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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
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2008

In Today's Papers

Court Suspends YOK Order Concerning Turban in Universities
All papers report the Council of State (Danistay), which is the High
Court of Administrative Appeals, suspended a controversial
headscarf-related directive yesterday. Higher Education Board (YOK)
President Yusuf Ziya Ozcan distributed the order, which instructed
all university rectors to allow students wearing headscarves to
enter campuses and classes. The order was distributed the Sunday
after parliament passed constitutional reforms regarding the turban.
The Danistay determined the law does not provide sole authority to
the YOK President to issue such directives, which renders this order
ineffective. Mainstream Hurriyet expects the court decision will
end the turban controversy in universities.

Papers Speculate Admiral Fallon Resigns over Iran
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak
and others report Centcom Commander Admiral William Fallon, "the
commander who suggested Turkey negotiate with the PKK," has
resigned. Papers speculate Fallon resigned over disagreements with
the Bush Administration about a possible war with Iran. Mainstream
Milliyet writes in "The Commander Who Suggests Negotiations with the
PKK Resigned," noting "the common opinion concerning the reason for
his resignation is he disagrees with George Bush's politics
concerning Iran." Leftist nationalist Cumhuriyet reports in "He
went against the Iran Political Line: A Surprise Resignation from
Fallon, Who Wanted Negotiations with the PKK," that "Esquire
Magazine ran an article which called Fallon 'the only voice against
a military response to Iran.'" Liberal Radikal reports in "Fallon
Leaves; Is a War with Iran Coming?" that Fallon has said "the Iraq
war is the biggest obstacle," to US military action against Iran,
but that "Bush and Cheney are expected to say they will strike Iran
this year." Islamist-oriented Zaman writes, "Fallon surprised
people with his resignation yesterday."

Cheney Due in Turkey to Seek Support on Iran, Afghanistan
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Taraf, Zaman, Yeni Safak and
others report Turkey will be the last stop in Vice President Dick
Cheney's Middle East tour, which begins March 16. Papers comment
Cheney will ask for Turkey's support for moves against Iran, and is
expected to discuss missile defense and Afghanistan.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports the topics in "Cheney's
handbag," include "missile defense in Eastern Europe, new sanctions
against Iran, the PKK problem, Israel-Palestine, and cross-border
operations into northern Iraq."

Islamist-oriented Zaman writes Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell
confirmed press reports Defense Secretary Robert Gates told
President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan the US wants to install
missile defense systems in Turkey "against possible missile attacks
from Iran."

Polemic Continues Between the PM and the Opposition
All papers report that the prime minister and the leaders of the
opposition continued their debates over controversial military and
political issues. Prime Minister Erdogan focused on the
controversial social security reform bill. Erdogan accused labor
unions of telling lies and said "Turkey cannot afford to delay
social security reform any further; we cannot carry this burden any
longer. When the social security reform bill enters into effect,
all workers' rights will be protected." Leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet reports that Chairman of the DISK (Revolutionary Labor
Union) Suleyman Celebi said, "the government is attacking pension
and health care rights which he qualified as the 'twin towers' for
workers." During his speech at the CHP parliamentary group meeting,
Deniz Baykal targeted the government and said, "the land operation
in northern Iraq had ended sooner than planned because of the
influence of the US." In response to PM Erdogan's criticism that
the opposition party CHP should have solved the Qandil problem when
they were in power, CHP Leader Baykal retorted, "The problem with

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Qandil emerged during the AKP government's administration, not ours.
You are responsible for Qandil." MHP leader Bahceli addressed his
party's parliamentary group and ended the arguments between the TGS
and the opposition parties. He said, "the Turkish Military
conducted its task with success; it is the AKP government that
should be held accountable on this issue. During the land operation
into northern Iraq, the US consciously put pressure on Turkey and
the PM could not hold up under US pressure."

