Today’s Zaman, Turkey
July 13 2008
Attack on US Consulate General sends shockwaves across Turkey
Three policemen and three gunmen were killed on Wednesday in an armed
attack on the US Consulate General in Ä°stanbul, sending
shockwaves across Turkey at an already troubled time.
Both Turkey and the United States described the attack as a terrorist
act, and US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson said the US and Turkey
would "stand together and confront this, as we have in the past." The
attack coincides with political tensions in Turkey. The police are
probing an ultranationalist group suspected of plotting a military
coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party),
which is in a legal fight to avert closure over charges of
There was no immediate information on who was behind the attack,
although there were unconfirmed reports that al-Qaeda or
al-Qaeda-trained elements were involved. Ä°stanbul Governor
Muammer GÃ¼ler said all three assailants killed in the clash
were Turkish citizens, denying earlier speculation that they had
Syrian passports. The attack was harshly condemned throughout
Turkey. President Abdullah GÃ¼l strongly condemned the attack,
saying Turkey will fight against those who masterminded such acts and
the mentality behind them.
The attack also drew the ire of the European Union. EU Commission
spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio said they shared the sorrow of the
Turkish authorities and the relatives of the policemen who were killed
in the attack. A memorial ceremony was held on Thursday at the
Ä°stanbul Police Department for the three officers who were
gunned down. The officers — Nedim Ã?alÄ±k, Mehmet
Ã-nder SaÃ§malÄ±oÄ?lu and Erdal Ã-ztaÅ?
— were buried on Friday in their hometowns of northern Rize, southern
Osmaniye and central Ã?orum, respectively.
* President Abdullah GÃ¼l met with Turkish businessmen in
Kazakhstan, where he attended ceremonies to mark the 10th anniversary
of the proclamation of Astana as the country’s capital. Speaking to
reporters, GÃ¼l said Turkish-Kazakh relations were at "an
excellent level," expressing hope that this would set an example for
the entire Turkic world.
* Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan invited GÃ¼l, his Turkish
counterpart, to visit Yerevan for a football match in September,
marking a shift in relations between the two states, which have no
diplomatic ties. Armenia and Turkey will play against each other in
the Armenian capital on Sept. 6 in a qualifying match for the 2010
FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be held in South Africa.
* Former Spanish national soccer team coach Luis Aragones signed a
two-year contract to manage Turkish club FenerbahÃ§e. "I am here
both with my brain and my heart to work for FenerbahÃ§e,"
Aragones, 69, said at a news conference in Ä°stanbul. "I am here
to succeed the best."
* Former State Minister AbdÃ¼llatif Å?ener said Turkey
needed a new political party. Speaking to reporters in Abant in the
northwestern province of Bolu, Å?ener said, "I think that there
is need for a new political formation in Turkey. I will do my best in
* Turkish Soccer Federation (TFF) President Hasan DoÄ?an died of
a heart attack while on vacation in Bodrum.
* Retired senior generals Å?ener Eruygur and HurÅ?it
Tolon, who were detained last week on suspicion of involvement in an
illegal gang allegedly attempting to create a climate that would
trigger a coup d’Ã©tat against the Justice and Development Party
(AK Party) government, were arrested by a court, the first time such
high-ranking members of the military have been jailed for plotting for
* Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called on members of the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to abandon northern Iraqi soil if they
refuse to stop their attacks against neighboring Turkey. Speaking to
the Greek daily Eleftherotypia, Talabani said: "The PKK is responsible
for all of the things going on today in northern Iraq." He also said
"the terrorist organization has ignored" his calls for putting an end
to its armed activities and that "this has created problems."
* The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranked Turkey 55th on its
highest income per capita list. According to the IMF’s evaluations for
2008, there are 57 countries whose national income per capita
surpasses $10,000. Turkey ranks 55th in the world and 31st in Europe,
with a per capita income of $10,700.
* A forest fire that erupted in the afternoon in the GÃ¼lnar
district of southern Mersin province resulted in the deaths of two
villagers. The fire could not be taken under control on this day.
* The Ä°stanbul Criminal Court began the first open hearing on
the 2007 assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. It
was the first to be open to the press and interested parties. The
first five sessions were closed to the media because one of the
suspects was a minor.
* Dutch finance giant ING Bank completed its acquisition of
Oyakbank. ING Bank bought 100 percent of Oyakbank’s shares from the
Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Center (OYAK) for $2.6 billion in
* Turkish Soccer Federation (TFF) President Hasan DoÄ?an, who
died of a heart attack on Saturday, was buried in
Ä°stanbul. President GÃ¼l, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
ErdoÄ?an, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President
Mehmet Ali Talat, Sports Minister Murat BaÅ?esgioÄ?lu,
Ä°stanbul Governor Muammer GÃ¼ler, Ä°stanbul Mayor
Kadir TopbaÅ? and various prominent figures from the Turkish
sports world attended his funeral.
* Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met with Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of a meeting of Developing Eight (D-8)
nations, a group bringing together eight Muslim nations to promote
cooperation for development. At the meeting, Ahmadinejad described
Iran’s relations with Turkey as "brotherly" and praised Ankara’s
stance on the international controversy regarding his country’s
* Turkey’s top general emphasized the key role of the European Union
in regional security and welfare, as well as the similar role played
by NATO, at a Balkan summit of military chiefs held in Antalya. Chief
of General Staff Gen. YaÅ?ar BÃ¼yÃ¼kanÄ±t said
the stability and partnership agreements signed by the EU with
regional countries are important developments that should be taken
note of while delivering a speech at the opening session of the second
meeting of Balkan chiefs of general staff in the town of Belek.
* The Ministry of Justice launched a probe into the death of Kuddusi
OkkÄ±r, a suspected member of the Ergenekon criminal gang who
died of lung cancer last week just months after his release.
* Prime Minister ErdoÄ?an told French President Nicolas Sarkozy
that he hopes to participate in a major summit in Paris on July 13 at
which Sarkozy will launch his plan for a Union for the
Mediterranean. Sarkozy initiated a telephone conversation with
ErdoÄ?an in order to personally invite him to the summit,
officials from the Prime Ministry office told Today’s Zaman.
* The findings in an investigation launched by the Constitutional
Court into the accounts of the main opposition party in the wake of
illegal money transfer allegations were published in the Official
Gazette. The Official Gazette noted that around YTL 930,000 of
property belonging to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) will be
confiscated and handed over to the Treasury and that criminal
complaints will be filed at the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office
against party officials responsible for account fraud.
* A forest fire in the GÃ¼lnar district of southern Mersin
province was extinguished after three days of hard work by
* Three policemen and three gunmen were killed in an armed attack on
the US Consulate General in Ä°stanbul. Both Turkey and the
United States described the attack as a terrorist act, and US
Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson said the US and Turkey would "stand
together and confront this, as we have in the past."
* Members of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) kidnapped three
German mountaineers as they were climbing Mt. AÄ?rÄ±, the
governor of the eastern Anatolian province of AÄ?rÄ±
* Turkish officials notified France that Prime Minister ErdoÄ?an
will be attending a summit of European and regional leaders to launch
a French-promoted Union for the Mediterranean, officials from the
Prime Ministry said.
* Turkey’s current account deficit increased by 28.8 percent to $4.63
billion in May over the same month last year, the Central Bank of
Turkey announced as part of its most recent balance of payment
* Two earthquakes centered in the GÃ¶nen district of
BalÄ±kesir province occurred at 10:49 a.m. and 11:42 a.m., with
magnitudes of 4.9 and 2.8, respectively. The BalÄ±kesir
Governor’s Office reported that no injuries or property damage
resulted from the quakes.
* President GÃ¼l and former Chief of General Staff retired
Gen. Hilmi Ã-zkÃ¶k had a lunch meeting at the Ã?ankaya
Presidential Palace as part of the president’s ongoing attempts to
ease tension in the country. Speaking in the afternoon to journalists
about the meeting, Ã-zkÃ¶k said he had relayed his own
opinions about the current situation in the country to the president.
* A commemorative ceremony was held at the Ä°stanbul Police
Department for the three officers who were gunned down on Wednesday at
the US Consulate General in Istanbul.
* Prime Minister ErdoÄ?an became the first senior Turkish leader
to visit neighboring Iraq since the US-led war in 2003, pledging to
deepen cooperation with the country in all areas after years of
tension in ties. ErdoÄ?an and his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri
al-Maliki, signed a document committing the two countries to
maintaining high-level strategic dialogue in the areas of trade,
energy and security during the visit.
* The central government achieved a budget surplus of YTL 1.9 billion
in the first half of 2008, the Ministry of Finance announced in a
* Three police officers who were shot dead in an armed attack on the
US Consulate General in Ä°stanbul on Wednesday were buried in
their hometowns. Nedim Ã?alÄ±k, Mehmet Ã-nder
SaÃ§malÄ±oÄ?l u and Erdal Ã-ztaÅ? were
buried in their hometowns of northern Rize, southern Osmaniye and
central Ã?orum, respectively.
* Foreign Minister Ali Babacan announced that Turkey will participate
in a French-promoted Union for the Mediterranean after France gave
top-level assurances to allay Ankara’s earlier concerns about possible
ramifications for its EU accession bid. Babacan spoke to reporters at
a press conference in Ankara ahead of his departure for Brussels to
meet with EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and EU Energy
Commissioner Andris Piebalgs over Turkey’s ongoing accession
negotiation process as well as the French term presidency’s priorities
during the next six months.
* Ä°stanbul Deputy Chief Prosecutor Turan
Ã?olakkadÄ± told reporters that examination of the
2,500-page indictment against Ergenekon, a neo-nationalist criminal
network, has not yet been completed, but that a news conference on the
investigation is planned for July 14.
* Ten terrorists from the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and
a village guard were killed in conflicts with Turkish security forces
in Turkey’s Southeastern province of Å?Ä±rnak, military
sources reported. A Turkish soldier was also injured in the clashes,
which occurred on Mt. Kato.
* Former Deputy Prime Minister Å?ener announced his resignation
from the AK Party after a meeting of the party’s Central Decision and
Administration Board (MKYK).
13 July 2008, Sunday
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress