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Cablegate: Turkey: Diyarbakir Civil Society Reacts

VZCZCXRO2324
PP RUEHAST
DE RUEHAK #5847 2791329
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061329Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9276
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ANKARA 005847

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: DIYARBAKIR CIVIL SOCIETY REACTS
COLLECTIVELY, CONSTRUCTIVELY TO BOMBING

REF: ANKARA 5269

1. (SBU) On September 12, a bomb exploded in a poor section
of Diyarbakir, the heart of Turkey's heavily Kurdish
southeast, killing 10 and injuring 17. Initial speculation
focused on two scenarios: that it was either a Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) bomb that had gone off prematurely during
transport, or a "provocation" along the lines of the November
2005 bookstore bombing in Semdinli, Hakkari province.
According to Diyarbakir Governor Elfan Ala, with whom Adana
PO and Ankara PolCouns met on September 27, the investigation
remains incomplete but may well end up pointing to the PKK.

2. (SBU) Across the board, political and civil society
leaders with whom we met described the city's reaction to the
bombing. According to pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party
(DTP) mayor Osman Baydemir, they may not know who perpetrated
the bombing, but they knew they wanted -- at all costs -- to
avoid a repetition of the violent rioting that occurred in
March following the killing of a dozen PKK militants. As a
result, civil society organizations and parties across the
political spectrum, bolstered in particular by the Diyarbakir
Chambers of Commerce, banded together for a silent vigil
against violence.

3. (SBU) According to Chambers of Commerce President
Sah-Ismail Bedirhanoglu, he had been working for
approximately one year with other business and professional
NGOs to build the foundations of a civic platform. After the
September bombing -- with the memory of March fresh in their
minds -- they reached out to the mayor and other political
party leaders. Together, they organized the vigil.
Unadvertised, since they feared that too much publicity
risked attracting those who might want to provoke a different
sort of reaction, 10,000 gathered to say "no" to violence.
Every organization with which we met -- economic, human
rights, bar association, political party -- confirmed their
participation in this event.

4. (SBU) Comment: This was an extraordinary -- to our
knowledge, unprecedented -- show of civil society
organization in an area of Turkey known more for discord than
broad-based agreement. A number of factors made it possible.
At the top of the list is the business community, which
boasts solid, smart leaders who are determined to continue to
improve the local economy. Another is the relative maturity
of the Diyarbakir NGO community. Good relations across the
board with city hall and a smart state-appointed governor
helped, too. In addition, all knew a PKK ceasefire was in
the works and did not want to risk derailing that. Finally,
had Diyarbakir not had its brush with violence in March,
there may not have been the impetus for this effort. The
vigil received little press play, but its silence -- and
positive significance for society -- speak louder than the
bomb that triggered it.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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