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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11, 2008

In Today's Papers

Constitutional Court Decision Creates Rifts in Parliament
All papers report Prime Minister Erdogan criticized the
Constitutional Court's ruling on turban reforms, saying the court
"overstepped its authority." Erdogan was speaking to his party
group meeting yesterday when he called on the Constitutional Court
to release their justification for their decision to annul the
headscarf reforms. "The judiciary is watching the mistakes of the
legislature and the executive branches, but who will watch the
mistakes of the judiciary," asked Erdogan. Erdogan also slammed the
CHP for cultivating tensions between the legislative and the
judiciary; he warned that such an approach harms Turkey's interests.
Erdogan announced the parliament would not go into summer recess
before the Constitutional Court announces its verdict in the closure
case against the AKP. A column in mainstream Vatan sees this as an
indication that Erdogan will propose early elections if the AKP is
closed. According to the columnist, a bi-chamber parliament or
restrictions on the powers of the Constitutional Court cannot help
resolve these problems; Turkey needs a comprehensive program that
addresses freedoms.

The main opposition CHP leader Deniz Baykal told his party group
that "furious reactions" to the headscarf ruling resulted from "the
judiciary's ability to block attempts to infringe the principle of
secularism." In "Baykal Urges Erdogan to Accept the Situation,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports Baykal warned Erdogan he
should not attempt to propose new constitutional changes. "Don't
try to establish justice that is fit only for you. Politics is a
long term process. Don't attempt to take over the judiciary, the
parliament or the Constitutional Court. Know the place and limits
assigned to you in the constitution," stated Baykal. Baykal said,
"The AKP did not attempt to change Turkey's secularist principles,
but they made changes that by-passed those principles and rendered
them ineffective," which the Constitutional Court did not allow.

Addressing his party group, opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli
slammed the Constitutional Court, saying it was acting as
"parliament's guardian." Specifically, Bahceli noted, "The
annulment of the headscarf reforms did not end the debate. Turban is
a sociological fact in Turkish society. The bleeding wound has
worsened into gangrene." Nevertheless, Bahceli noted that all should
respect the decisions to come out of courts. Bahceli said the
"mismanaged political crisis" could escalate further and develop
into a "regime crisis jeopardizing the future of the democracy." In
addition, he stressed, "No political ideology or agenda is more
important than saving our democratic regime. The greatest
responsibility here falls on PM Erdogan and his party, the addressee
of the closure case," said Bahceli. Bahceli said his party was
ready to consider any proposal from Prime Minister Erdogan in order
to save the political regime from crisis and contribute to the
normalization of politics.

"Erdogan blames the CHP, Baykal blames the AKP; Bahceli blames both
the AKP and CHP," says liberal Radikal on its front page,
criticizing the leaders that none of them were talking about
structural changes. Under the headline "Parliament Tells Court to
Stay in Its Place," leftist Taraf writes on page one both Erdogan
and Bahceli warned the parliament wouldn't accept "judicial
tutelage," and that only the elected parliaments could use the
legislative authority.

EDITORIAL OPINION: The Aftermath of the Constitutional Court
Decision

"Protecting Checks and Balances"
Mehmet Yilmaz wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (6/11): "When the
government spokesperson emphasized the need to clarify the checks
and balances system in Turkey, he was right. Nevertheless, this
observation should have been noted before the Constitutional Court

ANKARA 00001081 002 OF 003


decision regarding the headscarf ban. This message goes out not
only to the ruling AKP, but to the CHP, MHP and all others. We
would not be in our current predicament if someone had acted earlier
to resolve the problems in Turkey's checks and balances system.
Today's system mandates power-sharing between three powers, namely
the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial
branch. Currently, the debate revolves around accusations the
judiciary overrode the legislative branch's mandate. However, it
also is important to note the lack of checks and balances that
currently exists between the legislative branch and the executive
branch. In reality, both of them function under one leader's
authority, which right now is Prime Minister Erdogan. Turkey's
current Political Parties Law allows the legislative and executive
branches to become one. This system helps a party leader garner
power over two out of three branches, which paves the way for a
party leader to create his own puppets in the parliament. This is
the very reason for the current deadlock in the Turkish system, and
it covers all parties."

