Viewing cable 04ANKARA5860

04ANKARA58602004-10-15 12:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Ankara
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1. (U) In response to G/TIP inquiries about anti-TIP public 
information campaigns, post provides as examples the 
following TIP press reports.  Text of articles originally 
published in Turkish is provided through unofficial local 
FSN translation. 
¶2. (U) Published October 14, 2004 by the Anatolian News 
     TITLE: Smuggling Operation in Edirne 
     BEGIN TEXT: Jandarma stopped a car license plate 59 LC 
     306 in the high security military zone of Saricaali 
     Village of Ipsala, Edirne.  Driver Tamer T. and six 
     Iraqis he tried to take illegally to Greece were 
     captured.  The foreigners were sent to the Edirne 
     Passport and Foreigners Division of the Turkish 
     National Police for deportation.  Tamer T. remains in 
¶3. (U) Published October 14, 2004 by the Turkish language 
Cumhuriyet News: 
     BEGIN TEXT: 157 illegal immigrants were captured in the 
     last two days in Edirne.  They told the Jandarma that 
     they wanted to go to European countries.  END TEXT. 
¶4. (U) Published October 14, 2004 by the Turkish language 
Yeni Safak News: 
     BEGIN TEXT: Jandarma searched a truck in Siran, 
     Gumushane, and discovered 62 foreign illegal 
     immigrants, including 5 Afghanis, 44 Pakistanis and 13 
     Bengalis.  The driver reportedly fled.  The foreigners 
     will be deported after they see a judge.  Meanwhile, 
     three Turks and 18 illegal immigrants were captured in 
     Kusadasi, Aydin. END TEXT. 
¶5. (U) Published October 14, 2004 by Frontline: 
     Turkey's new aspiration 
     Turkey reforms a 78-year-old penal code and shelves a 
     controversial move to reimpose a ban on adultery in a 
     bid to enter the European Union. 
     RACING against time, the Turkish Parliament met in an 
     emergency session on September 26 to approve a new 
     penal code for the country. The urgency of the action 
     betrayed Turkey's keenness to join the European Union 
     because the European Commission is due to present a 
     report in early October on whether talks can begin on 
     Turkey's bid for E.U. membership. 
     The penal reform bill was the last in a series of 
     reforms Turkey has undertaken in recent years to comply 
     with the various criteria for E.U. membership. The 
     changes in law are designed essentially to bring the 
     country in line with the human rights laws in Europe. 
     The reform of the 78-year-old criminal code is a clear 
     pointer to the kind of changes that are being sought 
     within Turkey. The new law prescribes tougher penalties 
     for perpetrators of torture. Torture in police stations 
     and prisons would attract a 12-year jail term. The 
     citizen's privacy is to be protected by restricting the 
     interception of telephone calls and gathering of 
     personal information. The police are liable for 
     punishment if they enter homes without compelling 
     reasons. Corruption in government is to be handled more 
     firmly. The statute of limitations for major corruption 
     cases, particularly those involving government and 
     business, is to be abolished. 
     For the first time, major crimes such as genocide, 
     crimes against humanity and trafficking in people and 
     human organs find a mention in the Turkish penal code. 
     All laws will have to be in accordance with the 
     international agreements that Turkey has entered into. 
     A notable aspect of this extensive overhaul of 
     legislation is that it seeks to improve the situation 
     of women in Turkey. Discrimination on religious, ethnic 
     and sexual grounds is made a crime. 
     Specifically, punishments for assaults on women have 
     been made stiffer. Rape within marriage has been 
     recognised as a crime and there would be no leniency 
     for rapists who marry their victims. 
     The new legislation stipulates life sentence for those 
     indulging in "honour" killings of women accused of 
     dishonouring the family through illicit affairs. 
     Provocation will no longer be a defence in "honour" 
     killings. The societal code of "honour" had once been 
     part of the Turkish legal code and attacks on women 
     were regarded as attacks on the family or as creating 
     social disorder. Henceforth these are to be legally 
     treated as attacks on individuals. 
     THE new penal code came near to being still-born. Its 
     eventual passage came in dramatic circumstances, and 
     required an emergency session of the Turkish 
     Parliament. The government's earlier proposal of a 
     clause criminalising adultery had brought the entire 
     package of reforms under threat. The move to 
     reintroduce the ban on adultery, which had been 
     repealed in 1998, and make it punishable with either a 
     fine or imprisonment provoked a wave of protest both 
     within Turkey and across Europe. 
