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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2007

In Today's Papers

Debate over Presidential Elections Continues in Turkey
All papers report that Thursday Turkish university rectors released
a declaration saying Turkey needed an "impartial, modern and secular
president with a clean past." Rectors' spokesman, Higher Education
Board (YOK) president Professor Erdogan Tezic stressed that at least
two-thirds of lawmakers should participate in the first two rounds
of the presidential elections in the parliament, warning that
otherwise the election will not be valid. AKP deputy group chief
Salih Kapusuz shrugged of the declaration, accusing YOK of acting
"like an ally of CHP."

Prime Minister Erdogan met with the representatives of labor union
Turk-Is who reportedly reminded him of constitutional principles,
advising the PM to seek compromise in naming the new president.
Erdogan stressed three presidents had been chosen under the existing
constitution so far, and it was unfair to ask the AKP to compromise.


Erdogan kicked off rounds of talks on Thursday evening with his
ruling AK Party lawmakers in an effort to learn their opinions with
regard to the presidency.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in Berlin on a state
visit, told Financial Times Deutschland that Erdogan was a
"suitable" candidate for the presidency.

DTP Investigations Continue; Erdogan Cleared of Ocalan Remarks
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the
pro-Kurdish party DTP's Diyarbakir provincial head Hilmi Aydogdu,
arrested in March for saying a military attack on Kirkuk was no
different than one made on Diyarbakir, has been released. Aydogdu's
trial procedure continues. In Ankara, four DTP leaders including
the party provincial chief, Salih Karaaslan, have been arrested for
"making PKK propaganda" in press conferences in February and March.


Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has launched three separate
investigations against the Mayor of mainly Kurdish Diyarbakir, Osman
Baydemir, for sending out invitations, greeting cards, and posters
in the Kurdish language.

On the other hand, Ankara prosecutor decided not to file a case
against Prime Minister Erdogan for allegations that he praised the
imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan by calling him "Mr." in a
radio interview Erdogan gave in Australia in 2000. The prosecutor
ruled there was "no element of criminal offence" in the interview
and also it "exceeded the statute of limitations."

Nokta Weekly Investigated for "Coup" Stories
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report Nokta,
a controversial weekly political magazine, complained that a legal
investigation was launched against the publication after it claimed
that Turkey has escaped from two military coups in 2004, thanks to
then chief of Turkish General Staff (TGS) chief Hilmi Ozkok's
prevention. The weekly had published the alleged diaries of former
Naval Forces Commander General Ozden Ornek which included plans for
military takeover against the ruling AKP government. Nokta said
prosecutors launched a probe not after a call by Prime Minister
Erdogan but after former commander Ornek petitioned the prosecutor's
office for legal action. Radikal and Zaman criticize that the
weekly was investigated but not the allegation of military takeover
plans.

Iraq's Neighbors Meeting Put Off to May
Milliyet, Cumhuriyet and Zaman report Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar
Zebari said an expanded Iraq's neighbors' meeting would be held
"outside Iraq, and in the first week in May." Zaman says Ankara

ANKARA 00000794 002 OF 003


wants the talks held in Istanbul with the participation of G-8
members as well as the permanent members of UN Security Council, but
will not object to Cairo as a new venue outside Baghdad. Cumhuriyet
says Ankara had asked for participation of President Talabani or
Prime Minister al-Maliki in the prospective Istanbul meeting. The
Iraqi PM, however, has objected to Istanbul, and wants the meeting
to be held at foreign ministerial or a lower level, says the paper.


Editorial Commentary on Pelosi Visit to Syria, Turkey-US Ties
Hasan Mesut Hazar writes from Washington in the
conservative-nationalist Turkiye: "Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria is
a very interesting development. Not because the visit upset
President Bush immensely but, also, as an open message to the world
that US foreign policies no longer have the approval of the American
people. Pelosi's visit to Syria is an open message from the US
Congress that there is a different America than Bush's. All the
surveys in the US shows that 84 percent of Americans are deeply
concerned about the Bush Administration's foreign policies and 70
percent of them are against the war in Iraq. Pelosi's visit to
Syria has another important aspect from the angle of Turkey -- in
the past the American hawks criticized PM Erdogan harshly for his
visit to Syria, accusing Turkey of starting a dialog with terrorism
supporters Damascus and Tehran. I hope, the real face of the US
which defends justice, peace and human values will always be in the
front, and adventurers, hawks and cruel people will not be allowed
to direct the country down the wrong path. Only then, will we have
some hope for more peaceful world."

Kamuran Ozbir comments in the nationalist Ortadogu: "Because of its
strategic location Turkey was always very important for the US --
until the last few years. US-Turkey relations were damaged after
Turkey refused to allow US troops to enter Iraq through Turkey.
And, then the US arrested eleven Turkish military officers in
Northern Iraq. Turkey considered this issue a matter of honor.
Turkey always needs the US's partnership, and Turkey is very
important for the US. In short, both countries are aware of each
other's importance and have been taking important steps lately to
improve bilateral relations again. However, it is noticed that the
US is in a deep relationship with one other ally, the Kurds.
Nevertheless, Washington will realize soon that, as an important
NATO ally and a supporter of the western world, no other country can
take Turkey's place."

TV Highlights
NTV (6 a.m.)

Domestic News

- The European Court of Human Rights said Turkey had violated the
right to free elections of three former MPs (Merve Kavakci, Mehmet
Silay and Nazli Ilicak) of the Islamist Virtue Party (FP). The
court ordered Turkey to pay a total of 12,000 Euro to the three
politicians for legal costs and expenses. Turkey had banned the FP
in 2001 on the grounds that it became center of anti-secular
activities.

- Turkish Cyprus leader Mehmet Ali Talat said there are tensions
between the military and the civilian administration in north
Cyprus.

- Turkish gendarmerie found 59 illegal Pakistani immigrants hiding
in the LPG tank of a truck in the eastern province of Van. They
were trying to get across Turkey and into western Europe.

- Over the weekend, Prime Minister Erdogan will join a ceremony for
the opening of the Black Sea coastal motorway.

International News


ANKARA 00000794 003 OF 003


- On Friday, Turkish troops under the command of General Kasim Erdem
will assume the regional command of Kabul for 8 months.

- Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met with British Consul
General Richard Makepeace to discuss the release of a kidnapped BBC
reporter.

- Kosovo's parliament overwhelmingly endorsed a UN plan that
proposes internationally supervised independence from Serbia.

- Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko warned those who fail to
carry out his order to hold early parliamentary elections would face
criminal charges.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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