"Getting Ready for Closure"
Gungor Mengi wrote in mainstream Vatan (6/11): "During his speech
to his party group yesterday, Prime Minister Erdogan did not attempt
to lead his party towards a solution to the current political
crisis. Instead, he tried to boost his party's morale in the lead up
to the potential closure of the AKP. Turkey's political problems
stem from the fact that the system of checks and balances is not
functioning. Two of the three branches of the system, the executive
and legislative branches, do not work. Meanwhile, the executive is
also trying to control the judiciary's power. Had the system
functioned properly, the Constitutional amendments regarding the
headscarf would have been turned down either by Parliament or by the
President because they clearly contradicted the unchangeable
foundations of the Turkish Constitution."


Cartoons in June 11 Sabah:

CHP leader Deniz Baykal is dancing aboard a sinking ship named
"Politics," and singing "The AKP is sinking, sinking" while PM
Erdogan and others look on. The ship is sinking because it was
attacked by the ship in the rear named "Constitutional Court," and
the ship has a smoking gun.


CHP Leader Baykal is depicted as tattling on Erdogan to a justice.


Iraq: PM Erdogan to Visit Iraq Soon
Liberal Radikal reports the Iraqi Prime Minister's Office said
Tuesday Turkey's Special Iraq Envoy Ambassador Murat Ozcelik said
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's intends to visit Iraq soon. The
statement also noted, "Turkey has decided to send the country's
leading companies to contribute to the rebuilding and development of
Iraq." In addition, a Turkish trade delegation is scheduled to visit
Iraq soon to assess their needs and priorities.

Babacan Meets with Foreign Policy Teams of US Presidential
Candidates
Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Safak: Mainstream Milliyet reports that
during his visit to the US, Foreign Minister Babacan met with the
foreign policy teams of the Presidential candidates. During his
meeting with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Babacan
complained that the definition of secularism is not clear in the
Turkish Constitution. Responding to Albright's question regarding
the AKP closure case, Babacan said "We don't know when and what kind
of decision will be taken." Milliyet also reports that the Council
of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) decided to include the topic
of "functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey" as an urgent
agenda item at its general assembly sessions at the end of June.
PACE invited FM Babacan to join the meeting as a presenter.

ANKARA 00001081 003 OF 003

Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports in "Babacan Makes A
Confession to Rice: The EU Won't Take Us," that FM Babacan asked
Secretary Rice for US support against France's stance on Turkey's EU
membership.

President Bush Supports Turkey's EU Bid
All media outlets report President Bush rallied behind Turkey's EU
Bid during the US-EU Summit yesterday. Coverage is straightforward,
and positive. NTV reports, "Bush joined the 27 nation summit and
declared, 'I believe Turkey's full membership to the EU is
necessary.'" CNN Turk notes Bush also "expressed appreciate for
Turkey's EU reforms." Leftist Taraf carries the headline, "Bush
Sends a Nice Gesture to Turkey." In a rare occasion,
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak and leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet
carry the same headline, "Bush Tells EU They Must Accept Turkey's
Full Membership." In addition, Cumhuriyet's front page headline
notes, "Foreign Minister Ali Babacan Confesses to Secretary Rice:
The EU Will Not Take Us." Islamist-oriented Zaman writes, "Bush
Supports Turkey's Full Membership to the EU." Liberal Radikal call
says, "Bush Supports Turkey." Mainstream Sabah's front page carries
the headline, "Bush Tells the EU to Take Turkey." Mainstream
Hurriyet carries the headline, "Bush's Farewell Message to the EU:
Turkey Must Become One of Your Members."

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- The pro-Kurdish DTP's acting chairwoman Emine Ayna said Turkey has
"structural problems," and that the 86-year old Turkish republic
"lacks democracy."

- Six al-Qaeda suspects were captured in the eastern province of
Bingol.

- Prime Minister Erdogan will address the 3rd Turkey-Arab Economic
Forum in Istanbul. Nearly 400 investors from Arab and Gulf countries
will attend the forum.

International News

- Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias said statements made by
Turkish military officials harm efforts that seek a settlement on
the divided island.

- Greek Ambassador to Baghdad Panagiotis Makris visited northern
Iraq to meet the Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud
Barzani.

- A German language test for foreigners willing to obtain German
citizenship will be compulsory as of September 1.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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