Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report
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SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2007
In Today's Papers
Ambassador Wilson in Eskisehir
Cumhuriyet, Sabah, Zaman, Aksam and others report that US Ambassador
Ross Wilson visited Eskisehir yesterday. He visited Eskisehir
Governor Kadir Calisici, aviation industry facilities, and Anadolu
University. When responding to press at the Governor's office, the
Ambassador said that "the US is aware of the difficulties and
hardships caused by PKK terrorism. We are working together with
Turkey against terrorism. Useful information has been given to
Turkey for protection of its people. The PKK has understood for the
first time that they are not welcome either in northern Iraq or in
Turkey. They have enemies in the US, Europe and here." Ambassador
Wilson added that he "came to Eskisehir to further improve relations
between Turkish and US universities and with business circles."
Turkish Business Circles Determined to Continue EU Reforms
Milliyet, Sabah, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Radikal and others: Mainstream
Milliyet gave front-page coverage to criticism of the EU by Turkish
business circles. The President of the Turkish Industrialists and
Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag,
criticized France's harsh stance against Turkey. She said "the goal
of EU politicians is to infuriate Turkey and make Turkey give up its
efforts to join the EU. We will be angry, but we will not give up
on our path." Leftist-nationalist Cumhuriyet says Turkey is
preparing its response to the declaration to be released by EU
leaders today in Brussels. Before the approval of the declaration,
Turkey plans to summon the Ambassadors of EU countries, including
France, to the Foreign Ministry. Cumhuriyet noted that if EU
leaders approve the document in its current form, Turkish FM Babacan
may boycott the EU's inter-governmental conference on December 18.
This conference will open two new chapters in Turkey's EU accession
Commenting on EU-Turkey relations, Sami Kohen wrote in mainstream
daily Milliyet: "As we approach the end of 2007, Turkey is entering
a new period in its relations with the EU. This period is marked by
growing disappointment as negotiations continue with hardly any sign
of improvement in 2008. Given the fact that France will assume the
presidency in the second half of 2008, we shouldn't expect any
positive change in Turkey's application for membership to the EU
during that time. While it is true that the attitudes of France and
some others are the main reason for Turkey's disappointment in the
EU process, we should also acknowledge that Turkey has made
mistakes. During 2007, both Turkey's public and government
officials have lost their EU aspirations. Regardless of the motives
or reasons, Turkey has distanced itself from the EU. In turn,
Turkey has shown a weak attitude when it comes to political reforms.
Both the government and the parliament started behaving in ways
that reflect rising nationalist and religious movements throughout
the country. If we really want to get back on track, we should
focus on new strategies. The first step should be to appoint a
ministerial post that is solely in charge of EU related issues.
Second, Turkey should continue with its reform process in order to
demonstrate a vigorous reform process. We keep hearing from Turkish
officials that reforms are for the benefit of the Turkish people and
not solely because of the EU process. This is a good time to act
with this spirit."
Okay Gonensin commented in mainstream daily Vatan: "Whether
politicians or businesspeople, we have expressed our outrage at
France's indignant attitude toward Turkey's EU accession process.
Interestingly enough, we tend to believe that everything hinges on
Sarkozy and his attitude. Did we forget about the French Foreign
Minister Kouchner, whom we like to call a friend of Turkey? We are
ignoring the fact that the EU mentions Turkey's 'limited progress'
while it praises Croatia for its significant success. Turkey has
done nothing significant in the last two years to bring itself up to
EU standards. The ruling AKP government should think about
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reforming article 301 before getting mad at France. The AKP has
failed to fulfill its commitments and has demonstrated a significant
lack of political will to continue the EU process. Neither EU
countries nor the Turkish public will take the European Union
process seriously without the government's will to continue
MHP Leader Devlet Bahceli's Remarks concerning DTP
Milliyet, Sabah, Zaman, Hurriyet and others: At a breakfast meeting
with journalists, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet
Bahceli said that PM Erdogan and TGS Chief General Buyukanit should
make a joint statement on terrorism for the people to understand
where the government and the military agree and disagree on the
issue." Mainstream Sabah reports that Bahceli responded to AKP Vice
Chairman Dengir Mir Firat's remarks that 'he had not seen the PKK in
the parliament as the TGS chief implied," by saying "We can see the
ones who had relations with the PKK in the past and who have
continuing court cases on the issue, in the parliament. They are
sitting on our left." Bahceli added that woman wearing the turban
should be free to enter the universities and added some parties are
using this issue as a 'political vitamin.'
UN Seeks Information on Malatya Murder Case
Milliyet reports that the UN Commission for 'religious tolerance'
asked the Turkish Foreign Ministry to submit information and
documents about last April's brutal murders of three Bible
publishers in the southeastern city of Malatya. The Dutch
Protestant Church and Geneva Union of World Churches filed a
complaint to the UN Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The complaint alleges there is no religious freedom in Turkey.
Armenian Journalist's Remarks on the Genocide Issue
Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah and others: Armenian-American journalist
Harut Sasunyan said that the main goal of Armenians seeking
recognition of their genocide claims is to obtain compensation and
land from Turkey. He urged Armenians to pursue legal actions in
line with this goal.
NTV, 7.00 A.M.
- The new President of YOK will meet the board of university rectors
- Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren urges businessmen to launch new
initiatives in support of the nation's economic growth rate.
- 25 illegal Pakistani migrants were arrested in Edirne and 26
illegal migrants from Mauritania were arrested in Bursa.
- President Gul signed an agreement with Kazakh President Nazarbayev
for long-term economic cooperation.
- US State Department Counter-terrorsim Coordinator Dell Daily told
the Washington Institute "we are in favor of a political, not a
military, solution for the PKK in both Turkey and northern Iraq."