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Cablegate: Turkey: Court to Try Three Children for Singing Kurdish

Dianne Wampler 04/21/2008 02:53:33 PM From DB/Inbox: Dianne Wampler

Cable
Text:


UNCLAS SENSITIVE ADANA 00015

SIPDIS
CX:
ACTION: POL
INFO: DAO MGT PA FCS RAO AMB DCM ECON PMA TSR CONS

DISSEMINATION: POL /1
CHARGE: PROG

VZCZCAYO212
RR RUEHAK
DE RUEHDA #0015 1091309
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181309Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL ADANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4648
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1191
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0128
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1252

UNCLAS ADANA 000015

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TU PGOV PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: TURKEY: COURT TO TRY THREE CHILDREN FOR SINGING KURDISH
SONG

REF: A) ANKARA 050: B) ANKARA 719

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: A Diyarbakir court has accepted an
indictment against three local teenagers accused of spreading
PKK propaganda by singing a Kurdish song at a music festival in
San Francisco last October. The offending song, "Ey Rakip," is
the national anthem of the Kurdistan Regional Government in
Iraq. The trial is scheduled to begin in June. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) As reported in ref a, in January a Diyarbakir
prosecutor opened an investigation into the performance of the
Children's Choir of Diyarbakir's Yenisehir Municipality. The
choir group sang a number of songs at the San Francisco
International Music Festival in October 2007, including the
Kurdish the song titled "Ey Raqip" (Hey Enemy), the lyrics of
which were penned in 1938 by poet Yunis Rauf, (AKA Dildar), an
Iranian Kurd. While the song is the national anthem of the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), it is also generally
popular among all Kurds and was adopted by the short-lived
Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in 1946.

3. (SBU) The court has agreed to accept the indictment of the
prosecutor, Ahmet Karaca, against three members of the choir,
Servan Yilmaz (aged 15), Gokhan Ok (17) and Veysel Pamuk (15).
There is no explanation currently as to why charges have not
been filed against the 11 other children, or the choir
directors. The indictment charges that the children knowingly
"accepted singing the terrorist organization's [PKK] marching
song" and concludes the youngsters are therefore guilty of
spreading PKK propaganda, which is illegal under Turkey's
anti-terror law and penal codes. Karaca requested that the
children be tried in a secret session of the court, apparently a
procedure that protects minors from public reaction to their
testimony. According to the children's lawyer, Baran Pamuk,
violation of article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law charge can carry
a prison sentence of up to five years. The trial will commence
on June 19, 2008.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Turkish prosecutors' continued neuralgia
towards expressions of Kurdish identity undercut the GOT's
recent pledges to relax restrictions on Kurdish language
broadcasting (ref b). And it goes without saying that this case
has all the hallmarks of a public-relations fiasco for Turkey in
the international media. END COMMENT.

GREEN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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