Cablegate: Ambassador's Initial Visit To

Published: Fri 20 Feb 2004 03:05 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
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Ambassador Edelman on
February 10th made his initial visit to Adana.
Ambassador met with incumbent Adana Mayor Aytac
Durak to discuss both USG foreign policy and the
current conditions in Adana. When the Ambassador
asked Durak what he considered Adana's most
significant problem, Durak responded that it was
internal migration. The Mayor noted no problems
with the Adana Christian community although there
is an ongoing investigation into a recent attack
on a church. In response to the discussion on
the 2005 Multifiber Agreement expiration, Durak
noted that a QIZ including textiles would be
beneficial to the area. Ambassador also made a
courtesy call to Sabanci Mosque and received
mission briefs at Incirlik Air Base, including
Iraq support missions. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) 10th Tanker Base Commander Brigadier
General Levent Turkmen met the Ambassador and his
party at the Incirlik Air Base flight line on
February 10. Embassy Ankara sent a diplomatic
note to the TGS requesting meetings with Turkmen
and 6th Corps Commander Lt General Ayhan Tas but
the meetings were not approved. Ambassador
departed the flight line with 39th Air Base Group
Commander Col William MacLure for a mission
3. (SBU) Ambassador met with incumbent Adana
Mayor Aytac Durak later on February 10 to discuss
the current political and economic scene
conditions in Adana. Durak opened by noting area
interest in the ongoing UN talks in New York
regarding Cyprus. When the Ambassador stressed
that the US strongly supports a Cyprus solution
before the Greek Cypriot EU accession in May,
Durak remarked that it was unfortunate that past
Cyprus policy had been not been more favorable to
the Turkish side. The Mayor noted the importance
of a stable Iraq since it was Turkey's southern
neighbor and that the southeast Turkish region
was watching developments there closely.
4. (SBU) The Mayor is currently up for
reelection in a very active campaign, but has yet
to declare his political party affiliation (see
REFTELs). Durak remained confident that he would
win in any case, but he preferred to belong to
"the strongest party possible" (Comment: Mayor's
advisors assure consulate personnel that Durak
will run as an AK Party candidate. AK Party
remains silent on Durak's candidacy. End
comment). The Mayor expressed concern that once
re-elected he would continue to experience
difficulty working with the sub-municipalities
(Yuregir and Seyhan) on the City Council. Durak
went on to explain that, if he belonged to the
strongest party, he could direct Seyhan and
Yuregir more effectively. He gave the example of
gecekondus he had observed near the Consulate
(new Consulate now is located in Yuregir
municipality). When visiting the Consulate,
Durak told PO that he would like to do something
about the illegal structures, but since it was
Yuregir, he could not control the problem
(Comment: Consulate has only requested road,
security, and sewage system improvements; it has
not asked that Durak or his Yuregir counterpart
address the nearby gecekondu. End comment).
5. (SBU) When the Ambassador asked Durak what he
considered Adana's most significant problem,
Durak responded that it was internal migration.
The rich people moved to Istanbul and the poor
people continue to immigrate from southeastern
Turkey to Adana, according to the Mayor. Durak
noted that this was producing a strain on
services in the area because, despite the
predominately agricultural nature of the area
economy, many of the internal migrants still were
unemployed and too illiterate to find other than
agricultural jobs.
6. (SBU) In response to the Ambassador's
discussion of area plans regarding the January
2005 expiration of the Multifiber Agreement,
Durak and his advisors offered that a QIZ
including textiles in Yumurtalik would be
beneficial to the area. Only one of the Mayor's
advisors (an experienced businessman who handles
Durak's press affairs) responded with an
understanding of the need for Adana textile
manufacturers to move up the value chain. The
advisor noted that there was a need to
manufacture higher quality higher value-added
apparel because in the production of bulk cloth
and low quality apparel few countries could
compete with China.
7. (SBU) When the Ambassador asked the Mayor
about the situation in Adana for religious
minorities, the Mayor responded that there was a
very small community in Adana. Most of the
Christians are in Mersin or Iskendurun, he said.
Durak did not mention any problems (Note:
Recently there was a molotov cocktail thrown at
an Adana church, causing only superficial damage
to the faade, which is still under
investigation. Durak did not appear to be aware
of the incident. End note).
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