Cablegate: Tip in Turkey: Media Attention, September 15-30,
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 ANKARA 005708
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, SEPTEMBER 15-30,
1. (U) In response to G/TIP inquiries about anti-TIP
public information campaigns, post provides as examples the
following TIP press reports. Text of articles originally
published in Turkish is provided through unofficial local
2. (U) Published September 27, 2004 by the Anatolian News
TITLE: Turkish Parliament Passes Major Reform Sought By
BEGIN TEXT: ANKARA - Turkish lawmakers adopted a far-
reaching penal code reform, clearing a major obstacle
to the country's bid to start accession talks with the
Parliament speaker Bulent Arinc said the bill was
adopted after a show of hands, at the end of an
emergency debate called by the government just days
before the European Commission issues a crucial report
on Turkey`s democratization progress on October 6.
The law, which amends Turkey`s 78-year-old penal code,
is widely seen as the last legal reform required to
align Turkish legislation with basic EU political
norms, set as a condition for the opening of membership
talks with candidate nations.
Lawmakers were recalled from summer recess for Sunday`s
session after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
agreed to drop plans to criminalize adultery in talks
with EU officials in Brussels on Thursday, ending a
week of crisis with the EU.
The government had shelved the bill last week amid a
row with Brussels on whether adultery should be made a
The new penal code expands freedom of expression,
grants greater individual freedoms and increases
penalties for rights abusers and torturers.
In another major step, it introduces life terms for
perpetrators of "honor killings," the feudal practice
of killing women perceived as unvirtous, which still
persists mainly in the rural southeast.
Other amendments bring jail terms for the sexual
molestation of children, the trafficking of human
organs and the pollution of the environment.
Even though the legislation has generallly been
welcomed as a step forward towards gender equality,
women`s groups have slammed several amendments on
grounds that they are still discriminatory.
Critics say the draft fails to totally ban virginity
tests, maintains an article that could be used to
reduce the sentences of perpetrators of "honor
killings" and punishes consensual sex between minors.
The president now has to ratify the law.
It will take effect on April 1, 2005, barring a few
provisions, which will come into force earlier or
The lawmakers also adopted two other bills related to
the penal code.
3. (U) Published September 26, 2004 by the Turkish language
Anatolian News Agency:
TITLE: Turkish parliament votes for new penal code
BEGIN TEXT: ANKARA - Turkey's parliament has approved
legal reforms that could strengthen Ankara's case for
joining the European Union.
The passing of a new penal code brings to a close two
years of criminal and civil law reform. The package
includes sweeping reforms to improve women1s rights,
tougher penalties for torture, as well as greater
minority and religious rights.
Turkey's human rights record has been a major stumbling
block to its EU aspirations.
Some of the most heated debates over this reform
package centered on a proposal to make adultery a
crime; there's no such law in any of the 25 EU member
The controversial plan was dropped following intense
pressure from Europe.
The European Commission had advised the UE not to renew
membership talks with Turkey until it overhauls its 78-
year-old penal code.
The commission is due to present a report on Oct. 6 on
whether Turkey has met the criteria set by the EU.
Reforms to the mostly Muslim country's penal code
- Clauses on genocide, crimes against humanity and
- Stronger laws against rape and so-called
"honour" crimes against women deemed to have
disgraced their families.
- More severe punishments for rapists, pedophiles,
human traffickers and women who kill children born
out of wedlock.
- It also recognises rape in marriage and sexual
harassment as crimes.
EU leaders are expected to make a final decision at a
summit in December on whether to start membership talks
with Turkey. END TEXT.
4. (U) Published September 23, 2004 by Swissinfo, Francoise
TITLE: Europol accord sparks data protection fears
BEGIN TEXT: The Swiss government is hailing this
Friday's signing of a cooperation agreement with
Europol as an important step forward in the fight
against organised crime.
But concerns have been raised in Switzerland over the
effectiveness of the body and its ability to ensure
Under its European Union mandate, Europol assists
member states in preventing and fighting serious crimes
including human trafficking, drug trafficking,
terrorism and money laundering.
