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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001203

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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
FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2007


In Today's Papers

CHP, DSP Agree on Election Pact
All papers report following talks on Thursday, opposition parties
CHP and DSP leaders Deniz Baykal and Zeki Sezer announced their
decision to cooperate in the parliamentary elections to be held July
22. According to the deal between the two parties, DSP candidates
will run on the CHP card in the elections without necessarily
resigning from their party. Sezer said he will not run for
parliament, and added that after the elections, DSP and CHP would
continue cooperation as two separate groups in the parliament. The
move follows a similar electoral pact between center-right parties
Anavatan and DYP as Turkey gears up for the July election.

Former Kurdish MPs' DTP Membership Cancelled; Law on Independent
Candidates Approved
All papers report Turkey's Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor's Office
has issued an official warning to the mainly Kurdish DTP that former
DEP members could not be included on DTP membership rolls. The
prosecutor said former [pro-Kurdish] DEP MPs including Leyla Zana,
Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Dogan had been found guilty of
terrorism-related charges, making it illegitimate for them to join
political parties. The Turkish High Election Board (YSK) will rule
whether they can run for parliament as independent candidates in the
July 22 general elections.

Meanwhile, President Sezer approved a law that calls for inclusion
of names of independent candidates in the combined ballot papers in
the general elections. The bill was criticized by commentators for
being an attempt to block Kurdish candidates from entering
parliament, underlining that enforcement will make it more difficult
for the less educated supporters of DTP in east and southeast Turkey
to pick out their candidates on an already long and confusing ballot
list. Former Kurdish MPs told the press the court made a political
decision, stressing they would take the issue to the European Court
of Human Rights (ECHR).

Editorial Commentary: Elections
Ali Bayramoglu writes in the Islamist-oriented daily Yeni Safak:
"Turkey is heading toward polarization and the picture before or
after the elections will not change unless the country resolves its
fundamental problems. Normalization is what Turkey needs but it
looks like the election mottos of the two leading parties, AKP and
CHP, will be 'democracy at stake' and 'regime at stake'
respectively. In the election aftermath, regardless of the results
Turkey is going to face the Kurdish issue and strong nationalism
even though neither of them is a part of the debate right now. The
mainly Kurdish DTP decided to run their parliament candidates as
independents. However as long as the official policy line regarding
the Kurdish issue remains the same, independent (Kurdish) members of
parliament run the risk of creating new tension, not solving the
issue. If the election process is made tougher for independents,
which both the AKP and CHP support, then the Kurdish issue will
inevitably lead to a point of growing conflict. Turkish politics is
trying to expand itself on one hand while narrowing its limits on
the other."

Guneri Civaoglu writes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "The
election alliances on the center right and center left are
historically important, and have the potential to change the course
of the upcoming elections. In the last elections, in 2002, the DYP
had the potential of 30 percent representation in the parliament if
it hadn't been for the 10 percent threshold requirement. The
alliance by DYP and ANAP as well as DSP and CHP will be able to
produce some results which might change Turkey's political destiny.
Their cooperation will certainly give a big impetus to unhappy or
undecided voters. Given the current situation, it is almost certain
that three parties will be represented in the parliament, namely
AKP, CHP-DSP, and DYP-ANAP. There is also a strong possibility that
MHP will exceed the ten percent threshold and that independent names

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on behalf of DTP could win. All of those are strong possibilities
and remind us of a fact that Turkish politics has witnessed before
-- one party, in this case AKP, can enjoy as much as 40 percent of
the votes but not have enough seats to be the ruling party."

Operations against PKK along Turkey-Iraq Border Continue
Milliyet, Sabah, Zaman and others: Mainstream Sabah reports that
around 20,000 Turkish troops increased their activities in
operations against the PKK along the Turkey-Iraq border. In order
to prevent the infiltration of PKK terrorists, troops have been
deployed at strategic points along the border to form a buffer zone.
Many tanks with long-range missiles have been dispatched to the
region. Islamist-oriented Zaman says that Turkish Security Forces
are on the alert because the PKK's self-declared cease-fire expires
on May 18. Mainstream Milliyet reports that the operations are
backed by Sikorsky and Cobra helicopters, as well as F-16 jets.

One Year Anniversary of Danistay Assassination Commemorated
All papers report on memorial ceremonies for Yucel Ozbilgin, a
member of the Turkish Council of State (Danistay) who was killed in
an armed attack one year ago. The Supreme Court did not invite the
any members of the AKP government to the ceremony held at the
Council of State headquarters.

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has rejected a proposal coming from
the French President Sarkozy to form a "Mediterranean Union," urging
the EU to honor its pledges to Turkey.

- The Turkish Parliament has approved a bill to establish new
universities in 17 provinces.

- A mass gathering, one in a series of rallies in support of the
secular republic, will be held in the Black Sea city of Samsun on
May 20.

- The second "Iraq International Fair" will be held in the
southeastern city of Gaziantep from May 23-27 under the auspices of
the Iraqi Ministry of Trade and Forum Exhibitions.

International News

- The US State Department confirmed on Thursday senior US and
Iranian officials will meet in Baghdad on May 28 to discuss the
security situation in Iraq.

- Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended the
"special relationship" with the US, warning it would be a "dark day"
for Britain if it was ever abandoned by Washington.

- A decades-old rift in the Russian Orthodox Church was mended when
Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Laurus, who heads the exiled,
New York-based Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, signed
Thursday a "historic" unification act in a ceremony in Moscow.

- A report by the Royal Institute for International Affairs says the
Iraqi government is now powerless in many parts of the country,
warning Iraq faces the distinct possibility of collapse and
fragmentation.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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