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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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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, JUNE 18, 2008

In Today's Papers

Erdogan Expects Court to Decide on AKP Closure in Late July
All papers report a Constitutional Court timetable indicates the
chief prosecutor will give his verbal assessment on July 1 and
Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek will present the AKP's verbal
defense on July 3. The file then will be submitted to the
rapporteur who will draft a report for the judges before they reach
a decision, say papers. On Monday, Prime Minister Erdogan told
reporters he expected a verdict by the end of July.

EDITORIAL OPINION: The AKP's Defense against Closure

"A Weak Defense"
Gungor Mengi wrote in mainstream Vatan (6/18): "The AKP's defense
argument is a good example of making a situation worse when trying
to fix it. The defense is all about pride, rudeness and
carelessness. Instead of outlining a defense what shows the AKP has
no conflict with secular values, the AKP has exerted all of its
efforts to explain its own interpretation of secularism. This comes
as no surprise because the founders of the AKP have been talking
about 'redefining secularism' from the very beginning. The AKP's
understanding of secularism is clearly flawed because this party
constantly and deliberately exploits religious values through
politics. The AKP defense also argues that 'secularism cannot be a
lifestyle,' which is a very dangerous approach and can lead to the
loss of diverse lifestyles and beliefs. The majority of Turkish
people share a common wish that the AKP should defend itself against
closure and should not be closed. However, the nature of the AKP's
defense will not help this wish come true."

"What's wrong with the Google Case?"
Ahmet Hakan wrote in mainstream Hurriyet (6/18): "The AKP defense
is largely based on criticism that the Prosecutor's indictment
relied solely on evidence acquired through Google's search engine.
It is hard to understand this argument. What can possibly be wrong
with a prosecutor using technology in order to gain and gather
information? In addition, this argument fails to address the
indictment's charges. No one would argue against the use of
newspaper clippings and other printed materials in order to justify
an indictment. After all, the information gathered is public
knowledge. A condescending attitude against internet research is a
lame approach. The AKP should have focused on addressing the
charges and finding inaccuracies in the indictment."

EU, Standard&Poor's on AKP Closure Case
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report
Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Ruppel called the closure
lawsuit against Turkey's ruling AKP was an "extraordinary" case for
the EU, but would not affect Turkey-EU ties. "We hope all political
parties in Turkey will seek solutions in line with legal principles
and democratic secularism; and we hope after the debates, a solution
will be found in compliance with the European Court of Human Rights
rulings and Venice Criteria," Ruppel emphasized. Slovenia currently
holds the rotating EU presidency.

Meanwhile, papers report Standard&Poor's Turkey analyst Faruk Soussa
said the possible closure of the AKP alone would not affect Turkeys'
credit rating, but, "What matters is how the investors would see
it." The fact that political stability and trust appears negative
doesn't mean Turkeys' ratings will be lowered, according to Soussa.
He warned tight economic policies might be needed, which could
affect growth.

A New Gas Pipeline Agreement with Iran
Mainstream Hurriyet reports that in order to prevent natural gas
shortage during the winter months, Turkey and Iran agreed to build a
new gas pipeline. Iranian Deputy Gas and Oil Minister Riza
Kasaesizadeh came to Turkey recently to discuss the pipeline and
both parties agreed on the new gas pipeline. The new line will come

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directly to Bazergan border gate from Iran's Miandoab province.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler answered questions regarding
reports U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson hinted the U.S. could
strike Iran. Guler said, "I had a chat with Ambassador Wilson. I
do not want to reveal details. When we hear such hints or comments,
we explain our position and our priorities regarding Turkey's
interests.

Rector Assignments Determined Today and Tomorrow
Hurriyet reports that university rector elections will be held in 21
universities today and tomorrow. Following his appointment of the
Higher Education Board (YOK) President, President Gul will change
almost all the rectors, who were assigned by former President Sezer.
Because they criticized 'turban freedom' in the universities and
contradicted the wishes of the government and the YOK on this issue
recently, Akdeniz University Rector Mustafa Akaydin, METU Rector
Prof.Ural Akbulut, Ankara University Rector Prof. Nusret Aras,
Uludag University Rector Prof. Mustafa Abbas Yurtkuran and 19 May
University Rector Prof. Ferit Bernay will be replaced by new
rectors.

Controversial Privacy Draft
Liberal Radikal draws attention to a newly drafted privacy law that
was submitted by the government to the parliament for approval
within the framework of EU harmonization reforms. Even though the
new draft looks like a modern initiative, some exceptions mentioned
in the new regulations will give the police, gendarme and
intelligence service MIT easier access to personal data. Radikal
describes the draft as "the footsteps toward a police state." Bilgi
University prepared a report on the new draft and drew attention to
concerns about the exceptions in the bill. Originally, the bill
called for a board comprised of NGOs and academics to oversee
requests for personal data concerning private citizens' ethic
background and religious affiliation. However, the government has
changed the draft so the board will be comprised of government
officials. This, Radikal says, will make it easier for the
Gendarme, MIT, and the police to acquire private data. Currently, a
court order is required to access such information. The new plan
streamlines the process by allowing the board of government
officials to approve requests for private information.

Customs Tariffs to be Lowered among Islamic Countries
Mainstream Hurriyet and Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak report a
"Preferential Trade System" will be established among members of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). "OIC Preferential
Trade System" talks were held in Ankara yesterday and established
tax reductions in OIC member states. The system will take effect in
January 2009.

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News
- On Tuesday, visiting Greek Land Forces Commander General Dimitrios
Voulgaris met with his Turkish counterpart General Ilker Basbug.
Voulgaris is the first Greek land forces commander to visit Turkey.


- The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was established in Diyarbakir
to replace the DTP in the pro-Kurdish party is closed.

- Former lawmaker and Kurdish activist Leyla Zana faces a prison
sentence of up to five years for spreading PKK propaganda in a
speech during Nevruz celebrations in Diyarbakir last year.

International News

- Lynn Pascoe, UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, is
in Cyprus for meetings with the leaders of the Greek and Turkish

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Cypriot communities, as part of efforts to help toward a political
settlement.

- Pakistani scientist Abdul-Qadeer Khan has denied claims that he
sold plans for an advanced nuclear weapon to Iran or North Korea.

- A UNHCR report says the global number of refugees and displaced
people reached 67 million last year.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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