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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 04 ADANA 0041

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY
FEBRUARY 6, 2003


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for February 6, 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. TWENTY-TWO ELECTION COUNCIL MEMBERS INDICTED IN
SIIRT
(Cumhuriyet) In Pervari's (Siirt) Dogan Village,
during the November 3 Parliamentary elections,
ballot boxes which should have been set up during
the elections were not, which resulted in the
cancellation of the elections in Siirt. Later, the
Pervari Prosecutor's Office ordered 22 election
council officials to pay fines of TL 218 million
(approx. USD 130) each. The fines were based on
Article 136/1 of the Election Law number 298.
However, the officials refused to pay the fines.
A criminal case has been opened against them.


3. WAR EXERCISES
(Sabah/Bolge) Adana's Incirlik Air Base had
another busy day on February 5. Exercises began
with alarms early in the morning and continued all
day long. Measures against possible terrorist
attacks were reviewed. Different scenarios were
implemented against chemical weapons attacks,
fires, and air raids. While the exercises were
going on, Turkish Air Forces affiliated F-4 Phantom
warplanes landed at the base. Some U.S. F-117
ghost war planes will reportedly be deployed at
Incirlik. Turkiye and Evrensel reported that a
humanitarian-assistance exercise is being carried
out in Silopi (Sirnak) under the leadership of
Regional Governor Gokhan Aydiner. "Operation Rain
Plan," aimed at preventing a wave of refugees from
Iraq and providing humanitarian assistance, is
being implemented. In the event of a war, 400
tents set up in the region will also be used, if
tents set up in northern Iraq fail to suffice.
Hurriyet reported that journalists were not allowed
to watch the February 5 exercise in Silopi, while
the number of journalists in the region has
increased. Tercuman reported that, following the
exercise, the capacity of refugee centers
established along the border might rise from 3,000
to 24,000 people.


4. DISPATCH OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT CONTINUES
(All papers) The dispatch of military personnel
and equipment to the Iraqi border continues, prior
to a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq. Trains
carrying military vehicles, ambulances, armored-
personnel carriers, armored light-machine vehicles,
cannons, and soldiers set off from Adapazari on
February 5. Another train that had left Tekirdag
arrived in Gaziantep on February 5. Intense
security measures were taken on the trains.
Turkiye reported the arrival of the first party of
soldiers and armored-personnel carriers at Sirnak's
Habur border gate. In addition, trains left
Istanbul's Haydarpasa Train Station for the
Southeast, with cargoes of soldiers and materiel.
Milliyet reported the February dispatch of tanks
and armored-personnel carriers from Diyarbakir-
based Seventh Corps Command to the border area.


5. RADAR DOME BACK IN SERVICE
(Hurriyet) Radar Dome at Diyarbakir's Pirinclik
Air Base, which Americans evacuated six years ago,
has gained importance in preparations for a
possible operation against Iraq. The Dome, which
helps listen from the Middle East to Russia and can
detect a possible nuclear attack 28 minutes in
advance, has been put back into operation. New
pre-fab dwellings have been established at the base
and walls around military equipment heightened.


6. ANTI-WAR AND ANTI-ISOLATION DECLARATION
(Evrensel) An Anti-War Peace Declaration signed by
labor unions, mass organizations, professional
organizations, and political parties was publicized
in Diyarbakir. The declaration called for the
elimination of isolation imposed on jailed
KADEK/PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. It also
emphasized that people in the Southeast were
against a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq.


7. THIRTEEN HIZBULLAH SUSPECTS HELD IN DIYARBAKIR
(Turkiye/Cumhuriyet) The Diyarbakir Security
Directorate arrested a total of 31 suspected
Hizbullah members in the month of January. The
arrestees are accused of political organization,
recruitment and extortion, fund-raising, and
logistical support for the organization. A pistol,
15 rounds of ammunition and Hizbullah documents
were also confiscated. Following interrogation,
the arrestees were arraigned in a local court,
where 13 suspects were ordered to remain in
custody. The remaining 18 were released but
ordered to appear for their upcoming trial.


8. PRO-OCALAN DEMONSTRATIONS
(Evrensel) The Labor Party (EMEP) Tunceli
organization visited people who had launched hunger
strikers at the HADEP Tunceli office in protest of
war and prison isolation. One hunger striker said
the strike was not only against the isolation of
(jailed KADEK/PKK leader Abdullah) Ocalan, but all
kinds of anti-democratic practices and war.
Families who had launched hunger strikes to protest
war and isolation in prisons will end their
demonstration on February 6. In addition, ten
women briefly chained themselves and protested war
and prison isolation in Seyhan (Adana).


9. SUSPECTED KADEK/PKK MEMBERS ARRESTED IN BATMAN
(Evrensel) According to the Batman Security
Directorate, police arrested an unnamed suspected
KADEK/PKK member who had been plotting Molotov
cocktail attacks. Three Molotov cocktails were
also confiscated.


