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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 0004

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
JANUARY 6-7, 2003


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for January 6-7, 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. ANTI-WAR STATEMENTS
Evrensel(01/06) reported that the Kahramanmaras
chapter of the State Employees' Union Confederation
(KESK) issued an anti-war press release calling for
opposition to war. Akif Ekici of the Gaziantep
Organized Industrial Zone said a new intervention
in Iraq would result in such negative effects as
market losses and decreases in employment and
production. Evrensel (01/07) quoted State
Employees' Union Confederation (KESK) Mersin
Chapters Platform Term Spokesperson Recep Kara as
voicing opposition to involvement in a war that had
nothing to do with Turkish people. The presidents
of the Mersin Genel-Is labor union and Egitim-Sen
teachers union opposed war, as it would bring
nothing but suffering and tears. The Egitim-Sen
secretary general called on laborers for active

SIPDIS
opposition to war. The Turkish Union of Architects
and Engineers Chambers (TMMOB) Van Provincial
Coordination Council President indicated a possible
war in Iraq would bring destruction to all the
people in the Middle East.


3. SIRNAK RESIDENTS STOCKPILING FLOUR
(Sabah) Residents of Sirnak's Silopi township have
been rushing to flourmills in an effort to
stockpile sacks of flour prior to the possible U.S.
operation against Iraq. Six flourmills in the
province are not able to meet the demand, while
eight trailer trucks affiliated with the Turkish
Red Crescent Society are reported to have unloaded
materials in Silopi. "Although we have a daily
capacity of 125-175 sacks, we cannot keep up with
the demand," said a local miller. Evrensel (01/07)
quoted Silopi merchants as wanting "investments,
not war" in the region.


4. SIRNAK RESIDENTS CONCERNED OVER LANDMINES AND
WAR
(Cumhuriyet) Landmines planted as part of the
fight against the PKK in Silopi's (Sirnak) Ova
village, which is on the Iraqi border, killed three
people and damaged four tractors in 2001. In the
same year, other ammunition such as mortar shells
and hand grenades also caused the death of 19
people and the injury of 34 others in the region.
War preparations along the Iraqi border have led to
increased concerns on the part of Southeastern
people that they might return to dark days again.
Evrensel reported a four-fold increase in rental
prices as a result of reports stating that U.S.
soldiers would come to the district.


5. SYRIA HANDS OVER PKK MEMBER
(Cumhuriyet/Turkiye/Evrensel) Syria handed over to
Turkey a KADEK (PKK) member determined to have
participated in armed activities in rural Mardin on
behalf of KADEK. Also, Mardin police arrested four
people who had come from Sanliurfa to join KADEK.
The four arrestees reportedly admitted having
traveled to join KADEK.


6. "TRICKY TRIAL FOR USE OF KURDISH"
(Evrensel) Attorney Sedat Yurttas of the
Diyarbakir Bar Association claimed the State was
trickily opening cases for "membership in an
illegal organization (i.e., KADEK/PKK)" or
"assisting and abetting an illegal organization
(KADEK)" instead of directly opening cases against
the use of Kurdish language and culture. Attorneys
alleged such cases de facto violated EU
Harmonization Laws.


7. MALATYA SUPPORT FOR DIYARBAKIR PETITION DRIVE
(Evrensel) Malatya's Inonu University students
issued a January 5 press release in front of the
province's post office in support of the "I Want My
University Initiative" campaign launched by Dicle
University (Diyarbakir) students. The students
called for reforming the structure of the Higher
Education Council (YOK), which they characterized
as a product of the "September 12" military regime
and an obstacle to science and free thought in
universities. They carried "No to YOK," "Free of
charge, Scientific and Democratic Education,"
"Budget to Education, Not War" and "No to YOK Bill"
banners and shouted anti-YOK slogans.


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


8. DELAY IN RE-OPENING OF ADANA AIRPORT DRAWS
CRITICISM
(Bolge) Residents of Adana criticized a delay in
completion of the repair project at the Adana
Airport, which was closed by the State Airports
Administration (DHMI) to flights on November 4.
Residents described the airport's closure for
repair during winter conditions as "an example of
irresponsibility." DHMI officials had previously
announced they would try to complete the repair
project and re-open the airport by mid-January.
Muslim pilgrim candidates, however, complained they
were not being given a definite date on which they
could fly to Saudi Arabia, as it is not known when
the airport would resume operation.


9. EIGHTY-NINE PER CENT OF PLOTS AT ADANA'S OIZ
SOLD
(Bolge) Umit Ozgumus, President of the Adana
Chamber of Industry and Vice President of the Adana
Haci Sabanci Organized Industrial Zone, said that
89% (7,075,858 square meters) of the zone's plots
had been sold. The zone is reported to be one of
Turkey's largest organized industrial zones.
Ozgumus indicated that 167 firms were currently
operational in the zone, while he expects
construction projects for another 85 firms to be
completed soon. Another 109 firms are at the
project stage. The zone houses 24 different
sectors, providing employment for 13,000 people.


10. MORE TOURISTS VISIT GAZIANTEP MUSEUMS IN 2002
(Milli Gazete/Bolge) The number of domestic and
foreign tourists visiting Gaziantep museums
increased 141.7% in 2002, rising to 45,933 people,
compared to 19,000 visitors in 2001. The increase
was attributed to the display in these museums of
mythological mosaics unearthed during excavations
in the ancient city of Zeugma, which was partly
submerged by water from Sanliurfa's Birecik Dam.


11. TRUCKER PROTEST ENDS
(Turkiye/Milli Gazete/Evrensel) A demonstration
staged by a group of truckers carrying fuel oil
from (northern) Iraq to the Turkish Petroleum
International Corporation (TPIC) Batman
Installations in protest of non-receipt of money
after waiting over three days in lines in order to
unload their cargoes ended on January 4. Following
an agreement between the truckers and the
contracting firm that foresees that truckers will
receive a payment of TL 15 million (approx. USD 9)
per day after a three-day waiting period, truckers
began to unload their cargoes. Currently, 1,700
truckers are reported to be waiting in line in
front of the TPIC Batman Installations. Iskender
Iskenderoglu of the contracting firm said that
access from the Habur (Sirnak) border gate had been
suspended until the lines disappear.


12. SOUTHEASTERN EXPORTS DOWN OVER 8% IN THE FIRST
11 MONTHS
(Bolge) According to the Southeastern Anatolia
Exporters' Union, agricultural, animal-based, and
industrial product exports from the Southeastern
Anatolia Project (GAP) region to 118 countries and
eleven free zones in Turkey decreased 8.3% in
January-November 2002, falling to USD 542.8 million
from USD 591.4 million for the same period in 2001.
In the same period, USD 388,038 million of textile,
USD 61.5 million of grain, beans and seed products,
USD 60.3 million dried fruits, USD 19.8 million of
industrial products and USD 13.2 million of animals
and animal-based products were exported from the
region. Eighty-two per cent of the exports were
from Gaziantep, with main export items being
machine-made carpets, synthetic yarns and synthetic
textiles. Major customers included Italy, Germany
and Saudi Arabia.
HOLTZ

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