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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
MONDAY, JULY 14, 2008

In Today's Papers

Prosecutor to Disclose 'Ergenekon' Indictment Monday
All news outlets report on Monday, prosecutor Zekeriya Oz is
expected to submit his indictment in the 13-month 'Ergenekon'
investigation to court. Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin and
Deputy Chief Prosecutor Turan Colakkadi are expected to forward the
indictment today. The indictment, which mentions four separate
military takeover attempts since 2003, contains charges against 85
suspects, 48 of them already in custody. Papers say the indictment
would include evidence provided by 20 "secret witnesses" whose
identities are not disclosed to assure their safety. Papers also
claim that the prosecutor will prepare an additional indictment for
retired generals Sener Eruygur and Hursit Tolon, as well as others
suspects arrested in recent operations.

The media speculated that the indictment would tie notorious,
politically motivated attacks to Erenekon, including the attack on
the Council of State (Danistay), the murder of Armenian-Turkish
editor Hrant Dink and the slaying of three Christian Bible
publishers in Malatya. Conservative-nationalist Bugun says
prosecutors in charge of the Ergenekon investigation have asked the
military General Staff (TGS) to allow legal action against active
military officers supposedly linked to the illegal network.

US Istanbul Consulate Attack Investigation Continues
All papers over the weekend and today report twelve suspects have
been taken into custody in connection with last week's attack on the
US Consulate in Istanbul. Four of the suspects were taken to court
for further proceedings and one suspect, Dursun Patan, was formally
arrested. Patan claimed Erhan Kargin, a suspect killed during the
attack, used to tell everybody in his neighborhood that he would
attack Israeli and American targets in Turkey. Islamist-oriented
Zaman says suspects detained in connection with the attack fingered
Kargin as the mastermind and that he had been visited by "some state
officials" indicating a connection to the "deep state." Papers also
claim he received training in Afghanistan and returned to Turkey in
2007. Another suspect, unregistered taxi driver Cebrail
Kosanarslan, said he was not involved in the attack, but was simply
forced by the attackers to drive them to the Consulate. Mainstream
Hurriyet, however, reports Kosanarslan washed his car immediately
after the attack, probably to hide critical evidence. Mainstream
Milliyet writes in "Consulate Suspect Has Been a Human Shield," that
another of the detainees, Resat Anli, "had traveled to Syria and
Iran and had served as a human shield against a possible attack by
the US on Iran."

Papers over the weekend reported President Bush phoned President
Abdullah Gul to express his deepest condolences to the families of
Turkish police officers who died defending the US Consulate in
Istanbul. The Turkish President's Office said Bush expressed
gratitude for the Turkish police officers' defence of the Consulate.

Saturday's papers featured US Consul General Sharon Wiener's visit
to the policeman injured in the attack, Osman Dagli. She presented
him with a bouquet of lilium which symbolize trust, according to
media reports. Saturday's papers carried Ambassador Ross Wilson's
remarks that US security officials did not intervene in the attack
because they were not carrying arms during that particular time of
the day.

The Mediterranean Union Summit
All papers: Prime Minister Erdogan Sunday attend the Union for
Mediterranean summit in Paris. Mainstream Milliyet reports that
during a 40 minute meeting with French President Sarkozy, PM Erdogan
suggested that France should act responsibly during its EU term
presidency, and invited Sarkozy to Turkey. Islamist-oriented Yeni
Safak writes that on the closure case against the AKP, Sarkozy said
that the EU expects the court decision to be in line with democratic
and rule of law principles. Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet carries

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Israeli PM Ehud Olmert's comments at the summit that Israel and the
Syrians have never been closer to making peace.

Editorial Commentary on Med Union

"The Mediterranean Union and Turkey"
Erdal Safak wrote in mainstream Sabah (7/14): "The Med Union has
given French President Sarkozy an important political gain. The
French leader managed to bring Syrian and Israeli leaders around the
same table, and this achievement is important to his ambition of
being a leader in the European Union. Until now, French power in
the Middle East has been insignificant poor; therefore, the
Olmert-Assad meeting at the Mediterranean Summit has paved the way
for Paris's presence in the region. Whether or not France
ultimately succeeds depends on a few factors. First of all, the
White House administration will determine whether France will be
given a role as a Middle East player. Secondly the French
administration has to get it over its 'Turkey complex' and accept
Ankara as its helper in the Middle East. Eventually, I hope France
will accept Turkey as a reality in the Middle East and also will act
appropriately as far as the Turkey-EU process is concerned."

"Erdogan and Assad Saved Sarkozy's Image"
Semih Idiz commented in mainstream Milliyet (7/14): "After Germany's
intervention in the Med Union process, the project could no longer
be an absolute French power game in Mediterranean. So, even though
the current Med Union project is not what Sarkozy had in mind, he
had to steal the show anyway. Given the participation level, as
well as the lack of enthusiasm, it looks like the Med Union did not
have a strong start. There is still no clarity about the ultimate
goal of the project. Israel looks like the only strong supporter,
which is enough reason for the Arabs to become suspicious. Sarkozy
was hoping to arrange a summit between Syria and Israel as a follow
up to the Turkish-led Syria-Israel talks. The summit did not take
place. However, Sarkozy still managed to save his image, and for
that, he should thank Turkey. Turkey's participation to the meeting
was very significant because, without Turkey, there wouldn't be any
'Mediterranean union.' The Med Union project is not an empty idea,
and can be important if cooperation among Mediterranean countries
can be established. Yet Turkey, given its rising political profile
in the region, has a better chance for success than France."

PKK Threatens Germany
Liberal Radikal reports that after abducting three Germans last
week, the PKK now has threatened to attack German economic
interests. In a statement sent to Firat News Agency the terrorist
organization said, "The Turkish and German governments should
prepare to sacrifice their economic interests for the Kurds fight
for independence. We have the power to inflict heavy blows on
Germany's economic interests in Turkey." PKK reiterated its threat
regarding the abducted three Germans saying that "the Germans will
not be released until after Germany's stance against the PKK
changes. Angela Merkel is the only person we'll talk to on this
issue."

Poll: 63 Percent Oppose AKP's Closure
Weekend Milliyet, Vatan, Bugun and Monday Cumhuriyet report on
Metropoll public opinion research company poll that shows the
distribution of votes among political parties would be as follows if
elections were held today: AKP 40.4 percent, CHP 14.4, MHP 7.6, DP
1.1, DTP 1.0, GP 0.6, Others 3.6, Indecisive 13.6, Will not vote
2.5, and No answer 5.7.

Sixty-three percent of those interviewed opposed a possible closure
of the AKP. Forty-four percent said they would vote for a party
backed by Erdogan if the AKP is closed. Metropoll is a company
known to be close to the ruling AKP. The survey conducted on June
26-27 canvassed the views of 1557 people in 26 Turkish provinces.

TV News:

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CNN Turk

Domestic News

- Prime Minister Erdogan, accompanied by six cabinet ministers, will
travel to Lefkosa on July 18 to meet Turkish Cypriot leaders,
opposition party leaders and NGO representatives. Erdogan will join
July 20 celebrations held to celebrate the founding of Turkish
Cyprus.

- Two PKK terrorists have been killed by security forces in the
eastern province of Tunceli.

- Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP will hold a convention on July 20
to pick a new party leader.

International News

- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel and Palestine have
"never been this close" to a peace deal.

- The British government is to sponsor a theological board of
leading imams and Muslim women in an attempt to refute the ideology
of violent extremists.

- About 5,400 residents are evacuated in Osaka, Japan as army
experts dispose of a large unexploded bomb believed to have been
dropped by the US military during World War II.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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