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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 0053

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY
FEBRUARY 22-23, 2003


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for February 22-23, 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. EXTRAORDINARY STATUS AT ISKENDERUN PORT


Cumhuriyet/Hurriyet: Security measures increased
in Iskenderun, the port where armed American
troops have been deployed and military equipment
has been unloaded. Officials have been warned
against sabotage and suicide attacks. The
Ministry of Health instructed hospitals in town
to stock a good quantity of Atropine,
particularly used against poisonous gas.
Iskenderun Port has been unofficially declared a
"Forbidden Zone" by the Brigade Command who
overtook the security at the port. Protection of
US military equipment is provided by American
troops while the Turkish soldiers provide
exterior security. Americans staying in local
hotels and visiting various spots in town are
escorted by jandarma, and their security is
provided by police and soldiers.


3. Military Movements in the Area


Cumhuriyet/Hurriyet/Evrensel/Milli
Gazete/Radikal: The Commander of US Forces in
Europe, Gen. Burwell Bell, accompanied by Turkish
military officers, inspected Mersin and
Iskenderun ports yesterday and flew to Incirlik
AB by helicopter. Cumhuriyet: The Turkish
General Staff announced that only after signing a
MOU with Washington, was military equipment
dispatched at Iskenderun port. The TGS emphasized
that the shipment did not contain any combat
components. Radikal: Based on the permission
given by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the
US military delegation conducted inspections at
Gaziantep airport yesterday. The American
delegation undertook studies to determine what
would be needed at the airport to give services
to heavy tonnage cargo planes and to provide
secure flights. Hurriyet: Activities continue at
Iskenderun and Tasucu ports which are ready for
war ships to dock. The Iskenderun port where 522
military vehicles, including Hummers carrying
missile batteries, were unloaded, resembles a
military headquarters. Following unloading of
military equipment, 290 US soldiers from Incirlik
AB were also dispatched to the port where
containers have been used to hide the military
equipment. Although no military equipment has
been unladed at Tasucu port, the port's yard has
been fenced with barbed wire.


4. Anti-War Legal Measures


Cumhuriyet/Hurriyet/Evrensel: A group of lawyers
affiliated with Tunceli Bar Association brought
charges against those responsible for breaching
the Constitution by allowing US soldiers to enter
Turkey from Mersin and Iskenderun ports.
5. Death in Local Prison


Turkiye: Levent Satin, 25, who was imprisoned for
theft and moved from Gaziantep prison to Adana's
E-type Indoor Prison to receive mental treatment
at Psychotherapy Hospital, was found dead in his
cell. An investigation was launched as the body
was taken to the forensic medicine for
examination.


6. Foreign Christians on Trial


Turkiye: A hearing concerning the "Love for
Messiah Jesus Christ" group in Gaziantep started
at the 2nd General Criminal Court. The group's
representative in Turkey, Wilber Miller, and
Gaziantep representative John Schutz left the
court without attending the trial when they ran
into press. The group's attorney, Mahmut Oktem,
and the plaintiff, attorney and DYP provincial
chairman, Sermet Atay attended the hearing. A
sentence of from one month to six months of
imprisonment is being sought for Miller and
Schutz for opposing the "Association Law",
"Meeting, Demonstration and Marching Law."


7. Turkish Parlimentary Human Rights Group's
Anti-Turkish Christian Comments Criticized


Milliyet: The Turkish National Assembly's Human
Rights Commission's sub-committee which held
inspections in Mardin determined that Syriac
Christians could constitute a problem for the
unitary structure of Turkey in the future. The
sub-committee's report received adverse
reactions. CHP's Mardin deputy, Muharrem Dogan,
said Syriacs were not a danger but a benefit for
Turkey, and added that the sub-committee was
misinformed, there was no such danger in the
region. MP Dogan said "We grew up together with
these people, we are cohabiting. That they are a
danger for Turkey is not true. This is
discrimination, racialism and abuse of religion.
Their religion may be different. They believe in
the Bible."


8. Ocalan Supporters arrested


Milli Gazete: Three Ataturk University (Erzurum)
students writing pro-PKK/KADEK slogans such as
"The Apocus are coming" "Leader Apo" "Long Live
Apo, Long Live KADEK" in spray paint in three
quarters of Erzurum were arrested by anti-terror
police. The suspects were taken to Erzurum State
Security Court following their interrogation by
police.