Its tasks are to facilitate the exchange of information
between countries, to perform operational and strategic
analyses, and to provide expertise and technical
support for investigations.
The Europol Computer System, based in The Hague in the
Netherlands, is vast.
A centralised information system stores data on persons
already convicted of a crime or thought likely to
commit crimes in the future, while a second system
There is a third system for exchanging Europol
information with police forces in non-EU countries,
such as Canada, Switzerland and Turkey.
According to Jean-Philippe Walter, the federal officer
responsible for data protection, the Europol Convention
covers provisions regulating the processing of
information and data protection.
"Europol is regulated by a convention which contains a
whole series of measures to ensure data protection," he
"Having myself had the opportunity to meet top Europol
officials, I can state that the data protection
requirements often go beyond those enshrined in Swiss
But Heinrich Busch, a political scientist and expert on
policing issues, is far from convinced.
"I have no doubt about it: where data protection is
concerned, Europol is a real danger," he told
"Europol's record-keeping capacity is impressive, but
in my opinion it openly contradicts the principle of
people's fundamental right to privacy," he added.
"And faced with this information factory, the citizen
is virtually defenceless. On paper, for instance,
Europol guarantees a right of consultation, but in
reality this is an impossibility."
A person wanting to consult his or her personal file
must first approach the police in their country of
origin, which in turn has to ask all the other Europol
police forces for authorisation to access the
information they hold.
Busch says the sheer size of the Europol's information
gathering operation is also a problem.
"The number of persons on whom it keeps records is so
high that effective investigation seems unlikely," he
Aside from fears over data protection, there are also
concerns that Europol could become a kind of European
The agency denies this, insisting it is a "support
service" rather than a front-line crime-fighting unit.
"From what I know of the matter, talk of a European FBI
is an exaggeration," said Walter. "It is true that
Europol has certain ambitions, but the structures are
"First of all, the FBI is an organisation belonging to
a single country, while Europol is a multilateral body,
in which each member state jealously safeguards its own
prerogatives. This is why Europol has fewer powers than
was originally envisaged."
Europol is not, however, the only EU information
system. The Schengen agreement on cross-border crime
also plays a monitoring role which is of interest to
However, the agreement governing Swiss participation,
though already signed, still has to be ratified by
The rightwing Swiss People's Party has threatened a
referendum over Schengen, fearing the loss of Swiss
independence and seeing it as another step towards EU
"The Swiss People's Party has nothing against
Switzerland signing the Europol agreement," explained
spokesman Roman J gi.
"It is an agreement between European police forces
which, in our opinion, is bound to help improve
security in Switzerland and in Europe generally.
"Schengen, though, is quite a different matter."
Swissinfo / Neue Zrcher Zeitung END TEXT.
5. (U) Published September 23, 2004 by the Turkish language
BEGIN TEXT: Fourteen out of 18 "slave villagers" who
were mostly minors and were subject to forced labor in
Arslanli village of Kozan town of Adana, were handed
over to their families. Four farmers who were placed
in a "house for elders" wanted compensation from their
enslavers. Saban Sezer, who started working as a
teaman in the house for elders, said his enslavers owe
him 2 billion Turkish Lira and that he will not go
without getting his money. Hasan Tatar, Ali Sag and
Omer (last name not known) also said that they would
not leave without getting their money. END TEXT.
6. (U) Published September 22, 2004 by the Turkish language
Anatolian News Agency:
Turkish Jandarma reports that in an operation conducted
after a tipoff, four villagers in Imamoglu and Kozan
near Adana were detained for forcing four minors (two
from Arslanli village of Kozan, one from Ayvali and one
from Sokutasi villages of Imamoglu town) into labor.
Officials said that detainees were interrogated and
four other villagers also testified. The officials
also noted that after last week's operation in Kozan
town of Adana which involved forced labor of 18 people
(including 3 minors), they have been receiving
information about additional forced labor operations.
