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Cablegate: Leyla Zana Hosts Lunch for Eu, U.S. Diplomats

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 003753

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2014
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PTER TU
SUBJECT: LEYLA ZANA HOSTS LUNCH FOR EU, U.S. DIPLOMATS


Classified by A/DCM James Moore, E.O. 12958, reasosn 1.4 (b)
and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Leyla Zana and the three other
recently-released DEP deputies hosted a lunch on July 5 for
diplomats from the EU and U.S. Although Zana and the other
deputies said people in southeastern Turkey do not want
violence, some EU diplomats -- and we -- left the lunch
frustrated that Zana and the others stopped short of
condemning the PKK (aka Kongra Gel, KHK, etc). Zana and the
others put forth no new ideas for the southeast. End Summary

A Media Event

2. (C) The lunch, which the Zana and the other hosts billed
as an opportunity "to meet and exchange ideas," was a media
event. A swarm of Turkish electronic and print media was
present outside the restaurant, and Zana and the deputies
permitted them inside for photographs but no questions at the
top of the lunch. As EU President, the Dutch Embassy
reportedly tried unsuccessfully to postpone the lunch due to
concerns about media hype. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MFA) was reportedly also concerned the lunch would
be a publicity stunt; although Zana invited FM Gul, no MFA
official attended. Embassy Ankara Deputy Political Counselor
attended for the U.S.

Zana Talks the Talk....

3. (U) Zana made prepared remarks at the beginning of the
lunch. She cited the "winds of change" in Turkey and called
on all parties to "forget the past." She pointed out that
she selected white decor for the lunch to symbolize a "white
page in politics and a purged and pure political stance."
She called for a new era of peace, reconciliation and
dialogue, and pledged to pursue those goals "even at the cost
of being politically isolated."

4. (U) She said that during her highly-publicized visit to
the southeast following her release that she found the people
there want to abandon "arms, denial, destruction,
assimilation and separatist approaches." She declared "the
EU presents a new way of life for Turkey, for Turks and
Kurds." She called for the Kurdish issue to be solved
"through peaceful and lasting means" and expressed hope the
EU would grant Turkey a date to begin accession talks.

...But Balks at Condemning the PKK

5. (U) In response, the Dutch Ambassador (as current EU
President), the Irish Ambassador (the outgoing President) and
the Austrian Ambassador all called on Zana to be more clear
in her condemnation of terrorism in the southeast. The Irish
Ambassador pointed out that Zana had not criticized PKK
violence. (Zana condemned the July 2 bomb attack on the
governor's convoy in Van, for which the PKK denied
responsibility. Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru hinted
sarcastically that Zana's condemnation of the attack proved
the PKK is not responsible.) Zana balked at the opportunity
to condemn the PKK. She repeated that her trip through the
southeast suggested that "the people" in the southeast do not
want violence although some "small, marginal groups" support
terrorism.

6. (C) The ex-DEP deputies were no more forthcoming about
the PKK in one-on-one discussions. Asked if he considered
the PKK a terrorist organization now that both the U.S. and
EU list it as such, Selim Sadak replied "ask the people." He
considers violence the natural result of conditions on the
southeast, and compared it to the reaction of an animal poked
at with a stick. Sadak advocates a general amnesty for the
PKK and more democratization in order to end violence.
European Commission political officer Sema Kilic asked Sadak
why PKK violence continues despite a string of improvements
in the human rights situation in the southeast; Sadak replied
"ask the PKK." When UK Political Chief Ajay Sharma pushed
ex-deputy Orhan Dogan on the PKK, Dogan told him that the
ex-deputies do not have the political stature to break with
Abdullah Ocalan and the PKK.

7. (C) Comment: Zana and the others put forth no new ideas
about the southeast at the luncheon. Several EU diplomats,
including the UK, Irish, Danes and Austrians, although
pleased by Zana's release, left the lunch frustrated by her
failure to condemn the PKK. So did we. End Comment.
DEUTSCH

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