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Cablegate: Anxious Southeast Turkey Ponders Eu Integration in The

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

UNCLAS ADANA 000169

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NOT FOR INTERNET DISTIBUTION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV TU ADANA
SUBJECT: ANXIOUS SOUTHEAST TURKEY PONDERS EU INTEGRATION IN THE
BALANCE

REF: ANKARA 5932

1.(SBU) Summary: Contacts throughout Turkey's Kurdish
southeastern provinces are very anxious as Turkey's EU
integration hangs in the balance. Many are looking over their
shoulders at recurring, low-scale regional violence and rising
nationalism, fearing renewed wider sectarian violence should the
EU integration process not provide a way to break the regional
rhythm of action and reaction between the PKK and GoT security
forces. End Summary.

2.(SBU) AMCON Adana traveled throughout southeast Turkey from
September 26 to October 1, visiting Diyarbakir twice and ranging
as far as Hakkari, the southeastern most and poorest Turkish
province, where the military is engaged in open conflict with
the PKK. The mood about the EU process among contacts was
downbeat and very nervous. Many contacts described the initial
optimism created by PM Erdogan's naming of the Kurdish issue in
his August 12 Diyarbakir speech being strongly diluted by TGS
CHOD Hilmi Ozkok's September 11-14 southeastern Turkey speaking
engagements emphasizing "unity and solidarity" in the face of
"provocations" and "the dangers of ethnic nationalism" (Note:
Ozkok spoke in Van, Diyarbakir and Adana all in an approximately
one week SE regional tour. End Note.)

3.(SBU) "Politically, we are at a stalemate. Erdogan leaned
forward and Ozkok pulled us back. The (state elites) do not
want democratization to happen like this. They want social and
economic development (for southeast Turkey), but no political
development," one longtime human right contact described.
Another contact said that "southeastern Turkey, without a major
consistent outside pressure like the EU process, is paralyzed
between the opposing pressures from the conservative Kemalist
elements of the GoT and equally unrelenting Kurdish
nationalists."

4.(SBU) Many contacts said that the situation, which is already
punctuated by what they called "calculated violence by both the
(GoT) and PKK," easily could drift back into heavier sectarian
conflict without the lure of the EU process to channel momentum
toward democratization and reconciliation. In fact, contacts
in Hakkari and Van reported flows of dozens of new recruits
heading to join the PKK from border provinces like Hakkari and
Sirnak. AMCON Adana meetings with the new Kurdish party, the
Democratic Society Movement, also revealed no movement away from
its previous pro-PKK positions. Additionally, in the last two
weeks, there have been over a dozen clashes involving multiple
fatalities, serious non-lethal casualties, controlled bomb
incidents or narrowly averted bomb attacks in Van, Hakkari,
Sirnak, Erzincan and Bingol.

5.(SBU) Despite later endorsement by the pro-Kurdish mayor,
Diyarbakir civil society contacts also were very suspicious that
their planned October 2 several hundred thousand-strong "Yes to
the EU" rally in Diyarbakir was cancelled by the provincial
governor, primarily since its nationalist, anti-EU counterpart
rally was allowed to continue in Ankara. "Nationalists are on
the offensive now," several contacts said, warning that current
anti-EU sentiment could quickly transform into Turkish-Kurdish
ethnic conflicts in mixed provinces like Adana, Mersin and
Izmir, where the nationalist MHP is amply supported.

6. (SBU) Comment: AMCON Adana's contacts in predominantly
Kurdish southeastern Turkey, after years of conflict and empty
promises, often can tend toward gloomy prognosis, but their
current tone still bears serious consideration. The momentum
toward conflict in Turkey's southeastern provinces which they
comment has been building since Spring 2005 is not irreversible,
but it is troubling. Despite Prime Minster Erdogan's stated
commitment to reform no matter what the EU path may yield,
absent an EU process to anchor Turkey's reform process and buoy
the AK Party's advocacy of specific implementation steps, the
region's predominantly Kurdish population could suffer a serious
loss of confidence in the overall GoT commitment to the
meaningful political reform which they have been awaiting.
Faced with such a psychological setback, voices for moderation
in the small Kurdish civil society seriously risk being drowned
out by nationalist, generally pro-PKK Kurds. End Comment.

7.(SBU) Baghdad minimize considered.

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