Cablegate: Tip in Turkey: Media Attention, July 1-15, 2004
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 ANKARA 004148
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, EUR/PGI, EUR/SE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD PREF TU TIP IN TURKEY
SUBJECT: TIP IN TURKEY: MEDIA ATTENTION, JULY 1-15, 2004
1. (U) In response to G/TIP inquiries about anti-TIP
public information campaigns, post provides as examples the
following TIP press reports published in daily newspapers
and circulated nationwide. Text of the articles (originally
published in Turkish) is provided through unofficial local
2. (U) Published July 14, 2004 by Tajik News source Khujand
Leninabadskaya Pravda in Russian:
TITLE: Tajikistan: Poverty Pushing People To Slave
Labor, Paper Reports
BEGIN FBIS TRANSLATED TEXT: Khujand Varorud in Russian
on 14 July in an article entitled "Slaves of the new
civilization" reported that Tajik nationals are
forcibly exploited as labor or sex slaves in some
foreign countries and poverty drives people to this.
"Our country's citizens are often forcibly exploited as
slaves or a free labor force (sometimes for paltry
wages) in the steppes of Kazakhstan and on the expanses
of Russia. And young women are becoming the objects
of sexual exploitation in the United Arab Emirates,
South Korea, Turkey and China. It is quite possible
that forcible exploitation also exists in the country,
but open trade is not yet an issue. The cause of all
this is material dependence which pushes people to
agree to slave labor in the search for a piece of
bread," the article said.
The first deputy prosecutor of northern Soghd Region,
Izzatullo Muhammadiyev, said in his interview to the
newspaper that organized criminal groups were arranging
trafficking in women.
"Law-enforcement agencies of the country have
established that some criminal groups under the guise
of tourism and shopping tours together with residents
of other Central Asian states take our women abroad,
where, taking away their documents or making them
financially dependent, force them to be engaged in
prostitution. During the investigation of a number of
criminal cases we found out that they take girls out of
the country mainly under false passports, changing
their names, nationality and age, as well as concluding
fictitious marriages. In 2003, according to data
presented by tourist organizations, 138 women and girls
left the country on tourist visas, 91 of them to Dubai
city, 45 to China and two to Iran. Seven women took
abroad with themselves their teenage daughters aged
from 14 to 17 years," Muhammadiyev said.
The deputy prosecutor also added that the region's law-
enforcement bodies were operating actively in this
"Last year, 415 loose women were detained as a result
of checks carried out by staff of the Soghd Region
police directorate. The region's law-enforcement
agencies are conducting very active and successful work
in this area. Sixty people, including 12 people for
human trafficking who were members of organized
criminal groups, have been sentenced for crimes in this
area," he said. END TEXT.
3. (U) Published July 8, 2004 by Turkey's Anatolian News
TITLE: President Sezer Meets Romanian President
Iliescu; SEZER: ''WE REACHED CONSENSUS TO DEVELOP
BEGIN TEXT: BUCHAREST - Turkish President Ahmet Necdet
Sezer, on an official visit to Romania, said on
Thursday that he and Romanian President Ion Iliescu
reached consensus to promote existing cooperation in
bilateral, regional and international issues.
Following their tete-a-tete Sezer and Iliescu chaired
meetings between their respective delegations. Later,
they held a joint press conference in which Sezer noted
that bilateral relations and cooperation were
significantly developed between the two countries
during the last 15 years.
There was not any political problem between Turkey and
Romania, Sezer stressed.
Noting that economic and commercial relations were at a
very good level, Sezer said that Turkey was the biggest
trade partner of Romania in the region. He stated that
trade volume was increased to nearly 2 billion U.S.
dollars last year.
According to official data, Turkish businessmen's
investments in Romania amounted to 418 million U.S.
dollars, he noted.
Underlining that Turkey was very pleased over Romania's
participation in NATO Summit held in Istanbul on June
28th and 29th, 2004, Sezer said, "I believe that we, as
two allied countries, would maintain the solidarity and
close contacts, contributing this way to the safeguard
of global and regional peace and stability."
