TU
HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE//XP//PA//
USNMR SHAPE BE//P10//
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 00 ANKARA 09130 
 
USINFO FOR P/M; EU; VOA-SMITH 
 
E.O. 12356:  N/A 
TAGS:  PTER, TU 
SUBJECT:  ISTANBUL SYNAGOGUE ATTACK:  PRESS COVERAGE 
 
1.  THIS MESSAGE INCLUDES USIS CURRENT MEDIA REACTION. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  IN PRESS COVERAGE, EDITORIALS AND PUBLIC 
STATEMENTS TURKISH REACTION TO THE BOMBING OF NEVE 
SHALOM SYNAGOGUE IN ISTANBUL HAS BEEN ONE OF SHOCK AND 
HORROR - AND CAUTION.  THE PRIME MINISTER "DAMNED" THE 
ATTACK AS "BACKSTABBING," BUT THEN DECLARED THAT NO 
EVIDENCE LINKED IT TO LIBYA AND WARNED ISRAEL AGAINST 
RETALIATION.  THE PRESS HIGHLIGHTED CONDEMNATIONS OF 
THE BOMBING BY THE PLO, LIBYA AND IRAN.  SPECULATION IS 
RIFE, BUT FACTS ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.  END SUMMARY 
 
3.  PRESS COVERAGE OF THE ISTANBUL NEVE SHALOM 
SYNAGOGUE ATTACK BEGAN ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 WITH FEW 
FACTS OTHER THAN THOSE REPORTED IN THE WORLD PRESS. 
AMID BLOODY PHOTOGRAPHS OF DISMEMBERED CORPSES, PAPERS 
HEADLINED THEIR STORIES "LAKE OF BLOOD," "MASSACRE," 
"MONSTROSITY," ETC.  THE TERRORISTS WERE IDENTIFIED AS 
"ARABS" BY 17-YEAR OLD SURVIVOR GABRIEL SHAUL, WHO SAID 
HE HEARD THEM SPEAKING ARABIC.  "MILLIYET" MADE THE 
FOLLOWING SPECULATION:  "ACCORDING TO THE INITIAL 
EVIDENCE, THE ATTACK ON THE SYNAGOGUE MIGHT BE AN 
EXTENSION OF THE EVENTS IN KARACHI.  THE FACT THAT BOTH 
OCCURRENCES USED THE SAME METHOD OF OPERATION 
REINFORCES THIS OPINION.  EXPERTS ON TERRORISM DISCOUNT 
THE POLICE'S BELIEF THAT THE ATTACK WAS CARRIED OUT 
SOLELY BY TWO SUICIDE COMMANDOS."  THE PAPER ALSO 
CARRIED A STATEMENT BY INTERIOR MINISTER YILDIRIM 
AKBULUT THAT, "THE PRAYER HALL WAS 20 METERS BY 30. 
THE TYPE OF BOMB THE TERRORISTS USED HAS AN EFFECTIVE 
RANGE OF 50 METERS.  THEREFORE I CAN SAY THAT THE 
TERRORISTS CERTAINLY CAME WITH THE AIM OF MOUNTING A 
SUICIDE ATTACK."  ALL PAPERS NOTED THAT SATURDAY SAW 
THE FIRST RELIGIOUS SERVICES HELD IN THE SYNAGOGUE 
AFTER SIX MONTHS OF RENOVATION. 
 
