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 0007
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY
JANUARY 9, 2003
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for January 9, 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. SEVENTY-FIVE DIE IN PLANE CRASH IN DIYARBAKIR
(All papers) An RJ 100-type plane that left
Istanbul at 6:15 p.m. for Diyarbakir with 75
passengers and five crew members aboard crashed
near a military zone five kilometers away from the
Diyarbakir Airport at 8:15 p.m. on the same day.
Seventy-five people, including six foreigners,
three babies, two pilots and three crew members,
died, while five people thrown out at the time of
the crash escaped the crash with injuries. (Note:
One Amcit was among the dead. Ankara reporting
septel.) After the crash, which was attributed to
"intense fog", soldiers encircled the crash site.
After falling, the plane fell apart, followed by
explosions. Bodies are reported to be in an
unrecognizable state due to burns. Experts pointed
to the lack of an Instrument Landing System (ILS)
at the airport. This system cannot be installed at
the airport, as Diyarbakir is a military area.
There were no flights to Diyarbakir for the past
week due to fog. Transportation Minister Binai
Yildirim left for Diyarbakir, taking corpse bags
with him. Regarding the crash, Prime Minister
Abdullah Gul said there was not the possibility of
terror. "Most probably, the weather conditions had
an effect," he added. Hurrriyet reported a DNA
test will be conducted unless relatives recognize
the victims. Bodies of identified victims will be
handed over to their families.
3. CRITICISM OF POSSIBLE U.S. OPERATION IN VARIOUS
AREAS OF THE SOUTHEAST
Evrensel reported increased criticism of the
possible U.S. operation against Iraq in Gaziantep
and Adana, the two provinces that were mostly
affected during the 1991 Gulf Crisis. The
Gaziantep Labor Platform decided to stage an anti-
war rally to protest U.S. war preparations and the
(Turkish) government's attitude toward this war.
In Adana, Belma Cingillioglu of the Labor Party
(EMEP) held a press conference in front of the EMEP
office in which she said 90% of the public wanted
Incirlik (Adana) Air Base and other bases closed.
Human Rights Association (HRA) and Public Training
Center (Halkevi) officials supported the press
conference. Local journalists in Mersin, whose
port might be used during such an operation, said
they do not want to publish news articles on the
destruction to be caused by this Iraq war. Mersin
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Acting President
Serdal Kuyucuoglu warned that the province's
economy would never be able to recover if its port
were used in such a war. Hurriyet reported that
the representatives of 15 Mersin professional
associations, all affiliated with the Turkish Union
of Architects and Engineers Chambers (TMMOB),
issued a declaration saying they do not want war.
Sabah reported that attorneys from bar associations
throughout Turkey issued an anti-war declaration
saying that "Turkey has neither a single child nor
a penny to sacrifice for oil and arms monopolies".
4. BATMAN ANTI-WAR RALLY SET FOR JANUARY 19
(Evrensel) In a January 7 press conference, the
Batman Peace Platform announced it would start
anti-war activities through a rally on January 19.
Nearly 500 people attended the press conference,
which was supported by democratic mass
organizations and labor unions. Sadi Ozdemir,
President of the Batman chapter of the Human Rights
Association (HRA), said Turkey's involvement in a
possible war in Iraq would bring nothing but
hunger, poverty and tears.
5. BLACKOUT INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO GAS STATIONS
(Evrensel) The Turkish Petroleum Refineries
Corporation's (TUPRAS) Batman Refinery has given
blackout instructions to all gas stations along the
Iraqi border in order to protect the pipeline
carrying Iraqi oil. The paper points to increased
activity across the Southeast as preparations
continue toward a possible U.S. war in Iraq.
6. ADANA AIRPORT WILL RESUME OPERATION
(Bolge) The State Airports Administration (DHMI)
senior director, Cengiz Asikli, stressed that the
Adana Airport would re-open to flights beginning on
January 15, despite a delay in the completion of
its repair and maintenance project due to weather
conditions. The airport was closed to flights on
November 4 for repair and maintenance.
7. YSK PRESIDENT CRITICIZES KANADOGLU FOR HIS
(Hurriyet/Sabah/Cumhuriyet) In an answer to a
journalist's question regarding Supreme Court Chief
Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoglu's statement that AK
Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan could not run in
the Siirt elections, Tufan Algan, President of the
Higher Election Council (YSK), reacted negatively.
"If the president of every institution goes out and
expresses his opinion, this will only disrupt the
State and confuse heads," he said. Algan first
characterized Kanadoglu's statement as "his
political thought" and then as "his own opinion".
8. ALLEGATIONS THAT STATE OF EMERGENCY PRACTICES
(Sabah/Cumhuriyet) On January 8, NGO's from
Southeastern Turkey briefed the Parliamentary Human
Rights Commission, which is preparing to travel to
inspect the situation in the Southeast after the
State of Emergency's (OHAL) abolition. "Current
problems still continue despite partial
improvements following the lifting of OHAL," they
claimed. Fusun Sayek of the Turkish Physicians
Chamber (TTB) said, "Health services in the region
are far from the humanitarian level", while the
Association for the Oppressed (MAZLUM-DER) national
president, Yilmaz Ensaroglu, claimed there were no
changes in such issues as the village guard system,
the Village Return Project, and (use of) Kurdish
names. Human Rights Association (HRA) Vice
National President Yusuf Alatas noted that public
officials viewed OHAL as normal.
9. ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTEST
(Bolge) The Adana chapter of the Egitim-Sen
teachers union staged a January 7 march from the
city hall to the AK Party provincial office to
protest the Government's decision to repay
employees for mandatory payroll deductions only on
a long-term basis. Protestors shouted anti-
government slogans despite police warnings. State
Employees' Union Confederation (KESK)-affiliated
labor unions and such political parties as the
Republican People's Party (CHP), the Freedom and
Solidarity Party (ODP) and the Labor Party (EMEP)
gave support by participating in the march. The
Egitim-Sen Adana organization issued a press
release claiming that, during the march, some
security units had threatened to arrest and "exile"
(i.e., "transfer") the chapter president. The
organization condemned what it called "verbal
10. HIZBULLAH AND KADEK (PKK) SUSPECTS HELD
Diyarbakir police arrested a total of 19 suspects
during an anti-Hizbullah and anti-KADEK (PKK)
operation on January 8. The arrestees included ten
Hizbullah suspects accused of "political
organizing, fund-raising activities, and
extortion", as well as nine people suspected of
"logistical support and recruitment for KADEK".
Following interrogation, the arrestees were
arraigned in a local court where six Hizbullah and
six KADEK suspects were ordered to remain in
11. SIRNAK CHECKPOINTS REMOVED
(Evrensel) Checkpoints, a State of Emergency
(OHAL) practice, on the Sirnak-Diyarbakir highway
have been removed, with OHAL having been abolished
in Sirnak on November 30. Previously, non-
residents of Sirnak reportedly had to come up with
"a very good reason" to enter the province.
12. COLLEGE STUDENTS UNDER INVESTIGATION
(Evrensel) The Mustafa Kemal University (Hatay)
Rector's Office launched an investigation against
eight students who issued a mid-December press
release to support the "I Want My University
Initiative" started by Dicle University
13. DIYARBAKIR CHURCH ROBBED
(Turkiye) Unidentified persons broke into the
1,700-year-old Meryem Ana Syriac Christian Church
in Diyarbakir on January 8, stealing three 300-
year-old silver-plated crosses and a painting of
the Virgin Mary). An investigation is underway.
14. LOCAL ADMINISTRATORS ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLEMENT
(Turkiye) Based on reports by Agricultural and
Village Affairs Ministry inspectors, the Kiziltepe
(Mardin) Prosecutor's Office launched an
investigation against 2,000 people, including
deputy governors, district governors, department
heads and farmers. These people's assets and
property had been confiscated for having embezzled
USD 200,000 each within the framework of Direct
Income Support (DIS) payments. Also, in Malazgirt
(Mus), an investigation is underway against nine
village chiefs and two public employees for
fraudulent declarations to receive DIS payments.
15. EVRENSEL REPORTS WOUNDED SMUGGLER WAS
ABANDONED TO DIE
(Evrensel) In his testimony at the Saray (Van)
Prosecutor's Office, Saray resident Bilal Gozupek
said soldiers had opened fire on him and his
brother Isa Gozupek near the Iranian border on
their way back to Turkey. Bilal claimed soldiers
wounded Isa and left him to die from bleeding. Isa
alleged soldiers had fired on them without ordering
them to halt first.
16. WEAPONS SMUGGLERS ARRESTED IN ELAZIG
(Turkiye) Elazig Jandarma seized two Russian-made
Kalashnikov rifles, five pistols and a large
quantity of cartridges in Sivrice township. Three
people were arrested in connection with the
17. PRESS COUNCIL CONDEMNS ASSAULT ON A VAN
(Evrensel) The Press Council denounced at attack
against Van's Prestij Newspaper office. The attack
was presumed to be for the paper's reporting on
coffeehouses running computer game centers that
play pornographic films. Mostly school-age
children were reportedly going to those centers.
Gokalp Yazir of the council called for deterrent
policies against perpetrators of such assaults.
18. RETIRED JUDGE CHARGES PRESSURE IN CASES
(Milliyet/Hurriyet) In a January 8 press
conference, Retired judge Musa Ufuktepe said he
believed Adana Mayor Aytac Durak, who faces a
"Where did you get it from?" case, will be
convicted, as he believes Durak's political
pressure elements have now been eliminated.
Ufuktepe added he had served on the panel of judges
handling previous cases against Durak and while
doing so had encountered political pressure. He
accused Durak of having used his political
influence to force the judiciary to reach a verdict
in his favor. "Under law number 3628, Durak and
his relatives' assets and property must be
confiscated," he continued. Durak's attorney,
Necil Topuz, held a press conference in which he
criticized Ufuktepe, saying "He is the last person
who should talk about Durak."
19. HAKKARI VILLAGE GUARD NOW A BEGGER
(Evrensel) Fifty-five-year-old Ismail Isilak,
father of four children, lost a leg when he stepped
on a landmine during a 1994 anti-PKK operation in
which he participated.
Isilak sued the Interior Ministry for indemnity,
but was refused. He was later dismissed for
"assisting and abetting the PKK." He is now
begging for a living.
ECONOMIC AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS
20. ADANA EXPORTS TO LIBYA
(Hurriyet/Bolge) Kambeton, a major Adana-based
firm engaged in ready-to-use cement industry, began
to export concrete and reinforced pipes to Libya.
The pipes shipped from the Mersin Port will be used
for rainwater and sewage systems in Tripoli
province's Wafacoastal construction site.
Kambeton's Marketing Director said ties had been
established to continue exports in the future as
21. CLA SIGNED AT CUKOBIRLIK
(Hurriyet/Turkiye) Adana's Agricultural Complex
Cukobirlik and the Tekstil-Is labor union,
affiliated with the Confederation of the
Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DISK), signed a
collective labor agreement (CLA) that foresees a
24% wage increase and 100% increase in fringe
benefits for Cukobirlik's 1,112workers. The new
CLA covers the period between August 1, 2002 and
July 31, 2003.