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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2007


In Today's Papers

Candidate Gul Seeks Support for Presidency
All papers report Abdullah Gul in a press conference Tuesday pledged
to uphold Turkey's secularist principles and work for democracy if
elected president. Gul said he will quit the ruling AKP the day he
becomes president and act as an impartial head of state for all
Turks. Mainstream papers stress that Gul's first message was to the
military, when he said that "the constitution is binding for all
institutions."

Mainstream Milliyet reports Gul is seeking broad support for his
presidency and plans meetings with NGOs Wednesday. Leading
opposition CHP said in a statement that Gul's Islamic roots and some
past statements raise concerns with regard to his sincere commitment
to democracy and the secular republic. CHP stressed Gul's
presidency would speed up transforming Turkey into an Islamic state.
"Tension in the Capital," reads a banner headline in the
leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet, reporting the main opposition CHP's
warning that it will boycott receptions and other state events if
Gul becomes president. The Kurdish DTP is expected to support Gul
with its 20 seats in the parliament. The extreme nationalist MHP
earlier stated it will participate in the presidential election;
however, papers don't expect the MHP to vote for Gul. Liberal
Radikal says Turkey is back to square one, 3.5 months after Gul
first entered the race to become president, triggering a political
crisis and early parliamentary elections. The paper says the basic
problem remains the same - Gul's wife's headscarf.

The participation of 367 lawmakers is required in the first two
rounds of parliamentary voting -- August 20 and 24. Gul is expected
to be elected in the third round of voting on August 28, when only a
simple majority is required.

Turkish Markets React Calmly to Gul's Presidential Candidacy
All papers report Turkish financial markets weakened on Wednesday
due to global factors as well as uncertainty over reaction from the
secular elite and military. The Turkish Lira fell to its weakest
level in two months against the dollar and stocks also declined.
Business analysts, however, do not expect a strong negative
reaction. Business daily Referans reports that an Istanbul
investment expert said Gul's presidency would bring economic
stability. Gul is a well-respected, moderate and liberal politician
in international circles, the expert said, expressing belief that
international investment inflow will continue. The
Islamist-oriented papers Zaman and Yeni Safak report that several
business leaders welcomed the idea of Gul as president.

Editorial Commentary on Gul's Presidential Nomination
Oktay Eksi writes in the mainstream daily Hurriyet: "As the
opposition party [CHP] indicated, Gul comes from a strong religious
sectarian background with constant vindictive feelings against the
fundamental values of the Turkish republic. We can track down many
statements he made in parliament about commitment to democracy, yet
it is not possible to find statements of commitment to the
Republican values and spirit, except for rhetoric necessary for
protocol. After he is elected, all eyes will be on Gul watching for
whether he really has committed himself to the fundamental
philosophy of the Turkish Republic. One cannot afford to be
'neutral' to those values. Whoever occupies the position of
president should either commit to these values or leave."

Gungor Mengi writes in the mainstream daily Vatan: "Believing in
democracy requires respect for the majority's will whether we like
it or not. Gul acknowledged the skepticism over his intentions by
making a strong statement of commitment to Republican values with an
emphasis on secularism. We have to give him some credit in a
democratic fashion so that he can, with his deeds, win the hearts of
those with skeptical minds. What's done is done, now it's the time
to be patient. The presidency is the highest rank and it tolerates

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zero mistakes, unlike in the case of politicians. Let's hope that
Gul proves that he has statesmanship qualities to match this highest
rank."

Tamer Korkmaz writes in the Islamist-oriented daily Zaman: "Gul's
candidacy is the most important step toward the new age. Gul will
be a president embracing all sectors of the society. He will create
harmony among the state institutions. It is no secret that there
are some in Turkey who look for and work toward a regime crisis.
They are doomed to lose. Turkey is moving ahead and there is no way
to divert its course on the road to democracy."

Changes Expected in Erdogan's New Cabinet
All papers speculate with regard to the shape of the new cabinet
list to be submitted to outgoing President Sezer by Prime Minister
Erdogan on Tursday. Mainstream Hurriyet believes up to 16 ministers
could change in Prime Minister Erdogan's new cabinet. The paper
expects the number of ministers with an Islamic background to be
reduced.
Hurriyet predicts former Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan will be
named deputy PM responsible for coordinating the economy. Former
Ankara Chamber of Industry chairman Zafer Caglayan will likely
become Industry Minister, and veteran politician Mehmet Saglam will
be Education Minister. The paper expects changes in the ministries
of culture, farming, and interior as well. Papers say Ali Babacan
is likely to become foreign minister if Abdullah Gul is elected
president. Saban Disli is another candidate Erdogan has in mind for
the post. Vatan claims Erdogan will withdraw his list if Sezer
vetoes even a single name, and will resubmit it to the new president
on August 29.

Turkey-US-Israel to Hold 'Reliant Mermaid 8' Exercise
Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet reports Turkey, the US and Israel are
to hold joint search and rescue exercises, "Reliant Mermaid 8," off
Turkey's southern coast in the in international waters in the
Mediterranean in late August. The exercises will be staged with ten
military vessels, four helicopters and four search and rescue
airplanes from the three countries.

TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

- Two people were killed and 32 others injured when a truck carrying
illegal immigrants crashed in the southeastern province of Van.

- Two PKK terrorists were captured in the northwestern city of Duzce
and the southeastern city of Mardin. One PKK terrorist died in
clashes with the security forces in the southeastern city of Sirnak.


- Collective bargaining negotiations between public servants' labor
union KESK and the government kicks off Wednesday.

- Turkey signed a 1.2 billion Euro loan with Swiss, German, French,
Austrian, and Turkish financiers Tuesday for the controversial Ilisu
dam project which will produce an annual 3.8 billion kilowatt hours
of electricity. The Ilisu dam to be completed in 2014 will put
approximately 80 villages under water as well as submerge the
remains of an ancient city, provoking strong criticism of the
project from environmentalists.

International News

- Controversial statements by Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister
Markoulli have narrowed chances for arranging a meeting of Turkish
and Greek Cypriot leaders Talat and Papadopoulos.

- Four Palestinians have been killed and 12 others wounded in

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clashes with Israeli forces in Gaza Strip.

- Russian prosecutors are investigating a video posted on several
ultranationalist websites which shows the brutal execution of two
men from Central Asia and the Caucasus, and the beheading of one of
them.

- US Comptroller General David Walker said America is pursuing
unsustainable public and foreign policies and compared modern
America to the decline of ancient Rome.

MCELDOWNEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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