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Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for August 04-08

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINS PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR AUGUST 04-08


1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for August
04-08, 2007. 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:

2. HURRIYET: A remote-controlled PKK mine went off 13
kilometers before Yuksekova district of Hakkari as a convoy of
50 military vehicles was transporting soldiers from Hakkari to
Yuksekova. No casualties have been reported because part of the
convoy had already passed and the other part had not arrived at
the scene of explosion when the mine went off. 3 children, who
were running away from the scene, have been arrested as
witnesses to the incident.

3. HURRIYET/GUNDEM/CUMHURIYET/YENI
SAFAK/RADIKAL/EVRENSEL/BOLGE/SABAH/ZAMAN: 40 PKK militants have
been cornered in the Kinzir Woods in Hozat district of Tunceli.
The militants have been trying to break the security cordon
around them and to escape to Alibogazi. 5,000 troops have been
participating in the operations. Helicopters are constantly
bombing the wooded hideouts of the militants, and special
airborne jandarma teams have been deployed to the region. Fierce
clashes have been taking place between militants and GOT forces
in the Munzur Mountains, Mercan, Cambulak and Ahpanos valleys.
It is reported that three soldiers were killed and 8 others were
wounded and that 8 militants, including one female, have been
killed in the ensuing clashes. Two soldiers, Ziya Berkir and
Semih Hatay, were wounded in a mine explosion and clashes in the
rural Hozat, Ovacik and Cemisgezek districts of Tunceli. Two
M-16 rifles were seized on a killed PKK militant, AKA "Medeni,"
who is alleged to have commanded the militants in Tunceli,
Sivas, Erzincan, and the Black Sea regions. Gundem newspaper
reported that 4 soldiers had been killed in the clashes in
Mardin and Agri provinces.

4. GUNDEM: An Italian delegation of ten persons, who are
members of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in
Italy, visited the PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan's (APO) family in
his native village of Amara (Omerli) in Halfeti district of
Sanliurfa. After the jandarma checked their IDs they were
allowed into the village where they got information about
Ocalan's health and living conditions in the prison at Imrali
Island. APO's brother, Mehmet Ocalan, told the delegation that
his brother was isolated in the prison and that he had been
deprived of the rights other prisoners enjoyed, and added that
APO had been punished to 20 days of solitary confinement for his
pro-peace and democracy statements. The delegation left with
APO's family a white flag on which "Pace" (peace) was written.
Police in disguise kept the Italian delegation under close
surveillance during their tour in Sanliurfa.

5. EVRENSEL/CUMHURIYET/BOLGE/SABAH/HURRIYET: The press organ
of the Kurdish Patriotic Union, PUK-media, [Iraqi President
Celal Talabani's party] claimed that Turkish troops had bombed,
shelled, and launched rockets to the mountainous Haftanin and
Sidekan regions in Diyana district of Hewler (Erbil) and
positioned a jandarma unit of 350 commandos in the Sere Seve
region yesterday. Neither the Turkish General Staff nor the
Foreign Ministry denied the allegations.

6. CUMHURIYET/YENI SAFAK/GUNDEM/HURRIYET: The Iraqi
Government Speaker, Ali Debbag, who delivered a message to
Ankara one day prior the Iraqi Primer Nuri El Maliki's visit to
Turkey, stated that Iraq considered the PKK to be a terrorist
organization and has been trying to take various measures
against it, and added that Iraq opposed any cross-border
operations by Turkey. Debbag stressed that a unilateral
incursion by Turkey would cast a shadow on the bilateral
relations. Turkey is expecting concrete steps from Nuri El
Maliki's visit in combating terrorism. Turkey delivered a
demarche to the Iraqi Government in April accusing it of not
taking sufficient measures against PKK militants infiltrating
into Turkey from Northern Iraq. Observers allege that this will
be Turkey's final warning to Iraq on taking action against PKK
militants; if this does not meet with satisfactory GoI action,
Turkey may launch an operation into Iraq.

7. CUMHURIYET: The soldiers who were killed by PKK mines and
in clashes with PKK militants in the rural Dicle district of
Diyarbakir were buried in Adana and Kayseri. The citizens
attending the funeral ceremonies shouted "Damn the PKK. Our
soldiers are being killed, but the separatists are in the

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Assembly [TBMM]."

8. CUKUROVA HURRIYET/YENI SAFAK: A Patriot Missile victim,
Murat Genc, from the Incirlik Air Base, Adana province, sent a
letter to the US Consulate in Adana saying "Respectable George
Bush, I express my condolences for the recent bridge disaster
and wish God's mercy for those who died. I am a 24 year old
Turkish young man. A Patriot Missile launched from your
country's air base in Incirlik by mistake destroyed itself in
the air in the 1991 Gulf War. At that time, I was 7 years old
and playing "hide and seek" with my friends in the Serinevler
neighborhood. One of the fragments of the missile hit me in the
head. I was operated in various parts of my body ten times and
had brain surgery twice since then. The Consul took care of my
operation at the beginning. I am in 45 percent disabled
position. My face has been deformed and I have difficulty in
walking. I did not lose my resolute and finished the Cukurova
Industrial Vocation School and enrolled in a higher education
school but I did not complete my education because of my
sufferance. My sufferance is becoming bigger as I am growing. My
sufferance from your father's tenure is still continuing. Dear
Sir, I also would like to establish a business, just like my
teenagers, and get married and have a family. I am expecting
support from our noble-hearted alley, the United States. I
express my best regards to the Bush family and all Americans."

9. HURRIYET/SABAH/GUNDEM/YENI SAFAK/RADIKAL/ZAMAN: The Iraqi
Prime Minister Nuri El Maliki and Foreign Minister Hosyar
Zebari, who arrived at Ankara yesterday, agreed during
negotiations with their Turkish counterparts that the PKK is a
terrorist organization and that its militants would be
extradited to Turkey when they were arrested. A Memorandum of
Understanding has been signed between Turkey and Iraq on
"Anti-terror Cooperation Agreement" and "Cooperation between
Interior Ministries in Combating Terrorism-related and Organized
Crimes."

10. GUNDEM: It is claimed that the Turkish Military has been
using cluster bombs in the buffer zone between Turkey and Iraq
and has been shelling targets in Northern Iraq from the Cukurca
district of Hakkari. 20 houses in Cukurca have been damaged by
shelling, and many residents have applied to the sub-governor's
office for compensation. The nomadic Batuyan Tribe members,
consisting of 43 families, were not allowed to take provisions
and medicine to high pastures in Pervari district of Siirt on
the grounds that they were being delivered to the PKK militants.

SECURITY

11. GUNDEM: Charges had been pressed against 18 persons in
Semdinli district of Hakkari for "damaging state property"
during the incidents that broke out after the November 9, 2005
bombing of Umut Bookstore in town. The 4th Felony Court of Van
adjourned the hearing to December 01 because some documents were
not complete.

12. GUNDEM: The Criminal Court of First Instance in Cizre,
Sirnak province, imprisoned seven of the eight persons who had
been detained on charges of "shouting illegal slogans" during
the funeral ceremonies of the late Kurdish politician, Orhan
Dogan, on June 30. One inmate was released due to his young age.

13. SABAH/SABAH/BOLGE/ZAMAN: PKK terrorists, who raided the
Gecitvermez hamlet at the Turkish Iranian border of Kizilca
village in Baskale district of Van, kidnapped 8 persons,
including 3 children. It is reported that the villagers had
refused to provide food and other provisions to the militants,
who had also tried to extort money from them. Two terrorists,
who had allegedly been trained as bomb makers and were preparing
to bomb specific targets, were arrested in Diyarbakir. The
terrorists were imprisoned following their arraignment.

14. CUMHURIYET: Abdullah Ocalan has been sent to solitary
confinement for the fifth time for "giving instructions to an
armed organization" through his lawyers. Most recently, Ocalan
met with his lawyers four days ago.

15. YENI SAFAK/ZAMAN/SABAH/HURRIYET/GUNDEM/CUMHURIYET: 3
soldiers were killed and another was wounded by a
remote-controlled PKK mine near Balaban village of Dicle
district in Diyarbakir yesterday. Additional troops have been
dispatched to the region.

16. GUNDEM: Semdin Kaya, whose house in the Bagarasi village

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of Derik district in Mardin province was burnt by soldiers in
1993 and who moved to Osmaniye thereafter, applied to the Mardin
Governor's office for compensation in 2005. The Damage Committee
decided to give 406 Turkish Liras, approximately 312 US dollars,
to Kaya. Kaya said that he would apply to the Human Rights Court
in Europe after exhausting all the legal venues in Turkey.

17. EVRENSEL: As a result of clashes between the PKK militants
and GOT forces in the rural Caldiran district of Van province
yesterday, one soldier was wounded. A large-scale operation has
been continuing in the region.

18. ZAMAN/HURRIYET: The Van Governorate announced that a group
of PKK militants killed Ikram Oner (55) in Cepkenli village of
Gurpinar district of Van the previous day. Oner had refused to
give them food and other materials. It is claimed that Oner had
been killed because of his influence in persuading voters in the
surrounding villages to support the AKP instead of
DTP-affiliated candidates in the July 22 general election.

19. HURRIYET: As a result of clashes that broke out between
GOT forces and a group of PKK militants, who did not yield to
"halt" warnings in the rural Sirnak province, one militant was
killed.

20. YENI SAFAK: Orhan Kaya, the jandarma private who had been
wounded by a PKK mine in the rural Uludere district of Sirnak on
August 01 and hospitalized at the GATA Military Hospital in
Ankara, died and will be buried in Dogansehir district of
Malatya.

21. YENI SAFAK/ZAMAN: A Jandarma Corporal, Semih Aydin, and a
private, Ziya Onder, were wounded by a PKK mine in the rural
Hozat district of Tunceli. The wounded soldiers were taken to
the Elazig Military Hospital by a helicopter.

