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06ANKARA6300 2006-11-06 15:05:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

PKK Issue: Update on Violence and Political Developments

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1. (SBU) This is another in a series of unclassified, periodic
reports on the PKK issue in Turkey. Our primary sources for
casualty statistics are mainstream Turkish press services, such as
the Anatolian News Agency, and international wire services. While
these are more reliable than most Turkish press sources, they are
not necessarily unimpeachable. Another source is the Turkish Armed
Forces General Staff (TGS) website which documents contacts/clashes
with the PKK. Press services sympathetic to the PKK, such as
Neu-Isenburg People's Defense Forces and Firat News Agency, tend to
report higher numbers of the Turkish Security Forces casualties and
are often otherwise unreliable.

2. (U) During the October 16-31 period, three Turkish security
members were killed and nine were wounded. During the same period,
Turkish security forces killed eight PKK terrorists in clashes in
Mardin, Sirnak, Siirt and Batman provinces. During this period a
total of 28 PKK members were arrested, including 14 who surrendered,
10 who were turned over to security officers by the Iraqi KDP, and
four who were captured. Security forces detonated or seized
landmines, hand-grenades, RPGs, rifles and C4 and A4 plastic
explosives in different locations.

3. (SBU) Kurdish sources on October 30 wrote that during his meeting
with his lawyers, Abdullah Ocalan said the ceasefire would expire
May 16, 2007 unless the GOT took significant political action to
solve the Kurdish issue. (May 16 is the 80th anniversary of the
first Kurdish rebellion in Agri Province, and also the day after the
Turkish Parliament must approve the new President of Turkey.)
Meanwhile, Mesut Deger, CHP MP from Diyarbakir, told embassy
officers on October 30 that PKK official Murat Karayilan on Roj TV
had demanded that both Deger and Esat Canan (CHP - Hakkari) resign
from their party.

4. (U) Following are political comments by Turkish and Kurdish
- "Sabah" on October 26, quoted PM Erdogan as saying that the U.S.
was not successful in the fight against terrorism in Iraq.

- FM Gul told October 27 "Hurriyet" that its neighbors won't let
Iraq turn into a Yugoslavia. He warned that a division of Iraq
would create worse chaos. In an exclusive in "Hurriyet" on October
24, when asked whether he expected concrete results from GEN
Ralston's visit, FM Gul said, "The Americans really are trying
(hard) to do something. I told them the following, 'Can you explain
to me the presence of PKK leadership in a country which is an ally
of Turkey?' Indeed they feel themselves compelled to do something
in a determined fashion. I'm observing that they have this will but
from our point of view we are not at a position to leave (trust)
everything to them." Gul stressed that the U.S. had a thousand
issues to deal with including the PKK.

- "Hurriyet" and "Sabah" on October 31 quoted Jandarma Commander GEN
Kosaner as saying that the number of PKKers who turned themselves in
has increased. "We are talking to the families of those who are in
the mountains (for them to convince their children to come down),"
he added.

- Turkish Special Envoy Edip Baser at an ASAM conference in which he
participated along with GEN Ralston in Istanbul on October 19,
stressed that ending the PKK existence in northern Iraq as soon as
possible was a necessity for Turkey's security that could not be
postponed. Baser said, "If this new cooperation that we began does
not produce satisfactory results, we might reach the point of asking
for permission from the TGNA to use armed force." At the conference
Baser also said that he personally believed that those mayors in the
Southeast who supported the PKK must be sacked immediately.

- In an exclusive in "Sabah" on October 24, GEN Baser said that GEN
Ralston was a soldier whom he trusted and quoted Ralston as saying,
"He promised that there won't be any negotiations with the PKK." He
added that there won't even be an implication of such a thing. "The
door definitely cannot be opened to the politicization of the PKK,"
Baser said.

ANKARA 00006300 002 OF 002

Baser said, "If those in the camps return, Turkey, without U.S.
help, will take them (in) and let them settle. The Republic of
Turkey will take care of its citizens. Only those among them whose
crimes are definite will be punished. Turkey made serious mistakes
in (the fight against) separatist activities. This country is
governed by politicians. One should introduce programs for Turkey
to develop in a balanced way. This is not the job of the military.
We neglected the psychological dimension in particular."


- Speaking at a meeting for DTP representatives in the Marmara
region on October 30, DTP Chairman Ahmet Turk said, "We have never
asked for the military to lay down arms." Turk said that his party
is seeking a solution that did not require violence. He added that
the Kurdish issue was a problem for Turkey and that one could not
resolve this problem by sub-contracting it to others, such as the
U.S. Turk noted the DTP was asking the PKK not to carry out any
attacks and asked the military to show sensitivity to the beginning
of a democratic process for the future.

5. (U) Following are selected columns on the topic:

- Murat Yetkin in October 26 "Radikal" referred to GEN Ralston's
recent visit to Turkey and wrote that GEN Baser and other Turkish
officials told him that reaching a result in the short run on the
PKK would put Turkish-American relations back on a new track since
they were derailed on March 1, 2003.

- Fehmi Koru in October 26 "Yeni Safak" wrote that Turkey had
reached a point where the government could adopt the right decisions
to get rid of PKK terrorism. Koru stressed that DYP leader Agar's
recent appeal provided such an opportunity for the GOT. He noted
that if evaluated well then Agar's suggestion was in the AKP's
interests. He suggestd that the GOT encourage Agar to take an
initiative in order to implement his remarks.