President Sezer stressed that his visit also helped to
boost bilateral relations that had roots deep in
history. Recalling that Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan had given Romanian Prime Minister Adrian
Nestase a replica of King Stefan of Romania's sword,
which is currently exhibited at the Topkapi Palace in
Istanbul, during his visit to Romania last May, Sezer
said that the sword would now be exhibited temporarily
at the National Arts Museum in Romania.
Meanwhile, sources said that during his meeting with
Romanian President Iliescu, President Sezer expressed
his pleasure seeing Romania as a NATO ally.
Sezer also briefed Iliescu on the latest developments
on the Cyprus issue and asked for the support of
Romania which is a non-permanent member of the UN
Security Council, for the lifting of restrictions and
embargoes imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus (TRNC), sources said.
They added that the two leaders also discussed
terrorist organization PKK/Kongra-Gel issue. President
Sezer said that PKK carried out activities in Romania
form time to time and asked that Romania took necessary
measures against such activities.
Sources added that the two leaders decided to initiate
efforts to open a Turkish Culture Center in Bucharest,
recalling that a Romanian Culture Center was already
opened in Istanbul.
ILIESCU: 2004 WILL BE TURKEY YEAR FOR ROMANIAN ECONOMY
Describing bilateral relations as ''brilliant'',
Iliescu said Sezer's visit to Romania was a follow-up
of ''high level dialogue'' between the two countries.
Iliescu said new fields of cooperation were probed in
their bilateral meetings with Sezer.
He expressed his appreciation for the successful
organization of NATO Istanbul Summit, stating that
important decisions were taken about NATO's future.
Iliescu said NATO member Romania wanted to join forces
with Turkey and other member countries to contribute to
the strengthening of the Alliance in north of the
Balkans and the Black Sea.
He added Romania's full membership to NATO enhanced the
cooperation between the two countries, stressing that
it also contributed to the security and stability in
Iliescu said they also had the opportunity with Sezer
to discuss the situation in Europe.
Romanian President said they ''hailed'' the legal
reforms in Turkey, stating that this would contribute
to Turkey's bid to meet Copenhagen criteria.
Iraq, Cyprus question, and other regional issues were
also discussed at the meeting, Iliescu said.
Pointing to the importance of economic relations
between the two countries, Iliescu said they call 2004
as ''Turkey year'' for Romanian economy and stressed
that the volume of bilateral trade between the two
countries would reach 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2004.
Iliescu said he and Sezer discussed cultural relations
like establishment of a Romanian university in Turkey.
"International terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction, drug and human trafficking were
also discussed at the meeting," Iliescu noted.
Iliescu said relations between Turkey and Romania
constituted an example for "good neighborhood". END
4. (U) Tbilisi Rustavi-2 Television in Georgian on July 6,
2004. [FBIS Translated Text]
TITLE: Georgia: Turkish 'Captives,' Human Trafficking
Victims, Escape From Abkhazia
BEGIN TRANSLATION: [Presenter Nino Shubladze] Victims
of human trafficking in Abkhazia: Three Turkish
captives crossed the Inguri bridge [between breakaway
Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia] to this side today.
These people have escaped after two months of
captivity by an Abkhaz separatist group. They were
kept in the village of Kochora and forced to work in
difficult conditions. The Turkish captives were given
food only once a day and subjected to physical abuse.
They lived as slaves.
Now the victims are at the Gali District security
department [subordinated to Georgia-backed government
of Abkhazia in exile]. They are demanding release of
other captives who remain on the territory of
Abkhazia. According to them, 22 other people who need
help are still in Abkhazia. [Video shows two men
getting in a car, a group of people around a table]
[Man, captioned as Ali Konja, Turkish citizen, in
Turkish with Georgian translation superimposed] Many
others also wanted to leave, but they turned back
because they were scared. I feel terrible and I pity
those left there. We were lucky that we had hidden a
mobile phone and managed to contact the [Turkish]
[Another man, captioned as Sertan Dilek, Turkish
citizen, Georgian translation superimposed] We were in
very difficult conditions. They assigned watchmen to
us, and we were unable to contact anyone. They also
took our documents away. Every day, they would take us
to work in [the village of] Akarma and [the town of]
Tqvarcheli. We were treated like slaves.
