Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for June 23, 2006
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FM AMCONSUL ADANA
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INFO RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 0807
RUEUITH/AFOSI DET 521 ANKARA TU
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RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
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SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR JUNE 23, 2006
This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for June 23, 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
HURRIYET / RADIKAL / ZAMAN / CUMHURIYET: Both parties of the
Semdinli trial objected to the June 19 verdict given by Van's
Third Heavy Penalty Court. Defendants' attorney said that the
court is to respond to their objection in fifteen days. The
attorney further said that they did not specify the grounds for
their objection because the court also has not stated the
grounds on which its verdict was issued. Litigants objected to
the verdict as based on grounds that the defendants should be
given penalty for "attempting to disrupt unity and solidarity of
the country", a statement which was included by the former Van
Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya in the Semdinli indictment.
Meanwhile, Yeni Safak daily corrected the imprisonment term the
court gave to the non-commissioned officers as thirty-nine years
and ten months in prison, not thirty-nine years and five months.
Cumhuriyet daily cited Ahmet Ersin, Izmir deputy from CHP and
member of the parliamentary commission probing Semdinli case, as
branding it a very exceptional situation that the Semdinli trial
was finalized in one and a half months. Ersin criticized the
trial process for being deficient because the court gave verdict
without taking the last statement of one of the defendants.
OZGUR GUNDEM / EVRENSEL: People in Semdinli showed reaction
upon hearing the news that Seferi Yilmaz, owner of the bookstore
which was bombed on November 9, 2005 in Semdinli, was also
arrested because of a statement given about him by a PKK
defector following the verdict given by the Van court. Semdinli
people held a march, demanded release of Yilmaz and expressed
that Yilmaz was not alone. DTP, EMEP (The Party of Labor), SDP
(Socialist Democracy Party), ESP (Socialist Party of the
Oppressed People), Human Rights Association, Free Citizens'
Movement, Mesopotamia Cultural Center, and Kurdish Institute
extended support to those protests.
OZGUR GUNDEM / EVRENSEL: EU officials reportedly pointed
out that an investigation to probe the names behind the Semdinli
incident should be started to find out about the suspected
involvement of senior military officials in the incident.
OZGUR GUNDEM: Citing the recent clashes which took place in
northeastern Gumushane province and southern Osmaniye province
on June 20 and 21 respectively, the daily alleged that the
extent of the Turkish Armed Forces' operations has widened as if
to include the whole country in a war. One soldier in Gumushane
and two soldiers in Osmaniye have been killed, the daily
claimed. Separately, it is noted that PKK headquarters
reportedly warned the Kurdish people in Hatay and its districts
Iskenderun, Erzin and Dortyol against a person
(counter-guerilla) who gathered money from people in the name of
RADIKAL / HURRIYET / SABAH: A 21-year-old soldier died in a
clash with PKK members in Tunceli's Pulumur district yesterday
ZAMAN: A PKK member has been killed in a clash that took
place in Mardin's Nusaybin district.
SABAH: The daily cites allegations of an Israeli newspaper
claiming that some retired Israeli security officials and some
big companies in Israel set up military camps in northern Iraq
and provided military training, equipment and ammunition to the
Kurdish people in the region.
OZGUR GUNDEM / EVRENSEL: DTP Women's Assembly asked for a
de facto continuation of the party's co-chairmanship model in
response to the Supreme Court's objection to co-chairmanship
which reportedly conflicts with the Turkish Political Parties
Act. Some circles reportedly say that, if co-chairmanship got
abolished in Sunday's DTP congress, Co-chairperson Ahmet Turk
would be designated as the leader of the party. Yet, nothing is
certain about that, Evrensel daily noted.
HURRIYET: Representatives of ETA and IRA, upon invitation from
DTP to their first-ever congress to be held on June 25 in
Ankara, announced that they would attend the congress.
HURRIYET / OZGUR GUNDEM / SABAH / CUMHURIYET: Turkish
Parliament has passed a law concerning the founding of Bilkent
University's international educational sciences institutes, one
of which is already in operation in Ankara, in Erzurum, Malatya,
Urfa and Van provinces as well. Ozgur Gundem describes the
project as an attempt to convince public workers to come to the
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southeastern region through offering educational opportunities
for their "privileged" children (see press summary 06/31).
BOLGE / EKSPRES: DYP (True Path Party) Leader Mehmet Agar came
to Adana and attended an event the provincial party organization
held in Seyhan Hotel. Agar reportedly stressed during his talk
that nobody has been regarded as belonging to a minority in the
country, except for the non-Muslim communities, for a long time
in the country. Every national of the country has always been
united in both good and bad times and there has never been a
separate Kurdish issue in that regard to date.
SABAH (GUNEY): Mardin reportedly suffers severely from lack
of investment in the province. Nearly forty of the seventy
factories in the organized industrial zone have been idle to
BOLGE / CUMHURIYET: Tayfun Mater, Spokesperson of Global
Peace and Justice Commission, delivered a speech at the panel
called "Middle East and Turkey in the Aftermath of Iraqi
Occupation" at the Theater Hall of the Adana Municipality.
Mater said that without the presence of Incirlik Airbase, the
U.S., since it was occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, would not be
as comfortable as it is today. Chairperson of the Adana
Coordination Council of the Union of Turkish Engineers and
Architects Chambers and Editor-in-Chief of the local Yeni Adana
daily were among the panelists.
BOLGE: Lionel Martijn, Head of Union of Developing
Municipalities in EU, held a seminar in Mersin's Anamur district
that enlightened local people on the issue of how developing
municipalities can benefit from EU funds.
CUMHURIYET: Unexpected developments have been rocking the
provincial party organization of AKP in Adana. While provincial
chairperson Mustafa Attaroglu was in Ankara, it was announced
that deputy chairpersons Bilal Nadir Gok and Fatih Kocaispir,
who supported Attaroglu in last months provincial chairperson
elections, were removed from office.
BOLGE: Fire broke out in forestland near Adana's Kozan
district and ten hectares of forest land have burned so far.
BOLGE: A fight in Adana between two families belonging to
the same clan, which is renowned for their misdemeanors in the
province, resulted in gunfire which wounded a person.
BOLGE / EKSPRES: Authorities accelerated their efforts to
prepare Ceyhan district for the opening of Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan
Pipeline on July 13 in Adana.
HURRIYET: Five people called the Kazanli district mayor in
Mersin and told him that they would come to the municipality to
settle old scores with the mayor. Those people carried out a
raid at the municipality with guns at 11.30 am yesterday. Four
of the assailants ran away when they could not find the mayor in
his office. The fifth one has been detained.