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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 0046

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY
FEBRUARY 18, 2003

1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for February 18, 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. KANADOGLU: ERDOGAN CANNOT RUN IN SIIRT
ELECTIONS
(All papers) Sabih Kanadoglu, Chief Prosecutor
of the Supreme Court of Appeals, stressed that,
under Article 16 of the Member of Parliament
Election Law, AK Party leader Recep Tayyip
Erdogan cannot nominate himself in the March 9
Siirt elections. Kanadoglu noted the March 9
elections were a continuation of the November 3
Parliamentary elections. Kanadoglu did not
object to Erdogan's nomination because the Higher
Election Council (YSK) had authority to
investigate the matter out of its own accord.
Tercuman reported that ballots would be published
in the Official Gazette on February 26. Sabah
newspaper said the Republican People's Party
(CHP) Leader, Deniz Baykal, had viewed Siirt in
his "On the Anatolian Roads" article: "We
proceeded from Anamur (Mersin) to Antalya and met
with Baykal there. He was listening to the
public. In answer to a question, he said CHP
would not cooperate with HADEP in Siirt. "I will
not involved in an initiative that will block
Erdogan," he indicated.


3. ANTI-WAR PROTESTS
Milli Gazete reported continued criticism of a
possible U.S. operation against Iraq. According
to the paper, anti-war protests were held in the
Southeastern provinces of Van and Adana, as well
as in Izmir and Ankara.


4. EXPANSION AND RENEWAL PROJECTS
(Cumhuriyet) Repair and renewal projects
continued after the U.S. received construction
permission for nine bases and three ports, as
well as railways connections to these bases and
ports. These bases and ports are mostly in the
Southern and Southeastern regions. A project to
expand the runway of the Incirlik (Adana) Air
Base, which is likely to be used as a central
base during a possible war in Iraq, has been
expedited. There has also been an increase in
the number of planes of various tonnages taking
off from and landing at Incirlik. Patriot and
other missile ramps, as well as anti-aircraft
weapons will be placed around the base and its
runway. Tercuman reported that a delegation of
U.S. experts surveyed the Mersin and Iskenderun
(Hatay) Ports. Activities have increased in
Mersin Port's wharves allocated to NATO.


5. GROUND EXERCISES IN INCIRLIK
Hurriyet reported the February 17 arrival of five
C-17 and a civilian cargo plane at the Incirlik
Air Base, which was repaired and painted during
the (Sacrifice) Holiday. Another AWACS plane
joined two early warning planes giving support to
warplanes engaged in Operation Northern Watch.
Also, a command plane landed at Incirlik at noon.
Bolge reported that, after an hour of ground
exercise, warplanes took off from Incirlik to
carry out flights in northern Iraq. While
preparations continue due to a possible operation
against Iraq, two military cargo planes landed at
the Adana Airport on February 17. Material
unloaded from the planes was reportedly taken to
the Incirlik Air Base, as well as to Mersin's
Seka and Tasucu Ports.


6. U.S.' B PLAN
(Turkiye) The U.S. will implement plan B without
Turkey if the Turkish parliament fails to pass a
memorandum enabling the deployment of U.S.
soldiers in Turkey. According to the plan, a
fleet carrying the Fourth Division of the U.S.
Navy will pass through the Suez Canal and
position in the Persian Gulf. The Bermani, Beni
Harr and Suleymaniye airports in northern Iraq
will be renewed and Patriot missiles will be
deployed there. In addition, U.S. soldiers,
including those at Incirlik Air Base, will be
flown to these airports. These soldiers will
assume the responsibility of protecting oil wells
in Musul and Kirkuk.


7. U.S. SOLDIERS IN DIYARBAKIR
(Dunya/Milliyet/Evrensel) 2000 U.S. soldiers
arrived in Diyarbakir to modernize bases to be
used in the event of a possible U.S. operation
against Iraq. U.S. soldiers reportedly wanted to
stay in luxurious hotels in the province, but
their requests were not accepted due to possible
activities by the terror organization KADEK/PKK.
Instead, comfortable tents were set up for the
American soldiers at the Diyarbakir base.
Preparations are also underway for a 370-person
military delegation from the Netherlands. C-130
cargo planes affiliated with the U.S. Air Force
continue to transfer soldiers and ammunition,
while U.S. experts will expand the base's current
runway and construct a second one. Radikal
reported the February 17 landing at Diyarbakir's
Second Tactic Air Base of two cargo planes
affiliated with the U.S. Air Force, reportedly
carrying U.S. soldiers and equipment from
Incirlik. Americans reportedly installed a
special radar system in Diyarbakir to guide and
monitor planes, as well as simultaneously
evaluate satellite photographs taken during an
operation.


