Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary August 24, 2004

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

This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for August 24,
2004. Please note that Turkish press reports often contain
errors or exaggerations; AmConsulate Adana does not vouch for
the accuracy of the reports summarized here.


ULKEDE OZGUR GUNDEM: Two mass-graves, where PKK militants had
been buried, were discovered in Tatvan, Bitlis province. Sculls,
"Mekap"-brand shoes used by PKK militants, and military uniforms
were found in the graves dating from 1994. 13 PKK militants were
found in a grave in the Kender Mountains, and 19 others in a
grave in the Bindaki Mountains. Three villagers anonymously said
the militants buried in the Kender Mountains were arrested by
soldiers, and were shot execution-style with their hands behind
their backs.

EVRENSEL, ULKEDE OZGUR GUNDEM: Approximately 400 villagers from
the Sinan village of Bismil township, Diyarbakir province,
undertook a demonstration against the landlord "agha," who they
claimed had taken their land by fraud. Currently the villagers
are working as share-croppers for the Istanbul resident agha,
Cengiz Sinanli, who said his family inherited approximately
13,750 acres in Sinan village about 100 years ago. Sinanli said
he was charging villagers a nominal fee for cultivating the
land. Villagers, who were displaying Turkish flags, carried
banners stating "We do not want the agha system" and "The land
belongs to us, and will belong to us." The Jandarma watched the
demonstrators from distance without intervening.

CUMHURIYET: The Kurdish Language School in Diyarbakir was opened
yesterday. The Diyarbakir National Education Directorate (DNED)
warned the school authorities that its sign resembled PKK-Kongra
Gel's colors. In addition to the school's sign, which was
written with yellow letters on a black background, a yellow,
green, and red-colored sign was also hung in the building. The
DNED officials warned the school administration that the second
sign they had hung was in opposition to the regulations, but the
school administration responded that they had put it up for
advertisement purposes, and would not take it down because it
was not against any laws. The Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir,
the Batman Mayor Huseyin Kalkan, and various other mayors
attended the opening ceremony.

ULKEDE OZGUR GUNDEM: In Cizre, Sirnak province, a group of 300
DEHAP members gathered in DEHAP's district office. Later, five
persons from the crowd delivered 5,540 petitions to the Cizre
Sub-governor's office advocating "freedom for Ocalan" and an end
to the ongoing military operations in the region. In Mazidag,
Mardin province, a similar action was undertaken. Two persons
delivered 342 petitions with the same content to the Mazidagi
Sub-governor's office.

ULKEDE OZGUR GUNDEM: Kurdistan Ozgurluk Sahinleri
(TAK-Teyrabazen Azadiya Kurdistan - Hawks for Freedom of
Kurdistan) took responsibility for the August 20 attack at the
Organized Industrial Zone in Ikitelli of Istanbul; the August 17
attack at a beach in Bodrum; and the August 8 and July 29
attacks in Mersin. TAK stated that it would mount its attacks
against Turkey unless it gave up its false policies toward the
Kurdish issue. TAK also warned tourists vacationing in Turkey to
return their homes because they were providing financial
resources to the Turkish Government.

ULKEDE OZGUR GUNDEM: In Adana, Meral Turkmen, a former employee
of the Akdeniz Kultur Merkezi, claimed that she was kidnapped by
four unidentified persons on August 14. She said that four
persons forced her to ride in a Mercedes vehicle, and that they
folded her hands and eyes and taped her mouth. She claimed that
the kidnappers constantly told her that her father was a
terrorist, and that he was recruiting for the PKK. She said that
they forced her to accept becoming an informer for them because
they said she was familiar with all the Kurdish institutions.

ULKEDE OZGUR GUNDEM: In Batman, five persons who were detained
on August 20 while driving from Diyarbakir to Batman, were
imprisoned on the charges of "recruiting for the organization,
and undertaking actions on behalf of the organization." [Note:
the "organization" was not specified in the article. End note.]
Separately, working on a tip, police from the Batman
Anti-Terror Department arrested two persons. The court ordered
the suspects to be imprisoned for being members of an outlawed

HURRIYET: GOT forces launched an intensive operation against the
PKK-Kongra Gel militants in rural Sirnak. Village guards have
been deployed on the dominant hills and in Misiri, Tames,
Akarsu, and Kumcati routes, which militants use for infiltrating
into Turkey from Iraq. The GOT operation, which started four
days ago in the Cudi and Gabbar Mountains, has been shifted to
the Besta region. 5,000 soldiers have been participating in the
operation, and Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) are constantly
patrolling in the area.

BOLGE, TURKIYE: Working on a tip, the Mersin Anti-smuggling and
Organized Crimes police seized 12 tons of cigarettes smuggled
from Cyprus. Five persons having connections with the matter
were detained.


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