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Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for June 21, 2006

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R 220506Z JUN 06
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RUEUITH/AFOSI DET 521 ANKARA TU
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR JUNE 21, 2006

This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for June 21, 2006.
Please note that Turkish press reports often contain errors or
exaggerations; AmConsulate Adana does not vouch for the accuracy
of the reports summarized here.

POLITICAL, SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS

RADIKAL / HURRIYET / CUMHURIYET: Heavy penalties have been
given to non-commissioned officers who were being tried at Van's
Third Heavy Penalty Court because of the Semdinli bombing. The
jurors required the defendants to provide their last defense
statements after reportedly overturning all the demands of the
defendants' attorneys. The defendants have been sentenced to
one year and eleven months for founding an illegal gang, to
twenty-five years in prison for killing Zahir Korkmaz (in the
Semdinli bombing), to twelve years in prison for attempting to
kill Seferi Yilmaz (the bombed bookstore owner), and, to six
months in prison for wounding Metin Korkmaz. The jurors
unanimously decided to sentence the defendants to a total of
thirty-nine years and five months and five days in prison. The
third defendant Veysel Ates's case has been separated since
Ates's attorney did not attend the hearing, and the court will
give verdict about him on August 3. During the Semdinli trial
yesterday, the defendants reportedly struggled to prolong the
trial and delay the verdict. The defendants' attorneys claimed
that the presiding judge had lost his impartiality and based
such a claim on a news article Ozgur Gundem daily published
before the June 19 trial day. That article was reporting as if
it was definite that a verdict would come out of the third
hearing, if not; it would come out of the fourth one, according
to the daily. During the case the defendants' attorneys
demanded the presiding judge withdraw himself from the case
because of that. (This article is from 06/20 editions)

HURRIYET: Hurriyet daily points out today that Ozgur Gundem
daily had reported clearly before the third (June 13) and fourth
hearing (June 19) of the Semdinli case that a verdict would come
out in the fourth hearing.

HURRIYET: Seferi Yilmaz, owner of the bookstore bombed on
November 9, 2005 in Semdinli, has been arrested based on the
statements of a PKK defector including concerns about Yilmaz.
The PKK defector, Hasan Salar, surrendered to authorities a
while ago and told authorities that Seferi Yilmaz had
connections with senior leaders of the PKK. The juror, who
decided that Yilmaz should be arrested, is the only juror in the
Semdinli case who objected to the thirty-nine years and five
months of prison sentence for the Semdinli defendants. That
juror demanded that the defendants be sentenced to lifetime in
prison two times for attempting to disrupt the unity and
solidarity of the (Turkish) state and for attempting to kill
people. But, the jurors unanimously decided to sentence the
defendants to a total of thirty-nine years and five months and
five days in prison.

OZGUR GUNDEM / EVRENSEL / ZAMAN / YENI SAFAK: Legal pundits and
politicians think that the verdict given at the Semdinli trial
was a positive step in the fight against illegal formations in
the state structure, but was not satisfactory in the sense that
it has not unveiled all alleged links in that reported illegal
network and has reportedly remained within boundaries of
convicting only two non-commissioned officers and has kept clear
of accusing more senior officers in the military. Zaman and
Yeni Safak dailies cite Joost Lagendijk, head of the Turkey-EU
joint parliamentary commission, as pointing out that the verdict
of the Semdinli case was an indicator of being a country
observing the rule of law. Diyarbakir Bar Association
Chairperson Sezgin Tanrikulu said that there had been attempts
during the trial to delay the verdict by not confronting one of
the defendants, who was hospitalized in a military hospital
during the third and fourth hearings, with the lawsuit.

ZAMAN / YENI SAFAK: Diyarbakir chapter of HUDER (Association
for Legal Research) claimed following the verdict given by the
heavy penalty court in Van concerning the Semdinli case that
controversial Semdinli indictment prepared by the former
Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya, which caused Sarikaya's expulsion
from his job, have proved its correct stance; therefore, the
decision taken to expel Sarikaya should be revised, according to
HUDER.

OZGUR GUNDEM / EVRENSEL: The U.S. has been continuing to
support Turkey in its efforts to black out Roj TV broadcasts in
Denmark. According to the dailies, Denmark, following the
second U.S. attempt to put pressure on Denmark, has declined to
discontinue Roj TV broadcasts.

OZGUR GUNDEM: During a talk on Roj TV, DTP Co-Chairperson
Ahmet Turk said that the first congress of DTP to be held in

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Ankara on June 25 would constitute a new beginning and a new
democratic initiative that would aim to transform the parliament
into a platform for resolving issues. In a separate article,
the daily cites remarks of the PKK leader Murat Karayilan about
DTP. According to Karayilan, DTP must assume a role and a
vision that would organize all the sections of the society to
undertake strong commitments in the political arena.

OZGUR GUNDEM: PKK has reportedly revealed identities of two
guerillas killed in an ambush of Iranian forces that took place
on June 16 in the border area with Iran. Separately, the PKK
has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a cargo train on
June 17 (see press summary 06/19). PKK declined any involvement
in the bomb incident that took place in Van's Baskale district
on June 17.

OZGUR GUNDEM: Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir gave a
statement regarding an ongoing investigation filed against him
for expressing remarks allegedly praising the PKK in the days
that followed the violent demonstrations in late March in
Diyarbakir.

OZGUR GUNDEM: DOKH (Free Women's Democratic Movement) will
hold its third conference in Istanbul July 7-9 following its
second conference which was held in Batman.

OZGUR GUNDEM: Officials from Oxford University in England
went to northern Iraq and reportedly discussed with local
authorities the issue of opening a branch of the university in
the region.

EVRENSEL: National Chairperson of Egitim-Sen (Teacher's Union)
pointed out the alarming educational conditions in the eastern
part of Turkey such as the grave shortage of teachers and
quality education, poor classroom conditions, violence in
schools, non-attendance of students to the classes due to poor
economic conditions of the disadvantaged displaced families.

BOLGE / EKSPRES: BTC (Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan) authorities have
announced that petroleum that has traveled through the pipeline
has reached the amount of 1,280,000 barrels. The first
petroleum that arrived at Ceyhan on May 28 and that was loaded
on "The British Hawtharne" vessel, set off for Italy on June 4.
Loading of crude oil on the second vessel, Panama flagged
"Tridents Hope", reportedly will start today and operations
about it have been going smoothly.

YENI SAFAK: Turkey has made a last call to Russia to join the
Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline project.

SABAH (GUNEY): Senior administration of one of the prominent
banks of Turkey, Akbank, organized a cocktail at Hilton Hotel
and came together with its clients in the region. Adana
Governor Cahit Kirac, Adana Mayor Aytac Durak, Cukurova
University Rector Alper Akinoglu, Adana Chamber of Commerce
Chairperson Saban Bas were among the participants of the
cocktail.

SABAH (GUNEY): A Turkish delegation including the Governor of
Mersin went to Syria's port town Lazkiye with the newly
initiated passenger ferry service between Mersin in Turkey and
Lazkiye. The ferry service aims to boost tourism sector in the
area.

HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): Fire broke out in a forest land in
Adana's Kozan district the previous day. Efforts have been
going on to prevent spreading of the fire by the wind.

RADIKAL: Turkish Armed Forces organized a press tour for
members of the press to view the activities of the military
units at the border areas with Syria and Iraq. A senior
military official announced that 58 soldiers have died and 200
have been wounded in the 108 mine attacks in the region since
June 1, 2004. In the same time period, 168 terrorists have been
killed and 93 of them have been caught alive. The measures the
military units took have also reportedly deterred smuggling
activities.
REID

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