10. CONCERN OVER ESCALATING TENSION IN THE
SOUTHEAST
(Evrensel) In Diyarbakir, people are concerned
that they will return to the days of the State of
Emergency (OHAL). Tension is escalating in the
region due to the possibility of Diyarbakir and the
Southeast becoming the center of war in the event
of a possible U.S.-led operation against Iraq, the
continuation of the two-month-long isolation of
jailed KADEK/PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, and
increased complaints of demonstration bans,
arrests, detentions, and torture.


11. HADEP/DEHAP OFFICE DISTRICT OFFICES RAIDED
(Evrensel) Van police raided the HADEP/DEHAP Gevas
(Van) and Muradiye (Van) district offices under the
pretext of "possession of banned publications."
During the search of the Gevas office, police
confiscated T-shirts with "Asiti (Kurdish for
"Peace") written on them, as well as old magazines.
Four HADEP/DEHAP officials were temporarily
arrested. Following the search of the Muradiye
office, a HADEP/DEHAP member was summoned to the
Prosecutor's Office in connection with a recent
anti-war press release.


12. RIGHT TO MOTHER-TONGUE EDUCATION
(Evrensel) Three Dicle University (Diyarbakir)
students appealed to the Diyarbakir Regional
Administrative Court to reverse disciplinary
actions by the university administration. The
court agreed to review the appeal. The students
had been suspended for a year for having petitioned
the university for an elective course in Kurdish.
13. VILLAGE GUARDS INDICTED NINE YEARS LATER
(Evrensel) Thirty-two Mardin village guards have
been indicted nine years after allegedly beating an
Omerli (Mardin) man to death in 1994. The village
guards will be tried in the Mardin Felony Court for
homicide.


14. VAN HADEP OFFICIAL CONVICTED FOR KURDISH
SPEECH
(Evrensel) The Gevas (Van) Court of General
Criminal Jurisdiction convicted Muzaffer Yildiz,
President of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP)
district chapter, of giving a Kurdish-language
speech during the October 2002 inauguration of the
district chapter office. Yildiz was sentenced to
seven days' imprisonment and a fine of TL 1.6
billion (approx. USD 950).


15. SIIRT RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR SALE OF EXPLOSIVES
(Turkiye) In a sting operation, Jandarma arrested
a Siirt man who was trying to sell 28 fuses and
half a meter of wick.


16. VISITS TO PULUMUR CONTINUE
(Evrensel) Major-general Sakir Altinbas, together
with Pulumur (Tunceli) district Governor Ali Adali
and Pulumur Mayor Mesut Coskun, visited a tent city
set up in Pulumur's Meydanlar district. Thus far,
a total of 95 tents have been set up in the region.
Seventy-five pre-fab dwellings have also arrived,
while another 35 are on the way.


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


17. SYRIAN BUSINESS DELEGATION VISITS ADANA
(Dunya) A 30-person delegation of Syrian
businessmen arrived in Adana as part of a trip
organized by Turkey's Aleppo Consulate General and
TUYAP. The businessmen visited the province's
Organized Industrial Zone. They said the purpose
was to increase the volume of trade between Turkey
and Syria. Bilateral relations had previously
declined to the point of zero due to the Hatay
issue and terror.


18. SIGNALS OF ECONOMIC CRISIS IN MALATYA DUE TO
IRAQ WAR
(Milli Gazete) Muzaffer Ersan, the President of
the Malatya Active Businessmen's Association
(MAKIAD), said that the provincial economy had
suffered substantial losses during the 1991 Gulf
War. According to Ersan, the Iraq crisis has
caused danger bells to ring again. Evrensel
reported the presidents of 22 Chambers of Commerce
and Industry in Eastern and Southeastern Turkey
will convene for a meeting in Diyarbakir to discuss
a possible war in Iraq and the current economic
situation.


19. MINE EXCITEMENT IN SIIRT
(Turkiye) Mervan Gul, former AK Party Member of
Parliament from Siirt, has begun to exert efforts
to put Siirt's Sirvan mine back into operation.
Gul withdrew from the March 9 Siirt elections to
open way for AK Party leader Erdogan's candidacy in
Siirt. The mine, located in Siirt's Sirvan
village, has a reserve of 16 million tons of
copper. The Eti Holding (Company) owns the mine's
operating license. According to Gul, with an
investment of USD 280 million by German SKW firm,
the mine will create employment for thousands of
people.


20. "DIE'S INFLATION FIGURE SERIOUS SIGN OF
WARNING"
(Bolge) In his evaluation of the State Statistics
Institute's (DIE) inflation figure for the month of
January, Adana Chamber of Industry Umit Ozgumus
said the figure was much higher than anticipated.
Ozgumus blamed the increase on a possible U.S.
operation against Iraq, increased petroleum prices,
and a 7.7% increase in the price of agricultural
products.


21. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
(Bolge) The Gaziantep Commodity Exchange (GCE)
applied to the Ministry of Agriculture and Village
Affairs to prevent the killing of small lambs and
pregnant sheep during Bayram. GCE characterized
such slaughter as a serious blow on the country's
animal husbandry sector.
HOLTZ

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