Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
DE RUEHAK #1024/01 1211401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011401Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1916
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8026
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 2612
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1908
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5888
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 5655
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2266
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001024
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007
In Today's Papers
Presidential Debates Continue in Turkey
All papers report that the ruling AKP is awaiting the result of the
Constitutional Court deliberation on opposition CHP's application
for a suspension of presidential election, while the opposition has
renewed its call for an early election to resolve the crisis. The
court decision is due on Tuesday or early Wednesday. The
"rapporteur" for the Constitutional Court has recommended the court
reject the CHP challenge to the presidential election, but the
recommendation is not binding. Parliament is due to hold a second
round of voting in the presidential election on Wednesday. If the
voting goes ahead as planned, Gul, the only candidate standing, is
expected to win the presidency in the third round on May 9.
CHP leader Deniz Baykal, speaking to press yesterday, said it's
important that the Constitutional Court deliver "a ruling which
would prevent Turkey from drifting into a crisis." Dengir Mir
Mehmet Firat, a prominent figure in the ruling AKP, accused Baykal
of threatening the high court. Opposition Anavatan Party leader
Erkan Mumcu urged Abdullah Gul to withdraw his candidacy without
waiting for the high court's decision. "Gul's withdrawal will open
the way to democracy," Mumcu told press yesterday. Prime Minister
Erdogan appealed for national unity in a television address on
Monday night, stressing continuing Turkey's strong economic growth
requires stability and peace.
Mainstream Vatan says political sources in Ankara cite August 5 as a
possible date for early elections, while the AKP believes a poll
could be held on July 1 or 8 if preparations are completed on time.
After two mass meetings in Ankara and Istanbul in defense of
secularism and democracy in Turkey, similar protests are to be held
in the Aegean cities of Manisa and Izmir in the first half of May,
Rattled by the military's threat to intervene in the presidential
process, say papers, Turkish financial markets recorded their
biggest decline in a year on Monday.
Editorial Commentary on Turkish Democracy
Oral Calislar writes in the leftist-nationalist daily Cumhuriyet:
"We have to face reality. Unless Turkey goes through a fundamental
system change, the crisis will never end. Turkey's current
political system, a product of the September 12, 1980, coup, plays a
role in preventing Turkey from becoming a developed, progressive
country. It seems the current crisis in the parliament will only be
transferred to the next parliament, whatever the composition. In
other words, elections under the current system will bring only an
interim solution. If Turkey changes its Election Law and Political
Parties Law, it can facilitate a solid democracy which also will be
a reassurance for eliminating worries about secularism."
Sahin Alpay wrote in the Islamist-intellectual daily Zaman:
"Secularism requires showing respect for all faiths and treating
then equally. It can only be safe under a democratic regime.
Expanding freedoms and democracy will help secularism be adopted by
the vast majority. The ruling AKP has its share of responsibility
for the [April 27] military warning. It was obvious from the very
beginning that the presidential election should be carried out
through consensus between the ruling party and the opposition,
between the civilian and military bureaucracies. It was also
obvious that in the absence of consensus, a general election would
be necessary. Yet the AKP treated the matter as if it was an
internal party issue."
Sezer Brings Together Karzai, Musharraf
All papers report President Sezer hosted a meeting with Afghan and
Pakistan presidents Hamid Karzai and Pervez Musharraf in Ankara on
Monday. Karzai and Musharraf issued a joint statement, the Ankara
Declaration, which reiterates the two leaders' commitment to
ANKARA 00001024 002 OF 003
fighting all forms of "extremism and terrorism through coordinated
action." "The two leaders agreed to further strengthen bilateral
ties, respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in each
others' internal affairs," the declaration said. Karzai and
Musharraf also called for concerted efforts to tackle increased
poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, underlining its role in spreading
drug trafficking and organized crime in the region.
Journalists Sued under Article 301
Liberal Radikal reports following an application by Turkish Justice
Ministry, a prosecutor in Istanbul has filed under Article 301, the
law that makes it illegal to "insult Turkishness," a lawsuit against
journalists Lale Sariibrahimoglu and Ahmet Sik for "discouraging
Turkish citizens from military service" in an interview in the
political weekly magazine Nokta after the murder of Armenian-Turkish
journalist Hrant Dink. Sariibrahimoglu, a senior defense
correspondent working for Jane's Defense Weekly and other
publications, reportedly discussed the conflict between Turkish
military and police in the interview with Sik. Prosecutors also
launched another lawsuit under Article 301 against Nokta
correspondent Banu Uzpeder for an interview they held on the
anniversary of gendarmerie operations against political prisoners.
The operations, which occurred about ten years ago, resulted in the
killing of scores of political prisoners.
Turkish Truck Drivers Abducted in Iraq
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report gunmen
from the insurgent "Tawhid al-Jihad" group set fire to 15 fuel
trucks on the Samarra-Ramadi highway south of Kirkuk on Sunday and
kidnapped all the drivers including two Turks. Over the weekend,
two Turkish truck drivers were killed near Tikrit.
US Annual Intellectual Property Rights Report
Mainstream Milliyet reports 12 countries including Turkey have been
listed in the US annual Intellectual Property Rights report as
countries under the "priority watch list," for failing to protect
producers of copyrighted, patented and trademarked materials, such
as movies, music, and computer programs.
NTV, 7.00 A.M.
- Istanbul's governor has enforced a security clampdown around
Taksim Square to prevent May Day rallies on Tuesday, rejecting labor
unions' request to demonstrate in the city centre. Some 17,000
policemen have been stationed across the city.
- Independent MPs Hakki Akalin, Ersoy Bulut and Mustafa Sayar have
urged the AKP government to call early polls.
- Prosecutor demands 216-year prison sentence for former Housing
Minister Koray Aydin accused of rigging state auctions.
- CHP MP Inal Baku has resigned from his party and joined opposition
- EU term president Germany has called on Turkey to uphold
democracy. EU officials said the Turkish government should take
into account the democratic protests voiced at a rally in Istanbul
- The Financial Times says as Turkey ponders a military incursion
into northern Iraq against the PKK, the US warned Ankara to learn a
lesson from Israel's "strategic defeat" in Lebanon last summer.
- French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Europe and
ANKARA 00001024 003 OF 003
France attach special importance to protection of secularism in
- Five British men with links to al-Qaida have been sentenced to
life in prison after being found guilty of plotting a series of bomb
attacks in Britain.