Investigations are underway. The court arrested eleven
people who were detained in the September 16 operation
7. (U) Published September 22, 2004 by the Athens
Elevtherotipia in Greek:
TITLE: Greek Ship-owners Indicted for Engaging in Human
Trafficking Ring; [Report by Th. Lambropoulos:
"Prosecution of Two Ship-owners Transporting Illegal
Immigrants to Italy"]
BEGIN FBIS TRANSLATED TEXT: The Pireaivs Attorney
General's Offices criminally prosecuted for "illegal
transport of illegal immigrants," "formation and
participation in a gang," and "repeated forgery" ship-
owners Anastasios and Konstandinos Mavromattis and
their attorney Anna Gouma, who, according to the
Italian judicial authorities, are the "brains" of an
illegal ring trafficking illegal immigrants to the
The procedure for the immediate intervention of the
Greek justice began a few days ago after Genoa Attorney
General Francesca Nani issued an arrest warrant for the
two Greek ship-owners and their attorney, for
"trafficking with their nine commercial ships more than
10,000 illegal immigrants."
According to reports in the Italian press, Anastasios
Mavrommatis and his son Konstandinos were taking the
illegal immigrants from the Turkish shores, receiving
_1,200-2,000 and upon the immigrants' disembarkation
from the vessels they were supplying them with forged
naval documents to avoid customs controls. The
illegal immigrants would then take a train to Holland
Moreover, the Italian authorities claim that possibly
other Greek ship-owners participated in the illegal
ring, in addition to the two Greeks who appear to be
owners of the naval company "Lord Marine" and of a
small fleet of vessels.
Currently, the Pireaivs Attorney General's office is
examining this version of the Italian authorities (they
had requested the cooperation of the Port Corps since
the beginning of 2004 after the Sentinel vessel was
spotted and stopped). The file of proceedings was
conveyed to the magistrates who are expected to ask the
defendants for interrogation soon.
According to information, the Port Security officers
have been investigating the files of many cases
connected with illegal trafficking, since 2002. END
8. (U) Published September 20, 2004 by the Anatolian News
Security Forces Arrest 36 Illegal Migrants In Mus
MUS - Security forces detained in eastern city of Mus
36 foreigners who had entered Turkey illegally.
During a routine check on the Malazgirt-Patnos highway,
security forces arrested the migrants of Iraqi,
Moroccan and Afghan origin in a van.
They were taken into custody for violating Turkish
borders and passport law.
The migrants will be deported once the legal
proceedings are completed. END TEXT.
9. (U) Published September 17, 2004 by the Turkish Language
Anatolian News Agency:
TITLE: Turkish Police Arrest 579 Illegal Migrants In
BEGIN TEXT: ISTANBUL - Turkish police arrested 579
illegal migrants in Istanbul in the last one week,
sources said on Friday.
Sources told A.A correspondent that the captured
illegal migrants were of Pakistani, Afghan, Indian,
Bangladeshi, Iraqi and Palestinian origins who entered
The same sources said that 379 of the illegal migrants
were deported, and work was under way to deport the
other 200. END TEXT.
10. (U) Published September 17, 2004 by the Turkish language
BEGIN TEXT: Police found 19 handicapped people working
as slaves for landlords in a southern province of
Adana. Each of the handicapped people was taken from
the streets and sold to landlords for just $330. END
11. (U) Published September 16, 2004 by the Turkish language
Anatolian News Agency:
TITLE: 5TH REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON MIGRATION TO BE HELD
BEGIN TEXT: ANKARA (A.A) - The 5th Regional Conference
on Migration organized by the Council of Europe (COE)
will be held in Istanbul between September 30th and
Sources said on Wednesday that the venue of the
conference would be Conrad Hotel, and gave the
following information regarding the participating
-10 transition countries: Albania, Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Poland,
Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia and Ukraine,
-Six target countries: Norway, France, Germany,
Britain, Greece and Spain,
-Nine countries, not members of COE: Afghanistan,
Belarus, Bangladesh, China, Libya, India,
Pakistan, Egypt and Morocco,
-Three countries from which people migrate:
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Nearly 60 participants from international
organizations, universities, nongovernmental
organizations and COE Parliamentary Assembly are
expected to attend the conference.