8. IRAQ SUMMIT AT HABUR BORDER GATE
(Turkiye/Dunya/Tercuman/Evrensel) Members of the
Turkish national intelligence agency (MIT),
Turkish and U.S. generals, and northern Iraqi
Kurdish leaders met in Habur (Sirnak) on February
17 to discuss measures to be taken prior to a
possible war. PUK leader Jalal Talabani,
Nechirvan Barzani of the KDP, Turkomen Front
President Ahmet Aga, as well as Turkish and
American generals, Turkish General Staff Special
Forces Deputy Commander Brigadier General
Abdullah Kilicarslan, representatives from MIT
and MFA, attended the meeting. Turkish officials
indicated that the PKK had gained strength during
the 1991 Gulf War, but would not allow such a
vacuum this time. Kurdish leaders, who are
against the presence of Turkish soldiers in the
region, were asked to give up their demands.


9. CONTINUED DISPATCH OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT AND
SOLDIERS
(Dunya) The dispatch of military vehicles and
equipment from various parts of Turkey to the
Iraqi border continues. A convoy of 20 military
vehicles and personnel left Diyarbakir for Silopi
(Sirnak). On February 17, a Turkish Naval ship
carrying military vehicles and soldiers anchored
at the Mersin Port. The ship will reportedly
provide security for the U.S. Navy affiliated war
ships that may come to the port.


10. FORCE COMMANDERS WILL TRAVEL TO THE
SOUTHEAST
(Turkiye/Radikal) Chief of General Staff Hilmi
Ozkok, together with the four force commanders,
will travel to the Southeast on February 19 to
inspect bases and units along the (Iraqi) border.
They will also visit Diyarbakir's Second Army
Command, and bases at Batman and Incirlik.


11. TURKISH MP'S INSPECT SE PRISONS
(Milliyet) The Turkish Parliamentary Human
Rights Commission did not detect torture during
its tour of the Southeast this season, and
announced "having found prisons better than
anticipated." Turkish parliamentarians did point
to the continuation of prison conditions that
threatened inmates' health, such as humidity.


12. PRO-OCALAN PROTESTS TURN VIOLENT
(Evrensel) Many demonstrators were arrested on
February 17, while protesting the continued
isolation of jailed PKK leader Abdulla Ocalan.
Police intervened to disperse a group of people
who wanted to issue a press release in Mardin's
Kiziltepe district. In Adana's Seyhan district,
police fired five shots into the air and beat a
youth they arrested. A hunger strike in support
of Ocalan at the Seyhan chapter of DEHAP ended
(peacefully). 15 people were arrested in Adana's
Ceyhan district over the past two days. Five
pro-Ocalan demonstrators were arrested in Batman.


13. NEW GOVERNORS TAKE OFFICE
(All papers) Gaziantep Mayor Celal Dogan,
together with local officials, met the new
Gaziantep Governor, Lutfullah Bilgin. Atilla
Osman Celebioglu, who had been appointed the new
Mersin Governor, took office on February 17.
Oguz Kagan Koksal, who had served as the Adana
Governor for the past seven years, left for
Bursa.


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


14. DIS PAYMENTS RESUME
(Dunya/Milli Gazete/Bolge) In Sanliurfa, Direct
Income Support (DIS) payments resumed after the
February 11-14 Sacrifice Holiday. The Sanliurfa
Agricultural Bank Director said his bank would
pay another TL 18 trillion (approx. USD 11
million) in DIS to nearly 20,000 farmers. Bolge
quoted the Adana Agricultural Engineers' Chamber
President as complaining the DIS project had
diverted from its goal because agricultural
fields for which producers will receive DIS
payments had been limited to 125 acres.
HOLTZ

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