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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, DECEMBER 22, 2005


THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE TURKISH PRESS SUMMARY UNDER THREE
THEMES:

HEADLINES
BRIEFING
EDITORIAL OPINION
--------------------------------------------- --
HEADLINES

MASS APPEAL
Erdogan: TUSIAD Commits a Constitutional Crime - Hurriyet
TUSIAD's Constitutional Crime - Aksam
Erdogan: TUSIAD Commits Crime - Sabah
Erdogan: TUSIAD Committed Crime - Sabah
Accusing TUSIAD to the Judiciary - Milliyet
Investigation of Rector Tezic - Bugun
Bush's Effort to Counter Darwinism Did not Work - Hurriyet
Response to TUSIAD - Star

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OPINION MAKERS
AKP and CHP Alliance in Favor of Election Threshold -
Radikal
Fight Against TUSIAD - Cumhuriyet
TUSIAD's Constitutional Crime - Yeni Safak


BRIEFING

PM Erdogan Harsh Reaction to Businessmen's Remarks: All
papers cover extensively the harsh reaction from Prime
Minister Erdogan as he not only refused to take advice from
businessmen, but also accused them of committing a
constitutional crime. At the Turkish Industrialist and
Businessmen Association (TUSIAD) meeting, which Erdogan did
not attend, business leaders Koc and Sabanci called for more
progress on reforms and a reduction in the election
threshold -- a major change to the electoral system. The
business leaders also mentioned the ongoing court case filed
against Van University Rector Askin as an example of
undemocratic judicial practices. PM Erdogan said he was
displeased to hear these comments, adding that businessmen
should focus on economy not politics. Following his
remarks, day time television news programs report that today
(12/22) a prosecutor has begun an investigation into the
remarks of the businessmen.

Parliamentary Parties Say No to Lowering Election Threshold:
In a response to recent comments by politicians and business
leaders regarding the election threshold, both ruling the
party AKP and the opposition CHP agreed that a change is not
necessary. "Radikal" fronted the story proclaiming an
alliance between AKP and CHP, while "Birgun" blasted the
consensus by voicing the concerns of out-of-parliament
parties.

Israeli Army Chief in Turkey: Israeli Chief of General
Staff Dan Halutz arrived in Ankara for two days of talks,
several papers reported. "Radikal" characterized it as an
important visit since General Halutz is making his first
visit abroad. "Sabah" reported that during the visit Halutz
will focus on defense bids of Turkey as well as the Iranian
nuclear program.

Turkish and Armenian Diplomats Met: A conference on Turkish-
Armenian relations was held in Toronto, Canada reports
"Hurriyet." The conference brought Turkish and Armenian
diplomats together for the first time. One diplomat from
the Turkish Embassy in Canada as well as the Armenian
Ambassador to Canada attended this Zoryan Institute-

ANKARA 00007534 002 OF 002


sponsored event, the report emphasized.

EDITORIAL OPINION: IRAQ ELECTIONS

"Who is the Actual Winner?"
Sami Kohen commented in the mainstream daily "Milliyet"
(12/22): "Iraqi elections didn't result as coalition
members planned or neighboring countries, including Turkey,
hoped. The expectations of the US and many other countries
were for a democratic, secular, united and stable Iraq.
Unfortunately, the result shows that not secular but
fundamentalist powers will gain control. Now the main issue
is what the impact of these developments will be on Iraqi
reconstruction. The worst scenario is that some Sunni
elements will boycott parliament or choose to use violence
to gain power. This will lead to chaos, and maybe to
disintegration. A good scenario would be for the Sunnis,
Shiites and Kurds to establish a coalition government, but
this is too optimistic an expectation. There are some other
coalition possibilities as well, but it is obvious that a
radical fundamentalist majority in the parliament will
control the administration. There is no doubt that Iran
will be very happy about the rise of Shiite power in Iraq.
In short, Iran is the party most benefiting most from the
Iraqi elections and the US is the most disappointed."

"Greater Middle East Project Dumped in the Trash in Iraq"
Akif Emre wrote in the pro-government/Islamist oriented
"Yeni Safak" (12/22): "As the election results start coming
out of Iraq, concerns over Iraq's political future grow.
Even US Ambassador to Baghdad Zalmay Khalilzad stressed that
the chaotic situation in Iraq could be overcome only by
cooperation among religious groups. However, the results
show that the winners of the elections are parties with
religious identities. Western observers already question
why an already secular Iraq was occupied to establish an
anti-secular administration. If the Greater Middle East
Project cannot even reach its goals through elections
imposed by force, then it has no future. Even though it
looks like an assertive project, it seems that the GMEP has
already been thrown onto the trash heap. There is another
way to look at the elections: if from the beginning the US
wanted a divided Iraq, the elections have been the best way
to achieve this. They will now be able to answer neighboring
countries that are unhappy with a divided Iraq, that it was
the result of a democratic election and there's nothing to
be done about it."

WILSON

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