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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002018

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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
MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2007


In Today's Papers

Friendly Atmosphere at Turkish Parliament Swearing-in
All papers see it as an "encouraging sign" that a friendly
atmosphere, especially between the extreme right MHP and Kurdish DTP
members, prevailed at the Saturday parliamentary swearing-in
ceremony. DTP leader Ahmet Turk and some other leading party
members shook hands with MHP leader Devlet Bahceli and congratulated
him on his election to the parliament. "We may have different ideas
from the MHP but we will work under the same roof of the parliament.
Being civilized human beings, we will have civil relations," said
Turk. Front-page headlines "It Should Always Be Like This" and
"Parliament's Encouraging Start" in Yeni Safak and Zaman
respectively are echoed by several papers, as they convey hope that
the atmosphere of compromise and respect will be preserved.

Sukru Elekdag, CHP lawmaker and the oldest Member of Parliament,
chaired the ceremony of 548 deputies.

Weekend papers noted that President Sezer and the military top brass
did not attend the ceremony in parliament, saying they had to
participate in High Military Council meetings. Papers speculate the
military leaders were not willing to come together with the Kurdish
DTP MPs and also wanted to display their reaction to Abdullah Gul's
possible presidency.

Editorial Commentary on Kurdish MPs in Parliament
Gungor Mengi writes in the mainstream daily Vatan: "To decide
whether or not we should be hopeful for the future, given the new
formation of the parliament, we should look at the stances of the
pro-Kurdish DTP deputies. They seemed happy and showed a positive
attitude during the swearing-in ceremony, but their statements were
not encouraging enough to make us hopeful about the future. First
of all, they are all making evasive statements regarding the PKK and
intentionally refraining from denouncing PKK terrorism. If they
continue to take this approach in the upcoming parliament sessions,
we can only expect more tension. While they were in the parliament
for the swearing-in ceremony, PKK terrorists killed three soldiers
and one civilian who refused to help them. This was at least a
chance for DTP to denounce such a brutal act, yet they did not take
it. It is absolutely against the very fundamental notion of
parliamentary democracy to even think there would be a member of the
parliament who does not denounce terrorism. Then DTP members will
have to be asked eventually: 'What are you doing there?'"

Sezer Designates Erdogan to Form New Government
All papers report President Sezer designated Prime Minister Erdogan
on Monday to form the new government. According to the
constitution, Erdogan has to submit his cabinet list to Sezer
without delay. If the list is approved by Sezer, the government's
program will be read in the parliament, two days after which a vote
of confidence will be held. Erdogan will most likely announce his
new cabinet by the end of the next week and receive a vote of
confidence in parliament over the days ahead. The parliament will
convene on August 9 for the first round of the parliamentary speaker
election. Papers say it will be a difficult week for Erdogan who
has to decide whom to nominate for president and for speaker of
parliament and also to form a new cabinet.

Maliki to Visit Turkey
All papers report Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, accompanied
by five of his cabinet ministers, including the Iraqi special
anti-PKK envoy, Security Minister Shirwan al-Waili, will visit
Ankara on August 7. Papers report the Turkish side expects Maliki
to take concrete forward steps to meet Turkish demands to combat the
PKK. Milliyet expects Maliki to denounce the PKK as "a terror
organization." On the eve of the Maliki visit, the Iraqi government
made a surprising good-will gesture and began discussion of the
provisions of an anti-terror agreement drafted by Turkey. Turkish
sources say that compromise was reached on a considerable part of

ANKARA 00002018 002 OF 003


the deal, and if the Iraqi side agrees on the remaining part, the
agreement will be signed by the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Iraq
during the visit of Maliki. If Iraq signs the anti-terror deal,
Turkey will raise two other agreements for economic and energy
cooperation.

Hurriyet and Sabah say Maliki will be handed a file on PKK
activities in northern Iraq. Cumhuriyet says that the issue of
Kirkuk will not be raised during the visit of Maliki. All papers
underline that the visit will take place when the Iraqi PM is going
through a difficult political period at home, with his predecessor
Jafari leading efforts to see Maliki step down.

Editorial Commentary on Maliki Visit
Murat Yetkin writes in the liberal daily Radikal: "The bottom line
is that we should not expect any developments [from the Maliki
visit] regarding the fight against the PKK in Iraq. The upcoming
visit of Iraqi PM to Ankara, given the nature of his and the
accompanying delegation's program, does not even fit into the
category of a 'cosmetic effort.' Keeping the dialogue channels open
with Iraq is certainly an important thing for Turkey. Enhancement
of the Baghdad central authority remains a high priority for Ankara.
Yet the fact of the matter is that the central government of Iraq
is currently worse than a lame duck. Maliki's authority in the
Iraqi parliament has significantly declined. Not only Sunni groups
but also Shiites have given up their support for Maliki. Nowadays
Iraqi Kurds are his only supporters. Despite all these facts, there
is no alternate to Maliki for discussions. The US continues to
negotiate with Iraqi groups to persuade them of the need for a new
and stronger Iraqi government. In other words, Maliki will be
visiting Ankara with all those sensitive balance issues attached to
him. We have to realize that any promises from Iraq at this stage
regarding the fight against the PKK in Iraq will not have a real
impact except as a show designed to make the public think something
is being done."

EU Report Sees 'Alarming' Rise of Islam in Turkey
Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman and others report the
EU-controlled Institute for Security Studies in a report released in
June draws attention to the alarming rise of Islam in Turkey, adding
that not the AKP but the 1980 military takeover is to blame for this
rise. The report notes the Turkish military did not want a
president with an Islamist past. The report also says that it was
an "open secret" that Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP was "linked to
the PKK." Both AKP and DTP are seen as "anti-Kemalist," says the
report. It also says the 10-percent election threshold in Turkey
was anti-democratic. The report predicts instability in Turkey to
continue until autumn this year.

TV News:
(NTV, 6 A.M.)
Domestic News

- Over the weekend, three soldiers were killed and another was
wounded when a land mine exploded in Dicle Township of the
southeastern city of Diyarbakir, and one PKK terrorist was killed in
Sirnak in clashes with security forces. One villager was murdered
by three PKK terrorists for refusing to give them food in the
eastern province of Van.

- Prime Minister Erdogan plans to give the post of Parliament
Speaker to Koksal Toptan or former Justice Minister Cemil Cicek.

- Kurdish party DTP's former chairman Ahmet Turk said he would not
be able to play any reconciliatory role if he condemns the PKK as a
terror organization.

- Turkey has earned USD 29.3 billion from privatization projects
since 1986.


ANKARA 00002018 003 OF 003


International News

- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not accept the
resignations of six Sunni Arab cabinet ministers who quit last week.


- US forces said they had killed Haitham al-Badri, the top al-Qaeda
leader in the Salahuddin province, whom they blamed for the 2006
attack on Samarra's al-Askari Mosque.

- The Bush administration has withdrawn its nominee for US
ambassador to Armenia, Richard Hoagland.

- Iranian police detained more than 200 people, including some
foreigners, and seized alcohol and drugs in a raid on a "satanic"
underground rock concert.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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