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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006364

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
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2006

In Today's Papers

Ecevit to be Laid to Rest Saturday
All papers: A state funeral will be held Saturday for Turkey's
former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who died at the age of 81 due
to circulatory and respiratory failure after nearly six months in
coma at a military hospital in Ankara. Milliyet reports Ecevit's
wife, Rahsan, wanted to delay the funeral until the weekend to
enable civil servants to participate. The government will make
amendments in regulations to permit the burial of Ecevit in the
state cemetery, said government spokesman Cemil Cicek following a
cabinet ministers meeting yesterday. The government will also hold
a special session in the parliament Tuesday to commemorate the
veteran politician.

Mainstream and conservative, papers agree that Ecevit had been one
of the most important political leaders of the last 50 years in
Turkey. The liberal/opinion-maker Radikal says everybody -- his old
and new political opponents alike -- mourns for Ecevit. The
Islamist-oriented intellectual Zaman praises Ecevit for never
yielding to pressure and threats, and for boldly resisting the
military takeovers in 1970 and 1980. Vatan notes the fact that
despite serving four terms in office, Ecevit had been Turkey's only
prime minister who did not become a dollar millionaire. "Ecevit
will go down in history as the poorest of all Turkish prime
ministers, leaving behind four modest apartments, two inherited, and
from which he did not collect any rent," Vatan says. The
leftist/nationalist Cumhuriyet says before his death Ecevit was
working to unify the left -- seen by the paper as the last wish of
Ecevit. A commentary in the mass-appeal Sabah speculates that
opposition groups would use the funeral as anopportunity to stage a
secular show of force aainst the ruling AKP government, thus
warningagainst current Prime Minister Erdogan's presidential
ambitions.

Several papers quote State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey as
saying that "Ecevit's commitment to Turkey and its secular,
democratic institutions was respected throughout the world. We
extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Ecevit's family and to the
people of Turkey."

Turkey's EU Process
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet and others: In a newspaper interview,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Turkey's standoff with the
European Union over Cyprus is "very serious" for its aim of joining
the bloc and Turkey should understand that there will be no way to
simply "carry on" if there is no movement on Cyprus. Milliyet
reports that the Cyprus disagreement with Turkey was discussed
yesterday at a meeting of EU Commission officials and the officials
did not suggest the suspension of accession talks with Turkey.
Instead, they decided to discuss the issue before the EU leaders
meeting in December. The strategy document discussed at the meeting
yesterday said that the EU commission would table the necessary
proposals before the summit meeting of EU leaders in December if
Turkey fails to meet its responsibilities. Additionally, the EU
commission warned Turkey that the course of the accession
negotiations would be influenced by the Turkish failure to meet its
obligations.

Hisarciklioglu Warns about Decreasing EU Support in Turkey
Sabah reports Turkish Union of Chambers (TOBB) chairman Rifat
Hisarciklioglu warned Turkey and the EU regarding the alarming
decrease in public support for Turkey's EU accession. "NGOs and
professional organizations have not been made part of the EU entry
process. Screening procedures have been carried out by the
representatives of state institutions, excluding other parties," he
stressed. Hisarciklioglu also said, "The EU has ignored all its
pledges on Cyprus, and pursued double standards in free speech,
terrorism and Armenian genocide allegations." He slammed the EU for

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remaining silent to the barring of Turkish candidates from the Dutch
elections while not hesitating to meddle in Turkish judicial
decisions.

Erdogan Proposes Women's Reforms to Muslim Organization
Sabah reports that Prime Minister Erdogan has sent to the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) a proposal for forming
a special sub-organization designed to work on reforms for women in
Islamic countries. He maintained that Islam has to fight against
wrong beliefs and traditions to improve the status of women.
Erdogan said "Muslim Turkish women" should be represented on
international platforms, in politics and in all aspects of social
life. He stressed that ignorance was a major obstacle that had to
be overcome, adding that his government had launched a campaign for
sending girls to school in an effort to improve their status.
Erdogan also noted that he was not content with the number of women
in the Turkish parliament, vowing to increase the number of female
parliamentarians in the next elections. Erdogan also denounced
honor killings, stressing that such actions cannot be forgiven.

