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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000879

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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
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2008


In Today's Papers

Turkey-EU Troika Meeting
All papers report that Turkey-EU Troika meeting was held yesterday
in Ankara. The two major issues covered in the press are the EU's
anxieties concerning the AKP's closure case and the EU's criticisms
against the police's response to May Day demonstrations. Yesterday,
CNN Turk reported, "French State Secretary for European affairs,
Jean-Pierre Jouyet, who is in Ankara for Turkey-EU Troika meeting,
gave Turkey guarantees that his country will not block Turkey's EU
entry talks when it undertakes rotating EU term presidency."
Mainstream Sabah reports that Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel of
Slovenia, who currently holds the EU presidency said, "Turkey will
become a member of the EU sooner or later," while EU Commissioner
for Enlargement Olli Rehn said "a political party should only be
closed down if it supports violence, racism and terrorism. There
isn't such threat from the AKP." Rehn also emphasized, "Turkey is a
candidate for EU membership therefore the EU could not remain
indifferent to AKP closure case. The problem should be resolved
based on EU values, the Venice Criteria standards and the European
Human Rights Agreement." Islamist-oriented Zaman writes in "The EU
Stresses Reforms," that EU officials noted, "The judiciary must be
reformed, the closure case is creating anxieties in the EU, and
political dialogue is necessary." In addition, the paper writes,
"Olli Rehn emphasized that further reforms were needed and EU
reforms would serve as the recipe to overcome the ongoing problems
of the candidate country." Leftist Taraf writes, "The Troika Is Not
Neutral," as the EU officials insisted, "Because Turkey is an EU
candidate, the EU cannot remain neutral on the AKP closure case."
Conservative-nationalist Turkiye also notes, "The EU Expresses
Concern about the Closure Case." Conservative-nationalist Bugun
reports, "The EU Troika Warns the Closure Case Could Damage Ties
between Turkey and the EU." Mainstream Sabah notes, "EU officials
communicated that international law was above the Turkish
constitution."

Meanwhile, concerning May Day, Sabah reports EU Commissioner Olli
Rehn said "It is regrettable that police used disproportionate force
on May 1st. The standards of both the European Union and
International Labor Organization should be upheld." Hurriyet says
Rehn asked for an investigation to be launched regarding the
police's disproportionate use of force on May 1st.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet writes, "The Troika Criticizes
Turkey," as "the delegation drew attention to the police brutality
on May 1st." Mainstream Milliyet writes, "Europe Voices Reactions to
Police Brutality on May 1." Liberal Radikal notes, "The government
was criticized for ignoring the disproportionate use of violence by
the police on May 1."

Details of AKP Defense against Closure Made Public
Sabah, Yeni Safak, Radikal, Turkiye, Milliyet, Vatan, Zaman and
others: Papers report that AKP Central Executive Board leaked their
98-page closure defense that was submitted to the Constitutional
Court. All papers note the defense said, "The indictment was not
based on rationalism and objectivity; it was based on politics."
Mainstream Milliyet reports that the AKP's preliminary defense
emphasizes, "The AKP has not become a center for anti-secular
activities and the chief prosecutor has a defect in perceiving this.
The indictment was prepared for political purposes." Mainstream
Sabah reports that the defense stressed, "Neither history nor the
people will not forgive this case."

EDITORIAL OPINION: AKP Closure Case

"Sticking To Stubbornness"
Okay Gonensin wrote in mainstream Vatan (5/7): "The Prime Minister
persistently defends the police's excessive use of violence during
May Day. It is an interesting psychology to defend police brutality
that is clearly documented by photographs and video footage. Rulers
of a country cannot rule effectively when they do not feel sorry

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about police brutality against peaceful demonstrators and do not
feel guilty about being the only country in the world to respond to
May Day celebrations with police brutality. The May Day incident
illustrates the ruling AKP's understanding of democracy and human
rights. AKP values are limited to the party's own world. Freedom
applies when it comes to women wearing the headscarf and when it
comes to the AKP closure case. However, when it comes to article
301 or the closure of the DTP, freedom is not relevant. Those who
only want freedom only for themselves should revise their attitude
because democracy is for everybody."

