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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
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2008


In Today's Papers

AKP Plans for Averting Closure Case
All papers report the ruling AKP is working on constitutional
changes in an effort to make party closures difficult. According to
the new regulations planned by the AKP, a party involved in
"unconstitutional activities" will be warned by the prosecutor. If
the warning is ignored, a closure suit could be filed. Party
officials will be held responsible individually for "activities
against secularism and the republic," which will relieve parties
from punishment for such acts. Parties will face charges only if
they refuse to expel members involved in illegal activities. The
parliament's approval will be needed for the chief prosecutor to
file a suit for the disbanding of a party. Mainstream Vatan says
AKP has dropped plans to change the structure of the Constitutional
Court.

AKP has submitted to MHP its proposal for legal reforms. If the MHP
declines to support the reforms, AKP will submit the issue to the
parliament next week and will pass the reforms in the first half of
April. Papers don't expect the MHP to support the proposal since
the changes will relieve not only the AKP but also the pro-Kurdish
DTP, which also faces a closure case. Liberal Radikal believes the
reforms might not help block the suit for the closure of AKP since
the legal process has already started.


Opposition CHP plans to apply to the Constitutional Court for the
annulment of constitutional reforms related to the banning of
political parties. CHP leader Deniz Baykal said, "The AKP is
creating its own justice; it will turn the constitution into a dress
that will fit its own body." Baykal warned against political
attempts for altering the main pillars of the system and the
constitutional order to their own ends. "The AKP is accused of
violating the constitution. The situation in Turkey is different
than Europe. Religious exploitation would turn everything upside
down in politics. This sensitivity was reflected in the
constitution when the Republic was founded," said Baykal.

Law Faculties, High Court Chief Support Prosecutor Yalcinkaya
All papers report the deans of 26 law faculties have released a
joint statement saying prosecutors were not parties in the lawsuits
they file, and that prosecutors couldn't be criticized for
fulfilling their responsibilities. The deans stressed "the
judiciary should be protected in order to protect the state."

Court of Appeals chairman Hasan Gerceker has also extended support
to chief prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya. Gerceker warned the AKP
to consider the effect of their statements, and to think before they
speak up. "Instead of politicizing law, politicians should abide by
laws. There is no democracy if there is no law," stressed Gerceker,
who called on all to act with common sense.


VP Cheney Urged NATO for more Troops to Afghanistan
Sabah, Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Aksam and others: Tabloid
Aksam's headline reads "Cheney Looked for a Suitable Place for
Turkish Troops in Afghanistan," and the article reports Vice
President Cheney included Afghanistan in his program at the last
minute. The Turkish press predicts that Cheney will insist on
additional Turkish combat troops to Afghanistan to fight against the
Taliban. Mainstream Hurriyet reports that Cheney is expected to ask
Ankara to send additional troops to Afghanistan during his visit to
Ankara on Monday. The issue raises the question of whether or not
parliamentary authorization will be required if the government
responds this request positively. MFA sources said that the 2001
motion would be sufficient, but added that the last word would be
with the Turkish General Staff. Mainstream Sabah reports that the
U.S. security officials arriving in Ankara prior to the visit of the
Vice President insisted on placing snipers on the rooftops, but

ANKARA 00000552 002 OF 003


Turkish security rejected the proposal by saying the Turkish
National Police will provide security. The paper adds that the
Chief of General Staff, General Buyukanit delayed his plans to visit
northern Cyprus in order to meet with VP Cheney. Mainstream
Hurriyet writes, "America will want NATO allies to give more
powerful support for Afghanistan," and, "Cheney has begun to lobby
NATO allies to send more combat troops as the upcoming NATO summit
in Bucharest approaches." Islamist-oriented Zaman writes in "We
Will Pressure NATO for More Soldiers in Afghanistan," that VP
Cheney, "made a surprise visit to Afghanistan as he wanted to make a
joint demand, with Afghan President Karzai, for more NATO support in
Afghanistan." Liberal Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin notes, "Cheney
never visits a country empty-handed. What does he have up his
sleeve? Missile defense against Russia? An energy agreement between
Turkey and Iraq? PKK? Demands for combat troops in Afghanistan?"

Shocking Developments in Hrant Dink Murder Case
All papers: Mainstream Hurriyet, Sabah and Milliyet report Okan
Simsek and Veysel Sahin, two gendarmerie officers accused of
negligence in the murder of Hrant Dink, denied their earlier
testimony and said "we testified like that because our superiors
ordered us to do so. The fact is, we received a tip-off about the
assassination and passed the information to our superiors, however,
they did not respond to the threat." The Court decided to invite
the relevant officers to the court to testify and postponed the case
to June 19, Hurriyet adds.

Editorial Commentary on Iraq

"Fifth Anniversary of Occupation"
Ferai Tinc wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (3/21): "Even though this
year marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, let's
not forget the U.S. has been involved in Iraq since 1990. This is
part of America's ongoing struggle to reshape the Middle East in the
aftermath of Soviet Union's demise. The U.S., as the only world
superpower, wields too much strength. Prior to the Iraq war, for
instance, there were many who believed the U.S. was capable of
finishing the job in Iraq promptly. However, all such predictions
were proven wrong. In fact, the situation in Iraq is so bad that it
needs no interpretation. The U.S. occupation paved the way for
radical religious movements and terrorist organizations to take
control in Iraq. Of all Iraqis, only the Kurds are grateful for the
U.S. One of the main purposes of VP Cheney's visit to Erbil was to
ask the Regional Administration's support for oil sharing, because
the U.S. cannot ensure Iraqi oil sharing. According to Bush,
American forces achieved an undeniable success in Iraq and the war
will end with victory. I wonder if there is anyone who buys this
rhetoric."

"The Demolishing of Iraq"
Derya Sazak wrote in mainstream Milliyet (3/21): "The Bush
administration planned the Iraq invasion after 9/11. Their lies
concerning weapons of mass destruction were part of this planning.
Even U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told lies about weapons of
mass destruction. As if this was not enough, another lie was told
when the Bush administration linked Saddam's regime to al-Qaeda.
Once all of these lies were proven false, the new rhetoric morphed
into "protecting the safety of energy routes." The price of oil per
barrel was below $30 before the Iraq war; since then, the price has
climbed to an astounding price of $110 dollars per barrel. While
President Bush estimates the cost of the war at $500 Billion, other
projections say the war has taken a $3 trillion toll on the U.S.
economy. Moreover, Iraq is experiencing another tragedy. Before
the war, a secular regime was in place in Iraq. Now, thanks to the
'democracy and freedoms' provided by the U.S., Islamic
Fundamentalists are taking over."

TV News:
NTV


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Domestic News

- The parliament has rejected the opposition CHP's proposal for
holding general debates on the recent Turkish cross-border
operations into northern Iraq.

- Pro-Kurdish DTP leader Nurettin Demirtas, former lawmaker Selim
Sadak and Dicle Mayor Abdullah Akengin face trial for making terror
propaganda.

- A survey by Turkey's Central Bank expects the year-end inflation
to stand at 7.27 percent.

International News

- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney met Afghanistan's President Hamid
Karzai during an unannounced visit to the country.

- Armenian authorities plan to lift the state of emergency in
Yerevan.

- Russia is preparing to host a Middle East peace conference this
year that will try to re-launch talks between Israel and Syria about
the occupied Golan Heights.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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