in Stories

Turkey said it had no problem inviting Mugabe

Turkey said it was planning to host an African summit and it did not see any problem in inviting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe because he had been invited to attend the European- Union-Africa summit in Portugal.

It said it was inviting all African leaders including Muammar Gaddafi and Omar al Bashir of Sudan.

Turkey was eyeing a seat in the United Nations Security Council in October and wanted to secure the support of African countries.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08ANKARA212, ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08ANKARA212

2008-02-06 15:26

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Ankara

VZCZCXRO3208

OO RUEHDA

DE RUEHAK #0212/01 0371526

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 061526Z FEB 08 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5140

RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE

RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC//PA

RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU

INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 8662

RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3842

RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2671

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 6400

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6226

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2807

RUEUITH/DET 1 39LG ANKARA TU

RHMFISS/USDOCO 6ATAF IZMIR TU

RHMFISS/39OS INCIRLIK AB TU

RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 523 IZMIR TU

RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU

RHMFISS/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU

RUEUITH/AFLO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000212

 

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, FEBRUARY 6, 2008

 

ANKARA 00000212 001.2 OF 003

 

 

In Today’s Papers

 

Turkish Parliament to Debate Turban Reforms

All papers report that on Wednesday, the parliament will discuss the

AKP-MHP proposal for lifting headscarf restrictions in universities.

Prime Minister Erdogan pledged in his ruling AKP group meeting

yesterday to uphold secularism. “The new regulation will strengthen

secularism. What we are trying to do is totally about the right to

a university education,” said Erdogan. Responding to criticism

against the opposition MHP for helping the ruling AKP in the turban

controversy, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said his party was the

‘strongest link’ between ‘Anittepe and Kocatepe,’ referring to two

important landmarks in Ankara: Ataturk’s mausoleum and the capital’s

largest mosque, symbols of secularism and Islam. Opposition CHP

leader Deniz Baykal in remarks at an event marking the 71st

anniversary of the introduction of secularism into a Turkish

constitution, claimed preparations for a severe blow to secularism

were underway. The issue under discussion in the country is not a

headscarf ban, but secularism, according to Baykal. “Erdogan says

‘entrust secularism to us.’ I’d rather entrust liver to a cat than

secularism to you,” Baykal said to his party’s members. The CHP

leader noted the turban was not a requirement of Islam. President

Abdullah Gul, in Qatar on a state visit, told Turkish reporters the

secular character of Turkey is an irrevocable quality which is one

of the founding principles of modern Turkey. “We should not make

some issues so tough. Opinions are expressed, everything is

discussed and democratic systems operate as they should,” Gul

emphasized.

 

Liberal Radikal writes on page one that 71 years after the inclusion

of the principle of secularism in the Turkish Constitution, the

country is still debating the same issue.

 

Editorial Commentary on Turban

Ismet Berkan wrote in liberal Radikal (2/6): “The Constitutional

Court might reject the amendments that liberate the headscarf in the

universities. In that case, all eyes will turn to PM Erdogan and

MHP leader Bahceli. If both leaders accept this decision and say

‘although we think this ruling is against democracy, we still have

to abide by it,’ then the crisis will not deepen. But if the both

leaders object to this decision and try to amend the relevant

article of the constitution, then a regime crisis will start in

Turkey. In that case, no one can guess when and how this crisis

will end and, despite being ruled by a single party, Turkey will

become a country searching for political stability. I personally

consider the possible annulment of the amendments by the

Constitutional Court a serious issue, and that is why I believe

that a constitutional crisis is inevitable. Only the MHP and AKP

leaders can avoid deepening this crisis.”

 

Germany Investigates Fire Killing 9 Turks

All papers report Turkish officials will fly to Germany to help

police investigate the cause of a fire which killed nine Turks,

including five children, in a housing block largely inhabited by

Turks. The blaze took place during carnival celebrations in the

western city of Ludwigshafen. The cause of Sunday’s blaze in an

apartment block is unclear but the tragedy raised of a targeted

attack by racist groups. Prime Minister Erdogan, who is to visit

Germany later this week, said a delegation headed by State Minister

Mustafa Said Yazicioglu and four security officials would travel to

Germany to hold talks about the fire. He noted Turkey did not want

a repeat of the firebomb attack by German ‘skinheads’ on a house in

Solingen where five Turks were killed in 1993. Erdogan said he

hoped to visit the site of the tragedy on Thursday. Erdogan will

meet Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. Meanwhile, papers report

16 people were hurt in a fire in another building inhabited by Turks

in Ludwigshafen.

