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.



E.O. 12958: N/A
FEBRUARY 27, 2003

1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for February 27, 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.


2. Evrensel/Hurriyet: PKK/KADEK leader Abdullah
Ocalan, who had not been able to meet with his
family and lawyers for 12 weeks, was granted the
chance this week. The meeting did not come off,
however. His lawyers from Asrin Hukuk Burosu --
Dogan Erbas, Firat Aydinkaya, and Aysel Tugluk -
along with his sister, Hava Keser, came to Gemlik
and boarded the Turkish-government's boat for
Imrali island, where Ocalan is imprisoned.
Halfway between Gemlik and Imrali, the seas
became rough, and the boat turned around.
Acording to Hurriyet, a five-page report giving
information about PKK/KADEK's situation and
prospects in the event of war on Iraq was found
sandwiched between newspapers that were being
carried by attorney Aysel Tugluk for Ocalan.
Turgluk explained that the report might have been
put among the papers by employees at the legal
office. The papers reported several incidents
throughout the region protesting either war
and/or Ocalan's isolation, including Van,
Diyarbakir, and Gaziantep.

3. Radikal/Cumhuriyet/Hurriyet: The final list
of candidates who will run in the by elections in
Siirt on March 9 was published in the Official
Gazette. The ticket is as follows:
TKP (Turkish Communist Party) candidates:
Muharrem Mirik, Emine Serpil Renda, Deniz Unver.
IP (Labor Party) candidates: Zeki Karahan, Yusuf
Celik, Bayram Yurtcicek.
CHP (Republican Peoples Party) candidates: Ekrem
Bilek, Abdulhalim Cinar, Abdurrahman Kaysi.
AKP (Justice and Development Party) candidate:
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Oner Gulyesil, Oner Ergenc.
According to Hurriyet, HADEP has offered
conditional support to CHP in by elections in
Siirt province. CHP's Vice Chairman, Cevdet
Selvi, said HADEP officials told him that if
CHP's chair, Deniz Baykal made an announcement
criticizing Abdullah Ocalan's isolation in Imrali
and his not being allowed to meet with his family
members, CHP would find great sympathy among
their ranks and files. Selvi said HADEP
supporters would vote for CHP in masses if such
an announcement were made.

4. Radikal: Gas mask are seen in the shop
windows of Iskenderun. The shopkeepers said there
was a demand for the masks which are sold for TL
300 million. Demand is strongest from factories
and other large installations.

5. Turkiye/Milli Gazete/Bolge: As the United
States gets ready for war on Iraq, the military
bases and airbases in Turkey also became very
active. There was a heavy air traffic at Incirlik
AB from evening till early morning yesterday. Two
tanker planes, one cargo plane, and one Prowler
landed at the base during morning hours. It is
reported that some American dependents have
started leaving the base. Modernization projects
at Tasucu port in Silifke (Mersin) continue at
full speed. In Batman, 50 heavy-duty
construction vehicles rented by the US have
deployed to Batman airport in order to begin
infrastructure work for the construction of 5000
prefab houses to be used as military barracks. It
is gathered that the US has rented a large number
of tanker trucks to supply its need for aircraft
fuel there. More than 10 cargo planes have
ferried in military equipment to Diyarbakir
Military Airport in the last three days.

6. Turkiye/Dunya: Turkey recalled its Ambassador
from Iraq. Ambassador Osman Paksut has returned
to Ankara and closed the embassy building in
Baghdad, as a precaution against uncontrolled
activities that would erupt. Meanwhile, Turkey
has sealed its Habur Border Gate for any entry or
exit. Turkish employees working for contracting
firms in Iraq and truckers currently in Iraq were
warned to return to Turkey. More than 12,000
trucks are reported to be engaged in
transportation between Turkey and Iraq.

7. Cumhuriyet: As talks that started on Saturday
between Americans and Turks continue, 80 US ships
carrying military vehicles and equipment await
off-shore in the Mediterranean. It is reported
that the ships carry combat materiel that will be
used in the operation. M1 tanks, missile ramps,
and other armored equipment are among the ships'
cargoes, which can only be discharged after
signing of the military MOU. The MOU on economic
and political issues is expected to be signed
before the Turkish National Assembly's approval,
while the one concerning military issues is
expected to be signed after TNA's approval.

8. Milliyet: The Turkish Armed Forces started
building a direct road from Uludere to northern
Iraq. The Uludere road will be connected to the
Zavita military area which will be built between
Amediye and Akre regions. It is gathered that the
road between Zakho and Dohuk is also being
repaired, and mobile bridges have been erected at
designated military transit points.

9. Turkiye: The Mersin Security Directorate
disclosed that, based on a tip, they seized a
handwritten, foldable, leather-bound historical
Pentateuch in Hebrew. Its estimated value is said
to be 300,000 dollars. One person was arrested in
connection with the seizure.


10. Turkiye: Chamber of Commodity Exchange (CCE)
of Adana wants to plant the kind of cotton that
can be harvested by machine. Eray Akile, CCE
secretary, said CCE is going to undersign a

memorandum of understanding with Adana's Cukurova
University to develop high-yield cotton that can
be machine picked and is suitable for the
climatic conditions of the Cukurova region.

© Scoop Media

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