Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report - Tuesday, May 27, 2008
O 281335Z MAY 08
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT - TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008
In Today's Papers
Gul Meets Gerceker to Ease AKP-Judiciary Tensions
All papers report that on Monday, President Abdullah Gul met at the
Presidential Palace with the chief of the Court of Appeals
(Yargitay,) Hasan Gerceker, in an effort to defuse tensions between
the ruling AKP government and the judiciary. Papers report Gerceker
told Gul the declaration released last week by the Court of Appeals
(Yargitay) did not aim to stoke tensions further.
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet quotes Gerceker as saying, "The
government caused the tensions, not the judiciary. Therefore, the
Government needs to take steps to resolve the problem." Gerceker
also expressed unease with the Government for having submitted its
judicial reform strategy draft to the EU before discussing the
matter with the Turkish judiciary.
Before meeting with Gerceker, Gul released a statement warning all
state institutions. "It is the task of all individuals and
institutions to act in line with customs and traditions, and prevent
the debates from reaching a point where they might damage the
fundamental principles of the Constitution, Turkey's national
interests and unity, as well as economic and political stability,"
the statement said. Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak writes, "President
Gul's 'Cankaya Declaration' responds to the declarations of the
Court of Appeals and the Council of State with a warning for
stability." Papers report Gul would meet other top representatives
of the judiciary in the coming days.
Editorial Commentary on Tensions between Judiciary and Government
"President Gul Intervenes in The Crisis"
Bilal Cetin commented in mainstream Vatan (5/27): "There is no
doubt that President Gul is highly disturbed by the latest
developments. He should have intervened before the developments
turn into a crisis, but he couldn't. Because of his previous
position as Foreign Minister and the inclusion of his name in the
Chief Prosecutor's indictment, there are certain limitations on what
he can say and do. The President couldn't intervene to ease
political tensions because the CHP still continues to protest Gul's
presidency. Moreover, the state institutions that have tense
relations with the government do not fully trust in the President
either. Gul was aware of these problems before he was elected
president but he thought he could eliminate these problems and
strengthen mutual trust. However, developments did not give Gul
time to do all this and the political crisis erupted too early.
Yesterday, after realizing the crisis is deepening, President Gul
invited Yargitay President Hasan Gerceker to the presidential
palace. Prior to this meeting, Gul urged the government and the
judiciary to be calm. Now, he is aiming to establish peace among
the state institutes, which is a very difficult job."
Erdogan: AKP Closure Case Costs Turkey $ 25 Billion
All papers report on Sunday Prime Minister Erdogan spoke to
journalists aboard his plane while returning home from the
oath-taking ceremony of Lebanon's newly elected President Michel
Suleiman. Erdogan characterized the role of Turkey as mediator
between Israel and Syria as "an issue of international importance."
He said Turkey also played a role in helping the parties in Lebanon
reach a compromise in electing Suleiman as president. "Turkey is
not an Iron Curtain country, but there are efforts to build an Iron
Curtain in Turkey," Erdogan said in response to a question on the
possible impact of the closure case. Erdogan said his government
was striving to keep foreign capital in the country as investors
become spooked by the closure case. "We have to deal with terror,
economic problems and the upcoming municipal elections. Whatever is
going to happen, it should happen without delay," said Erdogan. He
noted had the closure case not been launched, expected an inflow of
foreign investments would be USD 25. On another question, Erdogan
said the landmines along the 967-km border with Syria would be
swept, and the cleaned area be opened to agriculture.
Editorial Commentary on AKP Closure Case Affecting Turkey
"Messages from Beirut"
Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah (5/27): "During his return
flight from Beirut, Prime Minister Erdogan told reporters, 'The AKP
closure case has cost Turkey $25 billion in foreign investment
because investors became nervous about Turkey's stability and
started investing in other countries. We would like the closure
case to be finalized as soon as possible. We don't want Turkey to
be hurt by this case, we don't want the economy suffer, and we don't
want the fight against terrorism to be affected. This could also
affect local elections in March. Therefore, whatever is going to
happen must happen.' As our plane landed in Esenboga, the new
Lebanese President Misel Suleyman's words were echoing in my ears
'One person cannot save a country on his own. All interested
parties should contribute to it.'"