     Faced with the E.U.'s ultimatum to choose "either 
     adultery or Europe" as the Turkish daily Cumhurriet 
     described it, Turkey's leadership backed down. Voting 
     on the penal code was suspended and the government 
     withdrew the entire bill from Parliament after it 
     became evident that a group of deputies of hardline 
     Islamic orientation, including members from the ruling 
     Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma 
     Partisi or AKP) were planning to press forward with the 
     clause to criminalise adultery. 
     The issue continued to create a massive stir in Turkey 
     for many weeks before the E.U. deadline. Prime Minister 
     Recep Tayyip Erdogan travelled to Brussels for a 
     meeting with the E.U.'s Enlargement Commissioner 
     Guenter Verheugen in the third week of September. "No 
     item which is not already included in the draft of the 
     Turkish criminal code will be included and I mean by 
     that the issue of adultery," Erdogan clarified in 
     Brussels. From the E.U.'s part, Commissioner Verheugen 
     declared that there were no hurdles to beginning talks 
     on Turkey's membership, thus indicating the drift of 
     his forthcoming report on Turkey. "We have been able to 
     find solutions to the remaining outstanding problems," 
     Verheugen said, and added that "there are no further 
     conditions which Turkey must fulfil". 
     It is unclear why the adultery issue was raised in the 
     first place. It is more of a mystery given that Erdogan 
     and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul have assiduously 
     worked to further the cause of Turkey's E.U. 
     membership. Many important reforms have been initiated 
     over the past 18 months in the attempt to fulfil the 
     political, economic and legal criteria for E.U. 
     membership. These include a ban on the death penalty, 
     changes to the courts, the Constitution and the civil 
     code, the treatment of minorities and the military's 
     role in government. The Turkish military highcommand 
     constitutes an independent centre of decision-making 
     and the E.U. has been insisting on a much greater 
     political control over the military. 
     The timing of the adultery controversy, just when 
     Turkey was on the point of getting an E.U. approval, 
     has puzzled many observers. Turkey has been granted 
     E.U.'s candidate-member status since 1999. Turkish 
     newspapers speculating on the issue highlighted the 
     Prime Minister's dilemma in an almost entirely Muslim 
     country which looks to a future in Europe. Cumhurriet 
     said that Erdogan was attempting to consolidate the 
     conservative support base of the Justice Party. 
     According to the daily Posta, the Prime Minister would 
     have to perform a difficult balancing act to retain the 
     support of hardline Muslim groups after backing down on 
     the adultery issue. 
     THE AKP was started just three years ago. The party's 
     roots are Islamic and it came to power in November 2002 
     amidst fears that Erdogan, its founder, intended to 
     impose an Islamisation programme on the country. 
     Erdogan himself could not be a candidate in that 
     election because of a 1999 conviction on charges of 
     attempting to undermine the foundations of the Turkish 
     Republic. Since that time, the AKP can be said to have 
     learnt much from the experience of another Turkish 
     Islamic party, Refah, which was in power for a year 
     under Necmettin Erbakan, who was forced by the military 
     to resign in 1997. 
     The military remains a powerful factor in Turkish 
     politics. It has seized power on three occasions since 
     the 1960s in order to uphold the secular Kemalist 
     state. The military regards itself as the guarantor of 
     the secular republic founded early in the 20th century 
     by Kemal Ataturk. It exercises power through the 
     National Security Council (MGK), which includes the 
     President, the Prime Minister and five senior Generals. 
     The AKP enjoys a big majority in Turkey's Parliament. 
     Its extraordinary performance was for the most part a 
     result of the economic crisis of 2001, which affected 
     even the middle classes for the first time, and was in 
     keeping with the revival of Islamic parties in the 
     country stemming from the economic crises of the mid- 
     1990s. It was a time when the affirmation of religious 
     values accompanied the general disillusionment with the 
     corruption and bankruptcy of the old system. 
     Erdogan is viewed as belonging to that generation of 
     politicians that has moved a long way from its Islamic 
     roots. Deposed Prime Minister Erbakan was once his 
     mentor, but the 1990s had a moderating influence on 
     Erdogan when Turkey entered the era of the free market. 
     Abdullah Gul, a close associate of Erdogan, describes 
     the AKP as a "conservative and democratic party". 
     Erdogan himself has declared that the reforms being 
     undertaken by the AKP are necessary not only for 
     entering the E.U. but also for Turkey's own 
     The AKP fared very well in local elections in March 
     this year, taking nearly 43 per cent of the votes. 
     Moreover, it was the only party to have registered a 
     sizable presence across the country. However, it 
     continues to face opposition from the secular 
     establishment, namely, the military, the judiciary and 
     the bureaucracy. The party's plans to reform the higher 
     education system, for instance, faces stiff opposition 
     from the Council for Higher Education. 