Turkish Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu and COE
Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio will
jointly open the conference.
Turkey, which is located in a region with a high flow
of migrants, has earlier offered to host the 5th
Regional Conference on Migration, sources added. END
12. (U) Published September 16, 2004 by the Turkish language
Anatolian News Agency:
TITLE: TURKISH POLICE DETAIN 24 ILLEGAL MIGRANTS IN
BEGIN TEXT: CALDIRAN (A.A) - Turkish police arrested 24
illegal migrants in eastern city of Van, sources said
Acting on a tip-off, police launched an operation in
Beyazit neighborhood of Caldiran township and detained
24 illegal migrants of Afghan and Pakistani origin who
entered Turkey clandestinely.
Illegal migrants will be deported after legal
procedures. END TEXT.
13. (U) Published September 16, 2004 by the Turkish language
Anatolian News Agency:
TITLE: TURKISH GENDARMERY DETAINS 20 ILLEGAL MIGRANTS
BEGIN TEXT: ANTAKYA (A.A) - 15.09.2004 - Turkish
gendarmery detained 20 illegal migrants in southern
city of Hatay, sources said on Wednesday.
Gendarmery launched an operation in Asagi Pulluyazi
village of Yayladag township and arrested 20 illegal
migrants of Somali, Egyptian and Sudanese origin who
entered Turkey clandestinely.
Illegal migrants will be deported after legal
procedures. END TEXT.
14. (U) Published September 16, 2004 by Reuters News
TITLE: Turkish women look to EU for better lives.
BEGIN TEXT: SANLIURFA, Turkey, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The
girls labouring in the cotton fields on the outskirts
of the southeast Turkish city of Sanliurfa cannot read
a newspaper, but they are pinning their hopes of a
better life on Turkey's EU membership drive.
Her face weathered by a scorching sun, her hands
calloused, 16-year-old Zahide says she is old before
her time. She never went to school and had given up
dreams of learning a trade.
"The European Union would not permit us to work like
this. We would study," she says, toiling from sunrise
to sunset during the two-month harvest with four of her
EU leaders will decide in December whether to open
accession talks with this populous Muslim nation, and
diplomats say women's rights will be one issue the
European Commission pays attention to in an Oct. 6
report on Turkey's entry bid.
"For the EU, gender inequality in Turkey is a concern,"
one EU diplomat said. "While it's very difficult to
change, since it is a question of mentality and
tradition ... the government has not taken full
responsibility for promoting change."
Turkish women do enjoy greater freedoms than those in
many other Muslim nations. For decades they have had
the right to vote, access to education and the right to
divorce. Turks even elected a female prime minister in
Some are corporate executives, university rectors and
heads of bar associations and many in wealthier western
Turkey emulate their European counterparts in dress and
choice of profession.
Yet the constitution does not enshrine gender equality,
and poverty and entrenched values mean equal treatment
Religious tradition, especially in conservative cities
like Sanliurfa, often means girls as young as 12 are
married off. Amnesty International says up to half of
women face domestic abuse in a "culture of violence".
The U.N. children's agency UNICEF says 600,000 fewer
girls than boys attend school and a third of women are
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a
conservative movement with Islamist roots, has enacted
political and human rights reforms aimed at winning a
date for EU talks.
The last major piece of the reform jigsaw is an
overhaul of the penal code designed to bring it into
line with EU norms. The reforms, which include a number
of measures aimed specifically at improving women's
rights, are being debated in parliament this week and
are likely to be approved at the weekend.
They include stiffer penalties for rape, including rape
within marriage, and for so-called honour killings -
the murder of women by male relatives to protect the
The package has been overshadowed by a government plan
to outlaw adultery. The AKP says the proposal, which
was shelved but could return to parliament, would
protect women, but it enraged women's groups and
prompted EU disapproval.
Some activists have also said the current reforms do
not go far enough. They accuse the government of
lacking full commitment to equality and acting only
under EU pressure.
