Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary,

Published: Fri 30 May 2003 02:30 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
MAY 30, 2003
1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary
for May 30, 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. Sabah/Hurriyet: As a result of ensuing
clashes between the security forces and a group
of PKK-KADEK militants who had set up an ambush
near Bingol yesterday evening, one soldier was
killed while seven others were wounded. As
clashes continued, enforcement units were
dispatched to the region.
3. Hurriyet: Charges were brought against a
shepherd named Suleyman because he grazed his
live stocks in Bingol at night. The court
demanded two and a half months of imprisonment
for the shepherd for acting in opposition to the
orders given by authorities. The shepherd
appealed the case to the Supreme Court. The
Supreme Court acquitted Suleyman on the grounds
that the state was responsible for promoting live
stock raising and supporting the live stock
raisers for increasing production, and that the
ban was not in confirmation with the
4. Hurriyet: After his speech at the War Academy
on EU and assorted issues, the Vice Chief of TGS,
General Buyukanit, clarified his views about his
abstention on use of mother tongue in
broadcasting. General Buyukanit was quoted as
saying, "When there are thousands of terrorists
in the country, we can not pretend as though they
do not exist. It would not matter if broadcasting
on the country's television was made in Chinese
or Arabic if there had been no terrorist threat
in our country." Drawing attention to the
difficulty in controlling the TV channels,
General Buyukanit said "RTUK's (Radio and
Televison High Council) offices in Anatolia are
being closed down. Who is going to inspect these
private broadcasts? Once it was debated on a
private TV channel in Diyarbakir whether the
Independent Kurdish State should be Islamist or
secular. Controlling is not as easy as it is
thought. First of all, the idea would emerge, and
then weapons would be given to people. At the
moment, there are 900-armed PKK militants within
the borders. Is this a threat? At a time, Kocero
(a bandit) was only one person, and he was a
threat. From this angle, we perceive broadcasting
in the mother tongue as a threat."
5. Sabah: The Batman Women's Platform decided to
arrange a poem and essay competition in Turkish
and Kurdish on "War, Peace and Women." The
platform applied to the governor's office to
obtain permission. The authorities denied its
request on the grounds that no such entity
legally existed. The governor's decision is found
odd because Turkey is trying to pass bills to
make it permissible to broadcast in Kurdish on
private TV channels. An inmate in Batman prison,
Fahriye Ceylan, hoping the permission for the
contest would be granted, sent a poem in Kurdish
to the jury. The poem was illegible because it
was entirely scratched out by the prison
administration. The prison administration's note
on the poem stated, "It has been scratched out
because it was written in a not understandable
6. Milliyet: Adana's Mayor Aytac Durak, who
faced up to one year of imprisonment on the
charges of abuse of authority while in office,
also benefited from the amnesty law. Durak was
charged of violating several laws and rules
between 1996 and 1998. His file has been
suspended for five years. If Mayor Durak commits
a crime within five years, he will be given a
penalty for the previous charges as well.
7. Bolge/Cumhuriyet: Although the harvesting of
wheat has started in the Cukurova Plain, the
government has not announced the basic rate for
the product yet. The producers said they suffered
approximately a 10 percent loss in yield due to
extreme heat and northeast wind in May. The
farmers said the government should take world
market prices into account and announce a basic
price not less than 0.26 or 0.28 USD per kilo.
Merchants have been buying wheat at 0.21 or 0.22
US dollar per kilo. The President of Yuregir's
Chamber of Agriculture, Sahin Tekin, said TMO
(Soil Products Office) was not friendly to
farmers anymore because it acted in a business-
minded manner. Tekin said it was impossible to
feed 70 million people with imported wheat, and
therefore, he said the government should support
the farmers to increase the wheat production.
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