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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001239

SIPDIS

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, JULY 9, 2008

In Today's Papers

Main Ergenekon Suspects Transferred to High Security Prison
All papers report Ergenekon suspects Sener Eruygur, Hursit Tolon and
Ankara Chamber of Commerce President Sinan Aygun were transferred
from Istanbul's Metris prison to the F-Type Maximum Security Prison
in the neighboring province of Kocaeli. In addition, Istanbul
prosecutor Zekeriya Oz has formally objected to the release of
Mustafa Balbay, Ankara Bureau Chief of the leftist-nationalist daily
Cumhuriyet. Oz also objected the release of eight other suspects
last week.

Papers say the indictment prepared for the Ergenekon investigation
consists of 40 chapters in 2,500 pages and will include charges
against 85 individuals. An additional indictment will be prepared
for those taken into custody during the latest roundup, including
Tolon, Eruygur, Aygun, as well as other seven suspects under arrest.
Islamist-oriented Yeni Safak says the Ergenekon gang planned to
carry out bloody acts of provocation, such as a bomb attack in
Taksim Square in the heart of Istanbul. In "Empire of Fear,"
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says intellectuals and journalists
were taken into custody and healthy people were ruined in jail while
the media close to the AKP government backed all this injustice.
The paper quotes opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli as saying,
"The way Ergenekon operation has been conducted gives us the
impression that this investigation is an intimidation campaign."

Death of 'Ergenekon' Suspect in Prison Investigated
All papers report the Justice Ministry has initiated an
investigation into the death of 'Ergenekon' suspect Kuddusi Okkir
who died after spending one year in jail. Okkir, charged with being
a financier of Ergenekon gang, was released from prison last week
due to his ailing health and transferred to hospital, where he later
died. Justice Ministry appointed two inspectors to study the case
of Okkir, an Ergenekon prisoner who had lung cancer and who died a
few days after being released. His widow told the press she would
apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Editorial Commentary on Ergenekon

"All Hands should be Washed Clean First"
Gungor Mengi wrote in mainstream Vatan (7/9): "In his speech
yesterday, PM Erdogan referred to the 'Clean Hands' operation in
Italy. The PM questioned, 'Why do those who followed Italy's Clean
Hands operation with admiration and who asked when such an operation
will take place in our country feeling disturbed when we take such
steps?' Of course, the main opposition CHP leader Baykal did not
miss this opportunity to score a goal against the PM by saying "in
order to launch an operation like Italy's Clean Hands Operation,
ones' own hands should be really clean." The Clean Hands operation
was an example of judicial bravery that interfered with the mafia
scandals and corruption. Maybe, with his words, PM Erdogan was
indicating that justice was reaching the powerful people, but one
fact should not be ignored - Italy was able to launch the Clean
Hands operation because of the independence of its judiciary. There
was no obstacle of "parliamentary immunity" in front of the Italian
judiciary. The AKP is struggling to control the judiciary while it
doesn't allow the lifting of the immunities for the sake of the
clean politicians' self confidence."

"This is exactly what a Police State is"
Tufan Turenc commented in mainstream Hurriyet (7/9): "The AKP,
under the pretense of being democratic, has managed to turn Turkey
into a police state. Some people are starting to realize this fact
while some have yet to reach this understanding. Following the
Ergenekon investigation, the public is intimidated and concerned
that their telephones might be tapped as well. Developments show us
that Turkey is now a real police state and everyone carries that
fear deep inside them. Kuddusi Okkir's drama forced us to be pushed
into this fear syndrome. He was accused and arrested of being the

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financer of the Ergenekon organization and was not released until a
few days before his death. Since he was suffering from deadly
cancer, he was released to die at his own home. He was jailed for
being the financer of the terrorist organization but his family
didn't even have enough money to bury him! His funeral was held by
the municipality on some of the journalists' request. While he
would intervene in many humanitarian issues, for some reason, PM
Erdogan never interfered in Okkir's predicament, which is a scandal.
I suppose this is the bitter result of the societal division in
AKP's Turkey. Unfortunately, today, in our country humanitarian
attitudes are shaped by not very humanitarian measures. This is the
sad and serious situation we are in."

Buyukanit: Terrorism is the Biggest Threat to Global Peace
All papers report the Turkish General Staff (TGS) Chief General
Yasar Buyukanit said on Tuesday terrorism was the biggest threat for
global peace and security in the age of globalization. Addressing
the "Silk Road 2008 Generals/Admirals Seminar" held in the
Mediterranean city of Antalya, Buyukanit said efforts in diplomacy,
intelligence, economy, finance, information and law were also
important as much as military methods in combating terrorism, since
terrorist organizations act like international crime organizations
with their acts such as drug and human trafficking, money
laundering, bootlegging and kidnapping for ransom. "For instance,
the terrorist organization PKK/Kongra-Gel is responsible for the 80
percent of the heroin smuggled into Europe, extortion in several
European countries, and even running guns to the terrorist Tamil
Tigers in Sri Lanka," he said.

Turkey to Join Mediterranean Summit
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others
report Turkey has accepted France's invitation to the Mediterranean
Union Summit, but only after French President Sarkozy called PM
Erdogan from his cell phone in Japan. Mainstream Milliyet reports
in, "An Invitation to Erdogan, that "French President Nicholas
Sarkozy personally phoned Prime Minister Erdogan to invite him to
the July 13th Summit in Paris." Thus, "the fiasco scenario is
avoided," because EU Leaders promised that this union won't
interfere with Turkey's EU accession, Turkey's acceptance is thought
to be a good start for the summit. Islamist-oriented Zaman reports
in "Sarkozy Called and Erdogan said 'I May Be Able to Come,'" that,
"Turkey accepted the invitation following its demands that Turkey's
membership to the Mediterranean Union will not affect Turkey's full
accession process." Mainstream Sabah reports Sarkozy promised
Erdogan France would be "neutral" during its EU presidency. Leftist
Taraf reports Sarkozy's phone call "improved the picture a little
more," between Turkey and France.

International Drug Conference in Istanbul
Islamist-oriented dailies Zaman and Yeni Safak report more than 300
drug enforcement officials from 93 countries participated in the
26th Annual International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) held in
Istanbul. Turkish Police presided over the 26th Annual
International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in cooperation with
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Interior Minister
Besir Atalay told the opening of the conference Turkey was no longer
a path in drug trade, adding some 20,000 traffickers were captured
over the past years. Atalay also noted the PKK was linked to drug
trade, and the U.S. has confirmed this. Turkish Police General
Director Oguz Kagan Koksal, DEA Acting Administrator Michele
Leonhart and US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson were among the
key-note speakers of the conference.

TV News:
NTV

Domestic News

- Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas called for water conservation to cope
with water shortage in the summer.

ANKARA 00001239 003 OF 003

- On Tuesday, the Turkish Parliament adopted a motion to extend the
mandate of the Turkish peacekeeping troops within the UN Interim
Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

- Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said there will be no power cuts this
year.

International News

- European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Turkey's
10-percent election threshold does not amount to a violation of
human rights.

- The European Court of Human Rights ruled Turkey violated the
rights of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate by seizing its orphanage
on Istanbul's Buyukada Island.

- Secretary Rice signed a deal to base part of Washington's missile
defense system in the Czech Republic.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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