Cablegate: Implementation Trailing Legislation

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


1.(SBU) Summary: Southeast Turkey human rights
contacts report a positive change in relations
between GoT authorities in some southeast areas
and community leaders, but note that
implementation of recent EU-related reform
packages has been inconsistent. Southeast Turkey
contacts also report the continued desire of the
majority of the region's Kurdish population for a
general amnesty for PKK/KADEK/KHK . End Summary.

2..(SBU) Syriac Christian contacts in the
Midyat region of Mardin province told AMCONSUL
Adana PO and Embassy Ankara econoff that their
community's relations with authorities had
improved somewhat in the last few months.
However, many issues, such as the continued
occupation by village guards of abandoned homes
in the region, prevented the successful return of
Syriac Christians who fled the region in the
1990s due to the PKK-related conflict. . A
senior religious leader said that a few people
were trying to return from western Europe, but
progress was slow and most efforts were best
characterized as "exploratory" for now. He said
some local churches are being assessed slowly for
reconstruction or remodeling by their local
congregation members, but village guards and some
police are hampering these efforts. Overall,
community members whom the U.S. diplomats saw
said that the new reform packages had produced a
calmer atmosphere in the area, but implementation
was yet to be forthcoming in any conclusive

3.(SBU) Syriac community and religious leaders
said they feel far freer when visiting Syriac
communities and monasteries in Syria than they do
in their own community in Turkey. They also said
that the recent thawing of relations with the GOT
seemed linked to efforts by the prior governor,
who departed in December 2003 to assume the
governorship in Bingol. Their relationship with
the new governor is still a question mark. They
also noted that many congregation members report
regularly to community leaders that the real
force behind the pressure on the community
stems from Army and Jandarma forces, as well as
their village guard counterparts. The community
leaders wondered whether these influences might
be limiting local Islamic leaders' efforts to
pursue a more amicable relationship with the
Syriac community. They also reflected that
Islamic leaders from elsewhere in Turkey have
visited the area's Syriac monasteries quite
openly in recent years, limiting the religious
aloofness to a local phenomenon.

4.(SBU) A Diyarbakir human rights NGO contact
said that little has changed in the human rights
situation in the city and province. He noted
particular Turkish police (TNP) and Jandarma
sensitivity to, and physical crackdowns on,
gatherings of any groups larger than 5-10
individuals. He said the TNP/Jandarma quickly
resort to violent disruption of any gatherings in
Diyarbakir that involve political speech. A
gathering that focuses on social demands, such as
better housing or health care, usually will only
be encircled and watched by security forces, but
the use of a Kurdish word or display of a banner
denoting a political affiliation is often the
trigger for a crackdown. He described the use of
truncheons and nightsticks, as well as water
cannons, by security forces as the most
frequently used recent control tactics.
5.(SBU) This same contact said that security
authorities routinely fail to inform detainees of
their right to attorney representation, or only
do so almost a day after arrest and
interrogation. There are also numerous accounts
in recent months of arrestees being discouraged
from exercising that representation right when
requesting it.

6. (SBU) He said that the Diyarbakir Kurdish
language institute is close to opening its doors
and will probably be the region's largest. The
institute will focus on Kermanji instruction and
will not feature Zaza education materials. The
institute does not seem to face the zoning
obstacles encountered by its Sanliurfa
counterpart recently. It will use a curriculum
drawn from the Istanbul Kurdish language
institute. He predicted considerable interest in
the institute's curriculum for written language
among better-educated Kurds, explaining that this
group is "curious after the language has been
suppressed for the last fifteen years."
Nevertheless, he said that he doubted many
parents would seek Kurdish written education for
their children, opting instead to devote those
language instruction resources to a foreign
language, mentioning English and German as

7. (SBU) Finally, the contact expressed a broad
regional Kurdish sympathy for declaration of a
general amnesty for the PKK/KADEK/KHK . He said
there is no way out for the organization without
an amnesty. If they are attacked, they will have
no choice but to use violence, and will choose to
fight rather than surrender. He said that he
feared a return to violence in southeast Turkey
in the spring because he foresaw the likelihood
of an attack on the PKK as weather improved in a
few months. This prospect deeply concerned him
and he predicted it would set the region's
development back even further and deepen the
sense of depression that he said pervades
southeast Turkey.

8.(SBU) A Cizre/Silopi religious leader without
political affiliation who is a longtime Embassy
and Consulate contact echoed desires for a
general amnesty for the PKK/KADEK/KHK , saying
people "want their children to come back from the
mountains, but do not want them to betray the
Kurdish cause to do so." He maintained that few
PKK/KADEK/KHK cadres had actually engaged in
violence and should be welcomed back into Turkey
without question. As for organization leaders,
he said that they did not deserve to be punished
severely for their actions either. "We should
just see everyone in the southeast give up their
arms, go back to their villages and return to the
fields together now so that we can move on and
put our past behind us," he said.

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