Cablegate: Tension Builds in Se Turkey As Pdd/Kongra Gel Keeps Up

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

REF: A. A) ANKARA 2884
B. B) ANKARA 3112

(SBU) Southeastern Turkey has seen an increase in violent
clashes since the beginning of May. Both local and international
community contacts residing in, or operating in, Van and Sirnak
provinces told AMCONSUL ADANA that Jandarma in Van, Hakkari,
Siirt and Sirnak provinces are in a defensive posture following
a string of recent probable PKK/KONGRA GEL attacks,
predominantly with remote-detonated land mine attacks or
improvised explosive devices (IED) (REF A). They also note that
locally assigned Interior Ministry officials in those provinces
have become very gloomy and detached from contact with local
community representatives, as well as very suspicious of any NGO
or internationally linked development activity. One contact
noted that many friends of his in Sirnak and Siirt province
villages now fear the return of nineties-era violence in
southeastern Turkey. They also note tensions between the Sirnak
governate and the province's Jandarma leadership as the former
tries to reduce the scope and mission of the provincial village
guard system.

2. (SBU) One contact reported stumbling into freshly-dug,
presumably PKK/KONGRA GEL, underground bunkers and hideouts in
the last few weeks in southern Van province, in the vicinity of
Baskale sub-provincial region, in areas where Jandarma
reportedly does not choose to patrol because of reported
concerns about ambushes. A different contact reports multiple
stories from villagers in mountainous Hakkari and Sirnak
provinces (on the border with Iraq) of regular weekly PKK/KONGRA
GEL transiting groups and logistic shipments. "They keep moving
people from Iraq across the border into new mountain hideouts
people up there say," noted the contact. Another contact reports
strong "informal discouragement" by Jandarma of UNHCR proposals
to perform monitoring missions in more remote areas of Sirnak,
Siirt and Hakkari provinces because of strong security concerns.

3. (SBU) There was a June 3 attack in a rural Hakkari district
on a Jandarma sub-station which a local contact reported
destroyed a Jandarma armored personnel carrier and injured
several Jandarma members. It did not, however, result in the 12
casualties claimed by a Kurdish cause-sympathetic Internet
outlet. Similar attacks reportedly occurred also on June 3 in
Tunceli and Diyarbakir provinces. AMCON ADANA cannot confirm
the details of these two attacks or any casualty figures.

4. (SBU) Several UNHCR contacts also reiterated that they were
concerned about potential organized violence directed at their
southeastern Turkey offices and/or personnel since a recent
Iraqi-origin fatwa reportedly specifically encouraged
UN-oriented violence in the region. They considered those
likely to respond to such a fatwa to lie outside KONGRA GEL
membership, but wondered whether a splinter PKK/KONGRA GEL group
might still be motivated to target the UN due to the fatwa's
encouragement, a regional alliance with an Iraqi group, or
fundamentalist sympathy. (Comment: PKK/KONGRA GEL is a leftist
organization, so fundamentalist sympathy is unlikely; a desire
for allies, however, may be more realistic. End Comment.)

5.(SBU) Most of the recent attacks have been in rural or village
areas, although the attack narrowly averted on May 28 in Adana
occurred downtown in a large population center. It was the
first such attack in Adana since an October 15, 2003 alleged
PKK/KONGRA GEL-linked attack on a Jandarma minibus in the
Kurkculer suburb of Adana (REF B).

6. (SBU) Local contacts report that PKK/KONGRA GEL is targeting
"traditional targets" in its latest wave of attacks, such as
Jandarma patrols and isolated police stations. The averted
Adana attack is an exception to this pattern. It seems too soon
to determine whether it marks a shift in PKK/KONGRA GEL
strategy. (Comment: Reported PKK/KONGRA GEL arrests in Istanbul
may lend some additional credence to the argument that the group
is changing its tactics. End Comment.)

7. (SBU) There also are two recent reports of civilians killed
or seriously injured by stepping on landmines or encountering
unexploded ordnance in parts of regions associated with recent
KONGRA GEL activity.

8. (SBU) Comment: Violent attacks by PKK/KONGRA GEL, if they
continue or accelerate, are likely to result in tighter security
control in the southeast which could well check progress on
implementation of the new EU accession reform laws. End Comment.

9. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.


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