4.  WITH THE FIRST NEWS CAME THE FIRST REACTIONS. 
AFTER AN EMERGENCY CABINET MEETING, THE GOVERNMENT 
ANNOUNCED ITS CONDEMNATION OF THE ACTION.  PRESIDENT 
KENAN EVREN STATED, "AS A NATION WE REACT WITH PROFOUND 
ABHORRENCE."  PRIME MINISTER TURGUT OZAL SENT A MESSAGE 
TO TURKEY'S CHIEF RABBI DAVID ASSEO REPORTEDLY 
BEGINNING, "TURKEY VIOLENTLY DAMNS (SIC) THIS 
BACKSTABBING ATTACK," AND ANNOUNCED, "IT IS 
UNACCEPTABLE TO DO SUCH A THING TO THOSE PRAYING IN THE 
HOUSE OF GOD."  SHP CHAIRMAN ERDAL INONU CALLED THE 
EVENT "HORRIBLE," AND WARNED THE GOVERNMENT TO "ACT 
SERIOUSLY," AS "CONDEMNATION IS NOT ENOUGH."  FORMER 
PRIMIN ECEVIT IS QUOTED IN ALL PAPERS AS SAYING, "JUST 
AS THOSE WHO CARRIED OUT THIS ACT HAVE NO RELATION TO 
HUMANITY, THEY ALSO HAVE NO RELATION TO ISLAM, FOR 
ISLAM DICTATES RESPECT FOR ALL RELIGIONS." 
 
5.  SUNDAY'S "CUMHURIYET" INCLUDED A PAGE-1 STORY 
ENTITLED "PLO CONDEMNS."  PLO ANKARA REPRESENTATIVE ABU 
FIRAS RELEASED A STATEMENT FROM PLO NUMBER 2 MAN ABU 
IYAD CONDEMNING THE ACTION AND ADDING, "THIS SORT OF 
TERRORIST ACTION BENEFITS NO ONE BUT THE ZIONISTS." 
THE PAPER ALSO CARRIED SHIMON PERES' HOPE THAT "THE 
TURKISH GOVERNMENT WILL DO ALL IT MUST TO FIND THE 
KILLERS AND BRING THEM TO JUSTICE."  MEANWHILE, FOREIGN 
MINISTRY OFFICIALS WERE QUOTED IN "HURRIYET" AS SAYING 
THAT THERE WERE THREE POSSIBLE MOTIVES FOR THE ATTACK: 
1)  A REACTION TO TURKEY'S IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH 
ISRAEL;  2)  THE ISLAMIC CIHAD TRYING TO SPREAD 
INSTABILITY;  AND 3)  OPPOSITION TO ARAFAT'S SOFTENING 
THE PATRIARCHATE."  OKTAY EKSI, SEPT. 8 "HURRIYET": 
THESE ACTS ARE WELL PLANNED, AND BEHIND THE PLANNERS 
THERE ARE GREAT POWERS.  LOTS OF MONEY IS SPENT. 
WITHOUT MAKING ANY CONNECTION TO THIS LAST EVENT, LET 
ME SAY THAT JUST FOR THIS KIND OF ACTION THE CIA SPENT 
$500 MILLION IN 1986... THE SYNAGOGUE HAD BEEN CLOSED 
FOR SIX MONTHS;  THE FIRST IMPORTANT PRAYER AFTER THE 
RENOVATION WAS THAT DAY.  IN OTHER WORDS, SOMEONE HAD 
FOLLOWED DEVELOPMENTS AT THE SYNAGOGUE CLOSELY." 
 
