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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 05 ADANA 0028

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
JANUARY 27, 2003

1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for January 27, 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. DIGITALLY EQUIPPED U.S. TROOPS TO NORTHERN FRONT
(Milliyet) If the Turkish Parliament grants
permission, 30,000 soldiers of the U.S. Fourth
Infantry Division, the first digitally-equipped unit
of the U.S. army, could enter Iraq through Sirnak's
Habur border gate within days. The division is made
up of three infantry, one airborne, and one
engineering brigade. Airborne units have Apache and
Comanche helicopters, while land units have M1A
Abrams tanks and Bradley armored vehicles. The
division, led by Major-General Raymond T. Odierno,
has a rich history.


3. CONTINUED ANTI-WAR SENTIMENTS
Evrensel reported nationwide anti-war protests
against U.S. preparations to hit Iraq. Thousands of
people participated in these protests held in Mus,
Batman, Bingol, Hatay, Amasya, and Sivas. Ahmet
Tas, President of the Cukurova (Adana) Handicapped
People's Association, expressed opposition to the
possible U.S. operation against Iraq. "We do not
want to see war-stricken people in Turkey and the
world," he added. Turkiye quoted Kilis Governor
Aslan Kutuk as announcing having taken all kinds of
measures against a possible influx of refugees from
Iraq, as well as chemical, biological, and nuclear
attacks. In Hakkari, the Civil Defense Directorate
has provided 145 personnel with two-month training
on nuclear weapons that might be used in a possible
war. Gaziantep-based Sanko Holding Company
President Abdulkadir Konukoglu said he sided with
peace and did not even want to articulate the word
"war." In addition, "health tourism" from Iraq has
declined almost to zero due to war rumors. Nearly
100 Iraqis had been given medical services in
Gaziantep, to which no Iraqis came over the past two
months. Asim Guzelbey of the Abdulkadir Konukoglu
Medical Center said that under a protocol agreement
signed between his hospital and the Olimpik Hospital
in Baghdad, Turkish doctors and health teams had
from time to time served in Iraq. He added that he
had to cancel a January 22 trip to Baghdad due to
these rumors. Mersin Industrialists and
Businessmen's Association (MESIAD) President Musa
Timur opposed a possible war against Iraq because it
would substantially affect the provincial economy.
"Bombs dropped during the 1991 Gulf Crisis fell on
Mersin as economic bombs," he reacted. Milli Gazete
cited Felicity Party (SP) Elazig Provincial Women's
Commission President Nazan Atasci as saying "We have
no children to send to the front." Atasci
characterized the possible war in Iraq as a dirty
game of American imperialism and its search for
hegemony. "It is not possible for those who for
many years terrorized others, formed terrorist
organizations, and fed terrorists to fight against
terrorism," she added. Bolge quoted the Grand Unity
Party (BBP) National Vice President, Turan Guven, as
saying that "northern Iraq is too important for
Turkey to be left to its own fate." The Diyarbakir
Labor Platform issued a press release against war.


4. HUNGER STRIKES
Evrensel reported continued protest demonstrations
in many provinces against the isolation of jailed
PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and possible U.S.-led
war. Twenty members of the Prisoners and Inmates
Families Initiative started a six-day rotating
hunger strike at the Democratic People's Party
(DEHAP) Kayapinar (Diyarbakir) office. In Siirt,
twelve relatives of inmates told the HADEP
provincial organization that they had launched a
two-day rotating hunger strike to protest isolation
conditions in prisons. A pro-Ocalan protest was
also held in Mersin.


5. NINE HIZBULLAH SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN MALATYA
(Cumhuriyet/Turkiye) According to the Malatya
Security Directorate, police arrested nine people, a
woman among them, for providing support and shelter
to Hizbullah members who had taken part in the 2001
assassination of former Diyarbakir Security Director
Gaffar Okkan. The arrestees were accused of
bringing the Hizbullah gunmen to Elazig and placing
them in a Hizbullah safe house there
A pistol, a cartridge clip, six cartridges, as well
as false ID cards, false passports, and
organizational documents, were also confiscated.
Officials determined that the arrestees had been
trying to establish Hizbullah safe houses in Ankara,
Istanbul, Elazig, and Malatya, carrying out
organizational activities in mosques and schools,
extorting money and raising funds for the
organization. One of the arrestees had also been
involved in the killing of a police officer in
Elazig and preparing to travel abroad.


6. HADEP MAYOR ATTEMPTS TO DEMOLISH DIYARBAKIR
MONUMENT
(Hurriyet) Remzi Azizoglu, HADEP Mayor of
Diyarbakir's Yenisehir central district
Municipality, wanted to demolish that district's
Sehitler Aniti (Monument of Martyrs), in line with a
decision made by his municipal council. The State
of Emergency (OHAL) regional governor's office had
constructed the monument in Diyarakir in
commemoration of soldiers and security officers
killed during the Anti-Terror Struggle in the
region. The Diyarbakir Governor's Office blocked
the mayor's demolition plans.


7. MILITARY VEHICLE OVERTURNS IN RURAL HAKKARI
(Turkiye) A military vehicle carrying foodstuffs
for Jandarma stations along the Iranian border
overturned in Yuksekova (Hakkari) on January 26.
One NCO was killed and five soldiers were injured
during the incident.


