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 0039
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
FEBRUARY 4, 2003
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for February 4, 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. SIIRT ELECTIONS MIGHT BE CANCELLED DUE TO IRAQ
(Hurriyet) A possible U.S.-led war in Iraq has
overshadowed the March 9 Siirt elections, which was
expected to open the way for AK Party leader Recep
Tayyip Erdogan's premiership. The Higher Election
Council might "postpone the elections due to de
facto incapability" if Turkey enters war.
3. TURKISH ARMED FORCES START REPAIR PROJECTS IN
(Radikal) Following the recent site surveys by a
team of U.S. experts of Turkish bases and ports,
the Turkish Armed Forces has unilaterally started
repair projects (to upgrade these bases and ports).
Preparations are underway at the Incirlik (Adana)
Air Base and the Diyarbakir Airport, which will
reportedly initially be used in the event of an
operation against Iraq. The U.S. will meet the
needs during a possible operation. On February 3,
a C-5 Galaxy plane landed at Incirlik, where the
U.S. is stockpiling military equipment and
materials. A missile-like object and crates of
spare parts from the giant cargo plane were
uploaded on to two trucks. The trucks later went
to a nearby warehouse. In addition, the number of
KC-135 tanker planes at Incirlik has increased.
4. TURKEY, THE U.S. WILL ESTABLISH 15 CAMPS
(Hurriyet/Milliyet/Turkiye) Possible immigration
(from Iraq) was discussed during recent evaluations
held between Turkey and the U.S. To prevent a wave
of immigration, 15 different camps will initially
be established in northern Iraq. The number of
these camps might rise to 23 if immigration
increases. The U.S. Time Magazine wrote that
Turkey and the U.S. had agreed to establish 17
refugee camps in the region, including 10 on the
Iraqi side, if an operation started against Iraq.
5. SPECIAL TEAMS WILL BE WORKING IN CAMPS
(Turkiye/Milli Gazete) Officials have determined
the names of nearly 1,000 people who will be
working in tent cities to be established in
northern Iraq in the event of a war against Iraq.
The Diyarbakir Security Directorate will dispatch a
team of 70 specialists to the border. Efforts are
also underway to prepare a 1,000-person list of
health, Tele-com, and Village Affairs Directorate
personnel in Diyarbakir, Mardin, Sirnak, Batman,
Hakkari, and Van. Also, the Diyarbakir National
Education Directorate has produced a list of 200
teachers to serve in these tent cities.
6. DISPATCH OF TROOPS TO IRAQI BORDER CONTINUES
(Hurriyet/Milli Gazete) The Turkish Armed Forces
is dispatching additional troops and military
equipment, including armored vehicles, to its units
along the (Iraqi) border. Security units have been
warned against possible terrorist infiltration, and
thermal cameras along the 280-km Turkish-Iraqi
border are being checked. Some banks and public
organizations have established mobile units. The
number of tents set up by the Red Crescent has
reached 300. Four other tents were set up to store
humanitarian assistance. Cumhuriyet reported that
troops, military equipment, and materials left
Tekirdag, Adapazari, Ankara, and Istanbul are being
kept in Sanliurfa for dispatch to the Southeast
after the February 11-14 Sacrifice Holiday. Bolu
and Kayseri commando teams, which had been used
during the anti-terror period in the Southeast,
might also be dispatched to the region again.
7. "THERE ARE NO STANDARD SHELTERS IN TURKEY"
(Turkiye/Bolge) In line with an order from the
Civil Defense Directorate General, the Malatya
Civil Defense Directorate held a civil defense
seminar. In his speech, Malatya Civil Defense
Director Ibrahim Ozay said his directorate was
organizing activities in accordance with the
possibility of a war that might break out as a
result of the tension between the U.S. and Iraq.
Ozay noted that there are no shelters built in
accordance with the standards. He added that, in
case of an emergency, the basement of public
buildings, car parks, aparmant buildings, and
business centers would be used as shelters. In
addition, a meeting entitled "Effects of Chemical
and Biological Agents" was held in Adana's
Physicians' Chamber. In his speech, Assistant
Professor Ferdi Tanir of Cukurova University
(Adana) said that not all shelters would save lives
because the province's shelters are insufficient.
Tanir stressed that shelters must be in an
appropriate location and have necessary equipment
to protect against chemical gases.
8. MERSIN BUSINESS LEADER AGAINST WAR
Dunya reported that Mersin businessmen are
concerned over a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Musa Timur, President of the Mersin Industrialists
and Businessmen's Association (MESIAD), voiced
opposition to a possible war, claiming that the
provincial economy fell from the fifth province to
the 19th on a nationwide list. "It feels like
bombs dropped on Iraq have fallen on Mersin. A new
war will cause the Mersin economy to hit the
bottom," he added.
9. PRO-OCALAN PROTESTS CONTINUE
(Evrensel) Demonstrations were held in Igdir,
Hakkari, Batman, and Sanliurfa to protest the nine-
week isolation of jailed KADEK/PKK leader Abdullah
Ocalan. In Tunceli, relatives of prisoners and
inmates began a hunger strike. In addition, a pro-
Ocalan campaign was launched in Bismil
(Diyarbakir). Under the campaign, demonstrations
will be held every day until February 15. Also,
pro-Ocalan marches were held in Diyarbakir's six
different districts on February 3. Pro-Ocalan
slogans were shouted during the marches, while
police did not intervene.
10. NO PERMISSION FOR ANTI-WAR PRESS CONFERENCE IN
(Evrensel) The Diyarbakir Governor's Office
refused to grant permission for a press conference
which the Diyarbakir Democratic Youth Platform
wanted to organize in protest of a possible U.S.-
led operation against Iraq and prison isolation.
When a group of 200 people, including women and
HADEP Youth Commission members, insisted on holding
the press conference, police told HADEP officials
that it was unlawful to hold a press conference and
wanted them their demonstration. Some members of
the group instead staged a sit-down demonstration
and shouted pro-KADEK/PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan
slogans. Then, police intervened to disperse them.
During the scuffle, many people were reportedly
injured and over 20 others arrested.
11. TEACHERS INVESTIGATED FOR ATTENDING A RALLY
(Evrensel) Under Article 130 of the Law number
657, the Diyarbakir National Education Directorate
has launched an administrative investigation
against sixty local teachers, all members of the
State Employees' Union Confederation (KESK). The
investigation stemmed from the teachers'
participation in the August 2002 KESK rally in
Ankara. The law requires public employees to
receive official permission for travel outside
their province. The Diyarbakir Egitim-Sen teachers
union President, Abdullah Demirtas, called the
12. OHAL CIRCULAR STILL IN EFFECT
(Evrensel) The former government of Bulent Ecevit
had published a circular to prevent the
reinstatement of public employees transferred from
the State of Emergency (OHAL) region. Following
the lifting of OHAL, former Diyarbakir teacher
Abdurrahim Kutlu petitioned the Diyarbakir
Governor's Office to be reinstated. However, the
Governoer's Office, presumably based on the
circular, refused to process Kutlu's petition,
saying "it was inconsistent with the regulation."
ECONOMIC AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS
13. SYRIA WELCOMES PROPOSED MARKETS ALONG THE
(Turkiye) AK Party Kilis Deputy Hasan Kara, who
had accompanied State Minister Kursad Tuzmen during
his trip to Syria, said the Syrian government
favored the idea of establishing open-air markets
or free zones along the Turkish-Syrian border.
During the trip aimed at increasing economic
cooperation between the two countries, the Turkish
delegation had met with the Syrian Prime Minister,
as well as seven ministers.