Cablegate: Southeast Turkey Press Summary for May 16, 2005

Published: Tue 17 May 2005 05:09 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
This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for May 16, 2005.
Please note that Turkish press reports often contain errors or
exaggerations; AmConsulate Adana does not vouch for the accuracy
of the reports summarized here.
OZGUR GUNDEM: Cemal Kavak, DEHAP (Democratic People's Party)
Istanbul Provincial Chairperson, said that European Court of
Human Rights' (ECHR) decision on Ocalan's trial was a timely
opportunity for Turkey to resolve the Kurdish issue peacefully.
The Kurdish issue cannot be solved through force and violence,
but rather, "democratic means should be implemented to achieve
results", said Kavak. Meanwhile, lawyers and jurists in Iraq
reportedly held a press conference in the Ocalan Culture and
Arts Center in Baghdad, where the President of the Iraqi Human
Rights Association stated that Iraqi people would struggle not
only for human rights, but also for the rights and freedom of
Kurdish people, and for the person who represents them, namely
Ocalan. Kurds in Lebanon sent 4,000 signatures to the ECHR to
support the court's verdict.
(Nationalist Movement Party) Adana Provincial Chairperson Yilmaz
Tankut described the ECHR's Ocalan decision as a move synonymous
with degradation of the honor and dignity of Turkey and branded
this decision as mere provocation. These remarks came during a
press meeting held to announce the enrolling of new 150 members,
some of who severed ties with AKP to join the MHP party lines.
AKP Adana Provincial Chairperson Abdullah Dogru criticized
Tankut's remarks and reminded that it was MHP and the coalition
government that "nourished" Ocalan in Imrali Island after he was
arrested in 1999. Meanwhile, IP (Workers' Party) Adana
Chairperson was also highly critical of the decision passed by
the ECHR and blamed the GOT for showing impotence regarding the
OZGUR GUNDEM: Soldiers reportedly buried nine alleged
terrorists who were killed during a conflict that broke out in
Ovacik district of Tunceli in a cemetery under tight security
measures, rather than returning the bodies to their families.
The families and people were allegedly not granted entrance to
the cemetery.
HURRIYET: During a military operation deploying a reported
10,000 Turkish soldiers in Bingol, a conflict between the
terrorists and the Turkish military killed three soldiers and
wounded four soldiers. (Note: This article is from May 14
CUMHURIYET: In Batman, Murat Karayalcin, national leader of the
SHP (Social Democratic People's Party), complained about
official discourse concerned with such as issues such as
"religion," "flag," "sect," and "secularism," that customarily
dominate Turkish politics. He added that people should start
debating and discussing the Kurdish issue everywhere in Turkey.
HURRIYET: State officials have criticized the labor union,
KESK (Confederation of Public Sector Workers' Unions), for
holding its Ordinary General Convention in the absence of a
Turkish flag and for failing to play the national anthem at the
commencement of the event. Moreover, Tuncer Bakirhan's (DEHAP
leader) speech there aroused anger and more criticism when
Bakirhan used a courtesy title before the name of Ocalan.
(Note: This article is from May 14 edition).
OZGUR GUNDEM: In February 2005, 159 DEHAP members, who were
traveling to Mardin to attend the court hearings of the Ugur
Kaymaz case in Kiziltepe, were allegedly stopped, searched and
barred from attending the hearings by the Duzova Jandarma
Station in Cizre, Sirnak province. This was done, according to
a Jandarma report submitted to the Cizre Prosecutor (CP), "to
safeguard the members' security." DEHAP members filed a suit
with the CP claiming their political rights were violated and
that they were allegedly branded as "pro-terrorists" at the
Station. The CP, finding no breach of their rights or by
Jandarma officials, dismissed the charges. [Note: Meanwhile,
Ministry of Inernal Affairs reportedly announced that
proceedings of the case regarding Ugur Kaymaz would be moved
from Mardin to Eskisehir due to security concerns.]
OZGUR GUNDEM: Speculation that the Southeastern Anatolian
Project (GAP) Administration will be closed has reportedly
arisen, and Ozgur Gundem reports that 3 billion dollars will
need to be spent every year in order to be able to finish the
project by 2010. Considering budgetary uncertainty, it is not
clear if the GOT will be able to afford that amount. Although
the massive Project took shape in 1980s as a multi-sector and
socioeconomic regional development program, the State possibly
used the project to counter terror related issues as well, the
paper speculates, by flooding many settlements and spaces in the
region, adding to the displacement of people.
EVRENSEL / OZGUR GUNDEM: Three people were wounded in a gun
attack that broke out due to a dispute over the use of a pasture
in Bismil district of Diyarbakir.
HURRIYET: Eleven members of BAK (Global Peace and Justice
Commission) organized a bicycle tour between two districts of
Istanbul calling on the GOT to close down Incirlik Airbase.
visited Sanliurfa on Saturday to attend the "First GAP Business
and Investment Forum," held at Harran University. On the way to
the University, groups (including many children) stopped
Erdogan's convoy two times, shouting, "We want schools, we want
jobs, and we do not want to turn into inhalers or thieves."
During his address at the forum, Erdogan said in this region
where languages and religions has forged a common ground, the
GAP had became the "brand" of the region. Erdogan replied to
criticism that had been voiced by the SP and MHP before his
arrival to the city, saying, "People accusing us of treason are
the ones who are actually engaging in treason." (Note: This
article is from May 15 editions.)
OZGUR GUNDEM: Three police officers were wounded on Saturday
at 10 p.m. during a bomb and gun attack on a police car that was
on patrol in Dogubeyazit district of Agri. (Note: This article
is from May 15 edition).
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