[Gia Jikia, the chief of the Gali District security
department, interviewed] The security ministry of
Abkhazia [in exile] has more than once obtained
information that foreign citizens were taken to
Abkhazia under false promises. In fact, they are
forcing them to work and treating them as slaves.
[Description of Source: Tbilisi Rustavi-2 Television
in Georgian -- Leading commercial TV station known for
its aggressive reporting and critical attitude toward
the country's central and regional authorities. The
company's web site (www.rustavi2.com) claims that
broadcasts reach "around 84 percent of the country's
population".] END TRANSLATION.
5. (U) Published Friday, July 2, 2004 by Transitions Online
(TOL), a Czech nonprofit organization established with
financial and professional support from the Open Society
Institute's (OSI) Internet program and the Media
Development Loan Fund (MDLF):
TITLE: Moldova's Battle Against Human Trafficking
by Lauren Gard
BEGIN TEXT: Moldova's efforts to crack down on
traffickers are under funded, the crime is
underreported, and the victims are misunderstood.
Editor's note: This is the first in a series of
articles by students in the University of California at
Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, written in
collaboration with TOL correspondents.
Irina slides six snapshots across the table in a sunlit
lawyer's office in northern Moldova. "I used these
photos to put him behind bars," she says.
One image shows the slim 21-year-old in a tank top and
shorts lounging on a flowery futon. "This was the
apartment in Turkey," she says. In another, she's on a
boat in the Mediterranean Sea, her hands full of small,
iridescent fish. "I was with a client in this one."
Irina, a redhead with a pixie haircut and catlike,
sparkling green eyes, stares silently at a photo of her
Turkish captor. He stands casually by a dock in black
pants and a white button-down shirt, smoking a
cigarette. His dark eyes seem to gaze back at her.
"He gave me these photos so I would have a memory of
him," Irina says, with a thin smile. "He was stupid. I
knew what town he was in. I knew the street, the
"He" is Medmed Cara, the man who forced Irina to stay
with him in Turkey for several months while he beat her
and earned thousands of dollars by selling her to
clients for sex.
When Irina made her way back to Moldova five months
ago, she got in touch with the Center for the
Prevention of Trafficking in Women, a legal aid group
set up in 2001 by the Moldovan Association of Women
Lawyers to assist trafficking victims. The lawyers at
the center's office in Balti, Moldova's second-largest
city, have become Irina's closest allies. They helped
her bring the case against the man in the snapshots. In
March, he was found guilty of trafficking.
"Tomorrow his sentence will be handed down," Irina
says, gathering up the photos. "He'll get 10 to 20
'A PERSONAL PROBLEM FOR THE GIRLS'
Irina's case is one of more than 50 that the anti-
trafficking center has handled here in Moldova, a tiny
country of 4 million people with a largely agricultural
economy--often described as the poorest country in
Europe--sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine. The
number of cases represents a fraction of the total
number of Moldovan women who have been taken abroad,
some willingly, most not, to work as prostitutes or sex
slaves in the last decade.
According to many estimates, since the mid-1990s more
than 200,000 Moldovan girls and women have been
trafficked to the Balkans, Western Europe, Russia,
Turkey, and Dubai. Shortly after his appointment last
year as the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe's ambassador to Moldova, William Hill told
the BBC that Moldova had become "the largest supplier
state in all of Europe" for trafficking victims.
Punishing traffickers is a difficult--and new--
challenge for law enforcement authorities in Moldova.
Before 2001, the country had no laws against sex
trafficking, and before 2003, none mandating minimum
prison sentences for traffickers. Convicted traffickers
simply paid a fine and walked away.
Even now, court cases against traffickers are the
exception, not the rule. Police units are underfunded
and overwhelmed by the immensity of the problem. Unlike
crimes like murder and theft, victims of this type of
crime are rarely willing to talk. Some traffickers pay
their victims to keep quiet, but most don't need to be
bribed; they simply won't go to the police, much less
appear in court. There is a huge fear of ruining their
own reputation or that of their family.
