Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for February 20, 2007
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SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR FEBRUARY 20, 2007
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for February
20, 2007. Please note that Turkish press reports often contain
errors or exaggerations; AmConsulate Adana does not vouch for
the accuracy of the reports summarized here.
2. EVRENSEL / GUNDEM / ZAMAN: Preparations for 2007 Newroz
celebrations have begun in Diyarbakir, according to the Newroz
committee that was newly set up in Diyarbakir in a press
announcement. DTP Diyarbakir provincial chairperson Hilmi
Aydogdu said that they would be celebrating this year's Newroz
with activities held over a one week period and they were aiming
to draw one million people to this year's celebrations. Aydogdu
further commented that 2007 Newroz would play an important role
in determining the fate of the cease-fire declared by the PKK.
The committee will reportedly send Newroz invitations to
President Sezer, PM Erdogan, Talabani and Barzani.
3. GUNDEM: The daily reported the anger of the Yuksekova
people, when, a jeweler named Cevher Balin, who allegedly
wounded the son of the DTP district chairperson on February 15,
as the protests in Hakkari's Yuksekova district marking the
anniversary of Abdullah Ocalan's arrest eight years ago were
going on (see press summary for February 16), was recently
released by the police. The mainstream newspapers reported then
that the jeweler opened fire when a group of DTP members
attempted to put pressure on him to close his business.
However, pro-Kurdish daily Gundem claims that those news stories
were reportedly misleading and DTP members did not engage in a
conflict with any people on that day.
4. ZAMAN: Van police conducted a raid on the provincial
party premises of DTP in Van when police received information
that 10 people they were searching for on charges of shouting
slogans and hanging banners in support for PKK, would attend the
DTP youth branches' meeting at Van DTP. Police seized many
documents containing illegal symbols and brochures describing
the terrorists as "martyrs." Police detained 20 people
including the provincial party leader Ibrahim Sunkur.
5. ZAMAN: National Security Directorate, following the
meeting held in Anakra together with security directors of 81
provinces in Turkey, will hold a separate security meeting in
Diyarbakir tomorrow with 12 security directors in the eastern
and southeastern region to discuss security issues there.
6. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): Abdulkadir Aksu, Minister of
Interior, who paid a visit to Adana (see press summary for
February 19), attended a meeting held with 13 district
subgovernors in Adana. Aksu announced to the subgovernors that
30 million YTL has been allocated for the use of subgovernors to
realize infrastructural projects for the villages.
7. EKSPRES / BOLGE The dailies report that the bitter
strife between Adana Mayor Aytac Durak and Seyhan District Mayor
Azim Ozturk has become apparent once again. Regarding the
remarks Seyhan Mayor Ozturk made during the groundbreaking
ceremony of a cultural center in Adana where he said that he was
talking on behalf of one million Seyhan people, Durak asked,
"Whose Mayor do you think I am? I would like to extend a warning
to Mr. Mayor. He should be careful about his remarks." Ozturk's
response to Durak's warning was: "I was wrong in my first
calculation; I actually represent 1,200,000 Seyhan people and
speak on behalf of them, not 1,000,000."
8. EKSPRES / BOLGE: Street vendors once again held a protest
in front of the Seyhan Municipality in Adana and complained that
the six venues the municipality constructed and assigned to them
for their use have now been assigned to others (see press
summary for February 14).
9. EKSPRES: An explosion took place in a cinema venue in
Adana the previous day [Sunday] around 11 p.m. No casualties,
but material damage was reported.
10. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / GUNDEM: Chairperson of Bee Farmers
in Hakkari said that all of the honey products of Hakkari were
exported to the European countries in 2006.
11. SABAH (GUNEY): Sabah Guney daily, which has launched a
campaign to encourage consumption of citrus fruit in the
Cukurova region, made a call to authorities to hold a citrus
fruit festival annually, similar to the one held in France's
seaside town Menton, to stimulate consumption.
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12. SABAH (GUNEY): The daily reports that the amount of
snow and rainfall in January in the eastern and southeastern
region pleased the farmers. If weather conditions continue to
bring rain, the cereal yield in those regions will be very high,
said the chairperson of Diyarbakir's Chamber of Agriculture.
13. SABAH (GUNEY) / BOLGE / ZAMAN: Fatih Acar,
Chairperson of Adana Tax Office, announced the start of Tax Week
which will be celebrated between February 19 and 25. Acar said
that they were placing great importance on educational campaigns
to raise awareness of people about the practice of paying taxes.
Adana Mayor Aytac Durak, who received Acar and tax authorities
at his municipal office, pointed out that only when citizens pay
their taxes in a fair and equal fashion, inequality could be
14. GUNDEM: Mus, which remained the only province in the
country that has not been able to conduct any export activities
for the past 14 years, carried out export transactions with
northern Iraq and Syria amounting to 2,036,000 USD in 2006.
CRIME / LAW ENFORCEMENT
15. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): Police found 37,880 packets of
smuggled cigarettes hidden in sections of a truck in Hatay's
Reyhanli district. The driver of the truck and a person
traveling with him were detained.
CULTURE / SOCIETY / ENVIRONMENT
16. SABAH (GUNEY): Spouses of nearly 180 municipality
workers in Hatay's Belen district, who claimed that their
husbands were not able to get their salaries from the
municipality, held a protest and marched towards the
municipality building. Spouses accused the mayor of paying the
salaries of the workers he hired when his term started without
cessation, but neglecting those workers who were hired during
terms of previous mayors. The mayor (from AKP), for his part,
claims that there were too many workers employed at the
municipality because of the wrong policies pursued by the former
17. EVRENSEL: A delegation from EMEP (Party of Labor) paid
visits to the villages in Adana's Tufanbeyli district to raise
villagers' environmental awareness against coal-powered plant
that a company called EnerjiSa was envisaging to build in
Adana's Tufanbeyli district.
18. GUNDEM: The blood samples taken from three brothers in
Van, who were suspected to have contracted bird flu, proved
19. EVRENSEL / GUNDEM: According to results of research
by the Social Services Directorate in Diyarbakir covering the
Surici, Sehitlik and Baglar quarters in the province, 3302
children are working in the streets there. Eighty four percent
of those children are giving the money they earn in the streets
to their families. 2742 children are attending school as they
continue to earn their livelihoods.