22. YENI SAFAK/SABAH/ZAMAN: 9 persons, including 4 children,
kidnapped by PKK militants in Baskale district of Van on July
31, have been released. Officials said they would understand the
reason for the kidnapping after they took statements from the
kidnapped individuals.

23. YENI SAFAK/GUNDEM/HURRIYET/ZAMAN: The dead body of a high
ranking PKK militant, Nesih Ozcan, who was killed by GOT forces
in clashes in the rural Ovacik district of Tunceli on August 1,
was sent to his hometown of Guroymak in Bitlis province by the
ambulance that belonged to the Tunceli Municipality. While 8 PKK
militants have been killed in the past week's operations, 3
soldiers were martyred and 10 others were wounded. Ismail Gul,
who was arrested in connection with the June 4 raid on the
Kocatepe Jandarma Outpost in Pulumur district of Tunceli, has
been imprisoned on charges of abetting and harboring PKK
militants. 7 soldiers had been killed and 7 others had been
wounded in the raid.

24. CUMHURIYET/ZAMAN: First Lieutenant Caglar Canbaz was
killed and two village guards were wounded when a military
vehicle on patrol hit a PKK mine in the Daglica region of
Yuksekova district of Hakkari. The wounded village guards were
dispatched to the Military Hospital in Hakkari and the dead body
of the soldier was sent to Istanbul for burial.

CRIME & LAW ENFORCEMENT

25. CUMHURIYET: Teams from the Diyarbakir Provincial Jandarma
Command seized 2,227,000 roots of hemp in the fields of the
Hazro district of Diyarbakir and detained 10 persons.

26. BOLGE: The teams from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized
Crime Branch of the Gaziantep Security Directorate seized 4,440
bottles of smuggled whiskey in a truck on the Silk Road in
Sehitkamil district of Gaziantep. Officials stated that an
investigation is underway.

27. ZAMAN/BOLGE/YENI SAFAK/HURRIYET: In Mersin, the Mersin
Security Directorate announced that teams from the Anti-terror
Department seized 6 big back-pack radios and accessories, 6
hand-held radios and accessories, 60 body warmers, and medical
equipment materials in a truck that had come from Europe and was
bound for PKK militants in the rural area. The trucker has been
detained and his truck has been impounded.

28. ZAMAN: A jandarma patrol arrested 20 Palestinian and
Somali nationals who had entered Turkey illegally via the

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Gorentas village of Yayladagi district in Hatay province. The
detainees were sent to court following their interrogation.

29. ZAMAN: Security forces seized 3.35 kilos of heroin and 120
roots of hemp in the Tarsus township of Mersin. One person was
imprisoned by the court for involvement with the drugs.

30. GUNDEM/BOLGE/SABAH/ZAMAN/SABAH GUNEY: In a synchronized
jandarma operation in the Erdemli, Silifke and Tarsus districts
of Mersin, 41 illegal organization members involved in
extortion, drug production, and trafficking in person were
arrested. While 5 of them have been released following their
interrogation, 35 remain in detention.

31. SABAH/ZAMAN: Mustafa Onen, who had brought 8 children aged
between 9 and 14 years from Mardin to Istanbul and had forced
them to sell paper towels and stuffed mussels in Istanbul, was
arrested at his home based on a complaint filed by one of the
children. Onen had allegedly made a deal with the families of
the children to bring them to Istanbul. Authorities found
approximately 30,000 US dollars in Onen's bank account. Legal
action will be taken against Onen for trafficking in persons and
forced labor.

32. EVRENSEL: Many citizens from Southeastern Turkey who went
to the Black Sea region to collect hazelnuts are not being
allowed to go to the city center of Ordu. Workers are kept on
the trailers of the trucks under jandarma blockade. The families
allowed to set up their tents in river beds are living under
miserable conditions.

ECONOMY

33. EKSPRES/CUKUROVA HURRIYET/BOLGE: Around 2,000 residents of
the Akdeniz neighborhood in Adana claimed that the waste-water
treatment plant that belonged to the Greater Municipality of
Adana spread a bad smell in their neighborhood and, in protest
against the municipality, closed the Karatas-Adana highway to
traffic for some time yesterday. Many policemen were dispatched
to scene.

34. RADIKAL: 10 NGOs, foremost among them the Greater
Municipality of Diyarbakir, formed an organization called "The
Association for Development and the Struggle against Poverty,"
aimed at investigating and preparing a "poverty map" of the
people who had migrated from villages to urban centers.
According to research in Diyarbakir, 20,000 families have been
living at below subsistence level and need food assistance. The
general secretary of the association, Serif Camci, said that
they interviewed 5,780 families [38,000 people] and formed a
data bank and a "Food Bank," which aimed to give food to the
needy people. Camci said that some families' average annual
income was only 350 US dollars and that the percentage of
children who were at the school age but did not attend a school
was 58 percent.

35. CUKUROVA HURRIYET: The Istanbul-based Akdeniz Gemi Insa
Sirketi (Ship Building Company) will build a 30 million US
dollar shipyard by 2008 on a plot of 80,000 square meters in the
Yumurtalik Free Trade Zone in Adana province.
GREEN

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