US embassy cable - 93VIENNA6520

THE KURDISH PKK IN AUSTRIA

Identifier: 93VIENNA6520
Wikileaks: View 93VIENNA6520 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Vienna
Created: 1993-07-01 17:50:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PREL PTER TU AU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 011750Z JUL 93
FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6942
INFO AMEMBASSY ANKARA
AMEMBASSY BONN

UNCLAS VIENNA 006520 
 
FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 
 
USVIENNA FOR USDEL CSCE AND UNVIE 
 
E.O. 12356: N/A 
TAGS:  PREL, PTER, TU, AU 
SUBJECT:  THE KURDISH PKK IN AUSTRIA 
 
1.  SUMMARY:  FOR SEVERAL YEARS MEMBERS OF THE KURDISH 
COMMUNITY IN VIENNA HAVE REGULARLY HELD EVENTS TO 
HIGHLIGHT THEIR CAUSE TO THE MEDIA.  RADICAL GROUPS SUCH 
AS THE PKK, THE TURKISH COMMUNIST PARTY AND THE 
REVOLUTIONARY LEFT OPERATE CLUBS IN VIENNA.  INTERIOR 
MINISTRY SOURCES SAY AUSTRIAN AUTHORITIES CONTINUE TO 
MONITOR ACTIVISTS OF KURDISH LEFT-WING GROUPS CLOSELY, BUT 
NO BAN OF THE PKK IS PLANNED.  OF THE TURKISH COMMUNITY 
(119,000) IN AUSTRIA, THE MAJORITY ARE BELIEVED TO BE 
KURDS.  AN OFFICIAL OF THE AUSTRIAN EMBASSY IN ANKARA SAID 
HE EXPECTED MORE BOMB ATTACKS AGAINST TOURIST CENTERS IN 
TURKEY "ANY TIME SOON."  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  OVER SEVERAL YEARS, KURDISH ACTIVISTS IN VIENNA 
ALTERNATELY SELECTED HIGH VISIBILITY LOCATIONS SUCH AS THE 
NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS OF THE AUSTRIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRAT 
PARTY (SPO), THE VIENNA OFFICES OF LUFTHANSA AND TURKISH 
AIRLINES, THE OFFICE OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, THE 
HEADQUARTERS OF THE NATIONAL TV NETWORK ORF, AND THE 
INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTER AT THE UN IN VIENNA TO STAGE 
PROTESTS.  IN MARCH 1988 KURDISH PROTESTERS TRIED TO STORM 
THE IRAQI EMBASSY IN VIENNA.  SIXTY-FOUR DEMONSTRATORS 
WERE BRIEFLY ARRESTED.  IN AUGUST AND OCTOBER OF 1991 
KURDISH ACTIVISTS OCCUPIED VIENNA'S ST. STEPHEN'S 
CATHEDRAL -- THE CITY'S MAJOR LANDMARK -- TO PROTEST 
"SUPPRESSION OF KURDS IN TURKEY AND IRAQ."  THE 
DEMONSTRATION ENDED PEACEFULLY. 
 
3.  AN INTERIOR MINISTRY SOURCE TOLD THE EMBASSY JUNE 29 
THAT SEVERAL REGISTERED TURKISH CLUBS EXISTED IN AUSTRIA 
-- MOST OF THEM IN VIENNA.  A MAJORITY ARE BELIEVED TO BE 
PKK SYMPATHIZERS.  OTHER KURDISH ORGANIZATIONS ARE 
DOMINATED BY ACTIVISTS SUBSCRIBING TO THE TURKISH 
COMMUNIST PARTY (TKP) OR THE DEVRIMCI SOL (REVOLUTIONARY 
LEFT).  THEY TOO, RUN CLUBS IN VIENNA, ALL OF WHICH ARE 
REGISTERED WITH THE INTERIOR MINISTRY. 
 
4.  ACCORDING TO THE MINISTRY SOURCE, AUSTRIAN AUTHORITIES 
WATCH ACTIVITIES BY ALL THESE EXTREME LEFT GROUPS 
CLOSELY.  AUSTRIA'S LAW ON ASSOCIATION -- WHICH REQUIRES A 
GROUP TO REPORT TO THE INTERIOR MINISTRY ANY EVENT, 
GATHERING OR ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITY -- PROVIDES A GOOD 
LEGAL BASE FOR MONITORING THESE GROUPS.  SINCE THE PKK IS 
NOT REGISTERED AS A POLITICAL GROUP IN AUSTRIA, ANY DEBATE 
ABOUT BANNING THE PKK AS A POLITICAL MOVEMENT IS NOT 
POSSIBLE. 
 
5.  THE PKK HAS REGULARLY PARTICIPATED AT THE ANNUAL MAY 1 
PARADE IN DOWNTOWN VIENNA.  UNTIL A YEAR AGO, PKK 
SYMPATHIZERS WOULD CARRY PICTURES SHOWING STALIN.  THIS 
YEAR THESE PICTURES WERE REPLACED BY PHOTOS OF ABIMAEL 
GUZMAN, HEAD OF PERU'S SHINING PATH GUERRILLA ORGANIZATION. 
 
6.  AN OFFICIAL AT THE AUSTRIAN EMBASSY IN ANKARA, BRUNO 
BILEK, IS QUOTED IN THE VIENNA DAILY "KURIER" SAYING THE 
SITUATION IN TURKEY AFTER THE RECENT BOMB ATTACK ON A 
TOURIST HOTEL WAS "VERY GRAVE."  THE EMBASSY WAS AWARE OF 
TERRORIST THREATS AGAINST TOURISTS IN VACATION AREAS ON 
THE AEGEAN SEA AS WELL AS IN CAPPADOCIA.  HE IS QUOTED AS 
SAYING HE EXPECTS ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK "ANY TIME 
SOON."  SINCE TURKEY IS A POPULAR VACATION DESTINATION FOR 
AUSTRIANS, AND SINCE JULY AND AUGUST ARE MAJOR VACATION 
PERIODS IN AUSTRIA, THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF A TERRORIST 
THREAT TO TOURISTS IN TURKEY BY A GOA OFFICIAL IS 
SIGNIFICANT, EVEN IF THE GOA IS NOT ISSUING A TRAVEL 
ADVISORY.  THE GOA MAINTAINS A HIGH LEVEL OF VISIBLE 
SECURITY PRESENCE AT THE TURKISH EMBASSY IN VIENNA. 
 
 
SWIHART 

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