ANKARA: Turkish TV Programme Views AKP Victory, Gul "Certain" To Bec


NTV television, Turkey
26 Jul 2007

Turkish commercial NTV television at 1700 gmt on 26 July airs the
fourth and last of its postelection "Difference of Interpretation"
shows in the usual format of a point-counterpoint discussion of
selected current topics by programme hosts Emre Kongar and Mehmet
Barlas. This particular show lasts 25 minutes.

Barlas begins by noting that, "with Nationalist Action Party
[MHP] leader Devlet Bahceli’s statement today, the outcome of the
presidential election has virtually been decided" and that "we can
say that it is already certain that Abdullah Gul will be president."

Kongar mentions that MHP Deputy Cihat Ozonder was killed in a car
accident and sends his condolences to his family. He says that "the
presidential election issue appears to have been resolved to some
extent" but that "the tensions it has created continue." He also notes
that all members of the Central Decision and Administrative Council
of the Republican People’s Party [CHP] have resigned "evidently to
express their full confidence in General Chairman Deniz Baykal and
to give him more freedom to appoint a new party administration."

Kongar says that the general election "has not solved any of the
problems" Turkey had before the election and that the election
outcome does not necessarily suggest that "the people have picked
specific solutions for various problems." He adds that "the election
of the Justice and Development Party [AKP] with a larger plurality"
"will apparently aggravate problems arising from the AKP’s rule." He
suggests that the AKP’s efforts "to shift the secular democratic
regime in Turkey towards an Islamist democratic regime" "will
accelerate." He also implies that the AKP is likely to make more
"concessions" on Cyprus and the Armenian genocide because of the
"foreign support it received during the campaign."

Barlas says that in Turkey "everyone argues that the party or person
he does not want is a threat to the regime" and cites various examples
from the past. He mentions that attempts "to save the regime" led to
military coups in the past and "the shelving of democracy." Noting
that large numbers of citizens voted for the AKP because "they do not
see such a tendency in that party," Barlas says that the AKP proved
with its performance in the past that none of the concerns about
"a threat to the regime" are justified. He suggests that different
constituencies in Turkey must endorse a "shared dream" even as they
disagree with each other over various issues. He then discusses the
elements of this "shared dream" and says that the "concepts of the
1920’s" and the Cold War are "not applicable in the 21st century." He
adds that Turkey must stop wasting time on disputes over the "regime"
and try to catch up with other countries in a "dynamic" new world. He
says that for this reason he is "pleased" with Bahceli’s statement to
the effect that his party will attend the Assembly session to elect
the next president because it is a move in the direction of ending
these debates.

Kongar reiterates his concerns that the AKP may change "the nature
of citizens and voters" and cites the government’s "intervention
in education" as an example. He says that the AKP may continue its
economic policies in the next five years and cause much "damage"
to Turkey’s future economy without being blamed for it.

The two hosts end the programme by complimenting each other for their
"patience" with each other’s opinions and noting that they will return
in September for the new season.