Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2008
In Today's Papers
EU Process Depends on Lawsuit
All papers: Today's lead news story in papers focuses on the
outcome of yesterday's discussions the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (PACE). PACE approved a report prepared by
Belgian MP Luc Van den Brande on "The functioning of democratic
institutions in Turkey." The report said it may be necessary to
activate a monitoring mechanism for Turkey because the closure of
the ruling AKP would result in decreased political stability in
Turkey and would negatively affect Turkey's EU bid.
Conservative-nationalist Turkiye writes, "The Council of Europe
Sends a Harsh Message to Turkey," as, "Banning a ruling party would
lead to a social crisis and would make EU accession impossible."
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak's front-page banner headline reads,
"The Council of Europe Issues a Stern Warning against the Judicial
Coup." Islamist-oriented Zaman writes, "PACE calls the ban of the
AKP, 'a blow to democracy,'" as the goal of the debates, "was not to
punish Turkey, but to rescue democracy," as AKP closure would,
"render Turkey to the league of fragile democracies." Mainstream
Sabah carries the headline, "The EU Process Depends on the Outcome
of the Closure Case." Mainstream Hurriyet notes, "PACE Adopts a
Harsh Stance on the Suit against the AKP," and reports, "PACE
adopted a report that was ordered by AKP officials." In addition,
Hurriyet carries excerpts of the joint declaration from opposition
CHP and MHP, calling PACE's declaration, "an intervention in the
Turkish judicial process." Liberal Radikal notes, "The Closure of
the AKP Would Cause Europe to Consider Our Democracy a Second Class
Democracy," as, "PACE sent the message that banning the AKP would be
a judicial coup, which could be followed by a military coup."
Mainstream Milliyet reports, "PACE Strongly Supports the AKP."
Mainstream Vatan writes, "PACE Warns Turkey that AKP Closure Could
Lead to Turkey's Placement on the Blacklist of Troubled
Democracies," and, "yesterday's PACE meeting threw strong support
behind the AKP." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet comments, "PACE Is
Monitoring Turkey," and thus, "PACE poses a threat to Turkey."
EDITORIAL OPINION: Turkish Political Debates
"The Military's Statement"
Ercan Karakas wrote in leftist Birgun (6/27): "Turkey is going
through a serious political crisis. The political system, more
importantly the ruling party, prefers to work for its own agenda
rather than defending democracy for everyone. In addition, the
ruling party does not seek consensus and dialogue in order to
decrease political tensions. A solution to Turkey's political
problem must be found within its democratic structure, regardless of
the nature of the political tensions. Therefore, it is wrong for
the military to devise a plan to manipulate public opinion for the
purposes of pushing its own political agenda. When the Turkish
General Staff's documents regarding this plan were revealed, TGS
declared, 'there is no such officially approved plan or document.'
This statement is positive, but not satisfactory because some
important questions remain unanswered. For example, who prepared
this plan and who is behind this effort? The main opposition CHP
asked TGS to initiate an investigation, but as far as I can see, no
such investigation has begun. This is an important matter and should
not be ignored. Why didn't the government respond to reports of the
military's plans? What is government's position regarding an
investigation into this issue? We are still waiting."
"Will the Constitutional Court Go on Vacation this summer?"
Murat Yetkin wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (6/27): "From a
procedural perspective, the closure case against the AKP should be
resolved soon. However, there is not a binding calendar or a legal
deadline for the Court's final decision. One thing is clear. The
longer it takes for the Court to conclude this case, the more
political uncertainties in Turkey will continue to grow.
Traditionally, the judiciary's summer holiday begins in early
August, but the Constitutional Court is not bound to that tradition.
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Speculation in Ankara indicates the Court will not recess until the
AKP closure case is finalized. Once this decision is reached,
everyone will benefit because we can all move on. There are three
possibilities regarding the Court's decision. First, the court may
close the party and impose a political ban on certain figures,
including PM Erdogan. Second, the court could reject the indictment
and dismiss the case. Finally, the court could find the AKP guilty
of anti-secular activities, but impose a practical penalty by
cutting off state treasury financing to the party. The majority of
political circles in Ankara consider the first option as the most
probable outcome. Very few consider the other two options as strong
possibilities. Nevertheless, the court will not reach its decision
based on the majority's expectations anyway."
National Security Council (NSC) Convened Yesterday
All papers report that the NSC convened for five and half hours
under the chairmanship of President Gul yesterday. In a statement
released after the meeting, the NSC Secretariat General said that
council members discussed, "operations and measures by security
forces against the terrorist organization, recent developments in
Iraq, and measures which officials would take regarding Turkey's
rising energy demand. The Council expressed determination that
successful operations against the terrorist organization and
measures regarding the fight against terrorism would be pursued.
The Council members assessed the results of meetings held with Iraqi
officials. The statement confirmed Turkey would contribute to
efforts to stabilize Iraq and the broader region. Council members
also discussed policies regarding Turkey's energy security. They
decided to capitalize on domestic and renewable energy sources and
increase cooperation with neighboring countries. Finally, the
statement underscored Turkey's important role as a transit country
for energy resources.
Intensified Operations against the PKK
Sabah and Milliyet report that Turkish security forces have stepped
up operations against the PKK in the Gabar and Kupeli Mountains. In
addition, military operations have intensified in the
Bestler-Dereler region of Sirnak. Large numbers of commando troops
were dispatched to the region, along with Cobra helicopters.
Meanwhile, a group of PKK opened fire on a minibus carrying soldiers
near the town of Lice in the Diyarbakir region. The driver died
and four soldiers were wounded.
The Largest Number of U.S. Nuclear Bombs in any European Country are
Milliyet cites Reuters in a report from the American Federation of
Scientists, who claim the U.S. stores nuclear bombs in six European
countries, including Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Turkey.
Reuters cites nuclear weapons expert Hans Kristensen's report, which
states the U.S. keeps most of its nuclear bombs in Turkey's Incirlik
air base and Italy's Aviano air base.
- Residential electricity prices rise 21%.
- Forest fires are reported in the resort cities of Bodrum and
- In July, the monthly minimum wage will increase by 5% to 503.26
- President Bush announced that Washington will drop trade sanctions
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against North Korea and remove North Korea from a terrorist
blacklist. Such measures are contingent on the Pyongyang
government's submission of a long-awaited declaration about the
extent of its nuclear activities.
- Opposition parties CHP and MHP members of PACE voiced fierce
criticisms against the PACE report on Turkish democracy.
- Foreign Ministers of the G8 open talks in Kyoto, Japan to discuss
North Korean and Iranian nuclear disputes.