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WikiLeaks: 2006-02-14: 06ADANA33: Turkey - Southeast Turkey Unsettled by Large Peaceful Protests of Anti-Islamic Cartoons

Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 06:58 PM CT


Viewing cable 06ADANA33, TURKEY - SE TURKEY UNSETTLED BY LARGE PEACEFUL PROTESTS OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ADANA33 2006-02-14 11:12 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.
UNCLAS ADANA 000033 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PREL TU ADANA
SUBJECT: TURKEY - SE TURKEY UNSETTLED BY
LARGE PEACEFUL PROTESTS OF ANTI-ISLAMIC CARTOONS. 
 
REF: A) ADANA 27  B) ADANA 29 
 
1.(SBU)  Summary:  Southeastern Turkey's largely  Sunni 
population has taken considerable offense at the recently 
published Danish editorial cartoons.  One American Christian in 
Gaziantep has reported non-violent police harassment; the 
Gaziantep police chief undertook to look into the matter and 
told us he is focused on protecting Americans.   Overall, 
authorities have advised restraint and, by and large, have been 
effective at managing large protest activities with the 
potential for violent outbursts.  End Summary. 
 
Protests peak after Friday prayer~. 
------------------------------------- 
 
2.(SBU)  Last week saw frequent outbursts of public criticism of 
the recently published Danish editorial cartoons in southeast 
Turkey, culminating in post Friday prayer protests and 
demonstrations.  In total, tens of thousands of peaceful 
protesters were out on Friday in Adana, Diyarbakir, Sanliurfa, 
Siirt, Mardin and Mersin provinces, according to multiple 
reports from local sources and the press.  The largest protest 
was held in Diyarbakir and, according to conservative estimates 
from local contacts, was 30-40,000 strong and streched over 
three kilometers in length.  In Adana, Consulate personnel 
observed a 500-person protest group which formed after Friday 
prayer at the Sabanci central mosque.  Protestors in the region 
reportedly denounced Denmark, the U.S., Israel and Europe, 
burned Danish flags and chanted pro-Islamic slogans. 
Nevertheless, protests stayed non-violent and Turkish National 
Police deployed adequate riot control units to control crowd 
behavior. 
 
An AMCIT Christian caught up in the regional tension? 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
-------- 
 
3.(SBU) AMCON Adana received complaints from an AMCIT resident 
of Gaziantep on February 7 reporting Turkish police harassment. 
At the AMCIT's request, we approached Gaziantep Security 
Director Dr. Ali Yilmaz about the complaint.  He said that the 
AMCIT and "his visiting friends," while publicly proselytizing 
near a mosque, had angered many devout Islamic local residents. 
He said that proselytizing was not a violation of Turkish law, 
offered that he would investigate the allegation of harassment 
and claimed that he was focusing on protecting the small number 
of American residents in Gaziantep 
 
Regional non-Sunnis riding out storm, but wary 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
4.(SBU)  AMCON Adana has polled Christian and other non-Sunni 
groups to determine how their small communities are faring; we 
have encountered general concern, but also widespread relief 
that there has been little violence targeting them to date.  An 
exception is the small Syriac Christian community of a handful 
of families in Elazig whose church was stoned on February 8. 
The larger Syriac community in Mardin province fared better, but 
took precautions, such as not sending children to school on 
Friday, February 10 and staying off the streets on Thursday and 
Friday, February 9-10 when protests were anticipated.  The 
Diyarbakir Christian Church reported that it was not the focus 
of any protest or harassment last week, but noted considerable 
community tension about the editorial cartoon controversy.  In 
Adana, police have been patrolling near several small storefront 
evangelical churches since the January attack on a Christian 
pastor.  We have heard no reports of recent violence.   Small 
Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches in Hatay and Mersin report 
no weekend violence either. 
 
5.(SBU)  Comment:  Southeast Turkey's largely Islamic and very 
devout population is angered and offended by the Danish and 
Norwegian editorials which, they say, defame the Prophet 
Mohammed.  Regional non-Sunnis claim that they see a storm 
unfolding around them and, while it is non-violent to date, are 
remaining wary because they do not yet see when the storm will 
blow over.  End Comment. 
 
REID


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