wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ANKARA1784 2007-07-12 14:02:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TURKEY: OPPOSITION PARTIES PLAYING TO TEN: MHP,

Tags:   PGOV PREL TU 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO0716
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHAK #1784/01 1931402
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121402Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2947
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001784 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/10/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: OPPOSITION PARTIES PLAYING TO TEN: MHP,
GP, DP


Classified By: Political Counselor Janice Weiner for reasons 1.4(b),(d)



1. (C) Summary and comment. The Nationalist Movement Party
(MHP), Youth Party (GP), and Democrat Party (DP) -- all
significantly weaker than the ruling Justice and Development
Party (AKP) and main opposition Republican People's Party
(CHP) -- are scrambling to garner votes in the July 22
general elections to make it across Turkey's high ten percent
threshold and secure seats (and privileges) in the new
parliament. GP and MHP seek to electrify voters by attacking
AKP while showcasing a tempting, if expensive, array of
social programs. DP has put together a more moderate
platform, intended to lure center-right votes from AKP and
provide a harmonious alternative to its confrontational
competitors. DP has failed, however, to regain voters'
confidence after its rocky start as a collapsed merger of the
True Path Party (DYP) and Motherland Party (Anavatan) and
appears unlikely to capture the necessary ten percent. GP's
blatant populist promises, outlandish to many, are shrewdly
attractive to an array of disaffected voters that may add up
to the magic ten percent. Of teh three, MHP, with its
devoted political base and ultranationalist ideology, appears
to be the betters' favorite to cross the threshold and seal a
place in Turkey's next parliament. End summary and comment.


MHP: TOUGH TIMES CALL FOR FANATICAL NATIONALISM


--------------------------

--



2. (C) MHP's platform plays to many voters' resentment over
AKP's religious and democratic reforms, fear of terrorism,
and anger at the U.S. and EU for influencing Turkish
policies. MHP promises dogged pursuit of Turkey's national
interests and an end to AKP's truckling approach to the
EU--especially on internal matters--while achieving little in
return. If the EU does not agree to accept Turkey as a full
member, MHP vows to end accession negotiations altogether and
withdraw from the customs union, which Turkey joined in 1996.
Current mistrust between the US and Turkey should be
overcome, with a common goal of developing a genuine,
multifaceted strategic partnership that serves mutual
interests.



3. (C) On terrorism, MHP policies border on extremist, with
hard-core rhetoric designed to energize the electorate. In
addition to strengthening the country's intelligence
networks, the party vows to retaliate against the PKK by
cutting resources to Turkey's Kurdish southeast and imposing
embargos on food, water, and electricity. MHP's tactics
contrast sharply with AKP's pledge to continue
infrastructural reforms that have helped the southeast
integrate into Turkey's economy and society. MHP crowns its
bluster-heavy terrorism policy with a promise to transfer PKK
leader Abdullah Ocalan from his "private" Aegean island
prison (which Turkish taxpayers resent having to pay for) to
a violent criminals' prison where his reception will be
hostile, if not lethal. On Iraq, MHP has repeatedly demanded
a cross-border operation, and called for a "deterrence
policy" supported by military force to keep the Kurdish
Regional Government from harboring PKK terrorists. It
considers the developments in Iraq a direct threat to
Turkey's security and territorial integrity.



4. (C) On domestic issues, MHP slams AKP for praetorian
privatizations, failing to address unemployment, and
undermining the country's national unity. MHP proposes to
provide 200 YTL per month to every family with an unemployed
head of household, and low interest loans to entrepeneurs.
Although its stance toward Islamic headscarves varies,
prominent party members have endorsed the traditional
Anatolian kerchief but have decried non-Turkish, full-cover
"turbans". MHP also proposes to improve national unity by
eliminating foreign language education from public schools
and increasing the number of required civics classes to
strengthen the sense of Turkish identity.

GENC (YOUTH) PARTY: TARGETING THE JESSE VENTURA VOTE


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (C) The Genc Party's platform is weak (to the point of
incoherence) on substance and strong on populist promises.
The party dispenses gifts at extravagant campaign rallies and
relies on the personal popularity of its leadership pantheon.

ANKARA 00001784 002 OF 002


Cem Uzan -- a former businessman tainted by his family's
multi-million dollar bilking of US and Turkish companies --
heads the party and pumps up support with charisma, shocking
pronouncements, unrealistic promises and an underdog's
appeal. Uzan joined forces with other big-name,
big-personality Turks, including Ibrahim Tatlises, a popular
folk singer/gangster, accused of involvement in matricide.



6. (C) On foreign policy, Genc proposes to continue EU
accession negotiations -- even offering to settle for some
kind of special arrangement -- but to end them if relations
continue to deteriorate. Genc pledges to reject IMF
austerity programs and take a harder line on Cyprus. The
party has repeatedly endorsed an immediate cross-border
operation into Northern Iraq and vows to support the Turkish
military domestically and internationally in the fight
against terrorism. Like MHP, Genc accuses AKP of formulating
policy in consultation with the increasingly unpopular EU and
US rather than based on Turkey's national interests. Genc
offers its most flamboyant promises on domestic issues: a
one-time transfer payment of 350YTL to all unemployed Turkish
workers (officially, 11 percent of Turkey's 73 million people
are unemployed), abolition of the university entrance exams,
and a reduction in gas prices to 1 YTL/liter. While many
suggest GP leaders are most interested in parliamentary
privileges and immunities, the party's populist rhetoric and
dark horse role are strategically targeted to appeal to
disaffected voters looking for an alternative.

DEMOCRAT PARTY: RESPECTABLE BUT GOING NOWHERE


--------------------------

--



7. (C) DP's prospects are weak, despite a respectable, often
forward-leaning, agenda. DP (the former DYP) has failed to
recover from a badly mismanaged merger between DYP and
Anavatan in May that was meant to unify the center-right and
provide a harmonious alternative in today's polarized
political line-up. DP has put together a broad platform --
sometimes downright enlightened -- largely uninfected by
populist promises. DP proposes to reform Turkey's
military-drafted constitution, strengthen judicial
independence, augment intellectual property protection,
increase the compulsory education requirement to 12 years,
allow university students to wear whatever they want
(including now-prohibited Islamic headscarves), improve
foreign language instruction, and lower taxes to reduce
unemployment. Internationally, the party proposes greater
economic integration with Turkey's neighbors -- including
Armenia and Iraq, an international treaty guaranteeing Iraq's
territorial integrity, and renewed efforts to join the EU.
Although it vows to pursue terrorists wherever they go, DP's
support for a cross-border operation into Northern Iraq is
lukewarm at best. The party calls for a better strategy for
dealing with different power groups in Washington (State,
Pentagon, Congress) and increased coordination and
cooperation with the US to improve bilateral relations.



8. (C) The few populist proposals included in the platform
include promises to reduce gas prices, stick it to the IMF,
and allow senior citizens to use spas and thermal centers at
reduced prices. Had DP managed to regain its footing after
the botched merger, it might have been a center-right
contender and given AKP some real competition. Instead, many
supporters doubt the party can surmount the ten percent
threshold and view a vote for DP as a wasted ballot this time
around.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON