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 04 ADANA 0023
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM IZ TU ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY
JANUARY 24, 2003
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for January 24, 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. U.S. SITE SURVEYERS LEAVE TURKEY
(Turkiye) The ten-day-long site surveys by U.S.
military experts of nine bases and three ports in
Turkey have ended, with a majority of the 150-
person U.S. delegation having left Turkey.
Preliminary results of the site surveys are that
investments amounting to USD 250-300 million would
be made at the inspected bases if the government
were to give permission for their use. To make
these investments, a U.S. military force of 4,500-
5,000 people might need to come to Turkey.
3. ANTI-NUCLEAR ATTACK EXERCISE AT INCIRLIK
(Turkiye) Prior to a possible U.S. operation
against Iraq, exercises are being carried against
possible nuclear attack at the Incirlik Air Base
(Adana). During the two-day-long exercise, 5,000
U.S. soldiers and their families carry their gas
masks around all the time and practice getting into
shelters in the shortest time possible. Bolge
reported that sirens heard from the base caused
excitement on the part of local people.
4. "PEACE TRIP AGAINST WAR"
(Cumhuriyet/Milli Gazete/Bolge) Prompted by the
"Peace Trip Against War" slogan, a group of people,
all members of the Human Rights Association (HRA),
left Istanbul's Haydarpasa Train Station by train
for the Incirlik Air Base (Adana) and the Mersin
Port to protest a possible operation against Iraq.
Ankara will be the first stop of the "peace
volunteers," who are carrying "No To War" and "We
Do Not Want War" banners. Dunya reported that the
Adana War Opponents Platform staged a January 23
anti-war demonstration at Adana's Ugur Mumcu Square
during which they shouted anti-war slogans and
displayed "Close Incirlik Air Base" and "No To War"
5. ANTI-WAR PROTESTS BY DISK CONTINUE
(Evrensel) The Confederation of the Revolutionary
Workers' Unions (DISK) staged demonstrations in
Istanbul and Sirnak's Habur border gate (with Iraq)
to protest a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq. DISK
members said they wanted peace and brotherhood, not
U.S. soldiers, to cross over the Iraqi border.
They called on Members of Parliament to "vote for
6. SANLIURFA SUPPORT FOR IRAQ SUMMIT IN ISTANBUL
(Milli Gazete) A group of Siverek (Sanliurfa)
residents gathered to express support for the Iraq
Summit to be held in Istanbul today (1/24)
following a call by Turkey. The group voiced
opposition to a possible U.S.-led war, saying "we
did not elect the Members of Parliament forming the
new government to enter into wars with which we
have nothing to do and from which we will not
benefit." The war opponents shouted "No To War"
slogans by applauding and flying three doves: a
black one for U.S. President Bush, a dotted one for
Saddam Hussein, and a white one for Prime Minister
7. MERSIN BUSINESS LEADER: WAR WILL NOT AFFECT
(Turkiye) While the possibility of a U.S.-led
operation against Iraq increases day by day, the
effects of such a war on Turkey and Mersin cause
concerns, Cihad Lokmanoglu, President of the Mersin
Chamber of Marine, noted. The Mersin Port had
already lost all, over a period of ten years since
the Gulf War. For that reason, Lokmanoglu said a
new war would not substantially affect Mersin's
8. POLICE STILL IN PURSUIT OF SUSPECTED ASSASSINS
(Cumhuriyet/Evrensel) Two years have passed since
the late-January 2001 assassination of former
Diyarbakir Security Director Gaffar Okkan. Five
security officers were also killed during the
attack. Three of the suspected assassins
(Hizbullah members) were killed; nine (13 according
to Evrensel) others were arrested. Police are
searching for five more gunmen.
9. PRO-OCALAN PROTESTS
(Evrensel) Demonstrations were held in Diyarbakir,
Agri, Van, Hakkari, Siirt, and Mardin provinces to
protest the eight-week-long isolation imposed on
KADEK/PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan under the pretext
of bad weather conditions and refusal of permission
for him to meet with his attorneys. In Mardin,
police assaulted protestors with armored-personnel
carriers and truncheons, arresting nine of them.
In Van, seven people were arrested and ordered to
remain in custody for participation in anti-war and
10. BODY OF KILLED KADEK MEMBER HANDED OVER TO HIS
(Evrensel) The body of KADEK/PKK member Kerim Koc,
who was killed during a July 2001 clash with
security forces in a rural area between Bingol and
Diyarbakir, was handed over to his family following
the completion of a DNA test.
11. DICLE U. SUFFERING FROM SHORTAGE OF ACADEMIC
(Milliyet) Professor Fikri Canoruc, Rector of
Diyarbakir's Dicle University, criticized the
Higher Education Council (YOK) for not having given
his university any academic positions over the past
two-and-half years. Upon the President's request,
Canoruc was appointed the Rector although YOK had
removed his name from the list despite having
received most of the votes during the elections
held to name the rector. Canoruc described the
situation as "inconsistent with good intentions."
Canoruc claimed the situation had caused the
university to lose blood because around 100
teaching staff had not been given their academic
titles although they had gained the right to become
assistant, associate, and full professors. He
added that, with his attitude, YOK President
Professor Kemal Guruz wanted to disrupt professors'
peace and tranquility.
