US embassy cable - 02ADANA417

OHAL MENTALITY, IF NOT NAME, PERSISTS IN TURKEY'S SOUTHEAST

Identifier: 02ADANA417
Wikileaks: View 02ADANA417 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Adana
Created: 2002-12-18 09:12:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PHUM TU ADANA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 0417 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TU, ADANA 
SUBJECT:  OHAL MENTALITY, IF NOT NAME, PERSISTS IN 
TURKEY'S SOUTHEAST 
 
 
REF: (A) ANKARA 8447;  (B) ANKARA 6116 
 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Although the GOT lifted the State of 
Emergency in the Southeast (OHAL) November 30, vestiges 
of OHAL rule and a siege mentality among security 
personnel persist.  Kurds in the region continue to wait 
for implementation of promised cultural freedoms, 
including the right to teach the Kurdish language and 
broadcast in Kurdish. This "wait-and-see" mentality 
cannot be maintained indefinitely, and as time passes, 
disappointment, and belief that meaningful reform will 
not occur, grow.  END SUMMARY. 
 
 
---------------------- 
THE ROAD TO DIYARBAKIR 
---------------------- 
 
 
2. (SBU) For years, four security checkpoints guarded the 
road from Bingol to Diyarbakir.  According to Bingol 
Mayor Feyzullah Karaaslan, people still are routinely 
stopped, questioned about travel, and asked to produce 
identification.  Karaaslan said he continues to be 
subjected to significant unnecessary delays on this 
route, which persist long after the ending of OHAL in 
Bingol in 1997.  Passenger vehicles, trucks, tractors, 
and buses are all regularly stopped.  In the case of 
trucks, identification and cargo manifest must be 
presented.  For buses, typically the driver must present 
his identification and license. 
 
 
3. (SBU) Poloff was stopped for 20 minutes at one 
checkpoint on the Bingol-Diyarbakir road, and questioned 
about purpose of travel, parents' names, previous 
travel, length of time in Turkey, and point of arrival 
in Turkey.  When asked why traffic jandarma had such 
questions, they replied "for the safety of the people of 
Diyarbakir.  How do we know you are who you say you 
are?"  This, of course, despite the fact they were 
holding a diplomatic ID issued by the MFA and could see 
the vehicle's diplomatic plates.  At all checkpoints in 
the three-hour drive, identification must be presented 
and destination given. 
 
 
----------------------- 
THE PERSISTENCE OF OHAL 
----------------------- 
 
 
4. (SBU) The State of Emergency lives on, both mentally and 
bureaucratically, and there have been press reports 
alleging the GOT plans to create a "Coordinating 
Governorate" for the Southeast(see reftel A).  Whether 
true or not, such reports raise doubts about the GOT's 
future plans for the region.  Gov. Aydiner's OHAL 
administration continues to exist in Diyarbakir, though 
local political contacts indicated Aydiner has been 
given approximately two months to close down and account 
for all funding. 
 
 
5. (SBU) Provincial governors with whom Poloff met in 
Bingol, Elazig, and Malatya all said they are confident 
that security in the region can be maintained post OHAL. 
Bingol Deputy Governor Ibrahim Suha Karaboran said all 
SUBJECT:  OHAL MENTALITY, IF NOT NAME, PERSISTS IN TURKEY'S SOUTHEAST 
 
 
concerns which OHAL oversaw could now competently be 
handled on the provincial level.  Tunceli Governor 
Mustafa Erkal concurred, saying that security issues had 
taken a back seat to development and employment 
concerns, and did not require super-provincial 
authority.  (NOTE: Provincial governors have long found 
their authority circumscribed by the OHAL 
administration, and have an interest in defending their 
security-based prerogatives.) 
 
 
------------------------ 
A KURD BY ANY OTHER NAME 
------------------------ 
6. (SBU) A raft of cultural-freedom laws was passed as part 
of the August EU-harmonization package (reftel B). 
However, implementation, both in the form of regulation 
and mentality, has yet to occur.  No Kurdish-language 
television broadcasts, radio programs, or courses are 
yet in place.  Moreover, Kurds continue to chafe under 
Birth Registry Law number 1587, which outlaws "names 
which do not fit Turkey's national culture, moral rules, 
customs or traditions, or which harm the general 
public."  This law is often used to ban traditional 
Kurdish names; the most recent case in which a parent 
was charged with violation of this law was on November 
26. In March, 25 Batman city council members were 
acquitted on charges of separatist propaganda for 
renaming local streets using Kurdish names. 
 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
 
7. (SBU) With or without OHAL, a restrictive mentality 
persists among government and security officials in the 
Southeast.  Promised reforms and expanded freedoms are 
still pending.  Kurds' expectations have been raised by 
small liberalizing measures (like the increased 
availability of Kurdish music on cassette and compact 
disc), but could be easily dashed if promised reforms 
are not followed through. End comment. 
HOLTZ 

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