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Cablegate: Turkey: Pkk Claims Attack On Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline

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DE RUEHDA #0046 3300616
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250616Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL ADANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4684
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1227
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0140
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1036
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1289

UNCLAS ADANA 000046

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET ECON PTER PINS TU IZ
SUBJECT: TURKEY: PKK CLAIMS ATTACK ON KIRKUK-CEYHAN PIPELINE

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. A BOTAS official and local security contacts
confirm press reports of a November 21 PKK-perpetrated terrorist
attack on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline approximately 50 miles
from the Iraqi border. The alleged bomb explosion wrought a
three-day inferno that was recently brought under control to
allow for pipeline repair work. We have conflicting information
on whether oil is flowing. Provincial counterterrorism
officials warn of increased attacks in the coming weeks to mark
the November 27 anniversary of the PKK's founding. END SUMMARY.

----------------------------
FLOWING OR NOT?
----------------------------
2. (SBU) Turkish mainstream media report on Friday, November
21, shortly after 8:30 p.m., the terrorist organization PKK
(Kurdistan Workers Party) detonated a bomb in the Taksoy
district of Mardin province, some 50 miles from the Iraqi
border. Pro-Kurdish Firat News Agency credits the sabotage as
the PKK's doing, reporting extensive damage to the pipeline with
estimates that weeks will pass before crude oil flows again.
BOTAS Petroleum Facilities Director Muzaffer Galay told us the
pipeline has started to flow at low levels. The pipeline is
really two twined lines and he said one is working and one
continues to be off-line. His account differs from a Reuters
report that cited an unnamed Energy Ministry official, who said
repair of the pipeline started today, but the pipeline was still
not functioning. The official said the target was to bring it
back online in less than a week.

--------------------------------------------- ------
PKK WILL STIR UP MORE TROUBLE
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (SBU) Provincial Counterterrorism Chief for Mardin Ergun
Dagistanli told us gendarme units in Taksoy had sealed off the
bomb site and were remaining tight-lipped about the incident and
ensuing investigation. He confirmed counterterrorism operations
were continuing in areas of the province under his jurisdiction,
and that he had raised the security-alert level in anticipation
of potential attacks marking the 30th anniversary of the PKK's
foundation (November 27). Adana's Deputy Counterterrorism Chief
Erhan Yildirim predicted local PKK organizers would take
advantage of their anniversary by fomenting more street clashes
and Molotov cocktail incidents in Adana's Kurdish-populated
rural boroughs, and said to watch for terrorist attacks around
Mount Amanos in Hatay province. Galay told us BOTAS' initial
assessment is that sabotage caused the explosion but said the
investigation continues and the final determination could yield
different results.

------------------
COMMENT
------------------

4. (SBU) We agree with the assessments of both Yildirim and
freelance Kurdish journalist Yilmaz Akinci -- the PKK is flexing
its muscles yet again to show they are lethal and relevant. PKK
tactical leader Murat Karayilan has declared on many an occasion
the organization's ability to damage Turkey's economy, and while
this may hurt Iraq's pocketbook more immediately than Turkey's,
it is embarrassing to a government trying to attract investors,
enhance its regional energy role, and demonstrate stability.
END COMMENT.

GREEN

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