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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2008

In Today's Papers

Court Rapporteur Advises against Closing AKP
All news outlets report Constitutional Court head Hasim Kilic said
Wednesday the court rapporteur has submitted his report on the
merits of the closure case against the ruling AKP to court members.
The submission of the report is the final step before the chairman
announces a date to debate the case. Kilic said a date for the
hearing would be decided after talks with all other members of the
court. Papers say in his "non-binding" report, Osman Can has
recommended the court not to close the party or deprive it from
Treasury funds. Can reportedly said the AKP-MHP backed headscarf
reforms should be seen as an "act carried out by the parliament."
He also noted the AKP members' statements should be evaluated under
"freedom of expression." Can is also reported to have said the ban
of political parties happened only in "extreme situations" in modern
democracies. In March, Can recommended rejection after the case was
filed, but the court accepted it. The Constitutional Court deputy
chairman, Osman Paksut, has earlier said the case could be finalized
within 4-5 weeks, signaling a decision could come at the end of July
or early August.

Turkey at the Center of Iranian Diplomacy. Today's lead news story
focuses on Turkey setting its sight on solving the crisis over
Iran's nuclear program through talks with both the U.S. National
Security Advisor and the Iranian Foreign Minister. Mainstream
Milliyet writes "Iran Traffic in Ankara," noting that "U.S. National
Security Advisor Stephen Hadley comes to Turkey today, and Iranian
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will come to Turkey tomorrow."
Liberal Radikal, in "Babacan: Turkey Plays an Unnamed Role for
Iran," quotes Foreign Minister Babacan's remarks on NTV that "after
working as a mediator in the indirect talks between Syria and
Israel, Turkey would also be effective in the dialogue between Iran
and the world." Leftist Cumhuriyet writes "U.S. and Iran are on the
Way to Ankara," saying "subsequent contact with U.S. and Iranian
officials reveals that Turkey is at the center of the diplomacy
traffic."

Former U.S. Ambassador Parris Comments on AKP Closure Case. Media
outlets report that former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Mark Parris
discussed recent developments in Turkey at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. With regard to the
AKP closure case, mainstream Milliyet reports Parris said "If the
AKP had given priority to the EU process and the constitutional
reforms after July 22, everything would be fine now. Unfortunately
they did not and the coalition of different groups supporting AKP
started to break down last autumn. Many corruption files started
surfacing. At that moment, the closure case became like a savior to
the AKP." Mainstream Sabah's headline reads "Parris gave a date for
AKP closure case," reporting that Parris said "if the AKP is closed,
this decision will negatively affect Turkey-U.S. relations as well
as Turkey's EU membership process." Parris added that he expects
the decision on the closure case sometime in mid-August or in the
third week of August, and most likely on a Friday evening.

Editorial Commentary on Ergenekon Indictment and Turkish Political
Debates

"Civilization and Democratization"
Soli Ozel wrote in mainstream Sabah (7/17): "The Ergenekon case,
even with its pluses and minuses, is an historic breakthrough in
Turkish political history. It marks the end of a coup-mongering
mentality and hopefully, it will also pave the way for a clean up
the system via the judicial process. However, a bigger struggle is
ahead of Turkish democracy: democratization. The aftermath of
Ergenekon will help move Turkey towards a better civil society, but
it does not necessarily automatic democratization. Democratization
requires a full-scale supremacy of rule of law. From now on, given
the current circumstances, Turkey's democratization is very much
tied to the nature of its relationship with the Western alliance and

ANKARA 00001288 002 OF 003


on the next phases in the EU process."

"Taking A Lesson From History"
Ismet Berkan wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (7/17): "As
Turkey continues to debate the essence of democracy, the world's
first republic concluded that debate some 210 years ago. It was
1797 when Thomas Jefferson defined the political parties into two
categories: 'those who fear from people' and 'those who don't.' In
the aftermath of the 1800 elections, all U.S. parties, regardless of
their political stance, came to a unanimous belief in the legitimacy
of the American Constitution. The United States has had only two
constitutional crises; during the civil war and in the debate on the
abolishment of slavery. And that was it, in more than 200 years of
its constitution. As for Turkey, we are still struggling in the
midst of a constitutional crisis, not to mention the fact that we
have had six completely new constitutions since 1786. What Thomas
Jefferson said then is valid for us now."

Humanitarian Support for Consulate Attack Victims. Mainstream Sabah
writes in "Support Promise from Wilson to the Martyr Family,"
quoting Ambassador Ross Wilson's remarks to CNNTurk, that "the U.S.
is planning humanitarian support for the families of the martyred
policemen," and that "Consulate and Embassy staff will also
contribute." Meanwhile, mainstream Hurriyet reports that "the
Istanbul Police Directorate has opened a bank account at Vakifbank
for donations to the families of the martyred."

U.S. Envoy to Attend Nuclear Talks. News outlets also give
extensive coverage to the U.S. sending a top ranked diplomat to
attend international nuclear talks with Iran on Saturday, marking a
major shift in the U.S. policy on Iran. Mainstream Sabah carries
the headline "U.S. Will Talk to Iran on Nuclear for the First Time,"
saying "Undersecretary William Burns will attend the meeting in
Geneva between EU Foreign Policy Chief Solana and Tehran's nuclear
negotiator Jalili, which is a first in the negotiations with
Tehran." Leftist Cumhuriyet writes in "U.S. for the First Time at
Negotiating Table," that "U.S. attitude shows a significant change
in its Iran policy and strengthens the belief that the problem could
be solved by negotiations." Liberal Radikal carries the headline
"U.S. is This Close to Iran," saying "the U.S. is involved in
nuclear talks with Iran for the first time." Leftist Taraf carries
the headline "U.S. will Attend Iran's Nuclear Negotiations Too."

TV Highlights
CNN Turk

Domestic News
- The Turkish General Staff said since July 13, 11 PKK terrorists
were killed in operations in the southeastern border province of
Hakkari.

- Prime Minister Erdogan, accompanied by a delegation of six cabinet
ministers, is to travel to Turkish Cyprus on July 18 to meet Turkish
Cypriot leaders including those of opposition parties as well as NGO
representatives.

- Turkish Truckers Association said it will use alternative routes
for shipping goods to Europe to avoid an extra USD 271 fee charged
by Bulgaria.

International News

- Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan's op-ed in The Wall Street
Journal calls for "dialogue with Turkey for the normalization of
ties and the opening of the border."

- Russian President Dimitri Medvedev said plans to deploy parts of
the U.S. missile shield in the Czech Republic "deeply distresses"
Moscow.


ANKARA 00001288 003 OF 003


- The U.S. Treasury Department prohibits all transactions with four
Iranian firms which are known to be close to Tehran's nuclear and
missile programs.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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