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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ANKARA1895 2007-07-25 14:50:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT

Tags:   OPRC KMDR TU 
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001895

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR TU
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT


WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2007

In Today's Papers

Parliamentary Presidential Election
All papers: Mainstream Milliyet says, following the general
elections, PM Erdogan announced that his party will seek compromise
in the presidential elections. Since the party has only 340 seats
in the parliament, and needs a quorum of 367 to elect the president,
seeking compromise is the only alternative for AKP. Mainstream
Vatan gives extensive coverage to the presidential election issue
and questions whether FM Gul will withdraw his candidacy or not.
All papers report that FM Gul will hold a press conference today and
among other issues he will disclose his views on the presidential
elections. [Note: At a noon press conference Gul declined to say
whether he would be a candidate, but did not rule out the
possibility.]

CHP Leader Baykal Appears Before Press, Declines to Resign
All papers: CHP leader Deniz Baykal appeared before the press for
the first time after the elections and claimed that the party has
been increasing its votes and that he is not considering resigning
from the party chairmanship. Meanwhile, the opponents of Baykal
held a meeting yesterday and announced that Baykal's resignation
from party chairmanship would not be enough and that he should leave
politics. Former CHP chairman Hikmet Cetin, Mayor of the Istanbul
district of Sisli Mustafa Sarigul, Onur Kumbaracibasi, Adnan Keskin,
Mehmet Mogultay, Celal Dogan were among those who attended the
meeting.

Answering questions of NTV, DSP leader Zeki Sezer said that the Left
should not give the image that they are fighting among themselves
and should instead discuss what they need to do together.

KONDA Polling Results
Liberal Radikal reports that according to Konda Polling company
economic concerns were the main factor shaping the preference of
voters. Concerns over secularism and democracy, which were the main
debates among the political elite of Turkey before the elections,
did not constitute a major factor in the electorate's voting
preferences.

Editorial Opinion: West Has Superficial View of Turkey's Election
Sami Kohen writes in the mainstream daily Milliyet: "The Western
public and press pay attention to Turkish elections with a
preconceived notion as well as with worries about Islam. The
elections are presented as if it is a choice between Islam and
secularism. As a result, the results are misinterpreted: [according
to Westerners] Turkish elections ended with a victory for Islamism
and a defeat for secularism. Religion has certainly played a role
in shaping people's opinions however it did not play a dominant
role. Moreover it would be very wrong to depict AKP voters as
entirely religious. The main motives for this election were
practical reasons like economic and social factors and were not
ideological. The foreign press is also often making another mistake
by evaluating the election results in terms of civilian-military
relations, and concluding that the military is the loser. The
election result cannot be interpreted as a 'response to the
military' as surveys indicate that the military's e-warning was not
a dominant factor in shaping people's choices. Facts about Turkish
politics are much deeper than they appear to be according to the
shallow interpretations, such as just looking at the
secularism-religion or military-civilian angles."


Ibrahim Karagul writes in the Islamist-oriented daily Yeni Safak:
"The Turkish people's message is very clear. The election results
call for an atmosphere of no tension, reconciliation and
unification. Turkish rulers got those messages, while the EU and
the US continue to misread the whole situation. Western press
insists on making assessments based on 'internal conflict'

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scenarios. They present the election results with a
tension-building psychology. Turkey is very tired of tension
builders and conflict seekers. For instance, the statement by
Franco Frattini of the EU Commission talking about the
[post-election] need to protect the 'secular minority' is absolutely
dangerous and provocative. These words have the potential to cause
conflict in Turkey. Another example is the statement from former US
Ambassador Mark Parris, as he talked about how the Turkish army lost
the elections, which is utterly provocative. Some circles in the US
have been disseminating lies about the AKP, saying that it works
toward the goal of an Islamic state, and somehow they still continue
in making those untrue arguments. The essence of the election
results is this: Turkish voters rejected ethnic nationalism,
inward-looking policies and anti-democratic practices, and voted in
favor of the supremacy of law."

President Bush Calls PM Erdogan to Congratulate
Milliyet, Sabah, Zaman, Vatan, Hurriyet and others: Papers report
that President Bush called PM Erdogan yesterday afternoon to
congratulate him for the success of the AKP in the elections.

TV Highlights
NTV (7 A.M.)

Domestic News

In an interview with La Republica retired General Edip Baser said
the military might intervene again if the presidential election
process is derailed.

A van carrying bread for a gendarmerie station in Tunceli was set on
fire by PKK terrorists after the driver was moved away from the van

Turkish Airlines has decided on a lockout to cope with a possible
strike of its workers


International News

Iraqi Kurdish Administration President Barzani expressed hope that
the election results in Turkey would lead to improvement of
relations between Iraq and Turkey.

Bulgarian medics were freed after Libya and the EU reached a deal

The US and Iran met in Baghdad to discuss the Iraq issue


WILSON