Viewing cable 06ADANA59, SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR MARCH 28, 2006
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 000059
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS PGOV PHUM TU ADANA
SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR MARCH 28, 2006
This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for March 28,
¶2006. Please note that Turkish press reports often contain
errors or exaggerations; AmConsulate Adana does not vouch for
the accuracy of the reports summarized here.
POLITICAL, SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS
ZAMAN / HURRIYET / EVRENSEL / OZGUR GUNDEM / RADIKAL : The
nine-person delegation made up of members from Turkish
Parliamentary Commission Probing Semdinli Case started its trip
to the southeastern region yesterday (see press summary 03/23).
Commission members heard statements of the Semdinli case
defendants, namely officers Ali Kaya and Ozcan Ildeniz (and
later PKK defector Veysel Ates) for 4.5 hours at the Court Hall
in Van when Van Military Jail did not allow commission members
to meet defendants at the jail on grounds that there was not
much space to host the overcrowded delegation. Officer Ali Kaya
reportedly said, "They accuse us of attempting to kill Seferi
Yilmaz (Note. Yilmaz is the owner of the bookstore bombed on
November 9, 2005 in Semdinli. End Note). We did not do so. If we
were to do that, we would not place a bomb at a bookstore in
broad daylight. Do you really think that we cannot calculate
what would happen to us if we carried out such an action in the
middle of the day? Had we planned to kill Yilmaz, there would
be thousands of other ways to resort to." When commission
members recalled Land Forces Commander Yasar Buyukanit's remarks
about Ali Kaya (Note. In the days that followed the Semdinli
bombing, Buyukanit had said, "I personally know Ali Kaya. He is
a good person." End Note.), Ali Kaya told commission members
that he had great respect for Commander Buyukanit and that they
together had been in a military operation conducted in northern
Iraq. Ali Kaya further said that they had strong evidence to
prove their stance and everything would become more
transparently evident on the May 4 trial day. Two delegation
members separately went to Bitlis, and heard statements from
Veysel Ates, who reportedly said that he had no connection with
the bombing. Ates said that they were in the car together with
the officers when the explosion took place and they barely saved
their lives when the incident developed. Commission members
will visit Hakkari and Yuksekova today. On Thursday they will go
to Semdinli, and finally they will return to Ankara on March 31
to present a report to the presidency of the parliament.
RADIKAL / OZGUR GUNDEM: Hakkari Governor Ayhan Nasuhbeyoglu,
conducted local studies in Yuksekova together with the
Provincial Jandarma Commander and Security Director concerning
the problems of the district. Nasuhbeyoglu said they would
extend all the support they could give to the parliamentary
commission visiting the region.
HURRIYET: Hakkari Provincial Jandarma Command (HPJC) sent a
reported secret circular to Van Prosecutor's Office and claimed
that PKK has established a so-called customs gate at the border
with Iraq around Semdinli-Horyurek hamlet. Smugglers are
reportedly paying customs duty to the PKK members at entrances
and exits at the so-called border gate. The circular alleged
that Seferi Yilmaz, the bombed bookstore owner in Semdinli, had
links with one of the PKK officials working at this gate. HPJC
will file complaint about Seferi Yilmaz and a number of other
people who allegedly had connections with the PKK members at the
EVRENSEL: Suicide rates in Bingol province reportedly have
proved as serious as the rates in Batman province. 18 people
attempted to commit suicide in the last three months.
EVRENSEL: A mine went off when a 31-year-old male stepped on
it in a village in Tunceli. The person died instantly at the
site of the blast. Tunceli Governor's Office announced that the
mine was planted by the PKK.
EVRENSEL: DTP Ankara party organization held a protest
activity in Ankara against the investigations started against
mayors of the southeastern region. DTP Provincial Party
Chairman Murat Sayan reminded that Hakkari Mayor Metin Tekce
(see press summary 03/17) and Batman Mayor Huseyin Kalkan have
been going through an investigation process and former DEHAP
Hakkari provincial chairperson has been arrested recently.
Sayan also pointed out that a bomb went off across from the DTP
provincial building in Elazig (see press summary 03/27).
According to Sayan, the state, which was not been able to exert
influence during the Newruz celebrations, has started taking
revenge through recent investigations and arrests. Meanwhile
DTP Tunceli party organization has also made an announcement to
protest the recent developments.
OZGUR GUNDEM: Nearly 2500 people marched in the streets of
Hakkari's Yuksekova district to protest the arrests that took
place during the demonstration held against arresting of former
DEHAP Provincial Chairperson, Sebahattin Suvagci (see press
summary 03/27), in Hakkari. The people extended support to
Batman and Hakkari mayors and demanded the release of the people
EVRENSEL: Ankara Prosecutor's Office started an investigation
against a Kurdish poster marking March 8 Women's Day despite
authorities not allowing the posters to be posted on billboards
in the city. The poster reportedly read in Kurdish, "Happy
March 8, Hit the streets to stop war and killing of women."
OZGUR GUNDEM: Funerals will be held in four provinces for
seven of the fourteen PKK members killed in a military operation
last Friday (see press summary 03/27) in Mus. The families who
took possession of their dead kin from the Malatya State
Hospital have reportedly claimed that there were no bullet
wounds on the dead bodies and that the PKK militants have
allegedly been killed with chemical weapons. The provinces
where the funerals will be held are Diyarbakir, Batman, Siirt
OZGUR GUNDEM: Syriac community in Turkey decided to
celebrate their 6756-year-old April 1st Spring Festival in
Istanbul on April 2. Last year's festival was held in Midyat
district of Mardin province. This year, because of the
reactions of the Muslim community towards the caricatures of
Prophet Mohammed depicted in western media, and also because of
the recent deaths of two Syriac religious clergymen, the
celebration will not be held in Midyat.
OZGUR GUNDEM: A young person called Hayrettin Sar, who
reportedly disappeared three days ago, was found dead in the
environs of Sinanli village in Diyarbakir's Bismil district.
Six bullets were found in the body of Sar. Sar had previously
worked for the youth organizations of HADEP and DEHAP, and he
reportedly served one year and nine month of prison sentence
when he was convicted of being a PKK member three years ago.
OZGUR GUNDEM: Adana's Third Heavy Penalty Court continued to
hear today the case of five police officers who allegedly opened
fire at a crowd of young people celebrating Newruz in 2004 in
Adana. Officers allegedly seriously shot a youth in the head.
The court acquitted the officers in today's hearing on grounds
that officers have committed the act as a result of