10.  OTHER MEDIA REACTION: 
 
--  HALUK ULMAN OF HURRIYET (CIRC. 588,490 - MASS 
APPEAL/INDEPENDENT), "THE LOGIC BEHIND THE MASSACRE": 
" ... IN OTHER WORDS, THE RECENT U.S. CLAMOR AGAINST 
LIBYA AIMS FOR 'DETERRENCE.'  BUT EVIDENTLY IT IS FAR 
FROM BEING SUCCESSFUL.  BECAUSE, AS IT WAS DEMONSTRATED 
ONCE MORE, AND CONTRARY TO WHAT THE REAGAN 
ADMINISTRATION BELIEVES, LIBYA DOES NOT HAVE THE 
PRESUMED LEVEL OF INFLUENCE ON MIDDLE EASTERN TERRORIST 
ORGANIZATIONS....  ACCORDING TO INFORMATION RECEIVED, 
THE PERPETRATORS OF BOTH THE PAN AM AND NEVE SHALOM 
INCIDENTS ARE SAID TO HAVE BEEN MEMBERS OF 
ORGANIZATIONS BASED IN LEBANON.  ONE OF THE REASONS 
BEHIND THE FAILURE TO CURB VIOLENT INCIDENTS IN THE 
MIDDLE EAST IS THE EXISTENCE OF THE PALESTINE PROBLEM, 
AND THE SECOND ONE IS THE CHAOS IN LEBANON.  ISRAEL HAD 
TRIED TO FILL THAT VOID BY INVADING SOUTHERN LEBANON AND 
TRYING TO ESTABLISH A PRO-ISRAELI ADMINISTRATION 
THERE.  BUT IT FAILED, DESPITE THE SUPPORT FROM THE 
U.S., AND WITHDREW.  LET'S SEE WHAT THE ISRAELI 
REACTION WILL BE.  IT WOULD NOT BE A SURPRISE IF 
LEBANON-ISRAEL RELATIONS BECOME MUCH MORE NOISY 
THAN AMERICAN-LIBYAN RELATIONS." 
 
-- ZAFER ATAY OF TERCUMAN (CIRC. 273,364 
-CONSERVATIVE), "THOSE BEHIND THE TERRORISM": 
" ... IRAN SUPPORTS SHIITE-ORIGINATED 
TERRORISM....   SYRIA IS THE GUARDIAN OF THE 
SEPARATIST BANDITS, ASALA, ISLAMIC JIHAD; AND ABU 
NIDAL....  THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT LIBYA IS ALSO IN 
THIS....  I WOULD LIKE TO BRING TO YOUR ATTENTION 
THAT ALL THE RECENT TERRORIST INCIDENTS HAVE A 
CONNECTION TO THE GREEK CYPRIOT SECTOR." 
 
-- TEOMAN EREL OF MILLIYET (CIRC. 
255,822 -LIBERAL), "ARE WE READY FOR THE 
CRISIS?":  " .... IT SEEMS THAT THE PERPETRATORS OF 
THIS INHUMAN ATTACK RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM 
MYSTERIOUS HELPERS LIVING IN TURKEY.  HOW DID THE 
TERRORISTS KNOW THAT THE SYNAGOGUE WOULD BE OPEN ON 
THE DAY OF THEIR ATTACK AFTER A LONG PERIOD OF 
REPAIR?  ARE THERE PEOPLE WHO TRY TO COVER UP THE 
WHOLE INCIDENT BY SAYING THAT 'THEY COMMITTED 
SUICIDE, THERE WERE ONLY TWO PERSONS, AND ALSO 
NOTHING MORE WAS FOUND,' OR HAVE THOSE PEOPLE WHO 
USED TO TELL THE STORY THAT TERRORISM WOULD ONLY 
COME FROM THE LEFT, THOSE WHO BLAMED INONU AND THE 
SHP EVEN FOR THE PKK (KURDISH SEPARATIST) 
TERRORISM, FOUND THEMSELVES IN A DIFFICULT POSITION 
NOW THAT THE NAME OF ISLAM IS INVOLVED IN AN 
INCIDENT? ... WHILE WE ARE TRYING TO DOWNPLAY IT 
FOR INTERNAL CONSUMPTION, WE MAY FOUND OURSELVES 
IMMERSED IN THE 'NEW' MIDDLE EAST CRISIS." 
 
- GUNERI CIVAOGLU OF GUNES (CIRC. 
195,613 -POPULAR/FAMILY), "TERROR":  " ... IT IS 
WRONG TO SEE TERRORISM AND THE STRUGGLE BY THE 
STATE AGAINST IT AS ONLY A MATTER OF 'WEAPONS' ... 
AND 'POLICE MEASURES'.  THIS KIND OF APPROACH CAN 
ONLY BE IN THE SCRIPTS OF COWBOY FILMS....  THIS IS 
A MULTI-DIMENSIONAL, BLOODY GAME, EXTENDING FROM 
FULL-SCALE DEMOCRACY TO ALL THE YEARNING FOR 
FREEDOMS ... ECONOMIC CONDITIONS, HOPES ... FOREIGN 
CONNECTIONS AND AGENTS IN THE EVENTS ... ARMS 
SMUGGLERS, MAFIA FATHERS, SECRET HANDS IN DRUG 
TRAFFICKING." 
 
