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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 03 ADANA 0431

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
DECEMBER 25-26, 2002

1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for December 25-26, 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. WAR PREPARATIONS AT MERSIN PORT
(Hurriyet/Milliyet/Dunya) Increased activities
began at the Mersin Port, which the papers indicate
the U.S. wants to make use of during its proposed
military operation against Iraq. Six of the port's
21 wharves have been closed to commercial traffic,
with giant cranes dismantled. Mersin Port Operation
Director Kenan Sen described the increased
activities as normal. Sen confirmed the deepening
works at three wharves allocated to NATO by the
National Defense Ministry.


3. OPERATION CENTER WILL BE IN DIYARBAKIR
(Cumhuriyet) The U.S. is planning to ship military
equipment and ammunition it wants carried into
northern Iraq to the port at Mersin and then
transport it by railway to its operation centers.
Diyarbakir is considered to be the center of an
operation to be launched from the North. Hurriyet
reported Iskenderun (Hatay) District Governor Unal
Erdogan, Coast Guard Commander Captain Murat Ozer
and Security Director Salih Gokalp visited the
Iskenderun Port, meeting with Operation Director
Cumhur Ozturk. The U.S. reportedly wants to use the
port during its proposed intervention in Iraq. The
delegation then went to the Iskenderun (Hatay) Steel
Plant Isdemir Port and met with Isdemir officials.
They then surveyed local hotels that might be used
as possible accommodations in case American soldiers
came to Iskenderun. A U.S. delegation had
previously inspected the Iskenderun Port as well.


4. EXERCISE AT INCIRLIK AIR BASE
(Hurriyet) Tenth Tanker Base Command held a routine
exercise on December 25 at Adana's Incirlik Air
Base. People in residential areas around the base
got excited when sirens were heard at Incirlik,
which is likely to be the operation center of the
proposed war in Iraq. During the exercise, two F-
16's flew over the base, followed by a simulated
fire in hangars near AWACS early-warning planes.
The planes landed in mid-day. Then, as part of the
exercise, a person with a false ID card was captured
at the main gate, with announcements stating that
the password had been broken.


5. ADANA U.S. CONSULATE WILL MOVE
(Hurriyet/Milliyet/Bolge/Evrensel) U.S. Consulate
in Adana, which is in a Sabanci Holding Company's
Bossa building, has been looking for a new office
space, as its leasing contract will expire next
month. Facing reactions from nearby merchants
following closure of the roads around the Consulate
due to security reasons, Consulate officials looked
at another Sabanci building but reached no
agreement. Sabanci Holding officals confirmed the
Consulate's effort to find a new office. Sabanci
officials said roads around the Consulate, which is
on Ataturk Street, had been closed as a security
precaution. "The Consulate's leasing contract is
expiring in the New Year. The fact that the roads
are closed disturbs the nearby merchants and all
citizens. We face pressure from the public and
merchants. They (Consulate officials) do not want
to move out, but we asked them to move. Then,
Consulate officials began to seek a new place," they
added. Sabanci officials indicated temporarily
moving the consulate initially to Hilton-Sa and then
to another building entered the agenda. They gave
the following information: "Their move to Hilton-Sa
was not accepted. We showed them the closed Gunes
Newspaper facility, a property that belongs to the
Sabanci Holding's Ex-Sa company, on the Adana-Ceyhan
highway. Consulate officials examined the ...
building .... They wanted to lease it but we
informed them we want to sell it. They will inform
us of their decision after evaluating the building's
status."


6. CRITICISM OF PROPOSED U.S. WAR IN IRAQ
(Bolge/Turkiye) Adana Chamber of Industry president
Umit Ozgumus and Mustafa Caliskan, President of the
Adana chapter of the Islamist-oriented Independent
Industrialists and Businessmen's Association
(MUSIAD), voiced opposition to the proposed U.S.
operation against Iraq. Turkiye quoted Malatya
Active Businessmen's Association and MUSIAD
presidents as saying an intervention in Iraq would
deeply impact the Turkish economy.


7. KADEK (PKK) SUSPECTS HELD
(Evrensel) A Sanliurfa court ordered two suspected
KADEK (PKK) members arrested in Hilvan (Sanliurfa)
to remain in custody.


8. KURDISH NAME REJECTED
(Evrensel) The Dicle (Diyarbakir) Birth Registry
Directorate denied parent Mehmet Sert permission to
give the Kurdish name "Rozerin" ("Sun-light Blonde")
to his two-month-old daughter. Sert then applied to
the District Governor's Office, but failed to
receive permission because "Rozerin was the name of
KADEK (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan's bodyguard."


9. BULLET CASINGS IN DIYARBAKIR FOR ANALYSIS
(Cumhuriyet) Bullet casings found following the
assassination in Ankara of Associate Professor Necip
Hablemitoglu earlier this month were sent to
Diyarbakir for analysis. Diyarbakir Governor Cemil
Serhadli said the casings would be compared against
300,000 other casings registered in Diyarbakir to
determine if the pistol had been used in any
previous incident. Turkiye (12/26) reported
Diyarbakir Security Directorate officials had failed
to find any match for the two 9mm bullet casings
sent to Diyarbakir.


10. MAYOR UNDER INVESTIGATION
(Evrensel) The Interior Ministry has launched an
investigation against Adana's Kucuk Dikili district
Mayor Mehmet Yasik (from the People's Democracy
Party - HADEP) for "not attending the October 29
Turkish Independence Day celebrations." The
investigation followed Buyuk Dikili Jandarma
Commander Bahtiyar Dogan's letter (of complaint) to
the ministry.


11. GAZIANTEP JOURNALIST CHARGES POLICE WITH
TORTURE
(Evrensel) Murat Sen, distributor of the Gaziantep
newspaper Yeniden Ozgur Gundem, claimed police
arrested him on Saturday night (12/21). They
reportedly blindfolded and took him to an unknown
place, accusing him of hanging banners on walls.
After two days of detention, Sen was released on
Monday (12/23).
12. DICLE U. STUDENTS ASSOCIATION RE-OPENS
(Evrensel) The Dicle University (Diyarbakir)
Students Association, which was closed for three
years, recently resumed operation.


ECONOMIC AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS
--------------------------------------


13. MT. NEMRUT BELONGS TO ADIYAMAN
(Hurriyet/Radikal) In an effort to end disputes
between the Southeastern provinces of Adiyaman and
Malatya over the ownership of Mt. Nemrut, the
Council of State decided Nemrut is within the
provincial borders of Adiyaman. Nemrut is located
87 kilometers away from Adiyaman and 291 kilometers
from Malatya.
HOLTZ

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