"It makes it difficult to build a case because they
keep it all inside," says Irina's lawyer, Nelly
Babcinschi. "They're very damaged. And it's hard for a
girl to make a statement in court because her lawyer,
her trafficker's lawyer, the judge, and her parents may
all be there."
Cracking down on traffickers is becoming more important
to the Moldovan government, but it is still not a
priority. A national anti-trafficking plan was adopted
in November 2001, but it was two years before a
committee of government ministers, state prosecutors,
and representatives of local and international
nongovernmental organizations was formed.
The issue briefly gained a foothold in the public's
mind when three international sex-trafficking
conferences took place during the same week in March in
Chisinau. No less than the OSCE has stepped in to help
the government implement an anti-trafficking program,
but if not for the efforts of small nonprofits, funded
primarily by foreign governments like the United States
and Sweden, observers say little would be achieved.
Svetlana Rijicova, one of only two psychiatrists in
Moldova who counsels trafficked girls, says the future
looks bleak. "For the moment the government has no
money to support anti-trafficking organizations," she
says. "It's not a priority. It's perceived as just a
personal problem for the girls."
Nonprofits have focused primarily on educating girls in
the most at-risk age group, those aged 18 to 24, and on
forming alliances with agencies abroad to help bring
trafficked women back. An estimated 80 percent of women
who are trafficked knew the risks before it happened to
"Of course I knew about it," Irina says, "but I never
thought it would happen to me."
Until now, Irina hasn't shared her story with anyone
outside her lawyer's office or the courtroom. "I love
and trust my friends, but I won't tell them because I
don't think they can help. It's better to keep my
feelings inside than to walk down the street and have
people point and say, `There's that girl who was a
prostitute in Turkey,' " she says, staring at a cup of
black tea growing cold on the table before her. As for
her widowed mother, who lives in a village 30
kilometers away, "It would kill her if she knew."
SOLD INTO SLAVERY
Before she fell into Medmed Cara's hands, Irina was
working as a seamstress for a Turkish pajama company in
Balti, earning $40 a month. That's less than the
average national wage of $56, but not bad for someone
in Moldova who has only finished 10th grade. But it
didn't go far. When her landlady told her about a
bartending job in Turkey, she agreed to go. The
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
estimates that half of Moldovan women who are
trafficked knew the person who "recruited" them.
"I wanted to be rich," Irina says. "I wanted to buy my
mom an apartment in Balti."
Irina lied to her mother and told her she was going to
Moscow to work, as many people in her village had done.
Instead, she took a minivan to Ukraine, and from there
took a ship to Istanbul. She was met at the dock by
Cara, the man in the photo, who took her by boat to the
popular resort town of Fethiye.
"I refused to work as a prostitute," she says. "So he
beat me and then raped me while a client waited outside
in his car. He made me shower, and then I went with the
client." Cara beat her and forced her to have sex with
him every night after that. After two weeks, she tried
to run away but failed. The brutal beating that
followed knocked one of her teeth out.
Irina decided that the only way to survive was to
convince Cara that she loved him. The strategy worked,
the fist-and-belt beatings lessened. Several months
after her arrival in Turkey she called a neighbor in
Moldova in order to speak with her mother, who has no
phone. "She asked why my Romanian was so bad," Irina
remembers. "I spoke only Turkish there, had no one to
speak Romanian with." The client who let her use his
phone said he was very sorry that she'd gotten into
such a bad situation. Then he had sex with her.
When her visa expired in November, Cara sent Irina back
to Moldova with $150 in her pocket and a promise that
he would soon follow.
Back home, she waited and began forming a plan to
involve the police. Law enforcement authorities are
notoriously untrustworthy in countries where corruption
is rampant, like Moldova. Sometimes when a girl reports
that she has been trafficked, their response is to sell
her back to her traffickers and pocket the money. In
Irina's case, though, the police listened, especially
once she told them that she had photos.
