Viewing cable 07ADANA1, SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR DECEMBER 27, 2006
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SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR DECEMBER 27, 2006
¶1. This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for December
27, 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.
¶2. CUMHURIYET / TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: A Turkish-based
radical group called Hezbollah, which dissolved after its leader
was killed six years ago in Istanbul, has reportedly been
striving to regain strength in southeastern Turkey, especially
in Diyarbakir province. Hezbollah is trying to regroup in many
districts, villages and townships through foundations and
associations. The group's current political goals reportedly
focus on winning independent seats for its members in the
Turkish Parliament and on winning mayoral posts in some
townships in local elections. (Note: There are no known ties
between this group and Iranian-based Hezbollah. End Note.)
¶3. TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: The University of British
Columbia-based Human Security Center released a 150-page report
on Human Security worldwide. The report described the Kurdish
problem as one for which "there was no effort of a negotiated
settlement." Turkey is not addressing the general Kurdish issue,
but is instead simply combating the security liability caused by
the PKK, according to the report.
¶4. TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: Ahmet Turk, the National
Chairperson of the DTP, and Aysel Tugluk, Vice-Chairperson, will
attend a series of activities that seek to find ways to convert
the cease-fire process into a state of permanent peace in the
Batman and Tunceli provinces. Turk and Tugluk have already held
similar events, in which they met with thousands of people, in
Hakkari, Agri, and Van provinces.
¶5. HURRIYET: The daily reported DTP Chairman Ahmet Turk as
saying that if Turkey were to employ democratic and civilian
methods in finding a solution to the Kurdish issue, the DTP
would then call on the PKK to either sweep the mines it had laid
or to indicate where it planted them. Turk added that if the
Government were to send the message that it wanted to resolve
the Kurdish issue through non-violent methods, then it would be
able to deal with the issue more effectively.
¶6. BOLGE / EVRENSEL: A hundred members of the Labor Platform
held a march in Adana to demand a larger minimum wage increase.
The group chanted slogans as it marched towards the AKP's
provincial party building.
¶7. TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: A Diyarbakir court continued its
hearing of the case opened against Diyarbakir Mayor Osman
Baydemir as a result of remarks he had made "to calm the unrest"
that had erupted between March 28 and 31 in Diyarbakir and had
resulted in the death of 10 people. The Mayor reportedly faces
up to ten years of imprisonment. The Diyarbakir Governor's
Office reportedly stated that Baydemir had requested permission
from the Governor's Office to attempt to calm down the
instigators. The Office had also assigned a Deputy Governor to
work with Baydemir on restoring the peace.
¶8. SABAH: Sabah daily reported that the Diyarbakir
Governor's Office denied assigning any responsibilities to Mayor
Baydemir during the incidents that took place last March in
CRIME / LAW ENFORCEMENT:
¶9. RADIKAL / HURRIYET: In Diyarbakir a 16-year-old boy,
who found his 18-year-old sister talking to her boyfriend on her
cell phone at 3 AM, shot and killed her. The boy confessed to
the murder and was arrested by police.
¶10. HURRIYET: Customs officials at the port of Mersin
discovered contraband cigars worth 150,000 YTL (approximately
100,000 USD) in a truck aboard a vessel loaded with oranges that
had come from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
¶11. HURRIYET: Three men, who deserted from the PKK and were
briefly afforded shelter by peshmergas of the Iraqi Kurdistan
Democratic Party, were returned to Turkey, reportedly upon their
own request. The Sirnak Governor's Office announced that the
men had been arrested at the Habur Border Gate in Sirnak. In
another PKK-related story, hackers who had been caught and
arrested on charges of conducting propaganda for the PKK by
hacking websites, had allegedly hacked a total of 2,307 public
and private websites before being apprehended.
CULTURE / SOCIETY / ENVIRONMENT
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¶12. SABAH: A 13-year-old girl in Van's Baskale district,
whose uncles had attempted to marry her to a 40-year-old man
after her parents died, was put under state protection by the
Van Governor's Office.
¶13. SABAH (GUNEY): State Minister Kursat Tuzmen attended
the groundbreaking ceremony for a monument that would be erected
in memory of the 14 children who were massacred by French forces
during the clashes that took place in Gaziantep as the city was
fighting to liberate itself from French occupation in 1920s.
¶14. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): The Dean of the Department of
Fisheries and Aquaculture at Mustafa Kemal University in Hatay
stated that Iskenderun Bay well-protected for tourism and
fishing purposes. He added that the government had become
indifferent to the issues emerging in and around the Bay.
¶15. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): Gaziantep Mayor Asim Guzelbey said
that Gaziantep province ranked second among Turkey's most
heavily-indebted municipalities. Guzelbey, who noted that
earlier administrations had made unplanned and lavish
expenditures, added that the municipality had won its
international arbitration court case, which would result in
seven trillion (approx USD 5 million) Turkish Liras being repaid
to the Gaziantep Municipality.
¶16. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / BOLGE / EKSPRES: The Yeni Adana
daily celebrated its 89th birthday yesterday in Adana. Many
journalists, executives, and other distinguished guests attended
¶17. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA): In Gaziantep, two people claiming
to be the police chief and his deputy defrauded tradesmen of
their money. Police apprehended the two offenders.
¶18. RADIKAL / ZAMAN / SABAH (GUNEY) / TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI:
Heavy snowfall has been adversely affecting daily life in
Diyarbakir, Bingol, Mardin and Batman provinces. The roads to
villages were blockaded with snow, and schools in Diyarbakir's
Silvan district were closed for a day due to the heavy snow.
¶19. TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: According to this daily, an
anonymous official from Regional Directorate of Environment and
Forests allegedly admitted that the Idil Jandarma Command had
requested permission from the Directorate to cut down trees in
some sections of the district due to security concerns in the
area (see press summary for December 26). Soldiers had, however,
started cutting down trees in many places prior to official
permission being given by the Directorate. The official further
acknowledged that these activities had occurred not only in
Sirnak's Idil district, but in the Guclukonak and Uludere
districts as well.
¶20. TOPLUMSAL DEMOKRASI: A delegation, including DTP's Idil
District Chairperson and the mayor of Idil, paid a visit to the
Syriac Church in Sirnak to Christmas greetings.
¶21. CUMHURIYET: A controversial Turkish-US joint venture
entitled the "Blackhawk Security Company" announced recently
that it was halting its operations in Sirnak's Silopi district
due to financial concerns.