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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 02 ADANA 0436

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
DEC 28-29, 2002


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for December 28-29, 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 IN THE SOUTHEAST
(Hurriyet/Sabah/Turkiye/Evrensel) While countdown
for the possible U.S. operation against Iraq
continues, Turkey has intensified its preparations
along the (Iraqi) border. U.S. soldiers to be
deployed in Turkey will stay with the Silopi
(Sirnak) Tank Battalion, where they stayed during
the (1991) Gulf War. Walls around the battalion
are being heightened. Industrial sites are being
prepared for military purposes. War and terror
concerns on the part of Americans at Incirlik
(Adana) Air Base have affected Incirlik merchants,
with Americans stopping shopping. Turkiye reported
Turkey plans to establish a total of eleven camps
in northern Iraq against a possible influx of
refugees in the wake of the U.S. operation.
Infrastructure projects for these camps have
already begun. Hakkari Governor Orhan Isin said
his office would prepare and administer two of the
camps. Milli Gazete points to increased military
activities along the Iraqi and Syrian border, with
security measures elevated. Siverek (Sanliurfa)
people have reportedly begun to stockpile
foodstuffs prior to the operation. Radikal quoted
Abdullah Sevinc of the municipality of Diyarbakir
as stating that former underground shelters in the
province have been converted into car parks,
underground shopping centers, coffee houses or
sports centers, creating a potential problem for
the future.


3. USED GAS MASKS ON THE MARKET
(Hurriyet) Gas masks, distributed to U.S. soldiers
at Adana's Incirlik Air Base during the 1991 Gulf
War, have taken their places in shop windows.
Masks sell at TL 40 million (approx. USD 25) each.
With merchants trying to turn the war danger into
profit, experts said citizens should know that
these masks might not work in case of a chemical
weapons attack.


4. VARIOUS ANTI-WAR STATEMENTS
(Evrensel) Adana Pharmacists Association President
Erdogan Colak voiced opposition to the possible
U.S. against Iraq, saying, "Why are we being pulled
into this war, which no one in Turkey, other than
the U.S. Ambassador, wants?" Selahattin Demirtas,
President of the Diyarbakir chapter of the Human
Rights Association (HRA), said an anti-war platform
would be formed in Diyarbakir, which the paper
reported the U.S. wanted to use as an attack
center, in the upcoming days. Demirtas said that,
over time, Diyarbakir might turn into the center of
anti-war struggles. Islamist-oriented Independent
Industrialists and Businessmen's Association
(MUSIAD) Malatya President Selahattin Asan warned
the price of Turkey's involvement in the war would
be very high. Hurriyet quoted Iskenderun (Hatay)
local administrators and businessmen as warning the
government to take solid steps with respect to the
possible war, as it would paralyze the Turkish
economy. Milli Gazete reported the Antakya (Hatay)
chapter of the HRA and the Environmental Protection
Association staged an anti-war protest
demonstration, shouting anti-war slogans.
5. SIX BISMIL (DIYARBAKIR) VILLAGE GUARDS RELEASED
(Evrensel) The trial of ten village guards charged
with armed attack against two families who had
returned to Bismil's (Diyarbakir) Ugrak village and
killing three people and injuring four others began
in the Diyarbakir Felony Court (on December 27).
Eight of the defendants pleaded not guilty,
claiming they were not in the village when the
incident occurred. Then, the court released six of
the defendants from custody and adjourned the trial
until a later date due to missing documents in the
case file.


6. JANDARMA OFFICIALS CHARGED WITH TORTURE
(Evrensel) The Batman Prosecutor's Office
initiated prosecution against two Besiri (Batman)
Jandarma Command officials for having tortured
three People's Democracy Party (HADEP) members
arrested during a May ID check for possession of
weapons. The arrestees were reportedly subjected
to blindfolding, rough beating, pressurized water,
beating of the soles of the feet and psychological
pressure.


7. MAYOR UNDER INVESTIGATION
(Evrensel) An investigation has been launched
against Mardin's Derik district Mayor Ayse Karadag
for "participating in the inauguration ceremonies
of Democratic People's Party's (DEHAP) election
offices in Mardin, addressing the public and using
his official vehicle in election campaigns,"
despite his political ban.


8. PRO-OCALAN DEMONSTRATIONS
(Evrensel) KADEK (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan's
isolation was protested in Adana, Izmir and
Gaziantep.


9. TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND IRAQIS DEPORTED
(Evrensel) According to the Habur (Sirnak) Customs
Directorate, 21,391 Iraqis arrested while trying to
illegally cross into Turkey over the past year have
been deported through the Habur border gate in
Silopi (Sirnak).


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


10. SOUTHEASTERN AGRICULTURAL EXPORTS UP OVER 18%
(Evrensel) According to the Southeastern Anatolia
Exporters' Union, agricultural exports from the
Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) region to the
African continent increased 18.2% in the first
eleven months of the year, rising to USD 19.3
million from USD 16.3 million for the same period
in 2001. In the same period, USD 12.4 million of
textile, USD 5.1 million of grain, beans and seed
products and USD 1.7 million of dried fruits were
exported from the region.
HOLTZ

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