Search

 

Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

VZCZCXRO8929
OO RUEHDA
DE RUEHAK #3517/01 1651447
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141447Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6568
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC//PA
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 7268
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0795
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 0870
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 5335
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 5033
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1651
RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 003517

SIPDIS

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, JUNE 14, 2006


In Today's Papers

Turkish Markets Slump amid Inflation and Interest Rates Fears
All papers: The Turkish Central Bank Tuesday intervened in the
foreign exchange market by selling foreign currency to calm extreme
volatility and prevent the lira from weakening beyond 1.6 to the
USD. Turkey's influential industrialists' group TUSIAD said the
reasons for the market turbulence are not just economic, but include
issues of political stability and the slow pace of reform. TUSIAD
Chairman Omer Sabanci said it was impossible for the business world
to remain a bystander in view of the economic turbulence, and he
charged that delaying reforms by chasing after daily fixes amounts
to leaving Turkey's economy "permanently open to crises." "It looks
like it will difficult to stick to the 5 percent inflation projected
for the end of the year," Sabanci maintained, claiming that upper
targets would be exceeded when the inflation figures for June are
released. Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener told Sabanci that
while everybody has the right to "speak and think incorrectly," it
is too early for such an assessment. Mainstream papers criticize
the Central Bank for "wasted its resources" to cope with the global
turmoil, whereas pro-government Yeni Safak quotes experts as saying
that the intervention was very timely.

Turkey Launches EU Accession Talks; EU Document Criticizes Turkey
All papers: Turkey officially began its negotiations with the EU
with the closing of the chapter on science and research that took
place at the EU-Turkey Partnership Council meeting in Luxembourg
yesterday. After the meetings held on June 12, Foreign Minister
Abdullah Gul, his Austrian counterpart Ursula Plassnik, and EU
Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn held a joint news conference,
with the EU officials warning Turkey about fulfilling its
commitments with respect to Cyprus, and Gul asking that the Cyprus
problem not "poison" Turkey-EU relations. Gul said that if a "train
wreck" occurs on the road to the EU, Turkey would not be the only
party to suffer damage. Rehn and Plassnik said that all sides
should look to the future, not the past, and called on Turkey to
recognize all member states. Gul later told the Turkish press that
it was "not realistic" for the EU to expect Ankara to make all the
concessions, stressing that Brussels is also obliged to lift trade
restrictions against Turkish Cypriots, a move so far also blocked by
Nicosia.

The common position paper issued after the Turkey-EU Partnership
Council meeting noted that "the pace of change has slowed in Turkey
in the last year; and further efforts are needed, especially
regarding the implementation of reforms." The paper added that
"although human rights violations are diminishing, they continue to
occur and there is an urgent need to implement legislation already
in force." On civil-military relations, the document said that
"while some changes have been introduced over the last year, further
efforts are needed to ensure full civilian control over the military
in line with practices in EU states. Public statements by the
military should relate only to military matters and should only be
made under the authority of the government." With regard to free
speech, the document stressed that "despite recent positive
developments where prosecuted individuals were acquitted, there are
still a number of cases pending against individuals for non-violent
expression of opinion on the basis of Article 301 of the new Penal
Code." In the area of religious freedom: "no progress has been
observed over the last year in addressing the difficulties faced by
non-Muslim minorities, such as property rights, schools, and
training, residence and work permits for clergy." The paper urged
Turkey to reopen Halki Seminary. It welcomed the progress made in
local private broadcasting in Kurdish in some cities in southeast
Turkey. The paper underlined continued problems with domestic
violence and especially "honor killings," which continue in spite of
the heavy penalties mandated by the new Penal Code. The paper also
noted that "the EU unequivocally condemns the actions of the PKK,"
and called for an "end to all provocations and violence
immediately." The paper said "the system of village guards should

ANKARA 00003517 002 OF 003


be abolished and steps taken to remove landmines in border regions."


"Continue, but How?"
Sami Kohen commented in the mainstream Milliyet (6/14): "The
Association Council meeting in Luxembourg provided a long list of
homework for Ankara, including pending reforms and their
implementation. It is not clear to what extent the AKP government
will be able to take further steps on issues of human rights and
religious freedom. The issue of preventing of torture is also a
matter that will take some time, since implementation needs to be
verified. Given these current issues, the EU should be as patient
and as eager as Turkey is about the accession process."

