Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
DE RUEHAK #0583/01 0881214
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281214Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5720
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8783
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 4053
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2814
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6505
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6346
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2921
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000583
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 28, 2008
In Today's Papers
President Gul Meets With Opposition Leaders to Defuse Tensions
All papers report President Abdullah Gul met Thursday with
opposition leaders Deniz Baykal (CHP), Devlet Bahceli (MHP), and
Muhsin Yazicioglu (BBP) at the presidential palace. Papers report
the rising domestic political tensions and the AKP closure lawsuit
were not discussed at the meetings. Instead, the talks focused on
foreign policy and security. After the meetings, Gul issued a call
to defuse political tensions at home. Mainstream Vatan writes on
its front page, "Gul warned that the U.S. was preparing to withdraw
its troops out of Iraq," and that "Turkey's domestic political
tensions should not be allowed to undermine the fight against
terrorism." Gul emphasized, "We should not deviate from stability
and democracy," he noted. Mainstream Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila
writes, "Gul sent a message to politicians by warning them to avoid
CHP Leader DenizBaykal told reporters that, during his meeting with
President Gul, they discussed security and foreign policy matters.
"We discussed the Turkish military operations against the PKK in
northern Iraq, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's visit, U.S. Vice
President Dick Cheney's visit, and the Nevruz incidents," said
Taraf Correspondent Taken Into Custody for Violating Ergenekon
Leftist Taraf writes on page one Soner Arikanoglu, the Taraf
correspondent who reported March 24 Ergenekon planned to attack the
Court of Appeals (Yargitay), was taken into custody within the scope
of the investigation into the organization. Taraf also reports on
page one that during raids on Workers' Party (IP,) police found
detailed security plans for the military General Staff (TGS) Chief
Yasar Buyukanit during his visits to the Aegean cities of Izmir and
Balikesir in 2005. The paper claims General Buyukanit, too, was a
target of the Ergenekon underground terrorist network.
More than 30 people have been charged in the investigation into the
Ergenekon network. Allegations against the group include engineering
a coup against the ruling AKP government in 2009. Among those
detained were Dogu Perincek, head of the Labor Party, former rector
of Istanbul University Kemal Alemdaroglu, and editor of the
left-leaning and nationalist Cumhuriyet daily Ilhan Selcuk.
Alemdaroglu and Selcuk were released a few days after they were
detained. Neither was charged with a crime. Ergenekon was
suspected of being behind two bombings on the Cumhuriyet offices in
Istanbul last year. Turkish press has reported the gang was also
behind the assassination of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
Constitutional Court President Calls for Moderation on AKP Closure
Sabah, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Radikal, Zaman and others: Mainstream
Milliyet reports that regarding the AKP closure case, Constitutional
Court President Hasim Kilic said "everyone should review their
responsibilities. The rise in tensions will not serve for the
advantage of anyone. We should fulfill the responsibility of living
together. I do not have any concerns as long as the institutions
work. Problems will be solved within the framework of laws."
Mainstreams Sabah and Vatan report Osman Can, Constitutional Court
Reporter, submitted his recommendation regarding the AKP closure
case to the Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Thursday. Vatan says
the Constitutional Court will either accept or reject the indictment
on Monday. Liberal Radikal reports that the preliminary assessment
of the report will be made on Monday. Sabah columnist Emre Akoz
says in his column that "the AKP should use all political and
judicial ways to prevent the closure of the party and that everyone
who cares about the unity and stability of the country should
support them." Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal says "the AKP closure
case is the last hoop in the chain of developments against democracy
ANKARA 00000583 002 OF 003
since the 2002 elections. Who ever took part in the 'judicial coup'
is also responsible for the regime crisis."
Meanwhile, leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports that Turkish
Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) chairperson
Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag continues efforts to ease the tension in the
country. Within this framework, she paid a visit to Parliament
Speaker Koksal Toptan for "the call for common sense in Turkey."
Later she visited Revolutionary Labor Unions Confederation (DISK)
chairman Suleyman Celebi with the same purposes.
General Buyukanit in Cyprus
Milliyet,Sabah, Hurriyet, Yeni Safak, Vatan, Bugun and others: On
the second day of his visit to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
(TRNC), Chief of Turkish General Staff (TGS) General Buyukanit
visited a Mehmetcik village in the Karpas region of the TRNC and
said that the isolation of Turkish Cypriots is an atrocity.
Meanwhile, Sabah reports a street in northern Cyprus was named after
Editorial Commentary on AKP Closure Case
In Islamist-leaning Yeni Safak, Yasin Dogan wrote (3/28): "An
elitist group in this country wants to rule on its own and provoke a
crisis based on the values only they defend. In the midst of these
efforts, the will of the people is ignored and democracy is set
aside. Certain movements are thrown out via anti-democratic means.
All of this makes it impossible for a contemporary political debate
to occur on democratic platforms."
Ismet Berkan wrote in liberal Radikal (3/28): "The AKP stands at a
crossroads. The party can either try to prevent its closure case by
amending the Constitution, which may lead to a referendum. However,
a referendum will cause domestic tensions to peak. If the AKP
continues to focus on preparing its defense it in its closure case,
domestic tensions will not be as high. It is not likely that the
AKP will do this. But a long term strategy that demonstrates
sincerity and commitment to secular values will only boost the AKP's
credit. Even if the court process leads to closure, the AKP will be
the winner in the long-term."
In mainstream Hurriyet, Ertugrul Ozkok wrote (3/28): "Everybody
makes calls for compromise and reconciliation. There are some basic
principles on which we can and we should reconcile. First of all,
we should all agree on the fundamental and unchangeable values of
Turkish Republic. In particular, we should not try to redefine
secularism. Second, we should agree on the fact that winning a
narrow majority of votes does not necessarily mean one can impose
his own mandate; democracy also represents the views of the
minority. Thirdly, we should dispose of favoritism based on
religious inclinations exhibited by public appointments."
In Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand advised (3/28): "If the
government had taken enough care to promote relations with the EU
and had achieved the reforms as required, Turkey would not have
plunged into chaos because of the turban. In addition, the Turkish
public would not have developed such a suspicious attitude towards
the AKP. Let's not forget that full EU membership is the best
possible guarantee of the secular system. EU values are the most
important guarantee for religious freedom, as well as personal
freedoms. We are about to lose the anchor that is Europe. Let's hope
the prime minister realizes what this means."
- Pro-Kurdish DTP leader Nurettin Demirtas appeared before the court
in connection with comments he made during a Roj TV program.
ANKARA 00000583 003 OF 003
- Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir has been acquitted in a case for
preparing Kurdish-language posters.
- Members of the Turkish Parliament welcome the calls issued by NGOs
for defusing tensions in the public.
- Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said Greek Cypriot leader
Demetris Christofias gave the impression that he wants settlement on
the divided island.
- President Bush will visit Moscow to discuss the controversial
missile defense shield with Russian President Putin.
- Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said some allies were
expected to announce decisions for sending additional troops to
Afghanistan at the NATO meeting in Romania next week.