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Cablegate: Democratic Party: New Istanbul Chairman, Same Old

VZCZCXRO8671
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHIT #0065/01 0511037
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201037Z FEB 10
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9519
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 000065

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM OSCE TU
SUBJECT: DEMOCRATIC PARTY: NEW ISTANBUL CHAIRMAN, SAME OLD
MESSAGE

REF: 09 ANKARA 1696

ISTANBUL 00000065 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary. Newly-elected Istanbul Democratic Party
(DP) Chairman H. Tekin Enerem described his party, which has
recently emerged from its merger with ANAP and completed its
provincial congress, as poised to take a leading role in
government following upcoming general elections, scheduled to
be held in 2011. Enerem expects early elections to be held
later this year and criticized the government's handling of
the National Unity Project and the economy, commenting that
he anticipates the DP will attract votes from former AKP and
CHP supporters. Enerem's diverse leadership board delivered a
carefully crafted pro-U.S. message and underscored its
commitment to representing Turkey's minority groups and
women. Recent poll results still show the DP trailing even
Saadet and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) at under four
percent, however, so the leadership's big talk will need
action behind it if the party is to stand a chance in
upcoming elections. End Summary.

The New(ish) Face of the Istanbul DP
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) On February 11, newly-elected Istanbul Chairman of
the DP Enerem paid a courtesy call on the Istanbul Consul
General. He was accompanied by Deputy Chairman for Media and
Public Relations Selay Tozkoparan, Deputy Chairman Erkan
Selah, Secretary General Haluk Bozovali, Press Advisor Okan
Sarikaya, Sisli Municipality Board Member Vasil Karakas and
Board Member Garbis Cam. Enerem, who did most of the talking,
described the DP's positions to the CG and offered
wide-reaching criticism of the current Justice and
Development Party (AKP) government.

3. (SBU) Enerem described the DP as open to everyone and as
representing Turkey's various communities. The DP has
representatives from the Jewish, Armenian, Greek, and Alevi
constituencies, according to Enerem, whose team included an
ethnic Greek (Karakas) and an ethnic Armenian (Cam). Karakas
said that there is "secret discrimination" in today's Turkey
against anyone who is not pro-AKP and especially against
minorities; he commented that as an anti-AKP minority it had
become impossible to do business with the government or to
win tenders and said that businessmen are afraid to make
contributions to other parties. Enerem also voiced his
support for women's issues and a quota system for women in
politics, and noted that five out of 39 Istanbul district
chairs in the DP are women. He criticized AKP's leadership
specifically on the National Unity Project and economic
issues, and noted that the DP's policies (unspecified) on
these issues would distinguish the party from AKP.

4. (SBU) The DP is expecting an early general election to be
held this year, "maybe after Ramadan," citing undisclosed
sources within Prime Minister Erdogan's circle. Enerem says
the DP is confident it will pass the parliamentary 10 percent
threshold and said that it is hard to imagine a limit to the
DP's success once that threshold is passed.
DP anticipates its new votes will come from former AKP
supporters due to the limited support for Islamist parties in
Turkey; Enerem claimed that DP lost votes to AKP formerly but
will get them back. DP also expects votes from anti-Baykal
former CHP supporters but not from the MHP electorate. DP's
entrance into the parliament will usher in a new era of
"balance."

Playing the Pro-U.S. Card
-------------------------

5. (SBU) Enerem noted the DP's long history of "cooperation
and friendship" with the U.S. and underscored his belief in
the importance of this relationship. He said that he hoped
for even greater cooperation on regional and international
issues. Deputy Chairman for Media Tozkoparan added that the
DP would not lead Turkey into "Islamic rule," and she noted
that the DP was committed to secular government. Enerem also
noted his party's support for judicial reform and a new
constitution, criticizing Erdogan as an autocrat who
personally makes all of the government's decisions with no
regard for democracy.

Biographic Note
---------------


ISTANBUL 00000065 002.2 OF 002


6. (SBU) Enerem was born in 1961 and was educated at
Istanbul's German High School (Alman Lisesi) and Istanbul
Technical University, where he received degree in the
Construction and General Sciences Faculty in civil
engineering. He began his political career in the True Path
Party (Dogru Yol Partisi or DYP)-an earlier rendition of
today's DP-where he was the Istanbul Vice Chairman for Women
and Youth, Social and Organizational Works in the 4th
Provincial Chairman term and also served in the provincial
secretariat. In 1995 he became DYP Istanbul Chairman and was
later elected to be a member of parliament, where he served
on the committees for Foreign Relations, Planning and Budget
and a parliamentary commission on Turkey and the European
Union. Outside of politics, he has worked in various sectors
and companies and served as the Yeditepe University General
Secretary. According to his CV, he speaks German and English.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Enerem's visit reflects the DP's continuing efforts
to reach out to us and promote their party's agenda as
pro-Western and reflecting the concerns of Turkey's voters.
SONAR poll results from January, however, show the DP as the
favorite of just 3.89 percent of respondents, down from 4.13
percent in December. Although the DP-ANAP merger initially
seemed to brighten the prospects for both parties, that
luster dimmed quickly and today the combined party still
polls at well under the national threshold, which bodes
poorly for DP's chances in the next election.
WIENER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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