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Cablegate: One Student Dead in Diyarbakir Street Protests

VZCZCXRO9543
RR RUEHDA
DE RUEHDA #0076 3411532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071532Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL ADANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4814
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1356
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1121
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1423

UNCLAS ADANA 000076

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PINS PGOV TU PINR
SUBJECT: ONE STUDENT DEAD IN DIYARBAKIR STREET PROTESTS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Diyarbakir chapter of the Human Rights
Association (HRA) said police fatally shot a 23-year-old student
during December 6 demonstrations against the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP). According to local media, clashes
erupted when demonstrators, who had gathered to protest the
prison conditions of jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader
Abdullah Ocalan, threw stones and fireworks at riot police
attempting to stop their passage. Week-long protests in heavily
Kurdish-populated cities in Turkey's south and southeast are
likely to continue until the Government of Turkey responds
publicly to Ocalan's conditions of confinement. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) President of Diyarbakir's HRA Muharrem Erbeyli said
23-year-old student Aydin Erdem attended Dicle University. He
had joined a large crowd gathered in front of the AKP provincial
headquarters to protest Ocalan's jail conditions when he was
shot by a plainclothes police officer. According to Erbeyli,
the autopsy revealed Erdem was shot in the lungs at close range
and killed by a single bullet. Erbeyli believes law enforcement
used disproportionate force to disperse the crowd. Turkish
National Police have not made any public statements about the
student's death.

3. (SBU) A prominent human rights attorney in Diyarbakir said
he had witnessed the demonstrations from across the street,
where lawmakers and members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic
Society Party had gathered to march. He saw police open fire in
the air in an attempt to disperse the protesters when the crowd
passed the police barricade. He said in addition to the
autopsy, a female eyewitness reportedly saw a man in a coat fire
on Erdem at close range.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Small-scale protests began a week ago in
Mersin, Adana, Sanliurfa, Van, and Diyarbakir, with crowds
numbering in the hundreds. Today, thousands are pouring into
the streets, fueled by what Erbeyli says is the government's
perceived lack of attention to an issue that commands the
attention of Turkey's Kurds - the prison conditions of PKK
leader Ocalan, who was recently moved to a new cell which is
reportedly smaller than his former cell with no eye-level
window. Doubtless, the PKK has a hand in escalating street
protests, a common tactic used to flex the organization's
political muscle and force the GOT into action. Media report
the AKP sent a commission to study Ocalan's prison conditions,
but the lack of any changes has increased Kurds' anger.
Protests will likely continue until the GOT addresses Ocalan's
situation. END COMMENT.

DARNELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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