When, true to his word, Cara came after Irina, he moved
into her mother's house and insisted on sharing her
bed. "My mom thought he was a boyfriend from Moscow,"
she says. "She didn't like him. He complained all the
time that our food wasn't spicy enough. He told her we
were getting married. And what could I say?"
WARNINGS GO UNHEEDED
In a riverside village 150 kilometers east of Glinjeni,
60 teenagers slouch in wooden chairs in a school
auditorium. Their attention is focused on a television
on the stage, which is showing a movie of a teenage
girl from an unnamed former Soviet bloc country who
jumps at an offer to travel to Sweden with her handsome
new boyfriend. Once there, she is locked in an
apartment, beaten, and repeatedly sold to male clients
to be raped. The 2001 movie, Lilya 4-Ever, by Swedish
director Lukas Moodysson, is being shown as part of a
public education campaign by UNICEF, the IOM and the
anti-trafficking group La Strada, with the help of a
$100,000 grant from the U.S. State Department. The film
ends with a desperate Lilya leaping to her death off a
As the credits roll a few nervous laughs can be heard
in the cold auditorium. Ana, a college student dressed
in neat slacks and a sweater, looks out at the young
faces. She offers some basic information about
trafficking, then asks if anyone in the room knows
someone who has been trafficked.
"My friend's mom went to Italy," a girl says, prompting
a burst of laughter.
"Are there any other possibilities to make a living
other than going abroad?" Ana asks.
"Yeah," one boy calls out, "become a prostitute here!"
"The problem is that Moldovan girls from rural areas
are stupid. And traffickers know it," offers Oxana, 16.
"Families can't afford to buy food and clothing. They
would rather risk dying abroad than die here," another
The students say they liked Lilya 4-Ever, but can't
ever imagine being in Lilya's shoes. "There must be
someone who would help you," one says. Before they
leave, Ana hands out pamphlets promoting La Strada's
trafficking hot line, which receives 250 calls a month,
some from girls who have been trafficked to other
countries and are desperate for help. Despite heavy
promotion of the telephone hot line after screenings of
the film--which has been shown in Chisinau and in
dozens of village schools since January--the number of
calls hasn't increased. The IOM says it is showing the
film in an attempt to get people talking about
trafficking, to create "a more common discourse,"
according to Allan Freedman, IOM's deputy chief of
mission. A pamphlet handed out at screenings reads: "We
want this film to strengthen safeguards and inspire
educators, social service workers, local authorities,
and all of us on the battle's front lines."
After the film a dozen girls gather in the chilly
hallway to talk about their dreams for the future. Many
have parents working abroad and have to care for
younger siblings. Most say they dream of leaving
Moldova. "There is no future in this country," says
Aliona, 16, who has not seen her mother in a year.
According to the IOM, more than 55 percent of
trafficked women have children.
Irina had never heard of the IOM before she went to
Turkey, and she isn't one of the 1,200 women the
organization has brought back to Moldova since 2001.
She's never seen Lilya 4-Ever. Some at the IOM consider
that a good thing, since the film's graphic depiction
of life as a sex slave would likely summon up painful
LIFE GOES ON
After lunch Irina pulls on her faux fur-lined coat and
steps outside. She's craving a cigarette, but she walks
a half-mile down the dirt road before pausing in the
sheltered entrance of an abandoned building to light
one. "Good village girls don't smoke," she says with a
Further along the road, Irina stops in front of the
house of a man she dated for two years before she was
trafficked. She chats easily with his parents, who are
working in the front yard, and pets their timid new
pony. "I still love him," she says later, watching a
few chickens skitter across the road. "But I can't tell
him what happened because then the whole village might
find out. So I can't be with him."
Irina lowers her voice slightly as she walks. "I had an
abortion here when I came home," she says, shoving her
hands deep in her pockets. "I couldn't stay overnight
because my mother might have found out, but I went back
for checkups." During her four months in Turkey, almost
none of the hundreds of men who had sex with her used
condoms. She says Cara earned $25,000 by selling her to
as many as 10 clients a day, seven days a week, at a
rate of $25 an hour.
