Israel responsible for WikiLeaks in anti-Turkish plot, AKP member says
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News | 12/1/2010 12:00:00 AM | SEVİL KÜÇÜKKOŞUM
Israel could have engineered the WikiLeaks conspiracy as a plot to corner Turkey on both domestic and foreign policy, according to a senior Turkish governmental figure.
Israel could have engineered the release of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents on WikiLeaks as a plot to corner Turkey on both domestic and foreign policy, according to a senior ruling party official.
“One has to look at which countries are pleased with these. Israel is very pleased. Israel has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents,” Hüseyin Çelik, deputy leader of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and the party’s spokesperson, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday.
Following initial reaction to the leaked U.S. Embassy cables, which have revealed diplomatic secrets about Turkey, Azerbaijan, its Middle Eastern neighbors, Turkish officials have started to suspect that “the main cause of these leaks was to weaken the Turkish government.”
WikiLeaks has released approximately 250,000 documents of confidential U.S. diplomatic correspondence to newspapers around the world. Around 8,000 of those documents are from the U.S. Embassy to Ankara.
The first signal came from President Abdullah Gül, who said Tuesday the leaks seemed to be a result of a systematic work with some purpose behind it.
Though government officials like Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek avoided naming Israel in their public statements Wednesday, Çelik, a close aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, singled out the country with his comments Wednesday.
“Documents were released and they immediately said, ‘Israel will not suffer from this.’ How did they know that?” Çelik said.
Turkey and Israel have had bitter relations since the flotilla crisis, in which Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish and one American-Turkish citizen. “Turkey, with its efficiency and foreign policy, has treaded on someone’s fields. The prime minister is known as a dominant leader not only in Turkey but also in the world,” Çelik told reporters.
Yasin Doğan, a columnist for the pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper, also named the Israeli lobby in the U.S. as the source of the cable leaks. “Some people from the U.S. want to drive the [Barack] Obama administration in a different direction. They also want to adjust the relations of many governments with the U.S.,” he said in his article Wednesday. Doğan is the penname of Yasin Akdoğan, who is one of Erdoğan’s political advisors.
According to observers, government officials believe the cables leaked through WikiLeaks were selected as part of a comprehensive plan to corner Turkey both in terms of domestic and international politics.
The publication of allegedly baseless claims on Erdoğan’s personal assets, the highlighting of a silent rift between Gül and Erdoğan and the focusing on Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu have been perceived as tools to create disturbances for the government inside the country and ahead of next year’s general elections, according to some observers.
When reminded that the cables depicted Gül and Erdoğan as political rivals, the president said “such claims could not hurt” his relations with the prime minister.
On foreign policy, the release of cables indicating that many Arab countries were in fact in favor of a military attack on Iran to scuttle Tehran’s ambitions to develop nuclear weapons were seen as moves to show that Turkey was alone in defending Iran in the region.
“This situation posits Turkey as the only advocate of Iran not only in Europe but also in the Middle East,” Murat Yetkin, Ankara representative of the daily Radikal, wrote in his column Wednesday.
Yetkin added his observation that Ankara has evaluated the cables as a psychological campaign to push Turkey to take a cooler stance on Iran.
Furthermore, the release of remarks by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev on Turkey and other remarks that Balkan countries were extremely uncomfortable with Davutoğlu’s frequently heard rhetoric on neo-Ottonamism were also evaluated as moves to weaken Turkish influence in its near abroad.