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Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for December 26, 2006

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 000267

SIPDIS

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINS PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR DECEMBER 26, 2006

This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for December 26,
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

CUMHURIYET / EVRENSEL / TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: The Diyarbakir
Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into a book (in
Kurdish and Turkish) on plays and handicrafts that the Sur
Municipality distributed to teachers and parents as a guide on
October 5th in honor of World Teachers' Day. According to the
Prosecutor's office, the book violates the law requiring that
only the Turkish alphabet can be used in educational materials.


TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: The Yuksekova Prosecutor's Office
initiated a lawsuit against a person who, in an interview with
Roj TV about the cease-fire, referred to the guerillas who died
in the clashes as 'martyrs'. That remark, according to the
Prosecutor, constituted a breach of law because it "praised
evildoers."

EVRENSEL: According to the daily, there was significant local
interest in the discussion panel entitled "Kurdish issues,
democracy and peace" which was recently held in the Bursa
province.

EVRENSEL / TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI / RADIKAL: A group of journalists
interviewed Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir. Baydemir told the
journalists that the government should approach resource
allocation fairly and should implement policies on the basis of
equality for all of Turkey's provinces. Baydemir added that he
was currently refraining from extending direct political
messages lest they cast a shadow over the enormous issues facing
Diyarbakir province, such as infrastructure problems and
poverty. Baydemir said that aside from Istanbul and Ankara,
Diyarbakir was one of the most important three provinces of
Turkey. As a result, in Baydemir's words, a developing
Diyarbakir should be considered synonymous with a developing
Turkey. Separately, Radikal highlighted Baydemir's remarks last
week at the opening of Diyarbakir's new bus terminal. Baydemir
reportedly complained that he had not been able to meet with PM
Erdogan for nearly a year and a half, since the day PM Erdogan
came to Diyarbakir in August 2005.

TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: Francis Wurtz, the Leader of the United
Left party in the European Parliament, said that the Kurdish
issue could not be resolved by military force and that Turkish
authorities should seize the historic opportunity presented by
the PKK's cease-fire. Wurtz demanded that the EU should put
pressure on Turkey to resolve the Kurdish issue.

TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: As a result of growing interest of Dutch
companies in northern Iraq, Holland announced that it will open
a consulate in northern Iraq to develop relationships and ties
in the region.

EVRENSEL / CUMHURIYET: The CHP's Adana chapter held a ceremony
in Adana to mark the thirty-third anniversary of the death of
Ismet Inonu, second president of the Turkish Republic.
Ceremonies in Ankara, Izmir and Malatya also commemorated
President Inonu. (Note: Malatya is the hometown of Mr. Inonu.
End Note.)

TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: The DTP Provincial party's organization
in Gaziantep organized a feast to thank the local citizenry for
their warm welcome as the "Walk for Peace" convoy passed through
the province last week on its way to Ankara (please see press
summary for December 18).

SECURITY

TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: A 17 year-old boy lost an eye when a
mortar shell, which he discovered while grazing his cattle,
exploded. Soldiers had allegedly left the ordnance in the field
following a military exercise.

ZAMAN / CUMHURIYET: The Sirnak Governor's Office announced
that security personnel caught two PKK members during a road
check held on December 24 in a section of Sirnak. Zaman daily
reported that security personnel found 21 kilograms of heroin in
a hidden panel in the couriers' car. Cumhuriyet daily reported
that two Kalashnikov assault rifles, 68 pistols, one night

ADANA 00000267 002 OF 002


vision device, and three mobile phones were found with the two
suspects.

ECONOMY

HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / EVRENSEL / ZAMAN / TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI:
Ali Er, Chairperson of Parliamentary Commission for Fresh
Vegetables, Fruit and Citrus Fruit, said the Commission was
working to provide a subsidy amounting to 100 USD per ton to
facilitate citrus fruit exports. Mr. Er further stated that
current problems with the citrus fruit export process came from
errors made during multiple stages to include production,
packaging and unloading.

CUMHURIYET: The Free Trade Agreement signed between Syria and
Turkey, which will take effect as of January 1, reportedly aims
to reduce the current importance of the Habur Border Gate in
Sirnak as a hub in transporting goods to Iraq through the
Kurdish Regional Authority.

CULTURE / SOCIETY / ENVIRONMENT

SABAH (GUNEY): Catholic Churches of the Antakya and
Iskenderun districts in Hatay observed Christmas mass. People
sung hymns, read the Bible and prayed. Luigi Padovese,
Representative of the Anatolian Papacy and Head of the Turkish
Catholic Bishops Council, extended messages of friendship and
peace during the talk he delivered at the mass held at Saint
Pierre Church.

SABAH (GUNEY): The Dean of the Agricultural Faculty of the
Cukurova University in Adana said that the university-owned
proposed site for the construction of a 400-bed hospital, a
mosque, and a hotel was first class agricultural land. The Dean
added that this plot of land had been the subject of numerous
research initiatives to date (please see press summary for
December 25). The land reportedly belongs to the University's
Cotton Research Center.

HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / SABAH (GUNEY): Gaziantep celebrated
the city's 85th anniversary of its liberation from French
occupation. In a public speech marking the event, State
Minister Kursat Tuzmen stated that the Turkish people had never,
throughout their history, committed or abetted genocide.

EVRENSEL / TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: Village guards and soldiers
are allegedly cutting down trees in a 7400 acre forested area in
Sirnak's Idil district due to security concerns in the area.
They have reportedly received permission from the Regional
Directorate of Environment and Forests to do so. Village guards
are reportedly selling truckloads of oak trees for 200 to 300
YTL per truck. The Mayor of the Idil district reacted strongly
to this activity, and criticized the Directorate for pursuing
forestry policies in the southeast that were sharply divergent
from those followed in western Turkey.

EVRENSEL / TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: One hundred and forty
delegates attended the Kurdish Music Conference, held December
23-24 in Diyarbakir's Baglar district (please see press summary
for December 25). The concluding statement called for efforts
to protect and develop Kurdish culture and music, and demanded
that countries such as Iran, Turkey and Syria stop exerting
pressure on Kurdish culture. The report also recommended that
Culture Ministry abandon its policies allegedly denying the
presence of Kurdish culture, that it extend financial and
institutional support to it instead.

ZAMAN / HURRIYET: The Toroslar Municipality in Mersin used 5
tons of paint in portraying a giant (1.1 acre) Turkish flag at
the foot of a hill in Mersin.

ZAMAN: For the first time after the rain-based flooding
disaster 41 days ago, rain fell in the province again. Many
people expressed their joy that rain had started to fall again,
since dust had blanketed the region over the six weeks of
near-drought.
GREEN

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