YASED Supports US Cargill
Milliyet reports Turkey's International Investors Association
(YASED) said in a statement that the "Cargill problem" stemmed from
the disagreement between the executive and judiciary mechanisms in
Turkey. The statement said the closure of the Cargill plant in the
Bursa province, which had been named "the best factory" among 300
Cargill plants in 2005, made other international investors in the
country uneasy.

Editorial Commentary on the Saddam Death Penalty
Emin Colasan comments in the mass appeal Hurriyet: "The truth is
that Saddam was a real dictator and he was brutal. Yet at the same
time Iraqis, with the exception of opponents of the regime, were
living safe and sound. He has now been tried by a court -- a puppet
court organized by the US -- and sentenced to death. Time will show
whether the verdict will be executed or not. But the main problem
for Iraq remains the security of the Iraqi people. Under the Saddam
regime, Iraq kept its territorial integrity to a certain degree
until the US invasion which only helped bring about the loss of
thousands of lives and create a division between Sunni, Shiite and
Kurd. The US had better reevaluate the Iraq case considering the
abyss that it is heading toward. If it was possible to ask the
people of Iraq whether they would rather live in the Saddam era or
the current occupation, the answer would probably be the former in
the Sunni and Shiite areas."

Melih Asik observes in the mainstream Milliyet: "There is no way
for the US and the UK to present the verdict on Saddam as a fair
judgment. First of all this was not a fair tribunal. Who can
possibly believe that? This is a country where everything fails
because of the occupation with the exception of a properly working
court system. Saddam's sentence comes because of his killing of 148
Iraqis. If that makes a good case, one really wonders about the
crimes of Bush and Blair. If Saddam is hanged it will not serve any
purpose at all. His hanging will only accelerate the fight against
the US as well as the puppet administration. The truth is a
dictator genuinely dies when he is tried and hanged by his own
people. But when he is hanged by others, he becomes a hero. The
hanging of Saddam will add another mistake to the US account."

Fehmi Koru argues in the Islamist-opinion maker Yeni Safak: "The US
was leading the trial process which started right after the
occupation. However the very same US did not do anything while
Saddam committed all those crimes. This is simply because when he
was brutally committing crimes, he was considered to be one of the
good guys by the US. He was receiving guidance from Donald Rumsfeld
for instance. And, can we call it a coincidence that the court
verdict was available 48 hours before the US Congressional
elections? Iraq policy has become a key factor during this election
and the Republicans are trying to use the verdict to argue that

ANKARA 00006364 003 OF 003


things are going well in Iraq. The truth is Iraq is suffering even
more every passing day. Figures coming from independent sources are
telling us that almost 3,000 Americans and 655,000 Iraqis died so
far. Utterly disappointed due to growing instability, more Iraqis
seem to see joining the resistance as the only option. Saddam has
been sentenced to death but Iraq remains a problem."


TV Highlights
NTV (8 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Representatives of 65 NGOs in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir
have released a statement saying southeast Turkey should be declared
an emergency region after flash floods killed over 40 people in the
mainly Kurdish region.

- On Monday, university students and NGOs staged rallies in Ankara
and Istanbul to protest the 25th anniversary of the founding of
Turkey's High Education Board YOK.

- Police detained 110 suspects in house raids in anti-drugs
operations in the city of Sakarya near Istanbul.

- OECD Global Forum on International Investment will be held in
Istanbul on November 6-7.

- Prime Minister Erdogan said communication taxes would be curbed
gradually. The Turkish Telecommunication Institution expects the
government to cut taxes charged from mobile phones by five points.


International News

- President Talabani said the execution of Saddam Hussein could be
carried out without his signature. Iraq's court of appeals is
expected to rule on the Saddam Hussein verdict by mid-January.

- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has welcomed Prime Minister
Erdogan's pledge to revise Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code,
widely seen as a serious breach of free speech.

- Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Deputy PM, said Israeli Jews and Arabs
should be separated so Israel can become a homogenous Jewish
country, praising Cyprus as "the best model" to follow because of
the ethnic division in the island following the Turkish military
intervention in 1974.


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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