Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2007
In Today's Papers
Attackers Kill Three at Christian Publishing House in Malatya
All papers report on the brutal murders of three employees of
Christian literature publisher Zirve in the eastern city of Malatya.
The killers bound the hands and feet of the victims, German citizen
Tilman Ekkehart Geske (46), Necati Aydin (35) and Ugur Yuksel, and
then slit their throats. Five suspects between the ages of 19 and 20
were detained. Sources said that all five were students preparing
for university entrance exams, living in a dormitory in Malatya.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports the suspects said in initial questioning
they carried out the killing for the "homeland."
Prime Minister Erdogan told the press yesterday the incident in
Malatya was "savagery." "We are deeply saddened by the terror in
Malatya," said Erdogan, adding those responsible will be brought to
justice. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul strongly condemned the
attack before leaving for Belgrade on Thursday to attend a foreign
ministers meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization
(BSEC). "We strongly condemn the attack which actually targeted
Turkey's long-standing tradition of tolerance. We are extremely
uneasy about such events which harm Turkey's image in the world."
The German government condemned "in the sharpest manner" the
murderous attack. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called
on Turkish authorities to do everything "to bring those responsible
to justice." "The circumstances of this incident must be brought to
light," said Steinmeier. Terry Davis, Secretary General of Council
of Europe, strongly condemned the attack which "seems to have
Mainstream Milliyet, under the headline "The nightmare continues,"
links the killings to the murder of Roman Catholic priest Andrea
Santoro in the Black Sea town of Trabzon and the killing of Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink. Mainstream Vatan believes the youngsters
were manipulated by "dark forces." The
intellectual/Islamist-oriented Zaman describes the killings as
"provocation." Zaman columnist Ali Bulac argues the incident was a
"provocation" related to the upcoming presidential elections, saying
the ruling pro-Islamist AKP government was being "dragged into an
environment of violence, provocation and lack of tolerance." The
economic-political daily Referans columnist Cengiz Candar calls the
murders a result of growing hatred and efforts to hush up the
killing of Dink as well as attempts to disrupt the presidential
elections via illegal means.
Gungor Mengi comments in the mainstream daily Vatan: "Given the
recent events, Turkey is doomed to get labeled as a hell for
believers in non-Islamic faiths. The gruesome murder in Malatya
will undoubtedly provoke anti-Turkey sentiment in its all forms in
the Christian world. There is another strange thing about this
murder. There were no protective measures for the victims even
though the constant death threats against these people were known by
the authorities. The intelligence units of Turkey are incapable of
saving the lives of our citizens and undermine Turkey's prestige at
the same time. The suspects will be arrested but it is unlikely
that the real perpetrators which transform 18-year-old youngsters
into bloody murderers will be caught. When will that hideous ghost
[the unknown "real perpetrators"] stop betraying Turkey and the
AKP Asks Erdogan to Stay on as PM
All papers report the ruling AK Party executive board gave Prime
Minister Erdogan full authority to pick the party's candidate in the
presidential election. Papers say approximately 30 members of a
50-member party board want Erdogan to stay on as prime minister but
will support him if he decides to run for president. Analysts say
without Erdogan the AK Party fears losing votes in the forthcoming
parliamentary elections in November. The PM said he will announce a
candidate on April 24 or 25. Erdogan is expected to make his
decision after weekend talks with Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc
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and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
Ralston: Turkey Will Enter Iraq if PKK is not Stopped
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report on a Washington Post op-ed by David Ignatius claiming US
special anti-terror envoy Joseph Ralston told the Bush
administration that at the end of April, Turkey will enter about
eight miles into northern Iraq if the PKK is not stopped. Ralston's
Turkish counterpart Edip Baser told NTV that he conveyed to Ralston
a personal view that Turkey's patience is about to run out, adding
Turkey is left without much option. "I did not set a definite date,
like the end of April, but I said 'in a month,' -- which corresponds
to the end of April."
Court Acquits Policemen over Killing Kurdish Father, Son
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report a
Turkish court acquitted four policemen on Wednesday of charges of
manslaughter over the deaths of a father, Ahmet Kaymaz, and his
12-year-old son, Ugur, in Kiziltepe in the southeastern province of
Mardin in 2004. Police had said the two died accidentally in front
of their home at Kiziltepe during a firefight with the PKK
militants. The four policemen were first removed from their posts
after the killings but were then reassigned to different provinces.
The EU had expressed concern at the killings at the time and urged a
full investigation. Critics said the case demonstrated the
authorities' tolerance to security forces' illegitimate actions in
the mainly Kurdish region.
Court Rejects Erdogan Charge against Humor Magazine
The leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports a court in Ankara
rejected Prime Minister Erdogan's application for a lawsuit to be
filed against the weekly humor magazine Leman, asking for
compensation for drawing the PM as a tick sucking Turkey's blood.
NTV, 6.00 A.M.
- Former mayor of Ankara and deputy speaker of the parliament Ali
Dincer dies at age 62 from an infection, four months after receiving
a liver transplant.
- Opposition leader Erkan Mumcu said Anavatan Party and DYP agree to
form an alliance during the general elections.
- On Thursday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will travel to Belgrade
for a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.
Gul is expected to meet his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis on the
sidelines of the summit.
- Standard & Poors director Farouk Soussa said Prime Minister
Erdogan becoming Turkey's new president will not be a surprise.
- General Yasar Buyukanit, chief of the Turkish General Staff, said
Turkish military flights over the Aegean were conducted within the
framework of international laws, adding violation of the Greek
airspace was out of the question.
- UNHCR will discuss with Turkey and Iraq the closure of Makhmour
refugee camp in northern Iraq at a meeting Friday in Geneva.
- Kurdistan regional administration prime minister Nechirvan Barzani
said Ankara should consider a general amnesty for PKK militants to
lay down their arms and return to Turkey, allowing them to
participate in the political process in Turkey.
- US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said failure in Iraq would
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unleash sectarian strife and extremism and would be felt first in
the Middle East.