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Cablegate: Ankara Media Reaction Report

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TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT
THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2008

In Today's Papers

21 Academics Resign in Protest of the President's Rector
Appointments
All papers report the aftermath of President Abdullah Gul's
rejection of university-nominated rector candidates who oppose
lifting the headscarf ban in universities. Gul refused to appoint
nine out of 21 candidates who were elected to become rectors of
their universities. Instead, he appointed those who came second or
third in their respective universities' voting, but who do not
oppose the headscarf in universities. Among the rejected candidates
was Akdeniz University Rector Mustafa Akaydin, who, as the head of
the inter-university board, opposed efforts by the ruling AKP
government earlier this year to lift the headscarf ban in
universities. "The President's rejection is due to ideological
reasons. If he had been an impartial president, the result would be
different. I'm paying the price for the headscarf question," said
Akaydin. Gul also appointed Professor Jale Sarac as the Rector of
Dicle University in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir. Sarac,
who came second in the voting at her university, had run as a
candidate from the AKP in the 2007 general elections.

On Wednesday, 12 professors, including a dean, resigned from
Istanbul Technical University (ITU) to protest the appointments. In
Ankara, Gazi University Medical Faculty Dean Professor Ayse Dursun
and her deputy resigned because Gul appointed Professor Riza Ayhan
-- who was vetoed by former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer -- as the
new rector of the university. The chief physician of Izmir's Dokuz
Eylul University Hospital, Sedef Gidener, also resigned. Gidener
was not appointed by Gul even though she won the elections in her
university. In total, 21 leading academics resigned. Liberal
Radikal says, "Gul's removal of all rectors who are known as AKP
adversaries has opened a new period in higher education in which all
balances in the universities have changed."

Editorial Commentary on Rector Assignments

"Rector Assignments"
Ergun Babahan criticizes the rector selection system in mainstream
Sabah (8/7): "While there were no reactions to President Sezer's
rector assignments, there is harsh criticism of several of Gul's
appointments. As a matter of fact, YOK's system to assign rectors
is very wrong. Under the name of elections, personnel is
distributed among candidates, the candidate who gets the most
personnel (votes) has the power to even name his or her spouse as
the winner. Also, scientific criteria have always been treated as a
secondary priority during the rector elections. The correct way to
elect a rector is through an election among the university's board
of trustees. By establishing such a system, the President will be
saved from controversial assignment decisions."

CHP-Military Row over YAS Decisions
All papers report the controversy between the military and the
opposition CHP because the High Military Council (YAS) expelled no
one at their August 4th meeting for fundamentalist activities. In a
news conference on Tuesday, the CHP deputy group chief Kemal
Kilicdaroglu slammed the military for having "warm ties" with the
ruling AKP government. Kilicdaroglu also accused the military of
being "bribed" by the AKP government because they gave outgoing TGS
Chief General Yasar Buyukanit an expensive armored luxury car.

Following yesterday's TGS statement denouncing Kilicdaroglu's
charges about the YAS meetings, the President's Office responded
with a statement criticizing the allegations. "It cannot be
understood how a political party representative (i.e.,
Kilicdaroglu,) can ignore the public good and criticize the good
relations between state institutions, or why that representative
would be unhappy that the YAS issued no expulsions. The claim that
the President was not going to sign the YAS decisions is factually
incorrect, while the claim that a vehicle was purchased at an

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extraordinary sum for a retired TGS chief is slander," the statement
said.

Islamist-oriented Zaman carries the headline, "The CHP is Uneasy
with Government-Military Harmony." Papers comment the military and
the President reacted strongly to Kilicdaroglu's comments.

Editorial Commentary on the Kurdish Issue

"The Path to EU Membership Depends on Solving the Cyprus and Kurdish
Issues"
Hasan Cemal commented in mainstream Milliyet (8/7): "If Turkey
wants to advance on the path to EU membership, then it is obliged to
solve the Cyprus problem and the Kurdish problem. The path to the
EU will be blocked if these problems are not solved. If the EU path
is blocked then the path to the democratic state of law will be
blocked as well. If Turkey is not a democratic state of law,
foreign investors will not invest, which will cause vast economic
problems in Turkey. While Turkey should continue its rightful fight
against violence and poverty in order to eliminate the PKK problem,
Turkey should take serious measures to prevent people from joining
the PKK and also, to bring down the ones who are already in PKK
camps in the mountains. If Turkey cannot or does not take necessary
measures to find a solution to the Kurdish issue, it cannot continue
to advance on the path to the EU. The more Turkey distances itself
from the EU path, the more Kurdish nationalism and separatist views
will increase. Therefore, the PM should display political
determinism and courage to solve this specific issue."

TV News:
CNN Turk

Domestic News

- CHP deputy chairman Bihlun Tamayligil accused the AKP government
of trying to find an excuse for the reluctance of the Iranian
President Ahmadinejad to visit Ataturk's Mausoleum during his
upcoming visit to Turkey.

- An explosion at one of the gas stations near Erzincan in eastern
Turkey has temporarily cut oil transportation through the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. The local officials have
ruled out sabotage.

- The government is taking measures to prevent speculative increases
in food prices during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

International News

- The Iraqi Parliament adjourned for a month-long break without
reaching an agreement on a provincial elections law. The Iraqi
Parliament will reconvene August 9.

- The Japanese city of Hiroshima marked the 63rd anniversary of the
U.S. nuclear attack on the city.

- The Hamas-controlled parliament in Gaza proposed an initiative for
reconciliation between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah
movement.
WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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