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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.



E.O. 12958: N/A
MAY 29, 2003

1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for May 29, 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. Turkiye: During regular checks at the
entrance of Ercis township of Van, the jandarma
teams arrested Halise Batgi, a woman alleged to
be a PKK member. Carrying a false ID, Batgi was
planning to go to Ankara. It is claimed that she
would attend the PKK's organizational activities
and undertake terrorist attacks. Based on the
information obtained from Batgi during her
interrogation, another person, Sedat Senay, was
also arrested. Batgi and Senay were taken to the
State Security Court in Van after their
interrogations were concluded.

3. Cumhuriyet: The Assyrian origin citizens, who
migrated from Sarikoy village in Sirnak in the
mid-1990s due to terrorist events, are afraid to
return to their village because of the village
guards. The citizens, with Bishop Samuel Aktas in
Midyat of Mardin acting as the intermediary,
asked the governor to expel the village guards
from their houses. Assyrians have begun to return
due to the June 12, 2001 circular by former Prime
Minister Ecevit ordering the facilitation of the
return of Assyrians. The Assyrians are uneasy
about returning because of the obstacles created
by the village guards. In their petitions to the
governor, the villagers claimed the village
guards had occupied their homes and had been
cultivating their land and orchards, and their
property rights were also violated.

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4. Cumhuriyet: Sanliurfa, the "City of
Prophets," is expecting to be included in
UNESCO's decision determining the cities included
in the World Cultural Heritage Program. UNESCO
will evaluate sixteen cities in this category,
including Sanliurfa and Mardin, in its convention
between June 29-July 5. Sanliurfa and Mardin are
considered as important places for religious
tourism. Ismail Demir, Sanliurfa's Chamber of
Commerce and Industry President, and Sabri
Kurkcuglu, head of cultural and historical
studies on Sanliurfa, called upon all organized
institutions in town to be sensitive about the
issue prior UNESCO's decision.

5. Cumhuriyet: Members of the "Bible Society"
are delivering Kurdish copies of the Bible at a
stand they opened in Diyarbakir because of the
Cultural Festival in town. The Bible Society
publicizes the Bible, the Old Testament, and the
New Testament throughout the world. The
representative of the Bible Society, Behnan
Komutgan, said it was unfair to label them as
missionaries because the Bible Society members
are honorable Turkish citizens. Komutgan said the
first four chapters of the Bible were translated
into Kurdish under the name of "Mizgin" (Good
News), and the translation into Kurdish of the 27
chapters of the entire Bible would be completed
by the end of the year. Komutgan added that the
Holy Books had been translated into 2,040
different languages and accents in the world.

6. Hurriyet/Radikal: Following the May 1
earthquake in Bingol, 713 of 1,770 teachers in
Bingol province applied for a transfer to other
regions. As the Provincial Education Directorate
failed to persuade the teachers to stay in the
area for another year, the teachers' petitions
for transfers will be submitted to the Ministry
of National Education on May 30. It is reported
that all of the teachers who have asked for a
transfer are homeless.

7. Hurriyet/Bolge: Because of demand by women,
the Adana City Council's Women Committee, the
Women Consultation Center, and the Association to
Establish Women Shelter Houses are working
together to open a "Women's Shelter House" in
Adana. The president of the association, Nurten
Mersinli, said the Adana Municipality promised to
support their efforts.

8. Bolge: Adana's Provincial Director of the
Labor and Employment Department, Hasim Meydan,
said 7,783 workers were laid off during the first
four months of 2003. Meydan added his Department
had paid a total amount of three million USD to
eligible workers since the enforcement of the
"Unemployment Insurance Law." Meydan gave the
number of registered jobless persons as 18,568
compared to 16,770 last year. Meydan also
mentioned that his Department had found jobs for
2,807 persons in private and public sectors
during the same period.

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