 

Kurdish DTP Protests in Sirnak Turkish Raids on Northern Iraq

Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Taraf, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, and Zaman

 

ANKARA 00000212 002.2 OF 003

 

 

report thousands of pro-Kurdish DTP supporters from several

provinces gathered in Diyarbakir and later went to the border

province of Sirnak to protest Turkish cross-border attacks into

northern Iraq. More than 3,000 demonstrators, including DTP

lawmakers and mayors, spent the night in tents in an area between

Cudi and Gabar mountains. They are expected to release a statement

today.

 

Saygun Thanks Americans for Sharing Intelligence against PKK

Hurriyet, Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, and Zaman report General Ergin

Saygun, deputy chief of the Turkish General Staff (TGS), met Tuesday

with General James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the US Joint

Chiefs of Staff, in Washington. Saygun has been in the US since

January 31 and has visited military bases and facilities. Saygun

also chaired the Turkish delegation in the Turkey-US High-Level

Defense Group (HLDG) talks in Washington.

 

Mainstream Hurriyet reports from Washington that an unidentified

American source said General Saygun thanked American officials for

sharing intelligence with Turkey against the PKK. “The Turkish

side, for the first time in recent years, has not complained at

all,” the source said. Other sources said in order to back Turkey,

some intelligence gathering equipment for intelligence gathering

needed to be shifted to the region from places like Afghanistan.

“We will continue supporting the Turkish military. Turkish air

operations have dealt heavy blows to the PKK; we know the

organization is puzzled and damaged,” sources said. They also said

for the first time since 2003, the bilateral HLDG meetings had ‘a

future perspective.’ “All is happy with the operations which have

restricted the PKK’s maneuverability. More importantly, Turkish

soldiers now have the means to move freely in northern Iraq. The

Turkish military’s view of the US is changing,” sources told

Hurriyet.

 

Turkey to Host ‘African Summit’ in August

Mainstream Milliyet reports Turkey is to host an ‘African Summit’ in

August to which 53 African leaders will be invited. Turkey, eyeing

a seat in the UN Security Council, aims to secure the support of

African countries at the October 2008 UN vote. Libyan leader

Muammar Gaddafi, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, and Sudan’s

President Omar al-Bashir would be among the invitees. Turkish

Foreign Ministry (MFA) sources said Mugabe, a controversial figure,

was invited to join a recent EU-Africa summit in Portugal, and that

the Turkish invitation should pose no problem.

 

Editorial Commentary on Kosovo

Kamuran Ozbir commented in nationalist Ortadogu (2/6): “By electing

pro-western candidate Boris Tadic as president, the Serbian people

gave a message to the world that their goal is the EU membership.

Tadic, just like his rival Nikolic, is not supporting Kosovo’s

independence but he still believes that Serbia’s priority should be

EU membership. Prior to the Serbian elections, Reuters News Agency

claimed that, if Nikolic was elected, Kosovo would declare

independence immediately this weekend, but in case of Tadic’s

presidency, Kosovo would abide by EU demands and wait for a few

weeks. The US has already stressed support for Kosovo’s

independence while Russia, together with Serbia, claims that an

independent Kosovo will change balances in the world.

 

TV Highlights

NTV

 

Domestic News

 

– The pro-Kurdish DTP leader, Nurettin Demirtas, is to appear before

the court Wednesday for forging medical reports to avoid military

service, which is compulsory in Turkey.

 

– Osman Baydemir, the mayor of Diyarbakir, has been acquitted in a

lawsuit for distributing in 2006 invitations for a culture festival

 

ANKARA 00000212 003.2 OF 003

 

 

in several languages, including Kurdish.

 

– Two PKK terrorists have surrendered to Turkish security forces in

Silopi in the southeastern border province of Sirnak on Tuesday.

 

– An OECD report says two-thirds of Turkish girls between the ages

of 25-29 stay at home instead of working or going to school.

 

International News

 

– Britain’s International Institute for Strategic Studies warned in

its annual report on the world’s military forces that strains among

the Kurds,Turkmen and Arabs in northern Iraq could increase.

 

– The Iraqi Oil Ministry has accused Iran of stealing oil from a

shared field under their common border.

 

– A new Iraqi flag that does not include Saddam Hussein’s

handwriting and the three green stars of his ousted Baath Party has

been hoisted over the Iraqi Cabinet building in Baghdad.

 

WILSON

 

(12 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment