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Cablegate: Tip in Turkey: Media Attention, September 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 05 ANKARA 005750

SIPDIS

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 2004


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
FSN translation.

2. (U) Published September 28, 2004 by the Anatolian News
Agency:

TITLE: Aksu: International Community Comprehends
Importance Of Fight Against Transborder Crimes

BEGIN TEXT: ISTANBUL - Turkish Interior Minister
Abdulkadir Aksu said that international community
comprehended the importance of fight against
"transborder crimes".

The conference "International Initiative Against
Smuggling of Drugs and Money Laundering," organized by
Turkish Police Department and Drug Enforcement Agency
(DEA) of the United States, started today at the
Istanbul Hilton Hotel.

Making opening remarks of the conference, minister Aksu
said that Turkey hosted a conference on fight against
drug smuggling for the second time in the last two
months.

Stating that those who committed crimes beyond borders
use high technology, Aksu said that they noticed that
crime organizations use more sophisticated methods as
technology progress. Aksu stressed that Turkey has been
exerting efforts to fight against drug smuggling for
years by using the most advanced technology.

Stating that Turkish government aimed to strengthen
infrastructure and institutionalize the fight against
crimes, he noted that they expected security forces to
be more professional in fight against drug trafficking.

"Crime is a universal concept. It does not have
nationality, religion, race or border. Fight against
drug smuggling should also be universal. Success
achieved in this area should be perceived as a success
of international community. Countries should support
each other," he stressed.

Aksu said that Turkish government supported
coordination between Turkish security department and
departments of other countries, noting that they
expected other countries to assume a similar approach.

Noting that Turkey's International Academy against
Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) was established with
the cooperation of the UN, Aksu said that Turkey shared
its information and experience in fight against illicit
drug trafficking and organized crimes with regional
countries through TADOC.

Aksu said that Turkish police confiscated 5 tons of
heroin in 2003 and 6.8 tons of heroin in 2004, noting
that the increase in the amount of heroin seized by the
police demonstrates efforts deployed by Turkish
security forces and high tech techniques used against
drug smugglers.

-CONFERENCE-

Nearly 100 people from Afghanistan, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, India,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Romania, Russia,
Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Britain, the
United States and Uzbekistan are attending the
conference. (E-ULG) 28.09.2004 END TEXT.

3. (U) Published September 26, 2004 by Bloomberg News
Agency:

TITLE: Turkey Approves Penal Code in Step Towards EU
Talks (Update1)

BEGIN TEXT: Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey's parliament
passed a revamped penal code that widens freedom of
speech and stiffens punishment for torture, a step the
European Commission said was needed to win membership
talks with the European Union.


The code, delayed amid a fight between lawmakers over a
proposed ban on adultery, means the commission can
recommend on Oct. 6 that talks with Turkey start. The
EU will make the final decision at a summit in
December.

``The penal code is of the greatest importance, because
it strengthens the rights of our citizens and the
nation's case for becoming a member of the European
Union,'' Justice Minister Cemil Cicek told parliament
after the law was approved.

Turkey, whose population of 70 million is almost 100
percent Muslim, says the start of membership talks will
draw in foreign investment and help it tackle $208
billion in debt, equivalent to about 70 percent of its
economic output.

The new code was approved by a show of hands,
parliament speaker Bulent Arinc said in televised
comments to the 550-seat assembly. Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan three days ago called on lawmakers to
complete the legislation after a meeting in Brussels
with EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen.

Verheugen declared there were ``no more obstacles'' to
Turkey starting membership talks after Erdogan promised
to press ahead with the penal code and drop plans to
outlaw extramarital affairs, a measure the EU said
didn't meet its standards for human rights and
individual freedoms.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer must approve the
legislation before it becomes law.

Heavier Sentences

The penal code introduces heavier sentences for torture
and life imprisonment for ``honor killings,'' a feudal
system of punishment for women considered to have
blackened the name of their families through unvirtuous
acts. It also reduces restrictions on freedom of
speech, including the criticism of state institutions.

The law will bring longer jail terms for drug smuggling
and human trafficking. It also strengthens equality of
the sexes, increases jail terms for child molesting and
will make polluting the environment a crime punishable
by imprisonment.

Politicians including British Prime Minister Tony Blair
say the EU mustn't turn its back on a nation that's
both Muslim and democratic. Germany's main opposition
Christian Democrats oppose Turkey's membership, saying
the nation isn't sufficiently European in terms of
culture, history and geography.

Turkey, which borders Iraq, Iran and Syria, became a
candidate for membership of the EU in 1999. EU leaders
including French President Jacques Chirac say it may be
15 years before Turkey joins the 25-nation bloc.

Law Critics

The European Union has asked Turkey to reform its
judicial system, which it says is under-funded and
often based on outdated legislation. The original penal
code was copied from Benito Mussolini's Italy in 1926.

Critics of the new penal code say it doesn't do enough
to strengthen women's rights and leaves some curbs on
freedom of expression, including measures restricting
press freedom. It also punishes sex between minors with
jail sentences and doesn't mention homosexuality at
all, critics say.

The penal code will enter force on April 1, barring a
few articles on illegal housing and the environment,
which will become law either earlier or later than
April.

The EU and the U.S. praised Turkey after it scaled back
the army's role in political life, expanded cultural
rights for its 12 million Kurds and backed an abortive
United Nations plan to reunite Cyprus.
Opposition Within EU

Turkey faces pockets of opposition to its membership in
the EU, which is struggling with the costs of admitting
10 countries including seven ex-Soviet satellites this
year. Once the talks are over, any one country could
still vote to keep Turkey out.

Due to Turkey's higher birthrate, Turkey would end up
with 20 percent of the votes on EU laws by 2025, ahead
of Germany's 14 percent and France's 12 percent,
Jacques Toubon, a leader of the conservative group in
the European Parliament, said this week.

About 71 percent of Turks support EU membership, a
higher proportion of the population than in candidates
Bulgaria and Romania, the Eurobarometer survey, a
regular poll of public opinion published by the
European Commission, said in May.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Mark Bentley in Ankara at mbentley3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Catherine Hickley at chickley@bloomberg.net. END TEXT.

4. (U) Published September 24, 2004 by the Anatolian News
Agency:

TITLE: Trafficking, Calls On Nations To Do More

BEGIN TEXT: HELSINKI, Sept 24 (AFP) - An OSCE-sponsored
conference on improving human rights protection for
trafficking victims concluded here Friday by calling on
governments around the world to do more to stop the
smuggling and exploitation of people.

"All countries can do more. It's different from country
to country. Every country has its own specific
situation, but there is not one country that could not
do more," said Christian Strohal, director of the
Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE)'s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights.

According to OSCE estimates, hundreds of thousands of
people, most of them women and girls, are trafficked in
Europe every year in what is a billion-euro (dollar)
illegal industry.

"It is important that we realize that the reality of
trafficking changes constantly and that we react to
it," said Madeleine Rees, Head of the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights' office in Bosnia
Herzegovina.

The two-day meeting, which was hosted by the Finnish
government, concluded on Friday with a list of
recommendations to OSCE member countries.

The 55 states should respect their obligations to
protect the human rights of trafficking victims and
should broaden the cooperation between authorities,
organizations and civil society to better assist them,
the organization said.

"We need the necessary legislation, we need the
necessary capacity, and law enforcement agencies have
to realize that they are dealing with a victim and not
a criminal," Strohal told AFP in an interview.

During the meeting, representatives of governments and
international organizations highlighted the need to
better identify trafficking victims and to offer those
victims more protection and easier social integration.
In addition, gender equality and the fight against
prejudice needed to be strengthened around the world,
they said.

In short, countries need to create a social safety net
for the victims, as well as witness protection programs
for victims who choose to testify against the
traffickers, Strohal said.
"What we have learned here is that there is no
contradiction between law enforcement and protecting
the human rights of victims of trafficking. On the
contrary, they strengthen each other," said Johanna
Suurpaeae, director of human rights affairs at the
Finnish foreign ministry.

Only through protecting the victims is it possible to
produce witnesses willing to testify against the
traffickers, Baerbel Uhl, an OSCE expert on the issue,
said.

The conference, which gathered 150 international
experts and national representatives, was part of an
ongoing OSCE campaign to strengthen the protection of
trafficking victims. END TEXT.
5. (U) Published September 24, 2004 by the Associated Press:

TITLE: Western Balkan countries strengthen
institutional cooperation in fighting organized crime

BEGIN TEXT: TIRANA, Albania - Western Balkan countries
agreed Friday to step up and institutionalize their
cooperation in the fight against organized crime and
corruption.

A resolution adopted at the one-day meeting also
attended by Western delegates committed the seven
participating Balkan governments "to facilitate
operational cooperation and data coordination" and to
promote effective cooperation between police, customs,
judges and prosecutors in the countries concerned.

Albania's Justice Minister Fatmir Xhafaj, the
conference host, said there was broad agreement that
"organized crime has a transnational character" and the
fight against it calls for bilateral and multilateral
cooperation.

Justice ministers and other officials from Albania,
Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia,
Bulgaria and Romania were joined by senior officials
from Italy, Greece, Austria, Turkey and delegates from
the United Nations mission in Kosovo, the Council of
Europe and the European Union.

Participants agreed to reinforce cooperation and
develop strategies to better combat organized crime and
corruption, including adoption of laws on the
extradition of suspects and confiscation of their
property, improvement of prison conditions and
cooperation with EU bodies, the resolution said.

The resolution did not specify how exactly the regional
system of crime prevention would work or give a
timetable for it to be institutionalized.

Lutz Salzmann, head of the Delegation of the European
Commission in Tirana, said the conference was another
step in the Balkans nations' fight against organized
crime and corruption _ "two persistent phenomena that
so much hamper not just their process of integration
into the EU, but their overall social and economic
development and their own citizens' well-being."

Speaking of a new regional partnership to fight
organized crime and corruption, he said the western
Balkan countries showed "their political commitment to
eradicate these extremely harmful phenomena from their
societies and economies."

The Balkans have seen a rise in organized crime,
including human, weapons and drug trafficking,
resulting from recent wars, porous borders and a lack
of law and order during the post-communist period. END
TEXT.

EDELMAN

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