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Cablegate: Turkish Leaders Deplore Bomb Attack

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DE RUEHAK #1265 1440555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240555Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2249
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
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RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS ANKARA 001265

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV TU
SUBJECT: TURKISH LEADERS DEPLORE BOMB ATTACK

REF: ANKARA 1249

1. (U) Summary and comment. Turkish leaders, including,
notably, pro-Kurdish politicians, roundly condemned the May
22 bombing in downtown Ankara that killed six and injured
over 90 persons (reftel). PM Erdogan denounced terrorism and
called for solidarity, as did main opposition Republican
People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. President Sezer
issued a strong statement condemning the attack and
terrorism. Chief of General Staff General Buyukanit, along
with Erdogan and Baykal, was among the first to arrive at the
scene after the bombing and spoke to the press about the
likelihood of terrorism; it was the first time a CHOD had
surveyed the scene of such a bombing. Turkey's Human Rights
Association (HRA) and other NGOs and labor unions have come
out with forceful condemnations. The HRA organized a
commemoration May 23 in Istanbul, noteworthy in that many in
the state apparatus have long suspected the HRA of sympathy
for the terrorist PKK. The tragedy may have the unintended
consequence of unifying, at least briefly, Turkey's polarized
society. End summary and comment.

2. (U) During May 23 remarks in Istanbul, a haggard-looking
Erdogan stressed the tragedy's impact on the entire nation.
"Terrorism is our common problem," he said, urging Turks to
respond with unity and togetherness. Parliament's speaker
Bulent Arinc echoed the call for unity, "It is time to leave
aside political strife and fights; the fight against
terrorism is a common fight..." Center-right True Path Party
(DYP) chairman Mehmet Agar called the attack a "hideous
action aimed at innocent people," and said Turkey should not
be pulled into domestic strife. CHOD Buyukanit impliedly
fingered the PKK, directing questioners to look at the
institutions behind the terror organization. Nationalist
Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli alone opted for
partisan politics, warning that the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP) would pay a heavy price for what he
termed "weakening Turkey's fight against terrorism", and
pitched his extreme nationalist party as the one that would
eradicate terrorism and prevent the country's division.

3. (SBU) Pro-Kurdish politicians spoke out as well.
Diyarbakir's mayor Osman Baydemir was quick to deplore the
bombing and conveyed his condolences to all Turks. Mass
killings and blind violence will accomplish nothing, he said,
adding, "What they wanted to create was chaos, instability
and terror..." On May 23, pro-Kurdish Democratic Society
Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Turk joined with several leftist
party leaders at a press conference, "protesting" the
explosion as an "inhumane violent act". Media present
characterized the group as having condemned the bombing.
They also urged the government to ensure the July 22
elections take place peacefully, despite provocations and
anti-democratic actions.

4. (U) Several labor unions and NGOs strongly condemned the
bombing. After visiting the site, HRA president Yusuf Alatas
said, on behalf of HRA and four other human rights NGOs,
"...the fight against terrorism should be conducted through
democracy, supremacy of law, human rights and social peace."
Methods that increase tension and harm democracy should be
avoided. Five labor unions issued separate statements
labeling the attack as an attempt to destabilize the country
and calling for unity. During this election period, "our
political parties and NGOs should leave aside their own
interests, expectations, election tactics, individual and
party views and insistently and courageously challenge
terrorism...," the Confederation of Turkish employers' Union
(TISK) declared.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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