A New Process Commences Regarding DTP
Sabah, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Yeni Safak, Cumhuriyet and others:
Mainstream Sabah gives extensive front page coverage to the mainly
Kurdish DTP delegation that was received by the State offices. The
headline reads, "A New Process in Ankara." Papers report that the
state doors, which have been closed to the Democratic Social Party
(DTP) for months, are now opening one after another. Following
their meetings with the Speaker of the Parliament Koksal Toptan and
Minister Cemil Cicek, DTP members were received by President Gul
yesterday. Reportedly, during the meeting with the Parliament
Speaker Koksal Toptan, the speaker warned that the DTP should
distance itself from the PKK. The DTP delegation asked for
constitutional freedoms and cultural rights. Mainstream Hurriyet
describes the DTP meeting with President Gul as "historic."
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says that DTP officials requested an
appointment from PM Erdogan but Erdogan passed the request on to
Deputy PM Cemil Cicek.

Meanwhile, papers report that Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor
Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya presented his arguments regarding DTP's
closure to the Constitutional Court yesterday. He emphasized that
the DTP should be closed down, urgently, and that the evidence
presented is enough to close the party. He also call for a
political ban on 220 people, including Ahmet Turk, Aysel Tugluk,
Osman Baydemir and Nurettin Demirtas.

Editorial Commentary on the Upcoming NATO Summit in Bucharest

"Water and Security"
Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah (3/12): "The correlation
between environment and security has become a major priority for
NATO. The upcoming NATO summit has listed security threats posed by
global warming as one of its top priorities. Prior to the NATO
summit, EU leaders will get a chance to discuss the same issue a
great deal. The leaders of 27 nations will assess a report
concluding that global warming will impact international security.
The report, prepared by EU representative Javier Solana, has some
nightmarish conclusions, including mass migration and massive
floods. Solana even predicts some countries will be wiped off the
map due to rising ocean levels. The means the planet is, in fact,
moving toward a point of no return. The EU report mentions Turkey
and the Middle East specifically, warning about serious social and
political destabilization due to a shortage in water resources.
Given the environmental developments around the world, it seems that
we are heading toward a global war for water. There is an urgent
need for the establishment of a new international organization, like
the UN, in order to control water resources around the world and to
treat them as common possession of humanity."

"NATO Summit"
Umur Talu commented in mainstream Sabah (3/12): "We have every
right to ask our leaders: Will Turkey send combat troops to
Afghanistan? Why is Cheney visiting Ankara? What are his demands?
Are we going to say "no" if he asks Turkey to send combat troops to
Afghanistan? The upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest will address the
Afghanistan issue extensively. Of the 26 NATO member countries,
only 9 have troops in the combat zone of Afghanistan. These nine
countries are threatening to withdraw their troops unless others
contribute forces to the combat zone. As the US Joint Chiefs of
Staff and the UN Secretary General say, the clashes in Afghanistan
are getting worse. With this in mind, it seems inevitable that

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Ankara will be asked to send combat troops to Afghanistan. However,
it is not clear how the Turkish leadership will react to such a
demand. If Turkey complies with such a demand, we citizens will
have every right to question this judgment."

TV Highlights
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- Labor unions in Izmir staged protests against current proposals
for social security reforms.

- The Diyarbakir prosecutor demands prison sentences of up to two
years for 56 pro-Kurdish DTP mayors. The mayors sent a letter to
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen which asked the Danish
government not to close Roj TV. This broadcast station is based in
Copenhagen and is largely viewed as the mouthpiece of the PKK.

- The Diyarbakir prosecutor demands a five-year prison sentence for
Mayor Osman Baydemir in connection with a speech delivered in a
Kurdish meeting in London.

International News

- Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said he expects the
upcoming elections will confirm the policy that only a Serbia that
includes Kosovo can continue towards European integration.

- On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan held talks with his Iraqi
counterpart Hoshyar Zebari during the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) meetings in Dakar, Senegal.

- Turkish Cyprus is preparing to open a trade and business office in
Tel Aviv.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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