Cablegate: Released Dep Deputies Tour Se Turkey As Pkk Terror Expands

Published: Mon 21 Jun 2004 11:11 AM
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: Four recently released former DEP deputies,
including Leyla Zana, kicked off a five-day tour of southeast
Turkey on June 12 with a Diyarbakir rally attended by tens of
thousands of enthusiastic supporters. The four deputies called
for a six-month extension of PKK/Kongra Gel's recently
discontinued ceasefire and urged Turkish authorities to "regain
the militants in the hills and prisons." Diyarbakir DEHAP mayor
Osman Baydemir called for a general amnesty for PKK/Kongra Gel
and an immediate ceasefire when welcoming the group. Meanwhile,
PKK/Kongra Gel continued its accelerated terror expanding
infiltration into urban areas in two provinces while continuing
to provoke violence in rural areas. End Summary.
Released former deputies go on eastern Turkey tour
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2. (SBU) Four recently released former DEP deputies - Leyla
Zana, Orhan Dogan, Hatip Dicle and Selim Sadak - kicked off a
five-day tour of southeast Turkey on June 12 with a rally in
Diyarbakir attended by approximately 20,000 to 30,000. The four
deputies called for both a six-month extension of the PKK/Kongra
Gel recently discontinued ceasefire and Turkish authorities'
efforts to "regain the militants in the hills and prisons."
Diyarbakir DEHAP mayor Osman Baydemir called for a general
amnesty for PKK/Kongra Gel members and appealed for an immediate
ceasefire and "peace throughout the region." The four continued
their tour to large and small cities from Mardin to Van. DEHAP
(DEP successor party once removed) Chairman Tuncer Bakirhan
accompanied the group on their regional tour. Diyarbakir Mayor
Baydemir later in the week called for a fresh regional approach
from the AK Party government , which he claimed had left the
"Kurdish question" on a back burner since AKP's election.
Meanwhile PKK/Kongra Gel extends attacks into urban areas
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3.(SBU) There was a June 12 terror attack on a sub-governor's
residence in Gercus, Batman province, which probably killed one
TNP member and likely two alleged PKK attackers, while wounding
several others. Then, on June 13, two probable PKK/Kongra Gel
attackers, reportedly using hand grenades (Comment: local
contacts reported that press reports of use of "rockets" was
inaccurate. End Comment.), attempted to attack a Jandarma social
club. Both attackers reportedly were killed in the ensuing
clash. Also, on June 13, probable PKK/Kongra Gel reportedly
used a command-detonated landmine (comment: it may have been an
improvised explosive device (IED), too, given credible reports
of police seizures of C-4 caches in this area recently. End
4.(SBU) While, until late May, most of the recent violence had
been in rural or village areas, there is now a clear shift in
tactics to include targets in urban areas. A first such urban
attack was narrowly averted on May 28 in Adana's downtown city
center. Since then the Gercus and Bingol events confirm the new
trend, as does the TNP police arrest of eleven additional
alleged PKK members in Adana on June 14 armed with ten kilos of
C-4 explosive, whom the TNP says were planning a terrorist
activity against the Adana Justice Ministry building.
5.(SBU) Rural violence also continues. There was an attack in
Adiyaman June 9, which probably left several security forces
dead and more wounded, and a probable PKK/Kongra Gel raid on a
small Jandarma station in one of Bingol province's outlying
district. Additionally, there were recent attacks in Tunceli
and Sirnak province between Jandarma and probable PKK/Kongra Gel
terrorists. The two most recent events, both in Hatay province,
one June 14 in Dortyol and, again on June 16 in Hassa, show how
probable PKK/Kongra Gel militants are trying to destabilize a
wide swathe of southeast Turkey.
How this is playing in region
6.(SBU) Local contacts in southeastern Turkey told political
LES this week that they are relieved by the release of the four
former deputies, whom they considered to have been imprisoned
unjustly. They said that the Kurdish community in the region is
energized by the group of four's presence among them in open
gatherings and expressed hope that the group can form the
nucleus of a movement to change a dynamic which they otherwise
fear could be headed toward renewed region-wide violence.
Contacts also express disappointment in the face of continuing
PKK/Kongra Gel attacks in the region. Following the recent
attacks, Batman local community leaders, including the province
DEHAP chairman, expressed their condolences to State security
officials, while some local residents visited the Gercus
sub-governors residence and victims' families in Batman to
express their condolences personally. Batman merchants staged a
silent protest against the recent violence in Batman through
shop closings. Tunceli mayors called for an end to violence and
expressed hope for regional reconciliation. Regional business
leaders express concern that the region's economy, already very
weak, will deteriorate further and one Diyarbakir business
contact reported already hearing of the postponement of a
long-hoped-for agro-industry investment in the province, as well
as a hospital construction plan's postponement. Baydemir held a
business council on June 16 to assess publicly the most recent
business trends in Diyarbakir and elsewhere in southeast Turkey.
7.(SBU) Comment: The mood in the Kurdish community has been
buoyed by the former deputies' release and spontaneous
celebrations have occurred in many major southeastern Turkish
cities throughout the past week. The former deputies, as well
as Baydemir, seem interested in playing an intermediary role in
the southeast region posting negotiations with Terrorists which
seek to raise the profile of "the Kurdish question" on the
national agenda. DEHAP, smarting from losses in spring
municipal elections, also is eager to try to show leadership to
its discouraged Kurdish regional political base. In discussions
in recent months with consulate officials, GOT representatives
in the region have dismissed prospects for another round of the
"return to home law" which was relatively fruitless in late
2003, let alone the general amnesty advocated directly by
Baydemir and at least indirectly by the former deputies.
Bakirhan's descriptions this week in press interviews of DEHAP
as "equidistant" between the Turkish state and PKK/Kongra Gel
has also angered officials in Ankara because it did not condemn
the PKK/Kongra Gel's use of terror. PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
Turkish General Staff Chief General Hilmi Ozkok have been quick
to express this anger publicly this week.
8. (SBU) (Comment, cont'd) For now, GOT forces have been
proportional in their responses to the PKK/Kongra Gel attacks.
This relative restraint generally has been positively noted by
the regional Kurdish grass roots leadership. If PKK/Kongra
Gel's current strategy is to provoke the State into
disproportionate crackdowns in order to rally its support base
and active cadres, there could be further intensification of
terrorism in the region. This deterioration in the security
environment would check significantly implementation of the
recently-passed EU Accordance laws in the region. (End Comment).
9. Baghdad minimize considered.
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