Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2007
In Today's Papers
High Court Scraps Effort to Isolate Alcohol-Serving Restaurants
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet and others report the
Turkish Council of State (Danistay) has annulled a directive issued
by the Interior Ministry with an aim to relocate restaurants serving
alcohol to "red zones" in suburbs. Prime Minister Erdogan had
defended the effort saying "protection of young people from bad
habits" was "stipulated by the constitution" whereas mainstream
media criticized the attempt, calling it an attempt to create "red
light districts." A debate was kicked off in Turkey in July 2005
when the ruling AKP government changed the law on municipalities to
allow local administrations to regulate locations of restaurants
serving alcohol to certain zones to be determined by city councils.
Anavatan Loses Party Group Status in Parliament
All papers report that after the death yesterday in a traffic
accident of Omer Abusoglu, a Gaziantep province lawmaker from the
opposition Motherland Party (Anavatan), the number of Anavatan MPs
in the Parliament dropped to 19, breaking up their party group. The
current distribution of seats in Turkish Parliament is, AKP 354, CHP
153, ANAVATAN 19, DYP 4, SHP 1, HYP 1, GP 1, Independent 10, and
Vacant 7. In order to form a party group, Turkish law requires that
a party hold at least 20 seats in Parliament.
Kurdish Mayor Arrested for Praising Ocalan
All papers report Aydin Budak, Kurdish party DTP mayor of Cizre
township in the southeastern Turkish province of Sirnak, has been
arrested for saluting Abdullah Ocalan in a speech during Nevruz
celebrations by saying, "Happy Nevruz, Imrali." Imrali is the
prison-island where the PKK leader is imprisoned. Budak's lawyers
said they would appeal the verdict while a group of DTP supporters
and Cizre Municipality employees protested the arrest.
YOK to Discuss New Universities, Erdogan Presidential Candidacy
Milliyet, Sabah and Cumhuriyet report the Turkish High Education
Council (YOK) is to convene university rectors in an extraordinary
meeting April 5 to discuss the ruling AKP government decision to
open 17 new universities and the election of Turkey's new president.
Papers expect YOK to respond to Prime Minister Erdogan and
Education Minister Huseyin Celik's criticisms with regard to the new
universities as well as evaluate Erdogan's possible candidacy for
Turkey to Take over ISAF Command Again
All papers report Turkey will assume its second term leadership of
the Kabul Regional Command in Afghanistan. Brigadier General Kasim
Erdem will assume the second term Kabul Regional Command. With the
handover of the command on April 6, the number of Turkish troops
deployed in the region will be increased to 1,150 from 750.
Editorial Commentary on Iran, Kirkuk
Haluk Ulman comments in the economic-political daily Dunya: "Iran
continues to defy the US and the UK in the latest crisis over
captured British sailors. Where does Iran get this courage from?
There are many rumors but the most important reason is the belief
that the US, in trouble in Iraq, will not be able to attack Iran.
Of course, Iran will be harmed in many ways in case of an armed
conflict with the US. Iran's badly administrated economy will
worsen and its infrastructure will be damaged beyond repair. The
example of two clashing pitchers should always be remembered: if one
pitcher is broken, the other one will get cracked. So Iran should
change its attitude soon. If the aim is to protect the peace, then,
just like people, countries also should learn to control their
Sami Kohen observes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "The Kurds'
target in Kirkuk is very obvious; they are trying to change the
demographic structure of the city to their advantage and claim
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Kirkuk as the capital of the Iraqi Federation of Kurdistan. Kirkuk
has been moving in this direction for a while. Since the end of the
Saddam regime, around 650,000 Kurds migrated to Kirkuk. Meanwhile,
because of pressure and threats, around 90,000 Arabs have left
Kirkuk. The Kurds, on their arrival in Kirkuk, quickly settle down
and illegally take possession of property. The Kurdish majority
will increase in Kirkuk after more Arabs leave the place using the
government's incentives. This causes a serious concern among the
Turkmen population. Turkmen businessmen have already started
leaving Kirkuk for good and migrating to Turkey or to some Arab
countries. Turkmen officials in Kirkuk say that the phase of
threats and pressure will be followed by the phase of terror. Many
Turkmen lost their lives in the latest bombings and the rest are
living in fear. Is this the way to return Kirkuk to normal?"
NTV, 7.00 A.M.
- Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is to travel to Germany Tuesday on a
two-day official visit to meet with his counterpart Frank-Walter
Steinmeier and launch a project on providing consular services on
- CHP MP Kemal Anadol accused Prime Minister Erdogan of trying to
manipulate the nation with regard to the presidential elections.
- Turkey's economic growth exceeds government and market
expectations of 5 percent, reaching 6 percent in 2006, said Deputy
Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener, adding national income has grown
about 7.3 percent in the last four years.
- Three "purse snatchers" have been sentenced to life in prison for
killing a woman while trying to steal her bag in Istanbul.
- US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Lebanese officials in
Beirut in a fact-finding trip to the Middle East that has drawn
criticism from the White House because it includes a visit to Syria.
- Iraqi prosecutors seek the death penalty for Saddam Hussein's
cousin "Chemical Ali" for his use of poison gas against the regime's
opponents including the Kurds.
- Iraq's most senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,
has opposed a new draft that would allow thousands of former members
of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to return to public life.
- An explosives-laden truck blew up outside a police station in the
northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Monday, killing 13 people including
- The Independent columnist Robert Fisk describes the strains
between Iran and Britain as a "war of humiliation."