Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2008
In Today's Papers
DTP's Ahmet Turk: A Democratic Project Needed for the PKK to Disarm
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak and others
report DTP group chief Ahmet Turk "clarified" his remarks to the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) website. The website reported
yesterday Turk commented after his meetings with Iraqi President
Jalal Talabani last week, "The armed struggle waged by the PKK harms
the interests of the Kurdish people." Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak
reports Turk said the remarks belong to Iraqi President Talabani.
In a statement released Thursday, Turk said he meant to say Turkey
needs to present a democratic plan that includes plans on PKK
disarmament and ways to provide a voice to Kurdish identity issues
in the political system. "Calls are being made for the disarming of
the organization while the government pursues a policy of violence.
The Kurdish question cannot be resolved without a democratic
project," emphasized Turk. He noted he told the leaders he met in
northern Iraq that Kurds should come together and agree on the
resolution to the problem on a peaceful basis.
AKP Closure Case
Sabah, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Yeni Safak, Vatan, Star and
others: Mainstream Sabah and Hurriyet report that Parliament
Speaker Koksal Toptan called the Constitutional Court and urged them
to find a third solution in the closure case against the AKP.
Toptan wants this third way to be more like a "warning" to the party
and eliminate the concerns of the secularists, notes Hurriyet.
Liberal Radikal reports that during a meeting with the AKP deputies,
PM Erdogan said "we are not considering a constitutional amendment.
We are in a critical period and we do not want the economy to be
Sabah reports that British Foreign Secretary David Miliband met with
CHP leader Deniz Baykal and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday and
told them that closure of the AKP would have devastating results and
a harsh reaction from the EU to the closure would be inevitable.
U.S. Ambassador Comments on the AKP Closure Case
Milliyet, Sabah, Zaman, Radikal: Mainstream Sabah carries the
front-page headline, "U.S. Ambassador Says, 'We Are Concerned,'" and
notes, "The results of the AKP's closure could be serious."
Mainstream Milliyet carried the Ambassador's comments, "We follow
developments with interest and with some concern." Liberal Radikal
notes the Ambassador would not comment on the specifics of the
closure case because he said, "That would not be appropriate for me
to do." Islamist-oriented Zaman notes the Ambassador drew attention
to "Turkey's strong democratic institutions and traditions."
Montreaux Treaty Rules Relaxed for Queen Elizabeth
Sabah, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Vatan, Bugun, Posta, Yeni Safak: Papers
report that on the third day of her visit to Turkey, Queen Elizabeth
enjoyed her tour of Istanbul. Queen Elizabeth and her husband
Prince Philip visited a high school in Istanbul. Following the
visit to the school, the Queen and Prince joined President Gul and
his wife for a boat trip on the Bosporus. Mainstream Milliyet notes
that the rules of Montreaux Treaty were relaxed for the Queen so
that the air craft carrier HMS Illustrious could enter the Bosporus.
The air craft carrier was allowed to enter the Turkish straits only
after leaving its fourteen war planes in Southern Cyprus and
disarming its helicopters, Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak reports.
All papers report the Queen hosted a reception in honor of President
Gul on the ship.
Report Cites Police Brutality, Torture in Nevruz Rallies
Liberal Radikal reports the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV)
report was released concerning incidents in Van, Yuksekova, and
Hakkari during Nevruz celebrations. According to the report, police
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used "disproportionate force" while trying to contain the
demonstrations, during which four people were killed and 249
detained. An eyewitness said Ikbal Yasar, who lost his life, "was
beaten by the police even during his transfer to the hospital,"
according to the report. The report also states some demonstrators
were tortured while in police custody.
AKP Rejects CHP Proposal to Investigate May Day Incidents
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report
Turkish Parliament's Human Rights Committee has rejected a proposal
of opposition CHP lawmakers for forming a special "sub-committee" to
probe police brutality during May Day demonstrations in Istanbul.
The Istanbul Governor's Office closed Taksim Square in the heart of
Istanbul to demonstrators on May 1; police beat men and women with
batons and kicks in order to keep them out of Taksim. Workers were
dispersed by police using water cannons, teargas, and truncheons.
Police also used teargas in a children's hospital, hurting doctors
and patients. A reporter for Cumhuriyet daily suffered a broken arm
after being beaten by policemen. Papers strongly criticized the
police behavior, saying the ruling AKP government's "mask of
democracy" was removed.
Editorial Commentary on Bush in Middle East; US Presidential
"A Show or A Last Ditch Effort?"
Sami Kohen commented in mainstream Milliyet (5/16): "Some regard
President Bush's trip to the Middle East as a farewell, while others
see it as the White House's very last effort to resolve the
Palestine issue. Nevertheless, there is also a group which
considers Bush's trip as a cosmetic show to the world that he works
for peace in the Middle East. Regardless of Bush's intention to
achieve peace, his presence in the Middle East twice in five months
is an important thing by itself. The fact of the matter is that
President Bush used to be criticized for not showing enough interest
in Middle East peace, but now these visits show that he has changed
his attitude. However, if the goal is to find consensus between
Israel and Palestine during his term, it is indeed too late. The
president's trip is happening during the worst possible conditions
vis-`-vis achieving peace. The Annapolis process is experiencing a
deadlock, Palestine is divided between Gaza and the West Bank, and
civil unrest is emerging in Lebanon under the growing influence of
Hezbollah. This makes the whole situation is very complex and dark.
Despite what President Bush hopes, there is no sign of peace by the
end of this year. "
"Turkey Should Be Prepared for Obama"
Hakan Celik wrote in tabloid Posta (5/16): "Unless there is a last
minute surprise, Barack Obama will be the candidate for Democrat
Party in the upcoming presidential elections. Even Senator Clinton
has started to acknowledge that she has fallen behind Obama in this
race. In presidential campaigns, the candidates merely focus on
domestic issues and they do not usually touch on international
matters. However, the staffers in both the Democrat Party and the
Republican Party are important figures which will end up assuming
high level duties in the next administration. Turkey has been in
close contact with Senator Clinton's group, thus we have to work a
bit harder to approach Obama's group. So far, lobbyist groups have
gained success for their benefit, and they even managed to have
Barack Obama pledge recognition of the Armenian genocide. Because
the Jewish lobby is not as close to Turkey as it used to be, we
should think of establishing a good relationship with the Obama
campaign as soon as possible."
- Turkey's elite business grouping TUSIAD said French efforts to
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block Turkey's EU membership were against French interests.
- The ashes of soprano Leyla Gencer, "La Diva Turca," who died of
cardiac failure in Italy last week, will be scattered in the
Bosporus during a ceremony in Istanbul on Friday.
- The smoking ban in state offices will enter into effect May 19.
- Chinese state media reported the death toll from China's
earthquake could soar to over 50,000.
- Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders Talat and Christofias will meet
on May 23 to review the preparations for the peace negotiations
which are due to start in June.
- Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards endorsed