Erdogan to Visit Diyarbakir Today
All papers report that on Tuesday, Prime Minister Erdogan will
travel to the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir to announce an
'Action Plan' for the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP).
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak says the five-year plan will cost USD
12.5 billion. Erdogan is expected to be accompanied by cabinet
ministers and 75 Kurdish members of parliament. The AKP said the PM
would focus on the GAP project and economic issues instead of
Meanwhile, Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir said he will not
participate in Erdogan's program today, saying the PM had not called
on his municipality during earlier visits to the city. Baydemir
said Erdogan was visiting the city not "as a Prime Minister," but
"like a political party leader." Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP
said Erdogan's 'Southeast Action Plan' was actually a "political
investment" for the forthcoming municipal elections.
Greek Army Chief Grapsas Meets General Buyukanit
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the
Greek Chief of the General Staff, General Dimitrios Grapsas, met his
Turkish counterpart General Yasar Buyukanit in Ankara. General
Grapsas said Turkey and Greece were lucky to have had great leaders
such as Ataturk and Venizelos. "Venizelos and Ataturk worked hard
for peace between the two nations after the war. Our duty should be
remaining on their footsteps," said Grapsas. Buyukanit voiced
pleasure for hosting General Grapsas in Turkey. "If we, soldiers,
provide a secure environment, then politicians will be able to set
up better dialogue," emphasized Buyukanit.
Papers report the visit coincided with a Turkish Foreign Ministry
(MFA) statement criticizing the Greek officials' participation in
commemorations of the alleged "genocide" of Pontic Greeks in the
Black Sea region after World War I. The MFA statement said the
commemorations harmed "the atmosphere of peace and confidence" the
two countries were trying to build. In 1994, the Greek Parliament
endorsed a law claiming that Pontic Greeks had been subject to
genocide in Anatolia.
Barzani Visits the U.S.
Mainstream Sabah report Nechirvan Barzani, the PM of the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG,) told VOA after meeting Friday with
President Bush that the KRG was "committed to combat terror" but the
problem between the PKK and Turkey required a "political solution."
Barzani also said the President of the Kurdish region, Massoud
Barzani, is expected to visit the US in the near future. The
Kurdish administration in northern Iraq said Barzani's talks in
Washington with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary
Rice, and Defense Secretary Gates had been "excellent and
productive," according to Sabah.
'Diyanet' Webpage: Flirting is Adultery
Liberal Radikal reports Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate
(Diyanet) says on its website that "all illegitimate relationships
between men and women, including flirting, amounts to adultery." An
article on the Diyanet webpage warns that men and women were
"sexually arousing" for each other, therefore the sexes needed to
"stay distanced" from each another. The article also says it was
"inappropriate" for women to travel alone, or put on perfumes
outside their homes because strong scents could be "sexually
arousing" for men.
- Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said the Court of Appeals
(Yargitay) should not have discussed its concerns regarding the
lawsuit banning the AKP in public.
- First Lady Hayrunnisa Gul triggered controversy when she wanted to
transfer 35 pieces, including paintings, armchairs and tables used
by Ottoman Sultans, from Istanbul's Dolmabahce Palace to the
Presidential Palace in Ankara.
- IMF Turkey representative Hossein Samiei said the Turkish
government needs to undertake additional measures to meet its
targets for 2009.
- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday Israel had made no
commitment to Syria to pull out of the Golan Heights.
- "The Syrian leadership will not abandon the front lines until all
threats from the Zionist entity have disappeared," said Iranian
President Ahmadinejad during a meeting with the Syrian Defense
Minister General Hassan Turkmani in Tehran.
- The Taliban said it will fight on till the last foreign soldier is
driven out of Afghanistan, but their door is always open to talks
with other Afghan opposition groups.