Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
MONDAY, APRIL 7, 2008
In Today's Papers
AKP Board Discusses Reforms on Monday
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni
Safak and others report the AKP board will convene today in order to
discuss long-awaited EU reforms and measures to avert a closure case
against the AKP. Papers expect the reforms to include Article 301
of the Turkish Penal Code. However, in order to amend Article 301,
the AKP needs the support of the opposition right-wing MHP. Papers
speculate if the AKP fails to work out a compromise with the
opposition, the AKP will not submit the reforms to referendum.
University Students Clash in Antalya
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Vatan, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and
others report ten students were injured during clashes between
right-wing and left-wing student groups at Mediterranean University
in Antalya. During the clashes, one student opened fire with his
handgun. Police detained 34 students in connection with the clashes.
Mainstream Vatan stresses the current escalation of political
tensions in Turkish universities is similar to the environment prior
to Turkey's 1980 military coup.
Mainstream Hurriyet reports in a front-page story that a 10-year old
boy threw a shrapnel-effect hand grenade in the middle of a street
near a mosque in Istanbul's conservative Fatih neighborhood. The
grenade did not explode, but the child and his two friends ran away.
Hurriyet reminds that a week ago, a 13-year old child was captured
after throwing a Molotov cocktail at the leftist-nationalist
Cumhuriyet building in Istanbul.
TUSIAD: A Strong Political Opposition Absent in Turkey
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak
and others report Arzuhan Yalcindag, chairperson of TUSIAD (Turkish
Industrialists' and Business Professionals' Association), said,
"unfortunately, the absence of a strong political opposition in
Turkey makes TUSIAD's statements appear political." Yalcindag also
said Turkey's terrorism problem cannot be resolved through military
ways alone. She also said the headscarf matter and the secularism
debate were mismanaged, which resulted in social and political
Diyarbakir Business Professionals and NGOs Will Meet President Gul
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Vatan, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and
others report business professionals and NGO representatives from
the mainly Kurdish southeastern town of Diyarbakir will meet
President Abdullah Gul in Ankara on Wednesday. The Diyarbakir
delegation is expected to request a democratic resolution to the
Kurdish question. In addition, the delegation is expected to
request the completion of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP).
The Diyarbakir representatives will meet with political parties in
Ankara on Tuesday.
Barzani Abandons the Idea of an 'Independent Kurdistan'
Mainstream Hurriyet reports on its front page that Iraqi Kurdish
regional administration leader Massoud Barzani told Voice of Iraq
Radio, "The Kurdistan Parliament has decided to live in unity with
our Iraqi brothers." Hurriyet cites unnamed sources in Ankara who
interpret the remarks to mean "Barzani understands that he must
abandon his dream of an independent Kurdistan."
Meanwhile, mainstream Milliyet reports Iraq's Sunni Arabs and Kurds
have pledged to cooperate against radical Shiite cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Milliyet notes Kurdish regional
administration leader Massoud Barzani agreed to send Kurdish
Peshmerge forces to fight against the Mahdi Army.
Editorial Commentary on the Bush-Putin Summit, Iraq, Turkish
ANKARA 00000659 002 OF 003
"The Aftermath of the Two Summits"
Ferai Tinc wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (4/7): "After the NATO
Summit and the Bush-Putin Summit, the cold war atmosphere has been
replaced by an atmosphere marked by hard bargaining. In this 'give
and take' style of negotiation, no one is willing to leave the
table. Putin expressed his intense opposition to the missile
defense project at the Sochi summit. However, at the same time, the
very same Russian administration is considering American offers to
eliminate Moscow's anxieties on the project. It seems Russia will
not be able to block the missile defense project but will be able to
incorporate its demands into it. Both the NATO summit and the
recent Sochi summit demonstrate the 'give and take' relationship
between the two prominent military powers of the world. The nature
of this relationship reaches beyond security concerns into both the
energy and economic sectors. The current nature of the U.S.-Russia
relationship cannot be understood from the cold-war perspective.
This relationship is not about polarization; it is about a struggle
to expand cooperation regarding mutual interests. "
"Tension Grows in northern Iraq"
Semih Idiz wrote in mainstream Milliyet (4/7): "While we are
preoccupied with internal issues, we ignore developments taking
place in our backyards. The news coming from northern Iraq is not
good because tensions are growing between Kurds and Sunni Arabs.
One of the primary reasons for this increase in tension is said to
be Kurdish efforts to expel Arabs from northern Iraq. Many of those
Arabs who are expelled from northern Iraq wind up joining militant
groups and Al-Qaeda. All of this means that northern Iraq is on the
verge of a Kurdish-Arab conflict. Meanwhile, the U.S. views
northern Iraq as stable and calm. Should conflicts develop between
Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Arabs, attacks against the American military
and Kurdish civilian targets could increase. Part of this tension
results from prejudice among Arabs that Kurds will try to gain full
control over northern Iraq. They also believe Kurds will use the
help and support of the Americans in order to gain this territorial
control. The clashes in Basra demonstrate Iraq's fragile state. It
is now only a matter of time before such clashes spread into
northern Iraq. Turkey has to be prepared for any negative impacts
of such developments."
"A New IMF Program for Turkey"
Business columnist Erdal Saglam thinks Turkey is in need of another
IMF program. He wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (4/7): "Unfortunately,
Turkey once again is in need of an IMF program in order to ensure
its economic stability. We have to admit the fact that we did not
succeed on our own and could not design an economic program
compatible with international standards. Turkey has to maintain its
economic growth rate; however Turkey does not have its own capital
flow and thus has to attract foreign capital. We abandoned economic
reforms and failed to pursue fiscal discipline. Moreover, the
government introduced new legislation which accelerates public
spending and destroys budgetary discipline. Political tensions and
polarization have dealt a serious blow against social consensus. In
the midst of this, Turkey has avoided fiscal discipline outlined by
the IMF. In addition, Turkey has avoided EU harmonization for the
last three years. Let's admit it; this was serious mismanagement.
At this point, there is a need for a new IMF program for Turkey."
- On Sunday, more than 70 labor unions and NGOs staged rallies in
Istanbul to protest social security reforms.
- Prime Minister Erdogan said those who failed to defeat the AKP in
the ballot box are now trying different methods to oust the party
from Turkish politics.
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- Four candidates will run for the CHP party chairmanship at the
party's July 22nd convention.
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai signaled he will run for president
again next year.
- Iran's parliamentary speaker called on Muslim nations to boycott
Dutch products. This call comes in response to the recent film
entitled, "Fitna," which was made by a right-wing Dutch lawmaker and
accuses the Koran of inciting violence.
- Thirty protesters were arrested during demonstrations against the
procession of the Olympic torch through London on its way to the
games in Beijing.