-- HASAN CEMAL OF CUMHURIYET (CIRC. 112, 673 -LEFT 
OF CENTER), "WHAT CAN BE DONE?":  " ... WE SAY THAT 
ALL THE POLITICAL POWERS SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONVERGE 
ON THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR ON THE ISSUE OF 
TERRORISM; THEY SHOULD BELIEVE IN THE NECESSITY FOR 
SOLIDARITY IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST TYRANNY AND 
VIOLENCE; THEY SHOULD START A REAL, CONSTRUCTIVE 
DIALOGUE AMONG THEMSELVES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE." 
 
-- ERGUN BALCI OF CUMHURIYET, "SYNAGOGUE 
MASSACRE":  " ... THE ATTACKS ON PAN AM AND THE 
SYNAGOGUE IN ISTANBUL SEEM TO HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO 
LEAD TO SERIOUS DEVELOPMENTS....  THE BOMBING OF 
LIBYA BY THE U.S. MAY BE CONSIDERED CERTAIN IF 
EVIDENCE OF LIBYAN INVOLVEMENT IN THE AFFAIR IS 
FOUND.  AS A MATTER OF FACT, WASHINGTON DOES NOT 
NEED EVIDENCE LIKE THIS IF IT HAD ALREADY DECIDED 
TO BOMB LIBYA....  ISRAEL MAY RETALIATE AGAINST 
SYRIA IN SIMILAR FASHION IF IT FOUND PROOF OF 
SYRIAN INVOLVEMENT IN THE SYNAGOGUE AFFAIR.  IN 
PARALLEL WITH THESE DEVELOPMENTS, INTENSIFICATION 
OF ATTEMPTS TO PUSH TURKEY INTO A CRISIS AND TO 
PULL TURKEY AND THE ARAB COUNTRIES AND PLO FURTHER 
APART MAY BE EXPECTED.  A SERIES OF GLOOMY 
DEVELOPMENTS IS TAKING PLACE.  AND THIS IS ONLY THE 
BEGINNING." 
 
--  MEHMET BARLAS OF MILLIYET REPORTED ON AN INTERVIEW 
WITH PRIME MINISTER OZAL IN A COLUMN ENTITLED "THE AIM 
IS TO PULL US INTO THE MIDDLE-EASTERN CRISIS," IN WHICH 
THE PRIME MINISTER IS REPORTED TO HAVE SAID THE 
FOLLOWING:  " ... IF SOME STATES SUPPORT AND INCITE 
TERRORISM, THIS MUST NOT BE TOLERATED.  TURKEY HAS 
DECLARED ON MANY OCCASIONS THAT IT WILL NOT TOLERATE 
THE ACTIONS OF THOSE STATES--IF THERE ARE ANY--WHICH 
PERPETRATE TERRORISM ON TURKISH SOIL AND DIRECT IT AT 
TURKISH CITIZENS.  FURTHERMORE, THOSE CIRCLES WHICH 
HOPE TO PULL TURKEY INTO THE CONFLICTS OF THE 
MIDDLE-EAST WILL CERTAINLY BE DISAPPOINTED....  TURKEY 
WILL NOT FEEL DISPLEASURE IF MORE THAN ONE STATE, IN 
LINE WITH THE UNITED NATIONS' PRINCIPLES AND BASED ON 
THE RIGHT OF SELF DEFENSE, CHOOSE TO ACT AGAINST THOSE 
STATES WHICH SUPPORT AND INCITE TERRORISM". 
 
 
STRAUSZ-HUPE 

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