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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 03 ADANA 0072

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU IZ ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY,
MARCH 12, 2003


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for March 12, 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.


POLITICAL, SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS


Milli Gazete: It is reported that the Kurdish
units stationed in Dohuk, close to the Turkish
border, returned to their bases on weekend to
confront Turkey's likely military incursion into
northern Iraq. Babaker Zebari, the commander of
Kurdish forces in the region, claimed they were
ready for any Turkish intervention. Zebari
claimed that "if Turks wanted problems, they
would be held responsible for them." The Kurdish
commander said that they would attack the Turkish
forces the moment they came, even though they had
only RPGs against the Turks'tanks. He remarked
that they might not be able to hold the front but
would launch guerilla attacks. In his TV program
on Saturday, Mesut Barzani claimed that
penetration of Turkish troops into Northern Iraq
would create "serious consequences" and that he
hoped the US would not betray the Kurds.


Milliyet: Based on its interviews with ordinary
Turkomen in Erbil, BBC claimed that the Turkomen,
as opposed to the Turkomen Front supported by
Ankara, were generally happy with their status
and did not need any protection from Turkey. The
BBC reporter said the number of Turkomen in
northern Iraq reached 2.5 million. Cevdet Naccar,
a Turkomen, said: "We enjoy the same rights as
the Kurds in Northern Iraq. There is no need for
the Turkish army to intervene on the pretext of
rescuing the Turkomen." An antique dealer named
Halis Yunus said: "They (the Turkish army) cannot
protect us against theft and looting anyway." A
Turkomen jeweler expressed the view that the
Kurds, Arabs, and Turkomen lived together and
could settle their problems among themselves. The
BBC reporter claimed that the only group that
actively supported Turkey's intervention was the
Turkomen Front, headed by Sanan Ahmet Aga, who
received his orders from Ankara.


Radikal/Turkiye: Families and NGO representatives
protested against statements made by northern
Iraqi Kurdish leaders Barzani and Talabani. 300
people who gathered in front of the Martyrs
Monument in Diyarbakir yesterday morning shouted
anti-Barzani and anti-Talabani slogans and
dispersed peacefully after singing the Turkish
National Anthem and the delivering of the speech
by Ahmet Buyukburc, President of the Martyrs
Association's Diyarbakir Chapter.


Milliyet/Sabah/Hurriyet: LA Times' photographer
Donald Bartletti, ABC News cameraman Alan Weeks,
and Turkish producer Elif Ural tried to cross
into northern Iraq illegally. They were arrested
by jandarmas who opened fire in the air. The
jandarmas on patrol had noticed the journalists
as they were wading across the Hezil River. The
journalists and the person who assisted them were
given a physical examination and interrogated at
Silopi Jandarma Command, and then were brought
before a court in the morning. The journalists
were given a fine of USD 54 for violating
immigration laws. As the journalists took a cab
to Onsar Hotel in Cizre, they were escorted by
police. It was decided that Bartletti and Weeks
would be deported from Turkey. (Note: That is
correct. End note.)
Radikal: There has been a boom in demand for
rental property, due to its proximity to the
Iraqi border. The rents for houses, shops,
storage facilities, and vacant land have
increased by 300 to 500 percent. Agit Ozdemir, a
pioneer who opened the first real estate office
in Silopi, said he rented out 19 houses in one
week.


Milliyet/Radikal: War preparations in Mardin,
which is in the position of being the US
operation center, continues at full speed. The US
intensified work at a furniture factory rented in
the Organized Industrial Zone of Mardin. Mobile
toilets, bunk beds, mobile telephones,
foodstuffs, and all sorts of logistical material
are being stored in the furniture plant.
Meanwhile, Turkish armored units conducted
maneuvers in empty fields along the highway in
Kiziltepe. Appearance of the armored vehicles in
town created excitement.


Cumhuriyet/Bolge: Under the first modernization
of ports and airports motion submitted to the
Turkish National Grand Assembly, the US keeps
sending military equipment. The majority of the
shipments to the region come to Iskenderun port,
where 5000 US troops and 20-25 ships are reported
to be waiting off shore at Karpaz.


Radikal: Truck drivers who agreed with
contracting firms on transporting military
equipment from Iskenderun port to the Southeast
for USD 100 per day said they would stop carrying
the material because they had not been paid for
18 days. Thanks to the intervention of Turkish
military officials, the contracting firms gave an
advance to each trucker and transportation
resumed only thereafter. 89 TIR truck left
Iskenderun port while 15 TIR trucks loaded with
military equipment departed Incirlik AB for the
Southeast yesterday.


Dunya: Because of lack of storage room, some U.S.
military vehicles and materials were put in a
yarn factory outside the Mardin Organized
Industrial Zone. The Americans are trying to rent
500 shops in Evren Industrial Site in Sanliurfa
as well. Turkish-speaking US soldiers walking in
Diyarbakir's streets are meeting with the local
people and trying to obtain information about the
region. It is reported that Americans are looking
for a fully equipped hospital or medical center.
It is gathered that the US plans to fly wounded
soldiers to hospitals to be rented in Diyarbakir,
where they have already made offers to five big
private hospitals.


Sabah/Tercuman/Hurriyet: The Patriot missiles
deployed at the 8th Main Jet Base Command of the
2nd Tactical Command in Diyarbakir were shown to
the press. The Dutch commander of Patriot Air
Defense Systems Command, Lt. Col. Eric Harry
Abma, remarked that two of the three units of the
system were deployed in Diyarbakir, while the
other was deployed in Batman. He was quoted "We
are here to protect people of Diyarbakir and
Batman from Iraq. This is our military and
political mission." The systems were made
operational on March 11.


Hurriyet: The US Consulate in Adana opened an
exhibition of photographs by famed American
photographer, William Albert Allard, at the
Seyhan Municipality Building. The exhibit - some
70 photographs reflecting American culture taken
by National Geographic Society veteran Allard --
was opened by the American Consul, Adana Deputy
Governor Bulent Egriboz, and Seyhan Mayor
Yildiray Arikan. Turkish and American invitees
attended the opening reception.
HOLTZ

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