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Cablegate: Southeast Turkish Sunni Religious Leader On

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 ANKARA 001422

SIPDIS


ANKARA PASS IZMIR


SENSITIVE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PTER TU
SUBJECT: Southeast Turkish Sunni religious leader on
region's political malaise


This is a joint Amembassy Ankara/Consulate Adana cable.


1. (SBU) Summary: A prominent southeast Turkey
Kurdish Sunni religious leader, or sheikh, from the
Nakshibendi tarikat made a call on AMCONSUL Adana PO on
March 1 and generally reflected a state of malaise in
the region. He said that people in the region are wary
of AKP and see the party as more intent on
consolidating its own power than bringing change to
Turkey. He described continuing loyalty among regional
supporters for DEHAP despite its factionalism and poor
organization for the upcoming municipal elections, and
sees little taste for new confrontation among KHK
cadres in Southeast Turkey. He said that Osman Ocalan
is exploring closer ties to the KDP for his faction
within the KHK in northern Iraq. End Summary.


AKP becoming same old, same old


2. (SBU) A prominent southeast Turkey religious
Kurdish Sunni religious leader from the Nakshibendi
tarikat leader made a courtesy call on AMCONSUL Adana
PO on March 1 following visits to followers in Adana
and nearby Hatay and Mersin the previous weekend. He
generally described a state of malaise in southeast
Turkey. He said that people in the region are wary of
AKP and see the party as more intent on consolidating
its own power than bringing change to Turkey. "It is
just another group of rich people trying to get
richer," he said, describing deep southeast Kurdish
perspectives on the AKP, "They have not brought us any
new job opportunities." When DPO noted the new
regional incentives law, which includes many southeast
Turkey localities, he used a hand gesture of brushing
something away to discount its potential to alleviate
regional unemployment. "That is for their people in the
west," he remarked.


DEHAP suffering from internal divisions, but still has
loyal following


3.(SBU) He indicated that he sees DEHAP's overall
political strength weakening because of internal
political divisions and supporters' frustration with
DEHAP municipal incumbents which they perceive as
ineffective, but reflected that deep southeast Turkey
regional supporters will remain loyal to DEHAP at the
upcoming municipal elections. "We are wrestling with
ourselves in some places and sending up many new
candidates because people want to see new faces, but we
will still support (DEHAP), not AKP or somebody else.
The new faces will just be weaker voices in some
cases," he said. When asked about Mersin or Adana,
cities with larger internal migrant populations from
southeast Turkey, he shrugged his shoulders in body
language dismissing prospects for a significant DEHAP
showing.


Little taste for confrontation among KHK in Turkey


4.(SBU) Asked what the future holds for the KHK now
that the reintegration law has expired in Turkey, the
sheikh said that most Kurds in southeast Turkey still
hope for a general amnesty for the bulk of the KHK
cadres. When PO noted that it is hard to imagine such
an amnesty and that both the U.S. and Turkey see KHK as
a terrorist organization with dim future prospects, the
sheikh said that many people in southeast Turkey still
think even KHK leadership deserves a general amnesty
although they are realistic enough not to believe it is
forthcoming. PO then asked if he has heard of much KHK
military activity in southeast Turkey in recent months.
The sheikh said that "only troublemakers here and
there, like village guards and fringe elements among
those in the mountains (referring to unspecified
minorities in the KHK), are taking shots at each other.
Most of those in the mountains do not want a fight, but
they have nothing to which to come home. This year they
let us collect walnuts and grapes from our field in the
hills without any problems," he observed.


5.(SBU) There are no jobs and the government keeps the
(Habur) gate mainly closed to squeeze regional
business, he asserted; the government does not want
(Kurds) to get wealthy from trade with Iraq. In recent
years thousands of trucks a day went through the gate,
now it is just a fraction of that. Why? If the
government really cared about us, they would open some
factories in the southeast and get us jobs. People
with money in their pockets would care for their
families and homes, and not carry guns, he said. He
went on to decry the long daily truck line which now
extends past Cizre awaiting transit southbound through
the Habur gate. His son, traveling with him as a
companion, said a friend from Cizre had described a 14-
kilometer backlog of trucks on February 27. The sheikh
said that he is deeply saddened to see the historically-
rich community in Cizre, which he noted that the Koran
cites as the real resting place for Noah's Ark, as a
mud pit strewn with smog, truck hulks and gas floating
on pools of water. He also noted that a recent multi-
truck collision just narrowly avoided triggering an
explosion that might have blown up the bridge over the
Euphrates at Cizre (Comment: this is generally
corroborated by KBR transit officials in Silopi. End
Comment.)


PKK/KHK in Iraq not monolithic


6.(SBU) He said that Osman Ocalan is exploring closer
ties to the KDP for his faction within the KHK in
northern Iraq. "(Osman Ocalan) is looking to get
closer to Barzani and the KDP, and trying to find a
place to stay in Iraq for his people," the sheikh
asserted.


EDELMAN

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