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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002288

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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, SEPTEMBER 4, 2007


In Today's Papers

Parliament Debates AKP Government Program
All papers report the Turkish Parliament debated the ruling AKP
government's program on Monday, ahead of a vote of confidence to be
held September 5. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, deputy chairman of the CHP
parliamentary group, said on behalf of his party that the program
forgot about future goals and over-praised past practices. "The AKP
government failed to control the shadow economy, and they did not
explain how the struggle against corruption will be conducted,"
Kilicdaroglu said. He also criticized PM Erdogan for putting the
press under pressure. Devlet Bahceli, the leader of far-right MHP,
said the greatest challenge Turkey faces today was "terror and
ethnic separatism." "Turkey has become a country of corruption,
irregular gain, and lawlessness. Religious beliefs should not be
used against the republic of Turkey," Bahceli emphasized. Main
Kurdish party DTP leader Ahmet Turk slammed the AKP government for
not realizing the importance of votes it received from citizens in
eastern and southeastern Turkey.

"We are seeking a solution without debating Turkey's unity," Turk
said, "we want to contribute to a Turkey that has resolved its
Kurdish problem, developed its democracy, established a strong
economy and has become an example of peace and freedoms in the
region."

Prime Minister Erdogan said in defense of the program that the AKP
votes have increased because the nation sees it as a successful
government. The PM urged DTP lawmakers to classify the PKK as a
terrorist organization. "The EU and the US accept the PKK as a
terrorist organization, but some in this assembly do not," Erdogan
said. Responding to DTP claims that the votes the AKP received in
southeast Turkey would prove "transient," Erdogan said those who
claim this should have entered the general elections under their own
party, referring to the fact that DTP candidates ran as independents
in the elections.

President Gul's Social Calendar
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Vatan, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report that on Tuesday, newly-installed President Abdullah Gul will
hold a reception for state officials at the presidential palace.
The main opposition CHP said its members would not attend the
reception. The far-right MHP is reportedly still evaluating whether
or not to participate. Pro-Kurdish DTP will participate, papers
report, whereas center-left DSP leader Zeki Sezer said he would be
out of town and unable to attend. Papers say Gul is to hold another
reception at the palace for media, civic organizations, and business
representatives September 7.

Meanwhile, papers report Gul is planning to attend the UN General
Assembly meeting in New York at the end of the month.

Claims of Chemical Weapons Used against the PKK Investigated
Milliyet, Vatan, Radikal and others report the prosecutor's office
in Uludere in the southeastern province of Sirnak will launch an
investigation into Kurdish party DTP's claims that Turkish military
used chemical weapons against PKK members during an operation in the
region August 24.

US-Made Weapons Seized in Hakkari
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak and others
report police in Hakkari seized 30 weapons and 34 cartridges
smuggled from Iraq during a security operation in the southeastern
city. Two suspects were arrested.

Editorial Commentary: Turkey's Image after Presidential Election
Sami Kohen commented in the mainstream Milliyet: "Even though
secularism and religious factors did not determine the result of the
latest election, the election brought these issues to the surface
indirectly, exhibiting a new image of Turkey. At the moment, the

ANKARA 00002288 002 OF 002


only new thing is the headscarf of the new first lady. However, the
foreign press continues commenting on the new era in Turkey: seeing
a strengthening of Islamic powers and declining secularism. What
will the impact of this kind of image on Turkey's foreign relations
be? The European public will consider this new image, with its bent
toward an Islamic regime, rather repulsive. However, this opinion
changes when it comes to government policies. Within this
framework, Gul's presidency will not have a negative impact on the
EU. On the contrary, the signals coming from Brussels and the other
EU capitals reflect the governments' trust that the AKP government
and President Gul will accelerate the EU membership process. In
other words, EU officials, for now at least, are not able to see the
diminishing secularism and approaching Islamic regime in Turkey. If
we are not wrong in our feelings, this situation is valid for the US
and for many other countries. Especially for Washington, the most
important thing is to have an administration in Ankara which will
continue to have democracy and stability in the country, will be in
harmony with the western world and won't cause any problems in
bilateral relations. The Islamic world embraces Turkey's new image
very willingly."

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

- On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband will arrive
in Turkey for a two-day official visit to meet with President Gul,
Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Babacan.

- Turkey Peace Assembly, a civilian group aiming for a solution to
the Kurdish problem through peaceful and democratic channels, held
its first convention over the weekend. The Assembly called for
affirmative action for economic development in southeast Turkey and
the establishment of a parliamentary commission to deal with the
Kurdish question.

- Turkish security reported Monday 159 terrorists were killed and
203 were captured during operations since January.

International News

- President Bush paid a surprise visit to al-Anbar Province in Iraq
where he signaled US withdrawal as British troops pull out of Basra.


- Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders Papadopoulos and Talat are to
meet in Nicosia on September 5 in a first gathering between the two
in a year.

- Turkish Foreign Ministry (MFA) Spokesman Levent Bilman welcomed
the US Defense Department statement that Pentagon chief inspector
retired General Claude Kicklighter will go to Baghdad to investigate
the missing US-origin weapons in Iraq.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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