8. TEN DEHAP/HADEP MEMBERS HELD
(Turkiye/Evrensel) A Van court ordered ten
Democratic People's Party (DEHAP)/People's Democracy
Party (HADEP) members to remain in custody for
violation of the Demonstrations and Marches Law.
They were among 80 people, including women, who had
been arrested for faxing messages to the Justice
Ministry protesting the possible U.S. operation
against Iraq and the isolation of jailed PKK leader
Abdullah Ocalan.
9. ATTEMPTED BOMB ATTACK BY FORMER VILLAGE
(Evrensel) Former village guard Zubeyir Kamal, who
had three hand grenades on him, came to the Siirt
Courthouse and threatened to pull the grenades' pins
unless he was allowed to meet with the chief
prosecutor. While police officers were trying to
calm him down, several plain-clothes officers seized
the grenades. Kamal had been hired as a village
guard in 1991, but his labor contract was terminated
in 2001.


10. MISSING SILOPI (SIRNAK) HADEP OFFICIALS
(Evrensel) Three years have passed since the
disappearance of People's Democracy Party (HADEP)
Silopi (Sirnak) district President Serdar Tanis and
HADEP official Ebubekir Deniz in January 2000. No
information has been obtained about them since then.
No progress has been made with regard to lawsuits
opened by their families, who claim the assailants
are known and call on the public to support for the
case.
11. INVESTIGATION AGAINST TUNCELI JANDARMA
(Evrensel) The Erzincan Felony Court reversed a
decision by the Pertek (Tunceli) Prosecutor's
Office. The Prosecutor's Office had concluded that
there were no grounds for proceeding with an
investigation launched against the Pertek Jandarma
for the destruction of graves of two youths in a
local village. The court sent back the file to the
Prosecutor's Office and ordered the initiation of an
investigation against the Jandarma.


12. ADANA AGRICULTURAL DIRECTOR SHOT
(Turkiye) Police officer Mustafa Akinci, together
with his brother Kerim Akinci, shot Adana
Agricultural Director Fikret Coskun twice in the leg
in his office on January 26. Coskun had made a
decision to transfer Mustafa's wife, an employee of
the directorate, to another province due to a work-
related problem. The Akinci brothers shot Coskun
when they failed to convince him to withdraw his
decision. The brothers were arrested by police
officers, while Coskun was hospitalized. In his
testimony, Coskun reportedly said he did not know
his assailants and why had been shot. Meanwhile,
Milli Gazete and Bolge reported that in fact Coskun
had shot himself while cleaning his pistol.


13. "CHANGING FACE OF SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY"
(Turkiye/Milli Gazete) In Siverek's (Sanliurfa)
Karakeci village, which is home to 15,000 members of
the district's major clans, families have
traditionally requested dowries ranging from TL 20
billion to 30 billion (approx. USD 12,000-18,000)
and kilograms of gold in return for their daughters
eligible for marriage. Today, however, families
look for such qualities as college degree in
prospective sons-in-law. In the village, university
graduates can marry young women without having to
pay dowries.


14. SHORTAGE OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL AND TEACHERS IN
SEVERAL SE PROVINCES
(Evrensel) Health services at the Mus State
Hospital are stalling due to a shortage of medical
personnel. The Hospital's Senior Physician, Dr.
Mustafa Ates, said ten specialist physicians, ten
general-practice physicians, and 54 nurses served at
the 300-bed hospital. Ates stressed the need for
another 50 physicians, including 20 specialists, and
250 nurses. In Tunceli's only state hospital, there
are only five expert physicians specializing in
internal diseases, general surgery, and gynecology,
maternity, and pediatrics. That is, one specialist
serves 20,000 patients. The Bingol Maternity and
Pediatrics Hospital's computer-assisted Intensive
Care Center is not operational due to a lack of
qualified personnel. In addition, the Siverek
(Sanliurfa) National Education Directorate said
there was a shortage of teachers in all branches
across the district. Parents called for the
appointment of new teachers for these vacancies.


15. POSSIBLE WATER-BORN DISEASES IN MARDIN
(Turkiye) In Nusaybin (Mardin), many State Water
Works (DSI) officials were hospitalized after they
had been "poisoned" by drinking water with which
sewage had mixed. DSI officials carried out an
analysis on a sample of the water coming from a 135-
meter-deep well and found out that it was
contaminated.


16. TWO HUNDRED KILOS OF HASHISH SEIZED
(Turkiye) Syrian officials stopped a vehicle
carrying three Turkish citizens at Syria's El Saleme
border gate. During the search of the vehicle, the
officials confiscated 200 kilograms of hashish and
arrested the three. An investigation is underway to
look into possible contacts in Turkey.


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


17. STATE MINISTER TUZMEN IN GAZIANTEP
(Turkiye) State Minister Kursat Tuzmen attended a
celebration in Gaziantep to mark the 50th
anniversary of the World Customs Day on January 26.
In his speech, Tuzmen said he was planning to
establish border trade centers and improve trade to
the benefit of countries involved in it. "When our
commercial ties with our neighbors have increased,
this will create an excellent political platform,
leading to permanent commercial and political
relations. Instead of being engaged in other things
and spending huge amounts of money on security by
purchasing weapons, this region will ensure its own
development. It will allocate money for health,
education, research, and development," Tuzmen added.


18. ADANA-MALATYA RAILWAY SERVICES ON HOLD
Evrensel reported that railway services between
Adana and Malatya provinces have been suspended for
the past eight months due to negligence on the part
of the Turkish State Railways Administration (TCDD).
The newspaper criticized TCDD for failing to repair
a damaged tunnel, which eventually resulted in the
tunnel's closure.


19. TURKISH GREEN CARDS
(Turkiye) Necmi Kurt, President of the Social
Assistance and Solidarity Foundation, an affiliate
of the Tarsus district Governor's Office, announced
having issued Turkish green cards for 19,864 of the
22,652 applicants in 2002. These cards are issued
to low-income families who cannot afford to pay for
medical services, to make use of medical services at
State-run hospital free of charge.


HOLTZ

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