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Cablegate: Turkey: Southeast Perspective: Police Sweep Nets Dozens Of

VZCZCXRO5063
RR RUEHDA
DE RUEHDA #0080 3581102
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241102Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL ADANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4821
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1363
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1127
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1430

UNCLAS ADANA 000080

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PINS PINR PGOV TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: SOUTHEAST PERSPECTIVE: POLICE SWEEP NETS DOZENS OF
ARRESTS OF FORMER DTP MEMBERS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Media report police have detained more than
30 incumbent and former mayors and active party members from the
recently banned Democrat Society Party (DTP) in raids in 11
provinces that began the night of December 23. Consulate
contacts confirm the Diyarbakir chief public prosecutor ordered
the raids on the grounds of suspicion of ties to the PKK
terrorist organization. As for timing, one contact said the
detentions were based on evidence gathered from a last wave of
detentions in May 2009, and that the December 11 Constitutional
Court ruling that banned the DTP had likely triggered the
coordinated raids. A prominent attorney based in Batman told us
the atmosphere was very tense and public reaction to the arrests
was unpredictable, warning of potential violence as blocking the
political path to democracy will leave voters without a
legitimate means of expression. Some Kurdish leaders are trying
to organize a coalition of moderate voices to break the PKK's
stranglehold on Kurdish public opinion and provide the GoT with
a new interlocutor. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) According to news reports, police detained greater
municipality and district mayors representing the now banned DTP
party in Siirt, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Sanliurfa, and Mardin.
Prominent names in Diyarbakir such as the former DTP provincial
chairman, Human Rights Association chairman, and deputy mayor
are also on the list of detainees. At the time of this
writing, contacts confirm police are continuing to search the
home of former member of Parliament and prominent Kurdish
activist Hatip Dicle.

3. (SBU) A prominent human rights attorney in Diyarbakir told
us police had been searching the Human Rights Association for
several hours after detaining its president, Muharrem Erbeyli,
on the night of December 23 at his home. Our contact expressed
disappointment that the government was "closing the venues for
democratic struggle at a time when everybody was talking about
the democratic opening." He said this latest round of arrests,
which he saw as a follow-up to similar detentions in April and
May 2009, would deal a significant blow to any progress on
solving the Kurdish issue. He added targeting the HRA was
particularly upsetting given the organization's important work
in advancing human rights in Turkey. He said the raids were
likely triggered by the December 11 Constitutional Court ruling
that banned the DTP.

4. (SBU) An attorney in Batman told us the atmosphere was very
tense and warned of possible violence, saying "people who have
nothing left to lose will resort to violence." He said the
sincerity of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in
its determination to continue the democratic opening is now
seriously damaged, and he thought Kurds would interpret the
latest detentions as harassment and intimidation.

5. (SBU) COMMENT. Only two days ago, we spoke to one of the
now-detained district mayors, who was hopeful that the peaceful
transition from DTP to its new incarnation as the Peace and
Democracy Party (BDP) and former DTP Parliament members'
decision not to resign would buoy what little movement was left
in the democratic initiative and signal that Kurds were earnest
in their commitment to democracy. These detentions will cause a
significant setback to the initiative and have damaged AKP's
credibility among Kurds in the southeast. At the same time, as
long as PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's supporters maintain a
stranglehold on the Kurdish political movement, AKP and other
mainstream parties will have little room to negotiate with
Kurdish leaders. In recognition of this, pro-Kurdish HAKPAR
(Rights and Freedom Party) Chairman Bayram Bozyel is organizing
a coalition among HAKPAR, KADEP (Participatory Democracy Party)
and elements of BDP to provide an intellectual, alternative
interlocutor for the government. The GoT should take steps to
bolster their attempts to patch together a distinct Kurdish
political voice. END COMMENT.

DARNELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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