12. DEHAP VAN OFFICE RAIDED, TEN ARRESTED IN
(Turkiye) With permission from a local court, Van
police launched an operation against Democratic
People's Party (DEHAP) Office on January 23.
During the two-hour-long operation, police searched
50 people in the DEHAP office and confiscated
banned books, magazines, handbills and newspapers.
Following the operation, the DEHAP Provincial
Chairman, Serafettin Ozalp, as well as two HADEP
provincial officials, were taken to the Security
Directorate for interrogation. In addition, of the
ten People's Democracy Party (HADEP) and DEHAP
members arrested in Bingol, HADEP Bingol Youth
Commission President Yilmaz Bulut was ordered to
remain in custody, while a commission member was
released. No information was given about the
remaining eight arrestees.
13. MILITARY OFFICER ACCUSED OF INSULTING PUBLIC
(Milliyet) Captain Hakan Kutlu, who is stationed
at Sanliurfa's 20th Armored Brigade, together with
a group of soldiers, reportedly came to the Social
Security Institute (SSK) in an official vehicle and
insulted SSK employees due to an argument between
his wife and a male colleague of hers over the use
of a computer. Kutlu is also accused of insulting
the SSK Director, Ismail Yilmaztekin. Yilmaztekin
said he and Kutlu had only exchanged words and the
incident was being exaggerated. An official from
the Brigade claimed that Kutlu's wife had been
verbally assaulted and threatened. "Kutlu, without
having any dialogue with SSK personnel, met with
the SSK Director. He (Kutlu) did not do anything
negative," the official added.
14. TWENTY-EIGHT TARSUS (MERSIN) MUHKTARS'
(Turkiye/Bolge) Tarsus (Mersin) District Governor
Necmi Kurt announced having launched investigations
against 90 local muhktars (village headmen) and
filed suit against 28 of them for embezzlement of
15. OPEN PRISON VISITS DURING SACRIFICE HOLIDAY
(Turkiye) Justice Minister Cemil Cicek sent a
memorandum to chief prosecutors' offices for open
prison visits during the nine-day Sacrifice Holiday
beginning on February 9. Inmates and prisoners in
13 prisons across the country, including those in
Adana, Gaziantep, and Mersin, will make use of open
prison visits for a period of up to six days
between February 9 and 14, thereby permitting
prisoners and visiting family members to mix
16. OVER 48 KILOS OF HEROIN SEIZED IN MERSIN
(Turkiye/Milliyet/Cumhuriyet/Bolge) Acting on a
tip, Mersin police seized 48.4 kilograms of heroin
smuggled in through Van's Baskale township and
destined for other countries. One suspect was
arrested, while police are searching for two other
suspects. In a separate operation in Adana, police
raided the home of a drug courier and arrested a
total of six people preparing for a cocaine party.
Ninety-four grams of cocaine and 20 ecstasy pills
were confiscated. Three arrestees were later
ordered to remain in custody.
ECONOMIC AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS
17. SUPPORT FOR ZEUGMA
(Milliyet) Bilal Necmettin Erdogan, son of AK
Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked for
assistance from Culture Minister Huseyin Celik when
Bilal's archaeology teacher, a consultant to
Hewlett Packard Humanities Foundation (HPHF),
requested him to do so. Minister Celik said Bilal
had contacted him to help HPHF overcome
bureaucratic difficulties regarding its sponsorship
for archaeological excavations in the ancient city
of Zeugma (Gaziantep) and establishing a museum.
"Being a foreign foundation, HPHF faced
difficulties with respect to the excavations. They
(HPHF) will transfer USD 50 million for the
excavations and we, as the Culture Ministry, want
these excavations to continue," Celik added. Celik
noted that he was planning to bring together
Gaziantep's Sanko Holding Company, which has
Zeugma's name rights, and the Gaziantep Chamber of
Commerce, an HPHF. Abdulkadir Konukoglu, owner of
Sanko, said the name "Zeugma" belongs to history.
"We will not put any obstacles before them (i.e.
HPHF) if their goals are to be beneficial to
Zeugma," Konukoglu argued.
18. GAZIANTEP CARPET EXPORTS UP OVER 50% IN 2002
(Bolge) According to Yalcin Konukoglu, President
of the Gaziantep Carpet Producers and Merchants
Chamber, machine-made carpet exports from the
province increased 52% in 2002, rising to USD 126.9
million from USD 83.5 million in 2001 despite the
economic crisis. Major customers included such
countries as the U.S., the U.K., Greece, and
19. EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS IN (SILOPI) SIRNAK
(Radikal/Bolge) The Sirnak Governor's and the
Silopi (Sirnak) district Governor's Offices spent
TL 6 trillion (approx. USD 3.6 million) for
educational projects in Silopi over the past three
years. In the same period, the number of
classrooms across the district increased nearly
100%, rising from 170 to 330. As a result of these
projects, the number of students fell from 100 to
40 per classroom. The projects were financed
mostly through donations and revenues from the
district's Habur border gate. In addition, the
National Education Ministry donated computer
laboratories in some schools; a local school came
first at a nationwide website design competition.
20. VILLAGE RETURN PROJECT INCREASES HONEY
PRODUCTION Dunya reported that the Village Return
Project had led to an increase in honey production
in Bitlis, which reportedly has potential to
produce nearly 800 tons of honey.