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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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

MONDAY, JULY 30, 2007

In Today's Papers

Bagis Warns Turkey will Move against the PKK
All papers report Egemen Bagis, a Member of Parliament and advisor
to Prime Minister Erdogan, said in an interview with The Sunday
Telegraph that Turkey was prepared to launch unilateral operations
against the PKK threatening Turkey from northern Iraq unless its
allies "start doing something." "Our allies should help us with the
threat, which is clear and present. If an ally is not helping you,
you either question their integrity or their ability," Bagis said.
Papers also cite the British daily as noting that Turkey's newly
elected government is "prepared to turn its back on its
long-standing alliance with the United States to counter the threat
of Kurdish terrorism."

Independent Kurdish MPs to Establish DTP Party Group in Parliament
All papers report that on Sunday, independent candidates elected as
members of parliament with the support of the Kurdish DTP, have
joined together as members of the party. Ahmet Turk, independent MP
from Mardin, said the DTP was "aware of its responsibilities,"
adding it would work to strengthen democracy as well as seek a
peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. Turk said they were in the
parliament for reconciliation and dialogue, and added they will not
take their oath in Kurdish. Sirri Sakik, independent MP from Mus,
said just like the [nationalist] MHP, the DTP was a "fact" of this
country. "We will not engage in a fight with the MHP," Sakik
stressed, and added, "MHP chairman Devlet Bahceli is actually much
more sensible compared to CHP's Deniz Baykal." Sakik also said no
amnesty for the PKK would be possible without establishing the
necessary grounds first. Mainstream Milliyet reports that some
Kurdish deputies entered "Turkish" in the space marked "foreign
language" on their application forms. Akin Birdal, independent MP
from Diyarbakir and the former head of Human Rights Organization
(IHD,) has also joined the DTP on the invitation of the party's
former chairman Ahmet Turk. On Monday, the 20 DTP lawmakers are
expected to petition the national assembly to form a party group in
the parliament.

Meanwhile, papers reported over the weekend that according to a new
regulation prepared by the Justice Ministry, members of parliament
will not be free to visit inmates convicted or tried for terrorism
charges. Only members of related parliamentary commissions will be
allowed to conduct such visits after informing the head of their
commission. Papers say the new regulation is intended to block DTP
lawmakers from visiting the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.


Election Analysis
Mainstream Vatan reports on research it conducted to find out what
motivated the voters in last week's Parliamentary election. Vatan
spoke with people from every level of society for three days and
came to the conclusion that the rich people in Turkey voted for the
AKP for stability in the country, intellectuals for democracy and
the poor people for job opportunities. Vatan points out that this is
in sharp contrast to the analysis of the western press who concluded
that votes for the AKP were votes for "moderate Islam" and the
conclusions drawn by Turkish pundits who said the AKP votes were a
"message to the military" from the people.


Editorial Commentary on Turkish Election Results
Okay Gonensin comments in the mainstream Vatan: "People have voted
for peace and stability. Certain rhetoric by other parties such as
having problems with the outside world, making a strong argument for
cross-border operations in Northern Iraq and talking about 'hanging
a terrorist' were not seen as acceptable. Given the anti-EU
sentiment within the two other parties in the new parliament, the
election victory for AKP should also be seen as strong support for
the EU integration process. At this point, the AKP has an important

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role to play especially in the new period ahead. It will be wrong
to say the reason for the election victory was the military's
intervention and the presidential election process. If the AKP acts
based on this argument, it may be misreading the popular votes.
Such a victory is a clear manifestation of the people's search for
reconciliation and a peaceful atmosphere. There are three tasks in
the coming days which will indicate clearly whether AKP has read the
messages correctly: electing a parliament speaker, forming of the
new government and electing the president. These are the major
events that will show the AKP's general approach to the issues
during its second term."


Reaction to AKP Deputy's Comments on Constitutional Changes
Sabah, Milliyet, Vatan, Cumhuriyet and others: Newly elected AKP
Istanbul Deputy Prof. Zafer Uskul proposed that provisions related
with Kemalism be removed from the constitution. Opposition party
CHP leader Deniz Baykal reacted to this proposal by saying that "AKP
scored a goal in the first minute of the game...AKP acted right
after the elections to amend the constitution in the direction of
their own beliefs." Meanwhile, the Ataturk Thought Association also
criticized Uskul and stressed on its web page that "being against
Kemalism, means being against the secular social order."


TV News:
(NTV, 6 A.M.)
Domestic News

- One Turkish soldier was killed and two others were wounded in a
fight between security forces and PKK militants in the southeastern
province of Mardin.

- DSP leader Zeki Sezer said the general elections should not be
seen as a referendum for the presidency of Gul, urging AKP not to
press on.

- On August 1-4, Turkey's Supreme Military Council will hold its
annual meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Erdogan.

International News

- The US Administration is to ask Congress to approve an arms sale
package for Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf countries that is
expected to total USD 20 billion over the next decade.

- Insurgents dressed as women have attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint
west of the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, killing at least three
soldiers.

- Prime Minister Olmert said the US is committed to ensuring
Israel's military supremacy over Arab countries.


WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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