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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
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2007


In Today's Papers

Gul Fails to Receive Enough Votes for President; Second Round Set
for August 24
All papers report that on Monday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul won
341 votes in the first round of the presidential election in the
parliament, short of the 367 needed to become president. The
opposition CHP boycotted yesterday's voting, but the required quorum
of 367 was achieved when the MHP decided to take part in the
parliament. The leader of the far-right party BBP Muhsin Yazicioglu
and an independent MP voted for Gul. MHP candidate Sabahattin
Cakmakoglu won 70 votes, and DSP candidate Tayfun Icli 13 votes. A
second round of voting has been set for August 24 when 367 votes are
required again; but in the third round to be held August 28, Gul is
expected to win as only a simple majority (276 votes) will suffice
to elect the new president.

Baykal won't Debate 'Legitimacy' of Presidential Election
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, and Cumhuriyet report CHP leader Deniz
Baykal defended his party's boycotting of the voting, saying the CHP
did not want to take responsibility for the process of making Turkey
a "moderate Islamic country." "The danger is clear, we are creating
a monster in the laboratory," Baykal said. Baykal, however, also
noted that since the election was held under constitutional rules,
the CHP would not question its legitimacy if Gul is elected
president. "CHP has made no attempts outside democracy, such as
expecting an intervention from the military. Our secular republic
of 80 years has begun to go backward in the last 15 years, and this
change will speed up after the election of a president," Baykal
said.

Leftist ODP leader Ufuk Uras said the CHP decision to boycott the
presidential elections was "childish and undemocratic." Kurdish DTP
deputies left their ballots blank, declining to vote for Gul, saying
they did not receive clear messages from him with regard to the
Kurdish issue.

Editorial Commentary on Gul as President
Gungor Mengi writes in the mainstream daily Vatan: "Presidential
candidate Gul is making some interesting remarks during his meetings
to garner support. He promises to represent everybody. Something
is wrong with this approach. The President of Turkey cannot be
impartial between those who are loyal to the secular republic and
those who work for an Islamist fundamentalist system. Given his
background related to the use of the headscarf as a political
symbol, it will be very interesting to see to what extent he can be
neutral on this matter. He will undoubtedly go through a
challenging period in the presidential seat because of mounting
prejudices against him based on his past record. In any case, we
should give him credit and a helping hand to prevent him from
falling into the hands of extremists."

Oktay Eksi writes in the mainstream daily Hurriyet: "Electing a
president is now only a formality. Once the process is concluded
Gul will be the new president. He should consider himself the
leader of 70 million people, just like a conductor of a giant
orchestra. His success depends on his skill at comprehending the
laws and regulations well and using the state instruments fairly.
If he favors one or two parts of society rather than the entire
people, he will be held accountable by history. Gul is moving
toward a challenging period. During his term, whether the modern
Turkish Republic will be at stake or not is the main question.
There might be signs of compromise in the nature of his political
past, but we just don't remember any record of his good governance
when critical times emerged. Time will reveal the truth."

Turkey-Iran Electricity Deal
All papers report Energy Minister Hilmi Guler told the press Monday
on his return from Tehran that Turkey has signed a deal with Iran to
import an annual 3-6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from the

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Islamic Republic. "Technical teams from both countries are still
meeting regarding the construction of these lines to be completed
within one year," Guler said, adding that the deal also included
plans for Turkey's private sector to construct a 10,000 megawatt
hydroelectric power plant. Officials said three power plants will
be built in both countries which would have a total capacity of
6,000 mw. They noted that in July, Turkey and Iran signed a
memorandum of understanding for USD 3.5 billion worth of Turkish
investment in Iran's South Pars gas field. The deal will turn Iran
into a transport country for Turkmen gas to flow to Turkey.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says the deal signed with Iran, "a
new Blue Stream agreement," would not allow Turkey to sell natural
gas to third countries.

Bryza Rejects Ambassadorial Assignment in Greek Cyprus
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet and Posta: Papers report that State
Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Bryza will be getting
married to Hudson Institute's Zeyno Baran this Thursday in Istanbul.
Reportedly, the State Department offered DAS Bryza the
Ambassadorial position in Nicosia. However, Bryza rejected the
assignment with a concern that Greek-Cypriots could react negatively
to his being married to a Turk. Tabloid Posta headlines "He Prefers
Love." Mainstream Milliyet reports that on their wedding
invitation, the Bryza-Baran couple stressed that presents should not
be sent to the wedding; instead, money should be donated to
Milliyet's "Dad, Send me to School" campaign for the education of
disadvantaged children, mainly girls, in Turkey.

Democratic Presidential Candidates in the US Debate Turkey's Role in
Iraq
Star, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah: Papers report that during a
presidential debate in Iowa on Sunday, leading Democratic
presidential candidates did not agree on how Turkey would react in
case of an early US troop withdrawal from Iraq. New York Senator
Hilary Clinton said that "Turkey would not allow US troops to go
through their territory in case of a pull out, as they did not allow
the troops to enter Iraq through Turkey." New Mexico Governor Bill
Richardson disagreed with Clinton and proposed an all-Muslim force
in Iraq, including Turks, and an early withdrawal. Senate's Foreign
Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden resisted Richardson's call
for an early withdrawal and said "If we leave Iraq in chaos, there
will be a regional war. It will bring, Saudis, Iranians and Turks
into Iraq." Biden reiterated his earlier proposal to divide Iraq
into three autonomous zones for Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Illinois
Senator Barack Obama said that he generally agreed with Biden's
proposal but this should be done by the Iraqis rather than as
something imposed by the US.

TV Highlights
NTV, 7.00 A.M.

Domestic News

- President Sezer has toured key state institutions to bid farewell
before handing over his post to the new president.

- Alevi writer and AKP MP Reha Camuroglu and pro-Kurdish DTP leader
Ahmet Turk called for the sacking of Yusuf Halacoglu, chairman of
Turkish History Institution, for saying Kurds in Turkey were of
Turkmen and Alevis of Armenian origin.

- The third round of collective bargaining talks between the
government and public servants' labor unions is to be held
Wednesday.

- The Capital Markets Board said Turkey survived the recent global
economic turmoil with minimal losses.

International News


ANKARA 00002167 003 OF 003


- French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has arrived in Baghdad
for a three day visit at the invitation of President Talabani.

- The radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said the British army
has been defeated in Iraq and is left with no option but to retreat
from the country.

- The Guardian said the PKK-affiliated PJAK was "the fastest growing
armed resistance group in Iran."

- Climate change campaigners clashed Monday with riot police at
Heathrow during a demonstration to protest against plans for a third
runway at one of Europe's busiest airports.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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