Foreign Minister Gul's Trip to Eurasia
Hurriyet reports that FM Gul will be traveling to Kazakhstan and
Azerbaijan this weekend for official meetings. Gul confirmed
reports that a possible visit to Tehran is also on the agenda but no
definite decision has been made. Responding to Hurriyet's question
on the issue, Gul was quoted as saying that 'I will go to Tehran if
the visit would serve a useful purpose.'

'Social Preferences in Turkey': A Survey by Two Private
Universities
Bugun, Vatan, Radikal, Zaman: A survey carried out by Isik and
Sabanci universities shows that 40 percent of people across Turkey
said they believed in democracy and freedoms, but that a military
administration would work better than an elected one. 56 percent
support Turkey's EU membership, and another 55 percent are not happy
with the functioning of democracy in Turkey. 70 percent said the
Islamic headscarf could be allowed in universities and state
institutions, and 9.1 percent wanted "Sharia" law implemented in
Turkey (the figure was 26.7 percent in a poll conducted in 1996.)
39 percent said government policies in the past year have negatively
affected their economic situation, but 55 percent pronounced
themselves satisfied by the performance of the Turkish Government.
The survey included the responses of 1,846 Turks in 23 provinces.


Editorial Comments

"Scenes Too Hard to Forget"
Mete Cubukcu commented in leftist Bugun (6/14): "The scenes from
Gaza only add to the tragedy of the Israel-Palestine issue. After
so many incidents like this over so many years, how can one believe
that peace will prevail in Palestine and Israel? The tears in the
eyes of the Palestinian baby have the potential to create trauma in
people's minds and defer the possibility of peace. Such images only
help to enhance the existing hatred. Regardless of the political
games and talk, the massacre on the Gaza beach will be marked as a
turning point in the minds of many people. The scenes from that
place will be remembered as a new symbol of the agony of the
Palestinians."

"ICO's Views on America"
Kamuran Ozbir commented in nationalist Ortadogu (6/14): "Given its
current 57 members, the Islamic Conference Organization is the
world's second largest international organization after the United
Nations. Therefore its views on world issues should be carefully
considered. As the chairman of the OIC recently pointed out, the
Islamic world thinks that the US has been making mistakes in its
Middle East policy. The OIC believes that Washington is taking
steps in the region before making thorough and correct analysis.
The US presents itself as pro-Israel, which works against a
settlement of the Palestine-Israel issue. The occupation of Iraq
and the mistakes in the fight against terrorism - including scenes
from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo -- have contributed to the rise of
anti-Americanism in the Islamic world."

ANKARA 00003517 003 OF 003


TV Highlights
NTV (7 a.m.)

Domestic News

- The trial of the owner and chief editor of fundamentalist daily
Vakit began in Istanbul. The defendants have been charged with
showing the judges of the Council of State as targets to terrorist
organizations on the paper's front page on February 13. The two
could face up to 34.5 years in prison.

- Riot police in Ankara used batons and pepper gas to forcibly
disperse a group of demonstrators made up of relatives of political
inmates protesting against maximum security F-type prisons.

- Amnesty International stated its concern over Turkey's new
anti-terror draft law, which would expand the definition of terror
offences, and warned against the passage of the draft without
significant changes. The AI report said that law enforcement
officers in Turkey continue to use excessive force in the policing
of demonstrations: "Police regularly use disproportionate force
against demonstrators, particularly targeting leftists, supporters
of the pro-Kurdish party DEHAP, students, and trade unionists."

- On Tuesday, Turkey's parliament, in line with government promises,
approved a cut in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 30
percent in a move aimed at drawing more foreign investment to
Turkey. President Sezer is not expected to veto the measure.

International News

- President Bush met Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in a
surprise visit to Baghdad.

- A Pew Research Center poll of 17,000 people in 14 countries shows
that most believe the presence of US troops in Iraq poses a greater
threat to Middle East stability than Iran's nuclear aspirations.

- The Chief of Australian Defense Forces, Air Chief Marshal Angus
Houston, and the visiting commander of the Turkish Armed Forces,
General Hilmi Ozkok, signed a defense cooperation agreement in
Canberra yesterday.

- The new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, vowed in
an internet statement to avenge the death of al-Zarqawi through
"horrific" attacks in the coming days.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>