"Those Who Are Mistaken"
Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak (5/7): "I strongly
believe that the closure case against the AKP has no legal basis and
has nothing to do with the law. Therefore, it makes no sense to act
as if there is a problem to solve. In Turkey, there are many who
cannot properly deal with the closure case. On the other hand,
foreigners make more healthy remarks than some here in Turkey. For
instance, EU officials such as Javier Solana, Olli Rehn and Joost
Lagendjik have made some very healthy observations regarding the AKP
closure case. The Bush administration communicated a meaningless
perspective by emphasizing democracy and secularism. However there
are some in the U.S., like the Washington Post, who analyzed the
situation correctly. Why does America pretend there is a problem in
Turkey, and why do Americans officials make statements that balance
rhetoric? More importantly, why are Turkey's opinion-makers
treating this issue as if there is an actual legal case here and as
if a political party violated the law? Those who act like this are
all mistaken."

Burma's Junta Denies Visas to Relief Teams
All news outlets report on the devastation following the cyclone
that hit Burma earlier this week. Mainstream Sabah reports, "The
Cyclone Dismantles Society at Its Roots, while the Junta Acts
according To Its Own Whims." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet writes
in "The Disaster Places the Junta in The Cross Hairs," that, "The
military junta in Myanmar was successful in squashing the public's
democratic demonstrations, but they are not successful in providing
sufficient humanitarian assistance after the cyclone."
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak writes in "The Junta Is Yet another
Disaster," that "Myanmar's military government is not giving visas
to those who want to help." Mainstream Vatan notes, "While there is
anxiety that the number of dead could climb to 100,000, the
government denies visas to teams of aid workers and accuses them of
espionage." Conservative-nationalist Turkiye notes "The junta
conditionally accepts international aid," as, "The world is
mobilized to assist the victims of the cyclone, but the junta is not
granting visas." Mainstream Milliyet carries the banner headline,
"The Junta's Reaction to the Cyclone Is Unreliable."
Islamist-oriented Zaman, in "Once the Golden Country, Now the
Poorest in Asia," notes, "Myanmar's junta only agreed to allow
international aid to the cyclone victims because of discussions with
the U.N." Leftist Taraf calls the junta's approach to international
assistance, "The Calamity of the Century."

Turkey Takes Nuclear Measures against Iran
Radikal, Yeni Safak, Cumhuriyet: Following the visits of U.S. Vice
President Dick Cheney and U.S. Ambassador to the International
Atomic Energy Agency Gregory Schulte, the Turkish government has
changed its attitude and has stopped insisting that Iran is
developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Papers report that
the Turkish government is working to control the export of materials
that could be used for the production of weapons for mass
destruction.

PM Erdogan Defends Police Behavior During May Day
Sabah, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Star, Radikal, Yeni Safak and
others: Papers report that PM Erdogan defended the police against
criticism for their disproportionate use of force during the May 1st
demonstrations. In addition, all papers note he accused the labor

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unions of exploitation. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet quotes PM
Erdogan as saying "Who are the police? Are these not our sons who
are in charge of securing the lives of the people of this country?
What is the reason for this enmity against the police?" The paper
adds that CHP leader Deniz Baykal announced the CHP will submit to
the parliament a censure motion against Erdogan regarding police's
disproportionate use of force during incidents on May 1st.


TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

MHP leader Bahceli told the press, "The government applies
Copenhagen Criteria for supporters of terror but applies brutal AKP
criteria for workers."

Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir was acquitted on charges of
propaganda when he delivered a speech in front of a poster of jailed
PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan at a meeting in London.

Interior Minister Besir Atalay stated, "The government rejected
labor union demands for staging May Day demonstrations because of
tips that indicated a possible terrorist attack."


International News

A volcano eruption in southern Chile caused authorities to order
massive emergency evacuations.

At least 22,000 people have died in Burma after the devastating
cyclone.

The U.S. and Russia signed an agreement in Moscow on cooperation in
the nuclear energy industry.

Russia's troop deployment into the breakaway Georgian region of
Abkhazia has caused Georgia State Minister Temur Iakobashvilli to
say the situation is "very close" to war.

Greek Cypriot Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou and Turkey
Cypriot Presidential Advisor Ozdil Nami met yesterday to review the
progress of the technical committees' work to tackle problems on the
divided island.

WILSON

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