Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2007
In Today's Papers
Erdogan Announces New Turkish Cabinet
All papers report Thursday and today Prime Minister Erdogan
submitted the new cabinet list to President Abdullah Gul. "I
prepared the new cabinet as a team with the skills to realize our
goals for the coming period. I believe that we formed a strong
team," Erdogan said after Gul approved the list of 25 ministers.
The new cabinet includes eight new ministers, with six members of
the former cabinet excluded. Nimet Cubukcu is again the only woman
in the cabinet. Former Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc was denied a
seat in the cabinet, but is expected to be given a key position in
party administration. New Interior Minister Besir Atalay, a figure
known to be close to President Gul, had been vetoed by former
President Sezer as Education Minister. Economy matters will be
coordinated by Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren, who was the
"shadow economy minister" in the previous government with his
expertise in banking and monetary issues. State Minister Mehmet
Simsek, formerly a specialist at Merrill Lynch, will be in charge of
the Treasury Undersecretariat. Gul is expected to continue to be
active in foreign affairs, and many observers expect him to
overshadow the "young and inexperienced" new Foreign Minister Ali
Babacan on the international stage.
Papers report the new cabinet was welcomed by Turkish business and
industry circles. The government program will be read out in the
Parliament on Friday and a vote of confidence is to take place
Ice Melting between Gul and Military
All papers report after the military's top brass snubbed Abdullah
Gul's swearing-in ceremony in parliament on Tuesday, and on
Wednesday gave him a chilly reception at a military graduation
ceremony in Ankara, the strains between the military and the
president ended at Victory Day celebrations in Ankara on Friday.
During the ceremonies General Buyukanit held warm talks with Gul and
Erdogan, and at the end of a military-hosted reception in the
evening, both politicians were seen off by Buyukanit himself.
Pentagon Probes US Weapons in Hands of the PKK
All papers report the Pentagon "admits" that US weapons sent to Iraq
went into the hands of PKK terrorists. Papers report Pentagon
spokesman Geoff Morrell as saying Wednesday that the department's
inspector general, retired General Claude Kicklighter, will go to
Iraq next week to investigate the matter. Morrell said the
investigation into US weapons in Turkey was sparked in May when
Pentagon officials learned that the Turks were concerned about
American-issued weapons being involved in crimes in their country.
Papers also report that Morrell said, "If American-issued weapons
have ended up in the hands of terrorists in Turkey that is not based
on the policy of this department or this government".
DTP Claims Turks Use Chemical Weapons against the PKK
All papers report in a message on the occasion of August 30 Victory
Day, Turkey's main Kurdish party DTP accused the Turkish military of
using chemical weapons in security operations against the PKK. The
DTP message noted the fact that the bodies of 11 PKK members killed
in Uludere in the province of Sirnak have not been handed over to
their families strengthens the claim chemical weapons were used in
the operation. Papers report that General Buyukanit denied the
claims calling them "lies."
Editorial Commentary on Turkey-EU
Erdal Safak commented in the mainstream Sabah (8/31): "The EU's
month-long holiday is ending today. EU Commission officials will
have a lot to do, especially the Turkey desk officials. Those
bureaucrats will evaluate Turkey's progress on reforms in the past
year but, unfortunately, there has been no progress on Turkey's EU
reforms worth mentioning. No steps have been taken on the EU's
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priority issues, such as changes in Turkish Penal Code Article 301,
the article under which writers and journalists have been prosecuted
for "insulting Turkishness;" Cyprus; Halki Seminary; and the
Foreign Foundations laws. We are still hopeful that the reform
calendar will be announced in the new Government's activity program.
A few visits to some EU countries and especially one to Brussels by
President Gul, might help raise Turkey's grade on the progress
NTV, 7.00 A.M.
- The 85th anniversary of the Turkish victory in the Battle of
Dumlupinar, the final conflict of the 1922 Turkish War of
Independence, was celebrated with ceremonies across Turkey.
- Secretary Rice phoned President Abdullah Gul to congratulate him
on assuming his new post.
- Interior Ministry inspectors said police officials in Trabzon
cannot be charged with neglect with regard to the murder of Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink.
- Eight PKK terrorists have been killed in fighting with the
security forces in Pervari in the southeastern border province of
- A survey conducted by the European Commission's "Eurobarometer"
shows Turkey on top of the list of "countries that are set to join
the EU in the near future." Turkey ranked first with 34 percent in
the survey conducted through talks with 27,000 respondents.
- EU Commission President Barroso welcomed the decision of French
President Sarkozy to soften attitudes towards Turkey.
- Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Iranian troops continue
to attack PJAK targets despite the note of protest submitted to
- A flight in the US was canceled Tuesday night after passengers
reportedly became uncomfortable when six Arabic-speaking men got
into a heated discussion.