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Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for May 10 and 11, 2007

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TAGS: PINS PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR MAY 10 AND 11, 2007


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for May 10
and 11, 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:

2. BOLGE / EKSPRES: The local daily Bolge reads as follows
in big captions on its front page: "Durak has his eyes on
President's Office." The article further reads that (Adana
Mayor) Durak advocated in a speech he made at a meeting of the
Union of Cukurova Municipalities that, like in the government's
proposal which said that the president should be elected
directly by the people in a two-round election, the mayors
should be elected in two rounds, as well, and the voters should
be able to directly vote for the candidates, not for candidates
that a board nominated. Durak further proposes that the right
to return to their posts should be secured by the constitution
for public office holders who are to resign from their offices
to run in the elections.

3. ZAMAN: Land Forces Commander Ilker Basbug paid a
visit to the Sirnak Governor Selahattin Apari. Basbug told
Apari that he had inspected some of the military units at the
province.

4. GUNDEM: DTP's election strategy was unanimously
decided as to field independent candidates as a result of the
two-day meeting DTP held in Diyarbakir on May 8 and 9. The
other election strategy, namely forming alliances with other
parties, was opted out. DTP's candidates will run in a total
of 40 cities and it aims to win 37 parliamentary seats in the
July 22 election. The daily reports that the legal concerns
over whether former Kurdish deputies Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle,
Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak could run and whether they will be
nominated as candidates will be discussed in a separate party
assembly meeting. Two of the topics discussed during the
meetings were the termination of the PKK's unilateral cease-fire
on May 18 and the health condition of Abdullah Ocalan. (This
summary is from May 10 edition.)

5. EVRENSEL / GUNDEM / HURRIYET: The dailies claim that, AKP,
CHP, Motherland Party and DYP, who were in bitter strife during
the presidential election process, have reportedly smoothly
agreed to boycott DTP's election strategy to win seats through
independent candidates. DTP's Vice-Chairperson Osman Ozcelik,
who said the recent amendment on the election law aimed to
prevent Kurdish people's will to be represented in the
parliament, commented that those efforts would prove vain.
Ankara deputy from AKP, Ersonmez Yarbay, said that amendments to
the election law should be made one year ahead of the election
period, or, if it gets verified, it should be implemented a year
later; otherwise it would harm the credibility of that law.

6. GUNDEM: The tension between Esat Canan, Hakkari deputy
from CHP, and CHP party administration is reportedly signaling a
rift between the two. Canan said, "It has become more difficult
for me to carry out politics within CHP ranks." (This summary
is from May 10 edition.)

7. GUNDEM: Abdullah Ocalan's attorneys set off for their
weekly call on Ocalan at Imrali Prison Island. (This summary is
from May 10 edition.)


8. ZAMAN / EVRENSEL / GUNDEM: Under a constitutional
article cited, the Ministry of Interior suspended Cizre District
Mayor Ayhan Budak from his office because of the two court cases
he is currently standing trial (see press summary for May 9).
Attorneys of Budak will appeal the decision at the Council of
State.

9. GUNDEM: Diyarbakir Sur District Mayor Abdullah
Demirbas, DTP Vice-Chairperson Bayram Altun, DTP European
Representative Fayik Yagizay and Brussel Kurdish Institute
Chairperson Derwis Ferho held a press announcement at the
European Parliament and talked about pressures exerted on DTP
officials in Turkey.

10. GUNDEM: Diyarbakir Heavy Penalty Court continued
hearing the case brought against Batman Mayor Huseyin Kalkan
(from DTP) on charges of making propaganda of the PKK in his May
2006 statements published in Los Angeles Times newspaper in the
U.S.

ADANA 00000071 002 OF 002

11. GUNDEM: The Istanbul Prosecutor, following the end of
the initial investigation process brought against Sirri Sakik,
Vice-Chairperson of DTP, for his remarks during Newroz
celebrations in a district of Istanbul, decided that there was
no indictable offense in Sakik's remarks.

12. GUNDEM: DTP Viransehir District Chairperson in
Sanliurfa, who was detained on charges that he used an honorific
title before the name of Abdullah Ocalan during a press
announcement four days ago, has been arraigned and released. The
chairperson will stand trial for "praising criminals."

13. GUNDEM: KKK, PKK's political wing, which harshly
criticized the government's attempts to block Kurds'
representation in the parliament, announced that they were
supporting DTP's strategy to field independent candidates.

CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

14. ZAMAN / BOLGE / EKSPRES: Teams from Adana Provincial
Jandarma Command and Pozanti District Jandarma Command, upon
receiving a tip-off, conducted a search in two tanker trucks
traveling on a highway. Teams found 57 tons of smuggled
fuel-oil (diesel-oil) which was brought from the port of Mersin.

15. ZAMAN / SABAH (GUNEY) / BOLGE: Police caught 26
people in a truck parking area in Adana who entered the country
illegally. 16 of them were Somalis and 10 of them were Iraqis.
The snakeheads reportedly cheated people out of their money
(3000 USD), told them that they arrived in Istanbul, and left
people in a truck parking lot in Adana to flee the scene.

16. SABAH (GUNEY): Jandarma teams found 350 Indian hemp
roots planted in flower pots and hidden in sections of a field
cultivated by a person. Legal action has been brought against
the owner of the field.

CULTURE / SOCIETY / ENVIRONMENT

17. SABAH (GUNEY): The daily reports Mersin's great
frustration over Council of State suspending the
500-million-dollar-tourism subsidy that would be allocated to
the province.

18. GUNDEM: The villagers in a village of Sirnak's Uludere
district attempted to cross the border into northern Iraq the
previous day reportedly as a result of the alleged ongoing
pressure from the military: The security officers prevented them
from doing so. Three hundred village guards this time decided
to lay down their arms and expressed strong commitment not to
participate in the military operations. The army officials
reportedly tried to convince the villagers by promising to
remove check points at the entrance of the village and agreed
that the villagers would not have to attend the operations. The
villagers this time said that they would not take up arms until
they feel fully convinced they will not be forced to participate
in the operations.

19. GUNDEM: Families of the two PKK terrorists, who were
killed in Hatay's Hassa district on May 5 during a military
operation (see press summary for May 7 and 8), and some DTP
members claimed the bodies of the terrorists from the mortuary
of Adana Forensic authority. One of the terrorists was buried
in Sanliurfa and the daily claims that the soldiers prevented
the family from burying their dead without observing one of the
Islamic burial procedures. The other PKK member was buried in
Tunceli's Mazgirt district. DTP Tunceli Provincial Chairperson
and DTP Mazgirt District Chairperson also attended the funeral.
The security forces are reported as taking intense security
measures during the funerals.

20. ZAMAN / HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / EKSPRES / BOLGE: The 14th
of Adana's Altin Koza Film Festival will be held between June 4
and 11. Mayor Durak said that the festival would gain an
international status this year. Durak further announced that
the theme of this year' festival will draw attention to global
warming and child abuse.

21. BOLGE / EKSPRES: Twenty-two sheep of a 300-sheep-herd
died immediately after drinking chemical waste water leaking
from broken pipes on the premises of a factory in Adana. The
owner of the herd said that he would file a complaint against
the factory owners.
GREEN

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