In the center of town, Irina stops at a new Italian
sportswear factory. "It's like the factory I used to
work in," she says. Several of her friends labor in its
fluorescent-lit rooms, cutting fabric and stitching
paisley-patterned bathing suits decorated with plastic
dangling hearts. It's chilly enough inside to need a
thick sweater. The smell of body odor competes for
attention with the staccato buzz of the machines. A few
middle-aged women pump pedals and slide material along
the narrow tables, but it is mostly young girls who
hover behind the machines, their long hair pulled back
in loose ponytails.
"We prefer the younger girls, 16, 17, because they have
no bad habits to unlearn," the factory's accountant
says. "They are malleable and will do what we want them
to do." In her statement there is the echo of
traffickers, who are targeting younger and younger
girls. The International Catholic Migration Commission
estimates that 30 percent of trafficking victims are
minors. The actress who stars in "Lilya 4-Ever" looks
no older than 16.
Although the education campaigns, film screenings, and
government commissions have yet to make a noticeable
dent in the problem, the battle against traffickers is
not as one-sided as before. There are new laws--if
Irina had been trafficked two years ago, her trafficker
would be in Turkey now, a free man--and there are
groups that provide legal assistance. If Irina hadn't
been able to turn to the anti-trafficking center for
help, more girls may have wound up in Medmed Cara's
Three weeks after Cara followed her to Moldova, Irina
put her plan into action. In her pigeon Turkish, she
offered to help him recruit some local girls. "He told
them they would work as prostitutes but they still
wanted to go," she says, shaking her head. "They just
wanted money, and they trusted him."
On a cold January day, as Cara and his newest
acquisitions--two teenagers--drove toward Chisinau, the
police were waiting. They stopped the car and arrested
Cara. At his trial, Irina testified against him. Then
she prayed. And made plans. She decided to move into a
shelter for trafficked women in Chisinau and to study
On 2 April, Irina learned that Cara had been sentenced
to 10 years in a Moldovan prison. He is now a prisoner
in a foreign land, just as Irina was. "If he had been
free he would have killed me," she said, recalling the
way Cara had looked at her during the trial. When she
testified, she said, she stared him in the eye, and
felt relief. "He must have felt the same way I did when
I was in Turkey."
With additional reporting by TOL correspondent Angela
Sirbu. END TEXT.
6. (U) Published Wednesday, June 30, 2004 by Cumhuriyet
TITLE: GUL, POWELL LEND SUPPORT TO ANTI-TRAFFICKING
BEGIN TEXT: Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and US
Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday attended a
signing ceremony between the Istanbul Municipality and
the Foundation for Developing Human Resources paving
the way for a future shelter for victims of human
trafficking at Istanbul's Hilton Hotel. Stating that
both the Turkish and US governments supported the
shelter project, Gul thanked Powell for attending the
ceremony. Gul added that Turkey appreciated NATO's anti-
trafficking measures as important international steps.
Powell also emphasized that the US placed great
importance on the fight against human trafficking and
that it was encouraging all countries do all they can
to tackle this problem. END TEXT.
7. (U) Published Tuesday, June 29, 2004 by CihanNews:
TITLE: Gul And Powell Attend Opening Ceremony At
Shelter For Victims Of Human Trade
BEGIN TEXT: ISTANBUL (CIHAN) - Turkish Foreign
Minister, Abdullah Gul and US Secretary of State, Colin
Powell attended the opening ceremony between the
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Human Resource
Development Association (IKGV) to build a shelter for
people who were victims of human trade.
Gul made a statement before the signing ceremony and
said he is happy to provide help to these people but
the struggle against such crimes is difficult. Gul
added that collaboration against these crimes and the
development of new strategies is necessary.
Powell also made a statement and he said that, "Turkey
has taken a big step in the struggle against human
trade. All governments in the world must collaborate on
this issue." Also Powell thanked to Turkey for its
leadership on this topic.
Consultancy services for legal, psychological and
medical assistance will be offered. END TEXT.