Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary

Published: Tue 18 Mar 2003 12:04 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
MARCH 17, 2003
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for March
17, 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/Sabah/Milliyet/Radikal/Milli
Gazete/Turkiye/Tercuman: The PUK Leader Celal
Talabani, the Leader of Turkoman Front Sanan
Ahmed Aga, and IKDP Representative Necirvan
Barzani came to Ankara. The leaders of the Iraqi
Opposition crossed into Turkey from Habur Border
Gate yesterday and flew from Diyarbakir to Ankara
where they were met by their party
representatives in Turkey. In response to
reporter's questions, Celal Talabani said they
were going to talk about matters that concern
their Turkish brothers and American friends.
Sanan Ahmet Aga also drew attention to the
importance of the Opposition Group's meeting
tomorrow, saying it would be a turning point for
the future of the Turkomen, and the policy Turkey
would follow in northern Iraq.
3. Hurriyet: An anonymous U.S. official told AP
News Agency that the U.S. has put into effect war
plans excluding Turkey, and that the primary
focus of the contacts Zalmay Halilzad has been
having in Ankara is to persuade Turkey about not
deploying soldiers in Northern Iraq. The
anonymous US official claimed Turkey's unilateral
penetration into northern Iraq would cause
clashes and problems with the coalition forces,
and expressed his concern that, if Turkey entered
northern Iraq without the coalition forces,
clashes might even take place between Turkish
and U.S. military units. The same source said the
USD 15 billion-dollar grant and loan package had
been withdrawn. It was not sure if the package
would be re-discussed, even if the motion passed
from the National Assembly.
4. Hurriyet/Milli
Gazete/Evrensel/Turkiye/Cumhuriyet: Freighters
have discharged Patriot missiles, Stinger missile
batteries, Hummer jeeps, vehicles including
military trucks, and military equipment in 211
containers at the port of Iskenderun since
February 19. Because Turkey did not grant
permission for foreign soldiers to be deployed in
or transit through Turkey, 36 ships carrying the
United States' Fourth Infantry Brigade's tanks,
armored vehicles, and ammunitions still wait off
shore in the Mediterranean.
5. Hurriyet: On the 15th anniversary of Saddam's
use of chemical gas which killed 5 thousand
people instantly in Halepce town of Northern
Iraq, demonstrators from Istanbul's DEHAP Youth
Organization, Socialist Democratic Party, The New
Democrat Youth, No to War in Iraq Committee and
other non-governmental organizations posted
banners, and shouted slogans in Turkish and
Kurdish. When DEHAP demonstrators started
shouting pro-KADEK and pro-Ocalan slogans, anti-
riot police arrested 26 persons, including two
women. In Diyarbakir, Democracy Platform members
who wanted to make a press announcement in front
of the Human Rights Monument were not allowed
into the park by police. As a consequence, the
police arrested 10 demonstrators for undertaking
an "illegal demonstration."
6. Milliyet: Dozens of animals died in Doyuran
village of Kiziltepe at the Syrian border 20 days
ago. The villagers are suspicious of the
Americans who visited their village two weeks
ago. Doyuran villagers said the chickens died
first, and then about 50 head of cattle perished
in the past 10 days. Sheep, calves, and birds in
the region have also become the victims of
mysterious death. The villagers said some
foreigners visited their village in two black US
jeeps two weeks ago. One of the villagers, Ahmet
Sahin, said he lost all his chickens and about 20
sheep, and that an equal number of sheep were
also sick. The village headman, Osman Kilic, said
his sheep also had died. Kiziltepe sub-governor,
Tayyar Sasmaz, said there was no epidemic disease
in the region but would assign officials from
Provincial Agricultural Directorate and Health
Committee to investigate the issue.
7. Milliyet: In response to TGS's demand to
initiate State of Extraordinary Rule in six
provinces should the war start, Interior Minister
Abdulkadir Aksu said no weakness had been seen in
their combat with terrorism since OHAL was ended.
During parliamentary debates about his ministry's
budget, Minister Aksu said the region was
normalized following the lifting of the OHAL and
thus gave an indirect answer to TGS's desire to
declare OHAL in Diyarbakir, Mardin, Sirnak,
Siirt, Batman, and Hakkari provinces.
8. Evrensel: Anadolu New Agency reported that
the Chief Public Prosecutor investigating
Kahramanmaras DEHAP's Provincial Chairman Metin
Gonulsen prepared an indictment accusing him of
"threatening the country with civil war" and
"making propaganda for a terror organization."
Based on the prosecutor's instructions, Mr.
Gonulsen was apprehended and ordered held by
court. After his arrest, anti-terror teams
obtained a court warrant, and subsequently
searched DEHAP's provincial and district offices.
9. Evrensel: Newroz Organization Committee of
Mersin applied to the governor's office for
permission to celebrate the "Newroz" (new year
celebrations) in Mersin. Two persons were killed
during the celebrations last year. Regarding the
issue, the Provincial Administrator, Ilhan Tas,
said their application was accepted. Tas said
the chances for celebrating the Newroz this year
were high, and that the committee would request
an appointment from the governor and the security
director on March 17. Adiyaman Democracy
Platform also applied to the governor's office to
celebrate the Newroz. Committees have been
formed for the celebration of Newroz in Hakkari.
A local singer, Nevzat Alter, is reported to
participate the March 21 celebrations in Hakkari.
In Adana, the Labor, Peace and Democracy Block
applied to the governor's office for Newroz
celebrations. DEHAP Central Committee Members who
applied to the governor's office said they would
celebrate the Newroz at three separate locations
and was expecting 150,000 participants at
celebrations in Adana and 20,000 in Ceyhan.
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