9. Turks Plan for possible N. Iraq Entry


Milliyet: The Turkish Armed Forces who will enter
Northern Iraq to cope with influx of refugees and
install security equipment almost completed their
preparations. With these personnel, the number of
2nd Army affiliate troops at the border region
reached 100 thousand. The military units under
Gen. Fevzi Turkeri's command were inoculated
against contagious diseases. 50 thousand Turkish
soldiers are expected to enter Northern Iraq if
the Turkish Parliament decides to join the
oepration. Jandarma General Command affiliated
jandarma units will be in charge of relief
efforts, while military units affiliated with the
land Forces Command will provide security.


10. Siirt Elections


Milliyet: Prior to the March 9 by-elections where
AKP chair, Tayyip Erdogan, will run for
parliament, Interior Minister, Abdulkadir Aksu;
Public Works and Resettlement Minister, Zeki
Ergezen, and 7 AKP MPs visited Siirt. Cumhuriyet
reports that Mr. Erdogan plans to visit his
constituency twice during the election, and will
make his first visit to Siirt on February 28 or
March 01. DEHAP who got 26,980 votes in November
3 general elections in Siirt announced that they
would cooperate with CHP in the upcoming
election. There are a total of 119,210 registered
voters in Siirt province, but only 88,397 voted
on November 3. DEHAP was the clear winner of the
November 3 elections in Siirt, but because it did
not pass the 10 percent national bar, it was
unable to elect any deputies. DEHAP's Deputy
Secretary General claimed if they joined CHP, CHP

SIPDIS
could win the three seats in Siirt.


11. Counterfeit Iraqi Lira in Mersin


Turkiye/Bolge: In Mersin province, the jandarma
raided a printing house, and seized 5.5 trillion
Turkish Liras ($-3.3 million) worth of
counterfeit Iraqi Dinars and 1.5 trillion Turkish
Liras (USD 900, 000 equivalent) worth of fake
detergent. 8 persons were ordered held by the
court.


12. Fears of OHAL's Return


Turkiye: Inhabitants of East and Southeast Turkey
are uncomfortable about the possibility of
declaring state of emergency in the region again
if war starts. It is also speculated that because
of the deployment of US troops at Sabiha Gokcen
Airport in Istanbul, Istanbul might become the
terrorists' target, and in the light of such a
danger, state of emergency could be declared in
Istanbul, too. Another worry is that the innocent
Kurdish people in the region might suffer in the
combat with the PKK. Claims that the US will hire
former village guards to fight in Northern Iraq
and pay them between 2 to 4 thousand dollars has
created a bomb effect in the region.


13. Local Business Boom Due to Incoming
Americans


Milli Gazete: An American delegation, in Mardin
for the modernization of the Mardin airport, is
looking for hotels to use during the possible war
on Iraq. The US delegation is reported to have
had talks with officials of the historical Erdoba
houses, Hotel Bilen in Mardin, Nezirhan
Installations in Nusaybin, and Oztopraklar Hotel
in Kiziltepe. The delegation also attempted to
hire idle factories in the Industrial Zone for
storage purposes.
14. Alleged Mistreatment of Anti-war Protestors


Evrensel: In a press conference held by Adana's
HRA and Association for Assistance and Solidarity
with Inmates' and Prisoners' Families it was
claimed that 38 persons were imprisoned in Adana
and Ceyhan, and that the inmates were subjected
to various pressure at the E-type prison in
Adana. Wardens wanted to cut inmates' hair and
mustaches and anyone opposed was attacked and
beaten on the soles of their feet by wardens. The
press announcement called for putting an end to
torture and hold the perpetrators accountable for
their actions.


15. MP Denied Access to Iskenderun Port


Hurriyet: CHP's Hatay MP, Gokhan Durgun, who
attempted to conduct an inspection at the
Iskenderun port where US troops and military
equipment are deployed was denied access by
Turkish authorities on the grounds that they
could not guarantee his physical security. MP
Durgun said he had wanted to find out if there
was military combat material at the port as
reported in the press.


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


16. January Exports from GAP Region


Evrensel: The Southeast Anatolian Exporters Union
announced that %35 of their exports in January
were sent to Italy, Saudi Arabia, United States,
and Germany. Italy imported 5.5 million Dollars
worth of dried apricots, cotton yarn, synthetic
yarn, and cotton fabric while Saudi Arabia bought
5.1 million Dollars worth of synthetic yarn and
machinery carpets. $4.4 million dollars worth of
goods were exported to the US, and 4.1 million
dollars worth to Germany.
HOLTZ

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