Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary

Published: Fri 28 Feb 2003 12:56 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
FEBURARY 24, 2003
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for February 24, 2003. Please note that Turkish
press reports often contain errors or
exaggerations; AmConsulate Adana does not vouch
for the accuracy of the reports summarized here.
2. Hurriyet: The European Committee for
Prevention of Torture (CPT) who last week visited
PKK/KADEK leader Abdullah Ocalan at Imrali prison
by helicopter provided by the Justice Ministry
determined that Ocalan was physically sound. The
two-person CPT delegation met with Ocalan for
five hours. They determined that his sole
complaint was isolation. The following points
were underlined in the CPT report: Ocalan is in
good health. The Turkish authorities provide
regular physical examinations and report the
results to Ankara. Ocalan's family and lawyers
were being taken to the island every Wednesday by
the Justice Ministry's official boat. However,
when the winds are too high (Level 4), such boat
journeys are not doable. No one has able to visit
Ocalan for a long time - since the end of
November. Thus, there has been an obstacle to
such boat visits. The CPT team is of the
impression that this obstacle is being created
deliberately. Ocalan has access to daily
newspapers. He has a transistor radio on which he
can listen to TRT (Turkish Radio and Television).
The CPT believes that, even with limitations or
conditions, a means of telephone communication
should be created for Ocalan.
3. Hurriyet: It is reported that the wave of
migration Turkey expects in the likely war on
Iraq already started in Northern Iraq's region
close to Hakkari province. It is gathered that
the migration movement that started in Barzani's
KDP controlled region has not reached Turkey yet,
and the immigrants are living on their own means,
and that Kizilay, the Turkish Red Crescent, has
undertaken all sorts of precautions to provide
relief to the immigrants in the event they
appeared at the Turkish border. Although
Barzani's KDP and Talabani's PUK claim that there
won't be a migration like the one in 1991,
Turkish officials believe migration will be
inevitable. Turkey has had a military presence in
northern Iraq since 1993, and is worried that the
United States is depending on Mesud Barzani's
forces too much.
4. Hurriyet/Radikal: IKDP's spokesman, Hosyar
Zebari threatened Ankara by warning that the
Turkish army should not enter the region, and
they would clash with them if they did. Zebari
was quoted as saying, "We understand Turkey's
sensitivity, and we guaranteed it repeatedly. Our
purpose is not to found an independent Kurdistan.
We have showed in the past that we could work in
coordination with Turks. Even a minor
intervention will cause clashes. Any intervention
on any pretext will cause clashes. No one should
think that we are bluffing." Zebari said that
there was nothing that required the Turkish army
to enter the region, and that they could take
care of anything needed in the region. He said
there was no discrimination against Turcomans,
and that they were their co-citizens and
partners. Talabani's spokesman, Latif Resit, also
expressed that they were against Turkish army
penetration into the region, and in response to
whether or not they would enter Kirkuk, Mr. Resit
said "our forces will remain as part of Iraq's
5. Milliyet/Turkiye: Turkish armed forces'
military build-up in the region continues.
Military convoys carrying ammunition and military
equipment from various towns are first destined
for Cizre and Silopi townships. Three convoys --
consisting in total of 25 trucks, 15 jeeps and 20
TIR trucks carrying armored vehicles and
artillery -- passed through Cizre yesterday.
Preparations for a possible refugee influx into
Turkey continue. It is said that 75 teachers will
be assigned to tents to be set up for refugees
on the Turkish side of the border.
6. Milliyet: It is reported that the
infrastructure improvement projects at Incirlik
AB have been expedited, and that a large number
of heavy-duty machines were seen digging a three
meter deep pit in the size of a soccer field. It
is said that the excavations were made for
building new hangars. An increase in the number
of tents at the site allocated for ONW soldiers
was also reported. The number of "giant tents"
increased to three during the weekend. It is said
that these giant tents will be used as a
revolving door by the US troops when the Turkish
national Assembly authorizes deployment of US
forces in Turkey. It is also reported that the
ground where the US tankers are located has been
hardened, and painting of the runways has been
7. Cumhuriyet: It is reported that the United
States has asked the Turkish government to double
the capacity of Incirlik AB or else build a new
base similar to the one in Incirlik in Batman. In
addition to the current issues and hot
developments in the region, bilateral long-term
strategic talks are also taking place between the
two governments.
The US wants to use Turkey as a "central logistic
base" for its plans to shape the Middle East and
Caspian and Balkan triangle in the 21st century,
and therefore wants to use almost all Turkish
ports and airports from which military aircraft
could operate. It is reported that the US has
made the following demands from the Turkish
- Sign a new agreement for doubling the capacity
of Incirlik AB.
- If that doesn't work, turn over the Batman base
and the installations around the base.
- During the use of airports and ports by the
Turkish military, there may be a shortage of
warehouse space. Therefore we should work on a
rental arrangement for the areas surrounding the
- We should also work on the railway and roads to
facilitate our transportation.
8. Bolge: As the possible war on Iraq
approaches, government officials have not
disclosed how they are going to provide for
citizens' security. The people of Adana do not
know what to do in the case of an attack by Iraq
using weapons of mass destruction. Civil defense
authorities said they had determined the type of
precautions to be undertaken in case of an
attack, but because they had not received
approval from the governor's office, they
couldn't announce it to the public.
9. Turkiye: A spokeswoman for the Women's
Platform of the Human Rights Association's
Diyarbakir chapter said the number of sexual-
harassment and rape cases in Mardin has increased
recently. She said a 12 year old girl was
recently found to have been trafficked and
serially raped, even by government officials. The
investigation caused detention of many government
officials, and the investigation continues. Necla
Akdeniz, another girl, who was raped by village
guards in Mardin, was subsequently shot to death
by her own family. A girl named Semsiye was also
killed; her head was bashed in with stones, for
having a forbidden love affair.
10. Evrensel: 2500 Petrol-Is Union members in
Batman who did not receive their overtime pays
for four months will go on strike today and press
for 700 contracted workers whose contracts will
end in March to be put on permanent payroll. The
union's Batman chapter president, Nimetullah
Sozen, said their unpaid overtime totaled to TL
800 billion ($620 thousand.
11. Sabah: Adana mayor, Aytac Durak, who did not
report 38 pieces of real estate and 583,825
square meters of land in his statement to the tax
office faces a court hearing on March 13. If
Mayor Durak fails to persuade the jury about the
shortcomings in his statement he will face an
imprisonment term from 3 to 8 years and will be
banned for life from public service. As a result
of a tip-off, the Interior Ministry launched an
investigation in 2001 and his file was submitted
to Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of Adana.
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