Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 0389
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY
NOVEMBER 9-10, 2002
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for
November 9-10, 2002. Please note that Turkish press
reports often contain errors or exaggerations;
AmConsulate Adana does not vouch for the accuracy of
the reports summarized here.
POLITICS, SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS
2. AKP WANTS ELECTIONS CANCELLED IN SIIRT
(Sabah/Milli Gazete) AKP petitioned the Higher
Election Council (YSK) to cancel the elections in
Siirt due to lack of a ballot council in a Pervari
(Siirt) village where 700 voters were unable to vote.
If YSK cancels the elections there, AKP will
reportedly nominate AKP chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan
from Siirt if his political ban is lifted.
3. RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE SOUTHEAST
(Evrensel) The Diyarbakir Chapter of the Human Rights
Association (HRA) issued a report regarding violations
experienced during the November 3 parliamentary
elections. The report claimed the Democratic People's
Party (DEHAP) was the only political party which
suffered from rights violations in the region.
According to the report, DEHAP observers were not
allowed into schools (to watch vote casting), police
officers tore electorate information cards, voters
were subjected to such maltreatments as insults and
threats, and were forced to cast their votes openly.
HRA President Selahattin Demir indicated 310 rights
violations, including arrests, threats, preventions,
detentions, maltreatments, forcible open vote casting
and assaults took place in the region prior to and
during the elections. Demir claimed village guards,
village chiefs, jandarma, tribal chiefs, and from time
to time political parties, had exercised pressure on
voters and accused them of election fraud.
4. PKK ARRESTS CONTINUE
(Turkiye) Gaziantep Security Directorate Anti-terror
squad arrested three PKK members who had received
training in a (PKK) camp in northern Iraq. Police
found out that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, following
his capture, had ordered his less known members to go
to Turkey in order to incite the public to carry out
mass activities (demonstrations), recruit new members,
and stage civil disobedience. The arrestees were
later arraigned in a local court and ordered to remain
in custody. In a separate operation, Jandarma
arrested eleven people accused of assisting and
abetting the PKK in Diyarbakir's Lice and Hani
townships. In Nusaybin (Mardin), police arrested PKK
member Ibrahim Tanhan while he was trying to take a
bag full of clothing to PKK members in rural areas. A
local court later ordered Tanhan to remain in custody.
Van police seized one truck load of medical supplies
and equipment destined for PKK camps in Iran and
arrested four people in connection with the seizure.
Also, Hakkari Jandarma seized weapons associated with
the PKK during searches in rural Hakkari.
5. DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AGAINST KURDISH PETITIONERS
(Evrensel) The Van Administrative Court reversed
disciplinary actions given by Van's Centennial
University to 171 students for petitioning for an
elective course in Kurdish. The reversal followed the
students' appeal. Also, the Adana Administrative
Court reversed the Cukurova University's (Adana)
decision to suspend and expel 54 students for
demanding education in Kurdish.
6. KURDISH NAMING PROBLEMS CONTINUE
(Evrensel) The Diyarbakir Birth Registry Directorate
denied a parent permission to give the name "Amed" to
his son. The parent later petitioned the Prosecutor's
Office to allow him to give the name he wanted to his
child. Lawsuits were opened against Mersin parent
Zeki Geris, who had given the non-Turkish names
"Baver" and "Xebat" to his twins, and parent Filiz
Coskun for having named her child "Siyar."
7. REMAINS OF ANCIENT PROVINCE FOUND IN ADANA
(Bolge) The remains of what used to be a Hittite
province were unearthed during archaeological
excavations carried out in Adana's Tufanbeyli
township. Assistant Professor Serdar Girginer of
Cukurova University's (Adana) Archaeology Department
and his team carried out the excavations, which began
on August 20. Girginer said studies showed Tufanbeyli
was the region's culture center in 2,000 B.C.
Girginer noted the project would expand to neighboring
provinces and last nearly five years.
ECONOMIC AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS
8. VISITORS TO SE INCREASE
(Evrensel) Harran (Sanliurfa) District Governor
Ibrahim Aksit said the number of domestic and foreign
tourists visiting Harran (25,944) increased over 85%
in the first ten months of the year, compared to the
previous year (13,768). Harran is known as the site
of the world's first university and conic-domed homes.
Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Turkiye and Evrensel reported
181,101 tourists, among them 59,419 foreigners,
visited Mt. Nemrut, which is known as Gods' Celestial
Throne and included in UNESCO's World Cultural
Heritage List, this year. In 2001, 147,000 tourists