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WikiLeaks: 2004-02-12: 04ADANA20: Implementation Trailing Legislation in Southeast Turkey

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 11:52 AM CT


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
04ADANA20 2004-02-12 13:02 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Adana
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:  Southeast Turkey human rights 
contacts report a positive change in  relations 
between GoT authorities in some southeast areas 
and community leaders, but note that 
implementation of recent EU-related reform 
packages has been inconsistent.  Southeast Turkey 
contacts also report the continued desire of the 
majority of the region's Kurdish population for a 
general amnesty for PKK/KADEK/KHK .  End Summary. 
2..(SBU)   Syriac Christian contacts in the 
Midyat region of Mardin province told  AMCONSUL 
Adana PO and Embassy Ankara econoff    that their 
community's relations with authorities had 
improved  somewhat in the last few months. 
However,   many issues, such as the continued 
occupation by village guards of abandoned homes 
in the region, prevented the successful return of 
Syriac Christians who fled the region in the 
1990s due to the PKK-related conflict.  .  A 
senior religious leader said that a few people 
were trying to return from western Europe, but 
progress was slow and most efforts were best 
characterized as "exploratory" for now.  He  said 
some local churches are being assessed slowly for 
reconstruction or remodeling by their local 
congregation members, but village guards and some 
police are hampering  these  efforts.   Overall, 
community members whom the U.S. diplomats saw 
said that the new reform packages had produced a 
calmer atmosphere in the area, but implementation 
was yet to be forthcoming in any conclusive 
3.(SBU)   Syriac community and religious leaders 
said  they feel far freer  when visiting Syriac 
communities and monasteries in Syria than they do 
in their own community in Turkey.  They also said 
that the recent thawing of relations with the GOT 
seemed linked to efforts by the prior governor, 
who  departed in December 2003 to assume the 
governorship in Bingol.  Their relationship with 
the new governor is still a question mark.  They 
also noted that many congregation members report 
regularly to community leaders that the real 
force behind  the  pressure on the community 
stems from Army and Jandarma forces, as well as 
their village guard counterparts.  The community 
leaders wondered whether these influences might 
be limiting local Islamic  leaders' efforts to 
pursue  a more amicable relationship with the 
Syriac community.  They also reflected that 
Islamic leaders from elsewhere in Turkey have 
visited the area's Syriac monasteries quite 
openly  in recent years, limiting the religious 
aloofness to a local phenomenon. 
4.(SBU)  A Diyarbakir human rights NGO contact 
said that little has  changed in the human rights 
situation in the city and province.  He noted 
particular Turkish police (TNP) and Jandarma 
sensitivity to, and physical crackdowns on, 
gatherings of any  groups larger than  5-10 
individuals.  He said  the TNP/Jandarma quickly 
resort to violent disruption of any gatherings in 
Diyarbakir that involve  political speech.   A 
gathering that focuses on social demands, such as 
better housing or health care, usually will only 
be encircled and watched by security forces, but 
the use of a Kurdish word or display of a banner 
denoting a political affiliation is often the 
trigger for a crackdown.  He described the use of 
truncheons and nightsticks, as well as water 
cannons, by security forces as the most 
frequently used recent control tactics. 
5.(SBU)  This same contact said that security 
authorities routinely fail to inform detainees of 
their  right to attorney representation, or only 
do so almost a day after arrest and 
interrogation.  There are also numerous accounts 
in recent months of arrestees being discouraged 
from exercising that representation right when 
requesting it. 
6. (SBU)  He said that the Diyarbakir Kurdish 
language institute is close to opening its doors 
and will probably be the region's largest.  The 
institute will  focus on Kermanji instruction and 
will not feature Zaza education materials.  The 
institute does  not seem to face the zoning 
obstacles encountered by its Sanliurfa 
counterpart recently.  It will  use a curriculum 
drawn from the Istanbul Kurdish language 
institute.  He predicted considerable interest in 
the institute's curriculum for written language 
among better-educated Kurds, explaining that this 
group is "curious after the language has been 
suppressed for the last fifteen years." 
Nevertheless, he said that he doubted  many 
parents would seek Kurdish written education for 
their children, opting instead to devote those 
language instruction resources to a foreign 
language, mentioning English and German as 
7. (SBU)  Finally, the contact expressed a broad 
regional Kurdish sympathy for declaration of a 
general amnesty for the PKK/KADEK/KHK .  He said 
there is no way out for the organization without 
an amnesty.  If they are attacked, they will have 
no choice but to use violence, and will choose to 
fight rather than surrender.  He said that he 
feared a return to violence in southeast Turkey 
in the spring because he foresaw the likelihood 
of an attack on the PKK as weather improved in a 
few months.  This prospect deeply concerned him 
and he predicted it would set the region's 
development back even further and deepen the 
sense of depression that he said pervades 
southeast Turkey. 
8.(SBU)  A Cizre/Silopi  religious leader without 
political affiliation who is a longtime Embassy 
and Consulate contact echoed desires for a 
general amnesty for the PKK/KADEK/KHK , saying 
people "want their children to come back from the 
mountains, but do not want them to betray the 
Kurdish cause to do so."  He maintained that few 
PKK/KADEK/KHK  cadres had actually engaged in 
violence and should be welcomed back into  Turkey 
without question.  As for organization leaders, 
he said that they did not deserve to be punished 
severely for their actions either.  "We should 
just see everyone in the southeast give up their 
arms, go back to their villages and return to the 
fields together now so that we can move on and 
put our past behind us," he said. 


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