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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 006709

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, DECEMBER 20, 2006

In Today's Papers

Early Election Debates Continue
Hurriyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Yeni Safak and others
report several groups want an early election before the presidential
elections in 2007, asking the main opposition CHP to walk out of
parliament to force the AKP government into early polls. CHP,
however, says that support coming from the nation and from
opposition parties DYP and ANAP was needed for mass resignations in
the parliament. It also wants the backing of the business world,
media, and NGOs. State Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said the
opposition's aim is to force Prime Minister Erdogan to make an
announcement about the presidential elections, making him declare
whether or not he would run for president. "We are not going to
fall for that," Sahin stressed. The extreme nationalist MHP
chairman Devlet Bahceli expressed strong opposition to Erdogan's
presidential aspirations, saying "One who berates people speaking in
a coarse way, a horse trader, cannot become the president of the
Republic." Bahceli added that if the new president was to be chosen
from the existing parliament, his party would do all to review "all
past mistakes, including concerning the office of the president,"
sending a warning to Erdogan that he will eventually be removed from
office if he takes the top post.

Water Scarcity Curbs Industrial Production in Gebze
Sabah, Milliyet, and Radikal report that some 90 industrial plants
in Gebze near Istanbul are suffering from a lack of water, forcing a
stop to production. Workers will have to leave Turkey's most
important industrial zone, Gebze, due to the shortage of water.
Milliyet says Turkey's highest-per-capita-income city of Izmit faces
a risk of endemic diseases, adding water prices have surged in the
city. The shortage is due to the abnormally low level of water in
the reservoir created by the Yuvalik Dam, built and operated near
Izmit by the British Thames Water company. The former mayor of
Izmit, Sefa Sirmen, said he was proud of the Yuvacik Dam, even
though there is a court decision saying the state had incurred
losses with its construction. Sirmen is currently a lawmaker from
the main opposition CHP and immune from prosecution.

Turkey's Newest Party KADEP
Sabah, Vatan, Hurriyet and others: The country's 53rd political
party was founded yesterday with the Participatory Democracy Party
(KADEP) presenting its foundation application papers to the Interior
Ministry. In a speech after presenting the petition, party leader
Serafettin Elci said "KADEP is a participatory, libertarian,
pluralist, secular and a democratic political party, loyal to
people's rights and freedoms, and rule of law. The state order
against a contemporary democratic approach and social structure
should be changed. The most acceptable and equitable state model is
a federal system. Only a federal system can find a reasonable and
permanent solution to Turkey's fundamental problem - the Kurdish
problem."

FM Gul Says Turkey will Continue Homework Despite EU's Suspension
All papers: Foreign Minister Gul announced his government's
approach for the future of Turkey's troubled EU accession talks
during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry. Criticizing the
decision of EU members with carefully selected words, Gul said that
the EU showed that it lacks a strategic perspective and took a
decision which was in contradiction with the spirit, long history
and multidimensional character of Turkish-EU relations. Asked
whether Ankara will downgrade cooperation with the EU in strategic
areas and energy issues, Gul ruled out such an option and stressed
that despite lack of a strategic perspective on the EU side nowadays
towards Turkey, Ankara still views its membership process as a
strategic asset to both the EU and Turkey. Gul underlined that
Turkey will never act in an emotional way, and will continue to
behave with common sense.

Editorial Commentary on the Clashes in Palestine

ANKARA 00006709 002 OF 003


Mete Cubukcu comments in the leftist Birgun: "The main reason for
the ongoing conflict between the two Palestinian groups is the lack
of a leadership figure like Arafat. Palestinian organizations had
similar disputes in the past but managed to reach consensus and
unite because of Arafat's leadership qualities. Under the current
circumstances and given the lack of popular leadership, Palestinians
- the young generation in particular -- have lost their hope for the
future. President Abbas is now offering early election as a
solution to the conflict, but that will not succeed. Especially
after his meeting with Tony Blair and Blair's support for early
elections, President Abbas will not be able to be escape being
labeled a man belonging to 'foreign powers.' Even if Al Fatah wins
the new elections, existing problems will only be put off to an
unknown period and differences will only be deepened. The Palestine
issue requires a broader perspective for a true analysis. The
current Palestine picture cannot be analyzed without considering the
insincere policies of Arab regimes as well as the injustice and
biased attitudes of the US and Israel."

Writing in the Islamist-intellectual daily Zaman, Abdulhamit Bilici
observes: "It is such a pity to see the clashes between two
Palestinian groups while the whole nation suffers severely under
occupation. The drama of the Palestinian people is so heartbreaking
that they even get sympathy from some Israelis. It just does not
seem right that peoples of the same land with the same religion and
the same race as well as sharing the same fate are holding guns on
each other. The entire world is watching clashes between
Palestinians instead of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis.
Feeling despair from the clashes and economic problems, President
Abbas has called for early elections as a solution. Whether it can
bring a solution to the problem is one thing to debate. More
importantly we cannot be sure whether elections can be held under
the current circumstances."

TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Visiting Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said he considered
"the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum
natural gas pipeline a guarantee of energy safety and stability in
the region," adding Georgia was also ready to help the construction
of Kars-Javakheti (Ahilkelek)-Tbilisi-Baku railway.

- Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul discussed on the phone with Prime
Minister Ismail Haniyah the developments in Palestine.

- Istanbul felt the tremors of an earthquake of 4.2 magnitude, its
epicenter in the nearby province of Balikesir.

- Turkish journalist and author Ipek Calislar, tried on charges of
insulting Ataturk in her book about his wife "Latife Hanim," was
acquitted.

- On Tuesday, the London-based global credit rating agency Fitch
affirmed Turkey's foreign currency and local currency Issuer Default
ratings (IDR) at BB minus, and the country's outlook as positive.

International News

- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn expressed hope to resume
membership talks with Turkey in the first week of January.

- The Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel must take
advantage of every opportunity for negotiations with Syria, calling
on the government to hold an emergency meeting on the issue.

- A Libyan court has sentenced six Bulgarian health workers to death
for deliberately infecting hundreds of children with the AIDS virus.

ANKARA 00006709 003 OF 003


- The Pentagon said in a report attacks in Iraq have risen sharply
during the last three months, most of them against US troops.
Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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