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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2008

In Today's Papers

Toptan Suggests 'Two-Chamber Parliament' System
All papers reported over the weekend and today that Parliament
Speaker Koksal Toptan told a Saturday morning press conference that
the Constitutional Court's decision to scrap the AKP-MHP sponsored
headscarf reforms means Turkey needs to reform its political system.
Toptan stressed the parliament holds the legislative power, and
suggested the parliament consider drafting a new constitution and
establishing a bi-chamber parliamentary system. He said he plans to
bring together the leaders of political parties represented in
parliament to discuss these matters. Toptan's proposal came as a
"surprise" for the AKP, according to papers. Papers report the AKP
deputy chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat said Turkey already tried
this system before 1980 but abandoned it. AKP deputy group Chief
Nihat Ergun said the bi-house system could slow down the legislative
process in Turkey. Opposition MHP Secretary General Cihan Pacaci
rejected Toptan's proposal, saying Turkey needs to reform its
election system instead. Opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal said
Turkey was experiencing "unsuitable conditions" for new
constitutional reforms and warned that reform attempts could lead to
deep divisions within the Turkish public. CHP deputy group Chief
Hakki Suha Okay said it was not for the Parliament Speaker to
criticize the Constitutional Court decision; Okay criticized Toptan
for not being "impartial." Toptan stressed his proposal was not
influenced by anybody. Papers, however, note on Sunday that
Toptan's press conference came after a meeting with Prime Minister
Erdogan.

Mainstream Milliyet commented over the weekend the AKP wants reforms
to restrict the powers of the Constitutional Court. In, "The AKP Is
Negative to the Proposal for a Two-Chamber Parliament," mainstream
Milliyet reports the reforms, nevertheless, will be part of a
broader democratization package. Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek
and other leading AKP officials object to the reforms idea, saying
the party should wait for the outcome of the lawsuit for closing
down the ruling party, according to Milliyet and
nationalist-oriented Cumhuriyet. Mainstream Hurriyet claims
although it was the AKP officials who pressed Toptan to intervene to
reduce the tense environment, they did not agree with Toptan's
formula re-instituting the senate. A legal expert told the
Islamist-oriented Zaman on Monday that a bi-chamber structure will
not solve the problem and will only stall the legislative process
and increase tensions. Under the headline, "Real Democracy -- Right
Now!" on its front page Monday, liberal Radikal says Turkey needs to
introduce democracy without delay.

On Monday, Erdogan will hold his weekly meeting with his party board
to address his party group in the parliament Tuesday. Mainstream
Vatan expects Erdogan's speech at the party group meeting tomorrow
to be a "democratic manifesto" in which the PM is expected to call
on the political parties to work together to defend their "right to
live," and underscore that the annulment of the headscarf reforms
does not target merely the AKP.

Editorial Commentary on the Constitutional Court Decision

"About The System"
Okay Gonensin wrote in mainstream Vatan (6/9): "The tradition
continues: Ankara's politicians always start debates about checks
and balances when they make a big mistake, and this time the same
thing is happening. The fact of the matter is that Turkey has a
systematic problem which stems from a constitution that was shaped
by the military in 1982. Even though this constitution has been
amended, time has proven that Turkey can no longer live with it.
Interestingly enough, it was not until the AKP that a political
authority showed a strong will to work toward a brand new
constitution. Although the ruling AKP had the courage and the
wherewithal, the effort failed in the end due to a lack of vision
and a lack of political experience. Meanwhile, the opposition CHP

ANKARA 00001061 002 OF 003


is also a part of the problem because they also have no clear
vision. The AKP should start working towards a contemporary
constitution that treats freedoms as a whole instead of focusing on
only those freedoms related to the AKP's political roots. A brand
new and genuinely liberal constitution is what we need, along with a
brand new law regarding political parties."

"The Aftermath of the Decision"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in conservative Turkiye (6/9): "The
Constitutional Court decision has almost divided the country's
opinion into two - half of Turkey is pleased with it, while the
other half is not. The court decision is certainly subject to
criticism but it must be applied as is. The court decision, in
light of the pending closure case, can also be interpreted as a
decision against the ruling AKP. It is also a warning to the
parliament about the protection of the Turkish Republic. The
parliament chose to change the turban ban through a constitutional
amendment and is now facing the consequences. The current situation
is complex because Turkey is in need of a completely new
constitution. By focusing on a certain issue, i.e. headscarf, the
perception that the government has a specific agenda was enhanced.
After all, the court's decision was political, and we will see the
rationale when the detailed justification is issued."

UN Iraq Envoy Unveils Kirkuk Report
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet and far right Ortadogu report the UN
Special Envoy to Iraq Staffan de Mistura submitted his preliminary
report on the disputed areas and borders in Iraq to the Iraqi
President and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). The regional
Kurdish Parliament has convened an extraordinary session to discuss
the report, which suggests the annexation of Kirkuk to four regions.
The report is far from meeting the expectations of the Kurds, who
want all of Kirkuk to be tied to the Kurdish Administration, says
Cumhuriyet.

James Jeffrey To Be Nominated Ambassador To Turkey
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others gave
positive, straightforward and widespread coverage of President
Bush's announcement to nominate James Jeffrey as the next U.S.
Ambassador to Turkey. Papers say in order to be able to begin his
mission in Turkey, Jeffrey's nomination needs to be approved by the
U.S. Senate. Jeffrey, who served three other assignments in Turkey,
is currently the White House Deputy National Security Advisor. He
previously served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the
State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Earlier, he was
the Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad and the U.S. Ambassador to
Albania.

PKK Target in Zap Struck in Nighttime Air Raid
Bugun, Zaman, Yeni Safak, Star: The Turkish General Staff web site
stated that "Turkish F-16s hit a PKK/KONGRAGEL target in the Zap
region of northern Iraq on June 7 at 22.30." Islamist-oriented
Zaman reports that F-16 planes took off from Diyarbakir air base and
hit targeted radio stations and several PKK camps.

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- One more worker has died in an accident at the Tuzla shipyards in
Istanbul. Shipyard workers are still planning to strike against
unsafe working conditions at the shipyard on June 16. During the
past nine months, 26 workers have been killed in Tuzla shipyards.


- Prime Minister Erdogan will join the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum
in Istanbul on June 12-13. The Prime Ministers of Palestine, Qatar
and Syria will also join the forum.


ANKARA 00001061 003 OF 003


- A report by Ankara Chamber of Trade (ATO) says over the last four
years, the debts of the average Turkish family have increased
seven-fold while their income increased only two-fold.

International News

- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki promised the U.S.-Iraqi
security pact would not negatively affect Iran.

- Two people were killed and over 100 injured when a 6.5-magnitude
quake hit southern Greece. The Turkish Red Crescent sent
humanitarian aid to the region.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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