"The EU process has had an enormous effect on us. Women
are waking up. But there is a long way to go before
women in Sanliurfa understand they have rights," said
Devran Melik, a lawyer and head of a local women's
Still, girls like Zahide working in the country's
fields believe it could change their fathers' minds and
even convince them to send their daughters to school.
15. (U) Published September 16, 2004 by the Washington
TITLE: Turkey and the EU
BEGIN TEXT: Turkey has denied Islamo-phobic Europeans
an excuse to deny or delay its European Union entry
talks. On Tuesday, Ankara decided to shelve a proposed
law criminalizing adultery - a move which will make it
more difficult for the EU to turn down Turkey. This is
fortunate, since Turkey's admission is central to
American and European interests.
Turkey has proposed a slew of laws to reform its 78-
year-old penal code. The package includes stiffer
punishment for crimes such as rape, sexual assault,
human trafficking, torture and pedophilia. The
legislation also recognizes rape in marriage and sexual
harassment as crimes, and will make it easier to
prosecute so-called honor killings. Before the
government dropped the proposal, the package also
included legislation criminalizing adultery - which
caused a furor in Europe. That furor comes at a very
bad time for Turkey. On Oct. 6, the European Commission
is to decide whether to recommend a date for Turkey's
That date, therefore, is broadly significant to the
international community. Inasmuch as Turkey is a
cultural and geographic bridge between East and West,
it can serve as a bulwark against a potential clash of
civilizations. Turkey's eventual entry into the
European Union would mark a merger of predominantly
Christian and Muslim worlds. This would help counter
the growing concern that a large-scale clash between
Christian and Muslim nations is inevitable. Also,
Turkey, long a force for moderation in the Muslim
world, would rise in prominence - a welcome prospect.
There is, however, widespread apprehension in Europe
about Turkey eventually becoming an EU member - much of
which is unadulterated ethnic bigotry. Much of the
uproar over the Turkish adultery legislation appeared
to have an ulterior motive: delaying the start of
formal EU-accession talks with Turkey. Some of Europe's
objections over Turkey, however, are clearly cultural.
Many European countries are becoming fairly dogmatic
about establishing sweeping secularism, even when it
infringes on freedom of religious expression. But
Europe is divided on the question of secularism, with
more traditional countries keen on maintaining a
Much of Europe's criticism of the adultery law was
heavy-handed, in particular charges it would lead to so-
called honor killings. All the same, Ankara was wise to
scrap the legislation. But given the fact that Turkey
has been kept waiting at the EU altar for some time,
Europe is obliged to go the extra mile to play fair.
16. (U) Published September 10, 2004 by the Anatolian News
TITLE: Turkish Police Arrest 100 Illegal Migrants In
BEGIN TEXT: ISTANBUL - Turkish police arrested 100
illegal migrants in Istanbul, sources said on Thursday.
Sources said that police, acting on a tip-off, raided
on a building in Istanbul`s Kagithane neighborhood, and
detained about 100 illegal migrants who entered Turkey
Among the captured, there were Pakistanis, Afghans and
Bangladeshis, the sources noted.
The sources said that efforts were under way to capture
people who aided the illegal migrants, adding that the
illegal migrants would be deported once the legal
proceedings were completed. END TEXT.
17. (U) Published September 5, 2004 by the Anatolian News
TITLE: Turkey says stopped half million migrants in
last five years
BEGIN TEXT: Nearly half a million illegal migrants,
many seeking a better life in the European Union, have
been intercepted in Turkey in the past five years,
Anatolia news agency quoted Turkish Interior Minister
Abdulkadir Aksu as saying on Sunday.
About 3,000 traffickers have also been rounded during
the several hundred operations conducted during the
period, Aksu said.
He said the introduction of tougher laws on clandestine
immigration had forced trafficking networks to change
Turkey is a major hub for migrants, many from Asia,
trying to reach neighbouring Greece or Italy, either by
land or crammed into boats that are often barely
Illegal migrants are arrested almost daily in the
country, which spans Asia and Europe.
On Saturday police detained 48 Pakistanis at a house in
the Asian part of Istanbul, all hoping to reach Greece.
Anatolia said they would be questioned and deported.