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Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for May 08, 2007

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINS PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR MAY 08, 2007


This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for May 08, 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:

SABAH (GUNEY): The controversy over who will be the next
mayor of Karatas district is still grabbing the headlines of the
local dailies (see press summaries for April 27 and May 1).
Elections were renewed in the district municipality assembly on
May 2 because the former mayor was disqualified by the
subgovernor's office when controversy erupted about the validity
of his former assembly membership. Ali Bayrak (from CHP) won
the race on May 2. However, this time the toppled former mayor
objected to the elections on grounds quorum was not reached
during the election.

GUNDEM: "Co-chairmen" concept, which was first introduced in
Turkish political life by DTP, is now on the agenda of DP
(Democrat Party), a party which will be formed under alliance of
DYP (True Path Party) and Motherland Party. The daily reminds
that, back in time, the Supreme Court's Chief Prosecutor issued
a warning against DTP for the co-chairmanship structure it
adopted on grounds that it was not conforming to the Political
Parties Act. DTP had to amend its charter accordingly following
the warning, but the co-chairmanship title was continued de
facto in the party circles.

GUNDEM: Diyarbakir police detained 43 people suspected and
against whom search order was issued in the Diyarbakir province.
The grounds for their detention were not specified on the
newspaper report. Meanwhile, 5 of the 15 people detained by
Van's Anti-Terror Police during a raid at a cultural venue,
where an author was signing his books, have been released. The
detention grounds were cited as the detainees' membership in an
outlawed organization called YOGEH.

SECURITY:

RADIKAL / GUNDEM / EVRENSEL: It is reported that intense
clashes are taking place during military operations going on in
Sirnak's Cudi and Gabar Mountains. Thousands of soldiers and
village guards are taking part in the operations, and, conflict
zones are reportedly being bombarded by F-16 war planes and
helicopters. Meanwhile, the large-scale operation that was
started in Hatay's Amanos Mountains have been going on since
April 22. The other military operation locations are cites as
follows: the rural sections of Diyarbakir, Agri, Hakkari, Van,
Tunceli, Bingol, Elazig and Siirt.

ZAMAN / GUNDEM: Two police officers were wounded during a
rocket attack that hit a residence building of the Security
Directorate in Diyarbakir's Kulp district the previous day.
Zaman daily reports the number of casualties as one, and the
attack was carried out by hand grenades. Following the attack,
the security officers conducted a raid at two houses in Kulp.
One of the two persons detained during the raid has been
released, the other detainee is being held at the police
station.

ECONOMY

SABAH (GUNEY) / GUNDEM / ZAMAN: On May 11, the OIB
(Privatization Administration Board) is expected to sign an
agreement that would transfer the operation rights of the
Mediterranean port of Mersin for 36 years to the private sector.
OIB will earn a total of 755 million USD from the port's
privatization.

SABAH (GUNEY) / GUNDEM / HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / ZAMAN: Strawberry
growers in Mersin's Silifke district are reported as pleased
with the high prices their products are sold for in the market.
It is estimated that a total of 56,000 tons of strawberry yield
will be harvested this year on a total of nearly 3,500 acres of
land.

EVRENSEL / GUNDEM: The sugar beet growers in Bitlis's Ahlat
district are frustrated over the quota the government imposed on
the sugar beet production.

SABAH (GUNEY): Gaziantep Governor Suleyman Kamci said in a
press announcement held at Gaziantep Chamber of Industry that
they had settled all the details about the upcoming Second

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International Iraqi Fair which will be held between May 23 and
27 in Gaziantep.

CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

SABAH (GUNEY): In several anti-drug operations carried out in
Mersin, the police seized a total of 7 kilograms of hashish,
cracked down on an illegal group trading drugs and arrested 15
of the 25 people detained. In a press announcement following the
operations, Mersin Governor Huseyin Aksoy asked for help and
cooperation from the families in their fights against
drug-trafficking.

BOLGE / ZAMAN: Police found and seized 65 kilograms of
hashish in hidden parts of a truck in Gaziantep. The truck
driver has been arraigned and arrested.

CULTURE / SOCIETY / ENVIRONMENT

GUNDEM: Two male PKK members, who were reported as killed in
a military operation in Hatay's Hassa district (see press
summary for May 7), are being kept at the mortuary of the Adana
Forensic Authority. Identity of the PKK members have not been
announced yet, reports the daily. Separately, the daily notes
that a tent has been set up in Van for the family of the PKK
member, killed in Sirnak's Beytussebap district on April 28, to
receive condolences from people visiting them. Van's Bostanici
District Mayor and DTP provincial and district officials paid
visits and extended condolences, as well.

ZAMAN / GUNDEM / RADIKAL: The funeral of one of the jandarma
commandos who died in a conflict in a section of Sirnak's Besta
area (see press summary for May 7), was held in a village of
Kars's Kagizman district. Family members of the commando,
Sarikamis 9th Motorized Infantry Brigade Commander, Provincial
Jandarma Commander, Kars Mayor and Kagizman Subgovernor attended
the funeral.

GUNDEM / ZAMAN: A crisis desk established under Adana
Governor's Office shall monitor the efforts to clean and protect
the Seyhan Dam against oil spill from the the Ceyhan-Kirikkale
pipeline caused by an accident during construction activities
going on on a highway last week (see press summary for May 1).
The Governor, the Mayor, the Provincial Environment and Forests
Director, and BOTAS (Petroleum Pipeline Corporation) Regional
Director paid a visit to the site where cleaning activities are
under way. Meanwhile, Zaman daily criticizes the small amount of
the fine issued against the company that caused the accident on
the pipeline and ensuing environmental damage.

EVRENSEL / GUNDEM: Seasonal agricultural workers in the
southeastern region started hitting the roads to find employment
and earn their livelihood in western provinces of Turkey. The
daily points out the poor conditions those people are suffering
from during their travel, during the process of finding a paying
job, and, the difficult working conditions they are finding
themselves in later.

EVRENSEL / GUNDEM: It is reported that infectious diseases
may threaten the health of people, especially kids, in Sirnak's
Cizre district, which was hit by flooding towards the end of
April; because the water supply network, which was damaged
during the disaster, could be contaminated. Teams from the
Provincial Health Directorate have not identified such an
epidemic yet, but, they are cautioning the people that diseases
may erupt at a later time.

EKSPRES: Adana Governor made a call to the notable and
influential businessmen and industrialists of Adana who were
raised here and who were once operating their businesses in
Adana to resume their support and advocacy for the province.

ZAMAN / HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / EKSPRES: A 3.8-magnitude
earthquake shook Adana yesterday morning at 1.55 a.m. No
casualties or material damage was reported.
GREEN

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