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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

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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
THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2008


In Today's Papers

PM Erdogan's Message from Sweden
Milliyet, Sabah, Hurriyet, Turkiye, Zaman: Mainstream Sabah reports
that during his meetings in Sweden, PM Erdogan said, "The
Constitutional Court will do its job and we (AKP) will do our job to
prepare our defense." Conservative-nationalist Turkiye reports that
Erdogan commented on Turkey's relationship with the EU, "We are
looking for political and economic stability in Turkey. Turkey will
utilize its experience as a democracy to overcome its troubles. EU
membership is a strategic goal for us." Islamist-oriented Zaman
reports, "The AKP government has changed its strategy. They are
focusing on EU reforms instead of constitutional amendments.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that prior to EU Commissioner Barosso's
visit to Turkey on next week, EU officials warned, "Barosso will
emphasize the EU's concerns regarding the party closure case.
However, Barosso will also emphasize that secularism is as important
as democracy."

Meanwhile, Mainstream Hurriyet reports that PM Erdogan's visit to
Stockholm was met with protests from PKK supporters, Armenians and
Assyrians. On his way to the Swedish Parliament, eggs were hurled
at PM Erdogan's motorcade during protests by Armenians and the
Assyrians. Once he arrived at the Swedish Parliament, a group of
PKK supporters staged a demonstration and displayed photos of jailed
PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

EDITORIAL OPINION: AKP Closure Case

In Islamist-leaning Yeni Safak, Ali Bayramoglu wrote (4/3): "Since
2005, EU reforms have been neglected. However, the AKP government
can overcome its problems by sticking to the EU reform process.
Democratization is the key to solving these problems. A civilian
and democratic constitution should be prepared as quickly as
possible and taken to the people for a referendum."

Hasan Cemal wrote in mainstream Milliyet (4/3): "Some circles in
Turkey are very skeptical about democratic values according to EU
standards; thus they advocate fear that an EU-style democracy would
weaken Turkey by paving the way for internal division and the loss
of secularism. These circles seem to be enjoying themselves because
the court case against AKP damage Turkey's EU accession process.
However, separatism and radical Islam will become a significant
threat to Turkey if we turn our backs on democracy and the EU
process. Prime Minister Erdogan should initiate reforms in line
with EU standards and he should take efforts toward eliminating
secularism-related anxieties."

In mainstream Sabah, managing editor Ergun Babahan wrote (4/3):
"First of all we should look at the current situation with a broader
perspective. On one hand, there is an attempted coup against the
democratic process, but on the other hand, the EU process has become
all but insignificant during the AKP's second term. Because the AKP
has neglected the EU process, worries about 'the AKP's secret
agenda' have increased. Therefore, part of society feels discomfort
and uneasiness toward the AKP. The current attempts against the
regime can be eliminated by broadening freedoms and eliminating
worries. A Western-style democratic system is the best way to turn
this crisis into an opportunity."

EDITORIAL OPINION: Trade Between Turkey and Iraq

Meliha Okur wrote in mainstream Sabah (4/3): "There has been an
important development regarding the oil trade. South Korea and the
northern Iraqi Regional Kurdish Administration signed an agreement
concerning rights for oil and natural gas resources in northern
Iraq. Given the fact that South Korea has been a part of the
occupying forces in Iraq since 2003, the northern Iraqi
administration did not see any harm in signing a deal with one of
the occupying forces. Then, we should ask why and for what is

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Turkey still waiting? Turkey has to wake up immediately and move
forward on trade opportunities with Iraq."

301 Will Be Annulled Soon
Radikal, Hurriyet, Sabah, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Vatan and others:
Mainstream Sabah reports PM Erdogan spoke about Article 301 during
his meetings in Sweden. He said, "The bill changing Article 301
will be brought to Parliament after the draft law on Social Security
is adopted." Liberal Radikal's headline reads, "Yet Another Promise
from the Government." Reportedly, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin
told AKP members that the amended bill will be submitted to
parliament next week. Radikal adds that PM Erdogan told his
contacts in Stockholm that Article 301 will be amended very soon.

Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor's Press Office Warning
All papers report that Court of Appeals (Yargitay) Chief
Prosecutor's Press Office announced that legal steps will be taken
against those who say or publish insulting or threatening statements
against the Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor and those who aim to
influence the trial process.

NATO Summit, President Gul's Remarks
All media outlets carry President Gul's refusal to send combat
troops to Afghanistan yesterday and the opening of the NATO Summit
in Bucharest. Mainstream Aksam writes, "The NATO summit's main
priorities are to increase the combat forces in Afghanistan and to
enhance the missile defense program in Eastern Europe," and
President Gul noted, "As you know, Turkey is very involved in
Afghanistan and will remain involved, but we will not send combat
troops. We are prepared to help with civilian and reconstruction
support." In "Another 'No' to the U.S.," mainstream Hurriyet
writes, "President Gul reiterated Turkey has no intention to send
combat troops to Afghanistan." In "No Combat Troops to
Afghanistan," liberal Radikal writes, "Gul's Shield Is Hot," which
is a saying in Turkish which means, "Gul is ready to fight back,"
against demands for more combat troops in Afghanistan. Islamist-
oriented Zaman draws attention to the fact that "Ankara's
fundamental point" at the summit was to communicate that, "Afghans
are our allies and friends, and we will not fight against the Afghan
people."

Meanwhile, mainstream Hurriyet reports that President Bush warned
the world at the NATO Summit by saying, "If additional troops are
not sent to Afghanistan, another attack, like September 11, is
inevitable." President Bush also stressed that 'despite Moscow's
rejection, Ukraine and Georgia are ready for NATO membership."

TV Highlights
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- 7 more PKK terrorists were killed during operations in Sirnak's
Bestler-Dereler region yesterday.

- Charges have been filed in the arrest of a 13-year-old suspect in
connection with the recent attack against Cumhuriyet newspaper.

- Businessman Orhan Asliturk, wanted by the Justice Ministry for tax
evasion, has been captured in Spain.


International News

- The largest NATO summit ever convened yesterday in Romania.

- An opinion poll carried out for the BBC World Service suggests
Turkish attitudes toward the U.S. are improving.

- UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe completes her

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contacts in Cyprus.

- EU Commissioner Olli Rehn briefs the EU Commission on developments
related to the closure suit against the AKP.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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