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Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for March 13, 2007

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TAGS: PINS PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR MARCH 13, 2007

This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for March 13,
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.

POLITICAL

BOLGE: Adana Mayor Aytac Durak wrote a letter to Dogu
Perincek, Labor Party (IP) leader against whom a Swiss court
issued 9000-Swiss-francs of fine for denying the Armenian
genocide. Durak said in his letter to Perincek that he would
volunteer to pay the amount of money the Swiss court obliged
Perincek to pay. Durak further said that the Western countries
were displaying a double-faced attitude regarding the issue of
freedom of expression.

BOLGE / EKSPRES / EVRENSEL / ZAMAN: Eric Green, the U.S. Consul
in Adana, paid a visit to the Cukurova Journalists' Association
in Adana. Green told the press members during his visit to the
association that Bush administration was urging the Congress to
drop the Armenian resolution pending in the U.S. Congress since
the Administration believed that the resolution would not help
the strategic relationship and alliance between the U.S. and
Turkey. Green further said that the U.S. very well understood
the concerns of the Turkish people about the resolution and the
damage it could to the ties between the two countries. Green
further said that the issue was more controversial with the
intervention of the diplomats and politicians, that Turkey must
deal with its historical issues with a more critical approach,
and that the issue must be left to historians. Green noted that
the U.S. wants to focus all attention on maintaining the
long-standing alliance and cooperation between Turkey and the
U.S., and leave the resolution issue behind and concentrate on
mutual interests of the two countries.

SABAH (GUNEY): The Twenty-third Motorized Infantry Brigade
Command made a donation of apparels to people in Sirnak's Silopi
district, who were victims of flooding in the district last
October, to provide relief for suffering caused by the disaster.

EVRENSEL / RADIKAL: The daily reports that Yasamda Gundem
daily, which appeared on the shelves immediately after the
one-month-ban imposed against the pro-Kurdish Gundem daily
(because of its publications about alleged poisoning of Ocalan)
(see press summaries for March 8 and 12.), has also been closed
and been withdrawn from the shelves today. The prosecutor's
office has said Yasamda Gundem daily is an extension of the
former Gundem daily.

ZAMAN / EVRENSEL / HURRIYET / RADIKAL / SABAH: Bursa Chief
Prosecutors Office declared the report by Istanbul Forensic
Authority on the alleged attempts to poison Abdullah Ocalan in
his prison at Island Imrali found no traces of any poisoning.
Zaman daily quotes Government Spokesperson and Ministry of
Justice Cemil Cicek as saying that the allegations about
Ocalan's poisoning were refuted and were proved baseless.

EVRENSEL: Members of the initiative for "Seeking Turkey's
Peace", who are based in the southeastern region and in
Diyarbakir, issued a joint declaration and made a call to the
government to maintain common sense and show tolerance in the
face of the developments that could escalate societal tension.
The declaration was signed by 64 institutions and members of
intelligentsia, it condemned the pressure exerted on DTP and
called for an independent delegation of doctors to investigate
the allegations about the poisoning of Ocalan.

EVRENSEL: Some mayors of the southeastern (from DTP), namely
mayors of Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Tunceli, Mardin's Kiziltepe
district, and Mus varto district, are holding contacts in
Istanbul and Ankara to discuss the Kurdish issue, and, in
particular, the health condition of Ocalan, the increased
pressure on DTP, and efforts to hold peaceful Newroz
celebrations. The mayors are paying visits to the
representatives of media organizations, opinion leaders,
columnists, editors-in-chief, union leaders in Istanbul. In
Ankara, the mayors are planning to pay visits to the
spokesperson of the parliament and deputy chairpersons of groups
at the parliament. The first visit in Istanbul was paid to the
national chairperson of The Confederation of Revolutionary Trade
Unions of Turkey (DISK).

ZAMAN: Diyarbakir Governor Efkan Ala said in a press
announcement that the Diyarbakir people could identify those

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people who are actually doing harm to province's public image.
Ala said that the people engaging in terrorist activities should
be aware of the fact that the provocations are taking the city
20 years backwards and causing the people of Diyarbakir and
Turkey to suffer from the consequences.

ZAMAN: Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir told journalists
during DTP mayors' visits in Istanbul that the tourism potential
in the Newroz celebrations should be brought to attention
instead of just perceiving Newroz as a source of tension.
Separately, in response to a question about a court's recently
issued prison sentence against Ahmet Turk, DTP national
chairperson, for using a courtesy title before the name of
Abdullah Ocalan, Baydemir said that those kinds of remarks
should not be construed as acts of crime in the 21st century.


RADIKAL: The Ankara Governor's Office decided to protect Esat
Canan, Hakkari deputy from CHP. They did this because of the
information obtained by the Istanbul police through its phone
lines and e-mail addressed that a possible assault may target
Canan. Police started getting information after news appeared
in the media about the remarks Canan made at an official
reception allegedly saying that "the southeastern region has its
own martyrs." Canan has already been going through an
investigation process because of those remarks.

CRIME / LAW ENFORCEMENT

HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): Mardin police chased a car which did not
obey the instructions of the police to halt. Police searched
the car which was later found as deserted and found 19,000
packages of cigarettes.

ECONOMY

ZAMAN: Bahjat Dougman, Syrian Consul General to Gaziantep,
made a call to businessmen and industrialists to carry out
investments in Syria at a meeting held at Chamber of Commerce
and Industry in Iskenderun district of Hatay.

CULTURE / SOCIETY / ENVIRONMENT

HURRIYET: A group of 100 people wearing masks protested the
controversial landfill problem in Mersin which has not been
resolved for many years. The protestors urged the local
administration to hold a summit to solve the problem about where
to dump the garbage of the city.

HURRIYET: A 4-magnitude earthquake shook Bingol province at
2.30 p.m. yesterday. No material damage or casualties were
reported.
GREEN

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