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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000752

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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
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2008

In Today's Papers

European Parliament Adopts Turkey Report
All papers report the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign
Affairs adopted Ria Oomen-Ruijten's draft report on Turkey. The
draft report received 53 votes in favor, two against, and four
abstentions. The final voting on the report will be completed in
May. The report expresses concern over the possible closure of the
AKP, and hopes the Constitutional Court makes its decision in line
with the principles of law, European standards, and the Venice
Criteria. It calls on the Turkish government to respect pluralism,
secularism, and democracy while continuing reforms. The report
calls on the lawmakers and mayors of the pro-Kurdish DTP to put a
clear distance between themselves and the PKK terrorist
organization. It also calls on the government to launch a civilian
initiative that aims for a permanent resolution to the Kurdish
question. The report urges Turkey to investigate the underground
Ergenekon terrorist network and its connections within the state.

Mainstream Hurriyet, under the headline, "The EU Report Is like a
Lesson in Democracy," criticizes the AKP government for the way the
headscarf reforms were handled, because the committee says, "the
headscarf reforms should have been part of a broader democratic
reform package." Islamist-oriented Zaman writes, "the EU is
unanimous: if the AKP is closed, it will harm Turkey's EU accession
talks." A commentary in mainstream Sabah says "Banning peaceful and
democratic political parties violates the Copenhagen Criteria and
the Venice Criteria. It also means the suspension of Turkey's
relations with the EU."

Cumhuriyet, Radikal, and Milliyet report Croatia moved a step toward
joining the European Union with new accession talks on transport and
energy. Mainstream Milliyet notes that, due to Turkey's internal
political problems, Turkey is behind Croatia in EU accession talks.
Turkey and Croatia began EU membership talks at the same time, but
Croatia is halfway to full membership while Turkey has to wait for
at least ten more years, papers comment. Meanwhile, EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn said Turkey could join the European Union in
10-15 years if it continues the reforms.

May 1 Designated 'Labor and Solidarity Day' in Turkey
All papers report on Monday, the Council of Ministers decided to
celebrate May 1 as "Labor and Solidarity Day," but stopped short of
declaring it an official holiday. Government spokesman Cemil Cicek
told the press yesterday Turkey was going through "economic
stagnation," and added that making May 1 official holiday would cost
the country "2 billion YTL." Cicek also said Istanbul's Taksim
Square would not be opened to celebrations or other activities on
May 1. Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler and Mayor Kadir Topbas also
rejected the request, saying Taksim Square would not be used for
rallies anymore. Labor unions, however, insist on celebrating May
Day in Taksim Square, according to papers. Under the headline, "AKP
Mocks Workers," leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet quotes labor union
leaders as saying "The AKP government wants the EU Criteria for
itself, but imposes the 'AKP Criteria' on Turkey's working class."

Austria's Foreign Minister Plassnik Visits Turkey
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik held a joint press
conference with her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan. Plassnik told
the press the EU should not be expected to act as a "referee" on
"sensitive" matters such as secularism and the closure case against
the AKP. Plassnik emphasized the doors of EU should not be closed
for Turkey. Turkish FM Ali Babacan pointed out Turkey's intentions
to normalize ties with Armenia. "Turkeys' dialogue channels with
Armenia are open. We have new preparations, and ready to share them
with the new Armenian government," Babacan said. Papers report
Babacan told Plassnik Turkey was uncomfortable with Austria's
reluctance to extradite three PKK leaders -- Riza Altun, Remzi
Kartal, and Cihan Yildiz -- to Turkey.

ANKARA 00000752 002 OF 002

Iraqi General Abadi Meets Turkish Military Leaders
Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Milliyet, and Zaman report the Iraqi military
General Staff's second-in-charge General Nasier Abadi met Turkish
General Staff (TGS) chief General Yasar Buyukanit and TGS deputy
chief General Ergin Saygun in Ankara on Monday. The generals
discussed the U.S.-Turkey-Iraq mechanism against terror, the PKK,
Turkish cross border incursions into Iraq, and the training of the
Iraqi military, say papers.

Editorial Commentary on U.S. Elections

"Obama, Clinton and McCain"
Ilter Turkmen wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (4/21): "At the beginning
of the presidential race, almost everybody expected Democrats to
beat Republicans because of the controversial war in Iraq. However
the Republicans made a smart move by voting for McCain. As for the
Democrats, the in-party competition continues everyday between
Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama. The Pennsylvania primary
will determine the upcoming picture of the Democratic Party. Obama
has an advantage of being a dynamic and charismatic personality. He
has the courage to speak up. Some are using cheap politics against
him. His candidacy, in fact, is an indication of real democracy.
Many European countries are already in close contact with the three
front runners and their staffers. Turkey better do the same thing
as soon as possible."

"Will Obama Be Successful?"
Yasemin Congar observed in leftist Taraf (4/21): "Barack Obama is
likely to win the Democratic nomination and chances are he will be
the new president of the United States. Blue collar whites comprise
roughly 48 percent of the voting population. If blue collar whites
in Pennsylvania vote for Obama, then we can hope for a change in the
US."


TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- The Diyarbakir prosecutor's office asks for a prison sentence of
up to five years for the pro-Kurdish DTP Mayor of Batman, Huseyin
Kalkan, for making PKK propaganda on the Copenhagen-based Roj TV on
March 1.

- Turkish military top brass are not expected to attend April 23
Sovereignty Day reception to be held by Parliament Speaker Koksal
Toptan.

- After seven weeks of maintenance and repair work, Incirlik Airbase
in Adana reopens for U.S. logistical flights to Iraq.

International News

- Olli Heinonen, the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA)
deputy director general, arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks about
Iran's nuclear program.

- Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has offered a "truce of 10 years as an
alternative to recognition, if Israel withdraws to the borders
established in 1967."

- The Taliban declared the Dutch Defense Chief's son was killed in
retaliation against the anti-Islam film 'Fitna.' The controversial
film was created by nationalist Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.


WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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