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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 0013

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
JANUARY 14, 2003


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for January 14, 2003. 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. BASES UNDER SCRUTINY
(Radikal/Milliyet/Milli Gazete) In line with an
agreement between Turkey and the U.S., a 150-person
U.S. military delegation began to survey bases and
airports (in Turkey). A team that had come from
Germany to Ankara and Incirlik (Adana) is reported
to have begun its survey of Diyarbakir, Mus, and
Batman bases, as well as the ports of Mersin, and
Iskenderun (Hatay). The Incirlik team reportedly
obtained information on whether or not construction
projects will be carried out in areas they
surveyed. The team will leave the base after
selecting the most convenient place on the base for
unloading troops and ammunition and obtaining a
construction permit. Cumhuriyet claimed that 300
million USD had been allocated for possible
upgrading that might enter the agenda based on the
delegation's findings.


3. ALLEGATIONS THAT U.S. WILL RECRUIT MERCENARIES
(Turkiye) While preparations continue for a
possible U.S. operation against Iraq, rumors that
the U.S. would hire mercenaries began to circulate
in Silopi (Sirnak). After the war, mercenaries
would reportedly be given U.S. citizenship.
Hearing the rumors, many Silopi residents rushed to
apply to the offices of muhktars (village chiefs)
who called the allegations baseless.


4. PLANE CRASH PILOT ERROR
(All papers) In a January 13 press conference,
Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim gave
information regarding the preliminary report on the
plane that crashed in Diyarbakir on January 8.
Yildirim said an investigation continued with the
participation of a six-person team from the U.K.,
which had manufactured the plane. A preliminary
investigation showed:
? the pilot was not fully aware of the plane's
position;
? the pilots had not seen the runway although
the plane had descended to the minimum
altitude; and
? the flying team had not requested any radar
assistance.
Turkiye quoted the Istanbul Medical Department
President, Professor Oguz Polat, as announcing the
completion of DNA tests on the bodies of 18 of the
39 victims who could not be identified.


5. SEVENTEEN HIZBULLAH SUSPECTS ARRESTED
(Bolge/Milliyet/Turkiye/Evrensel) According to the
Mersin Security Directorate, suspected Hizbullah
members, including four women, had been arrested in
Mersin's Tarsus and Camliyayla townships. A large
quantity of organizational documents and
publications were seized. The organization's
Cukurova (Adana) chief was among the arrestees
accused of providing support to Hizbullah fugitives
and their relatives, and obtaining computers to
form an archive for the organization. Following
interrogation, the arrestees were sent to the
Prosecutor's Office.


6. SIIRT ELECTIONS POSTPONED UNTIL MARCH 9
(Sabah/Milliyet/Turkiye/Milli Gazete) The Higher
Election Council (YSK) decided to hold the Siirt
elections on March 9, instead of February 9, in
line with the recent amendment to the Member of
Parliament Election Law. The postponement signaled
that obstacles to AK Party leader Recep Tayyip
Erdogan's candidacy to run for the Parliament from
that province would be removed. Meanwhile, Siirt
resident Fadil Akgunduz, who lost his parliamentary
immunity when the Siirt elections were cancelled,
applied to YSK to renew his candidacy from that
province. Radikal reported the Democratic People's
Party (DEHAP) had decided to participate in the
Siirt elections although it would not be able to
enter the Parliament (due to the 10% nationwide
threshold).


7. ADANA FLIGHTS WILL RESUME ON JANUARY 15
(Bolge/Milliyet) According to Turkish Airlines
(THY), THY flights to and from Adana will resume at
midday tomorrow (1/15). The airport has been
closed to flights since November 4 for repair and
maintenance.


8. ALLEGATIONS OF POLICE HARASSMENT
(Evrensel) Gaziantep resident Huseyin Karadag, an
official of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP)
Youth Commission, claimed that police officers,
disguised as electricians, postmen, and officials
of the Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation
affiliated with the governor's office, had been
going to HADEP members' homes and harassing them.
"We are fed up with being threatened and followed,"
said Bircan Demir, a former HADEP official.


9. COLLEGE STUDENTS PROTEST DETENTION OF THEIR
PEERS
(Evrensel) Nearly 700 Centennial University (Van)
students staged a demonstration to protest the
detention of 47 of their peers arrested by Jandarma
for having been involved in a fight with
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)-affiliated
thuggish ideologues. Jandarma intervened to
disperse the protestors, arresting seven of them.
Jandarma later released the arrestees when the
protestors continued with their protest. Later, a
group of three students was allowed to meet with
the Rector. During the meeting, the students
demanded that their peers be released and that the
arrested students be given a second chance to take
their examinations which they were not able to
take. The Rector reportedly pledged to give them a
second chance to take the missed exams. Meanwhile,
65 arrestees, including leftist and rightist
students, were taken to the prosecutor's office.


10. OVER 46 KILOS OF HEROIN SEIZED IN HAKKARI
(Turkiye) According to the Hakkari Governor's
Office, police seized 46.944 kilograms of heroin
concealed in secret chambers of a truck headed for
Hakkari. The driver was arrested and then ordered
to remain in custody. In a sting operation in
Kahramanmaras, Jandarma arrested two people looking
for customers for 2.5 kilograms of hashish and
confiscated the hashish. Another 550 grams of
hashish were found on two Gaziantep people during
an ID check.


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


11. FRUIT GROWING EXPANDING IN SANLIURFA
(Bolge) In Sanliurfa, the center of the
Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), fruit
cultivation has increased 40% with agricultural
fields having been opened to irrigation. Fruit
cultivation expanded from 90,400 hectares (before
the irrigation projects) in 1995 to 115,005
hectares in 2002.
HOLTZ

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