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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 02 ADANA 0055

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
FEBRUARY 25, 2003


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for February 25, 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. Bolge/Milli Gazete/Milliyet: In his written
statement, Saban Bas, the President of Adana's
Chamber of Commerce, said that since it is
impossible to avert the possible war on Iraq
investment should continue so that the war would
not have a negative impact on the economy. Bas
said the war should not cast a shadow over the
economy, and that no one has the luxury of
forgetting the impact of the 1991 Gulf War.
Milliyet reports that Mr. Bas claimed Turkey's
losses due to the 1991 war and post-war crisis
were between 100-150 billion dollars and that
Adana's exports dropped to 3 million dollars from
20-25 million dollars.


3. Turkiye: The first group of 210 Dutch
soldiers assigned to work on the Patriot air
defense systems sent to Turkey by Holland will
arrive this week. The second group of the total
360 soldiers will leave Holland for Turkey on
February 28. The Dutch soldiers will land in
Adana and be dispatched to Diyarbakir and Batman.
The Patriot air defense systems sent by freight
ships by the Government of Holland are expected
to arrive in Turkey shortly.


4. Turkiye/Tercuman/Dunya: 80 Turkish Red
Crescent(Kizilay) officials who will help
refugees in the possible war on Iraq departed
Ankara for Silopi. Some 51 Kizilay official had
been moved to the region earlier. Together with
Kizilay personnel, 29 cars carrying communication
devices, ambulances, and assorted equipment were
dispatched to the region.


5. Tercuman: The Iraqi Opposition's meeting in
Northern Iraq was postponed due to adverse
weather conditions. The meeting is rescheduled
for February 28. A total of 366 reporters,
including 242 foreign reporters with
accreditation, will pass from Habur Border gate
to Northern Iraq to follow the meeting in
Selahaddin town under IKDP's control. About 50
persons from opposition groups are expected to
attend the meeting.


6. Tercuman: It is reported that the first US
military unit will land in Gaziantep.
Preparations have been made for landing of six
thousand US soldiers at Gaziantep airport. It is
claimed that the land around the airport has been
rented for setting up desert tents. Soldiers from
the famed 101st Airborne Brigade are expected to
be deployed in Gaziantep.


7. Evrensel: In Batman, people talk about the
war at every opportunity, and at night protest
the US by participating in the nationwide
"turning lights on and off" campaign. In Batman,
shopkeepers are affected most from the
preparations for the war because of stagnation in
commerce because missile defense systems had been
deployed behind Batman's industrial site.


8. Cumhuriyet: While US preparations for the war
on Iraq are intensified, people in the Southeast
have already started to suffer. The oil tankers
bringing oil from Northern Iraq to Turkey form
long queues at the border. Tanker drivers claimed
that 130 km trips required all of 10 days because
of intensified traffic due to US convoys. In the
meantime, one segment of the people suffering
badly from the war are merchants, who said
because of the uncertainty added to the existing
economic crises they have no customers and have
closed their doors.


9. Radikal: In addition to military equipment
brought to the Iskenderun port under the
modernization program, a second freighter named
Antares (Norwegian-flagged) unloaded 310 pieces
of military equipment and 52 military vehicles.
Activities were also seen at warehouses rented by
Americans.


10. Milliyet: The Executive Board President of
Adana's Environment and Consumer Protection
Association, and East Mediterranean Environment
Associations' Representative for Adana, Attorney
Remzi Umit Akay, said the possible war on Iraq
would not only kill people but also damage the
ecosystem because of the chemical weapons that
would be used. Akay said that war was a crime,
and Turkey should not become a partner in this
crime, and added that the ones who counted each
death in this war would feel that every bomb was
thrown at their conscience.


11. Bolge: The President of Mersin's Chamber of
Maritime Trade, Cihat Lokmanoglu, announced that
because of its position, location, and distance
to Asia, Europe, and Africa continents, the port
of Mersin was the most important sea gate of the
Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey. It was
expressed that the tourism potential in Antalya
should be carried over to the Mersin region and
the maritime transportation between Antalya and
Mersin should definitely be established. In order
to enliven sea tourism in the province,
Lokmanoglu opined that the 500-yacht-capacity
Mersin marina and 200-yacht-capacity Kumkuyu
marina currently under construction should be
completed as soon as possible. Lokmanoglu also
said that in addition to its rich natural
resources, history, and culture, Mersin was
important for its proximity to other historical
and tourist sites such as Kapadokya and Hatay. He
added that fast ferryboat transportation between
neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Syria and
Israel.
HOLTZ

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