     The party now has a stronger and wider mandate across 
     the country, thus effectively becoming the 
     representative of the country's Anatolian majority, 
     which accounts for 90 per cent of the country's 
     population. The conservatives, with their roots in 
     Anatolia, have become bolder in recent years and wear 
     religious symbols like the headscarf. On the other 
     hand, a ban dating back to the founding of the modern 
     Turkish state prohibits state employees from wearing 
     the headscarf or turban. In fact, some women leaders of 
     the AKP could not contest the elections because they 
     cover their heads. The party's core voters are expected 
     to put more pressure on Erdogan on the headscarf issue. 
     The Prime Minister will face more vigorous pressure on 
     the issue from militant Islamic groups like the Milli 
     Gorus, as had happened during the recent debate over 
     the adultery issue. 
¶6. (U) Published October 14, 2004 by the United Nations: 
     BEGIN TEXT. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the 
     adoption of the Committee on the Elimination of 
     Discrimination against Women was observed at the United 
     Nations Headquarters on 13 October at an event attended 
     by a number of persons involved in the issue over the 
     In a statement to mark the anniversary, the committee, 
     which elaborated the convention notes that, twenty-five 
     years earlier, no countries in the world has achieved 
     full equality for women both in law and in practice. 
      Actual implementation of its principles remains 
     inconsistent with commitments, and reservations by 
     States Parties to key parts of the Convention continue 
     to undermine its effectiveness. 
     "Discriminatory laws are still on the statute books of 
     many States parties" ,according to the committee.  Many 
     women continue to have unequal legal status with regard 
     to marriage, divorce, property inheritance and access 
     to economic resources.  For example, some countries 
     maintain discriminatory laws governing ownership and 
     inheritance of land, or access to loans and credits. 
     Discrimination against women also persists in some 
     nationality laws, preventing women from passing on 
     their nationality to their children. 
     "The co-existence of multiple legal systems, with 
     customary and religious laws governing personal status 
     and private life and prevailing over positive law and 
     even constitutional provisions of equality, remains a 
     source of great concern", the Committee statement 
     The scourge of trafficking of women and girls and the 
     persistence or escalation of violence against women has 
     been noted with concern by the Committee when 
     monitoring the implementation of the Convention in both 
     developed and developing countries. 
     "Although violence against women -- a form of 
     discrimination that seriously inhibits women's ability 
     to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality 
     with men -- is now widely recognized as a public 
     concern, it remains pervasive in all societies and is 
     aggravated in situations of conflict and other forms of 
     social upheaval such as economic and political crises", 
     the Committee adds. 
     The Convention calls for the elimination of 
     discrimination against women in political and public 
     life, yet women remain underrepresented, or even 
     absent, from legislative or executive bodies in many 
     countries.  The persistence of traditions and customs 
     which discriminate against women and continuing 
     stereotypical attitudes towards the role of women and 
     men in society are major impediments to equality and 
     women's enjoyment of human rights.  Such social and 
     cultural factors take various forms in different 
     countries and societies, including acceptance of 
     polygamy, forced or early marriage, maltreatment of 
     widows, denial of equal education or employment 
     opportunities and lack of access to reproductive health 
     care for women and girls. 
     The Convention, which advocates equality between women 
     and men, was adopted by the United Nations General 
     Assembly in 1979 and is one of the most highly ratified 
     international human rights conventions.  Yet a 
     significant number of the 178 States parties continue 
     to hold reservations to key articles of the Convention. 
     Although the number of reservations to the Convention 
     remains a concern, some 20 States parties -- among them 
     France, Iceland, Lesotho and Mauritius -- have 
     withdrawn their reservations to the treaty in full or 
     in part since the Fourth World Conference on Women in 
     ¶1995.  Even those States expressing reservations are 
     brought within the monitoring system of the treaty, and 
     their commitment to promoting equality for women is 
     subject to international scrutiny. 
     The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination 
     against Women, which examines reports from State 
     parties on their implementation of the Convention, 
     recently took action on the first individual complaint 
     and concluded its first inquiry under the Optional 
     Protocol.  (The Optional Protocol, which came into 
     force in 2000, enables individual women or groups of 
     women to submit claims of violations of rights 
     protected under the Convention to the Committee.  It 
     also allows the Committee to initiate inquiries into 
     situations of grave or systematic violations of women's 
     Many States parties have taken concrete steps to 
     promote equality and eliminate discrimination against 
     women, including recently: 
     -- Bangladesh has amended its Constitution to increase 
     the number of reserved seats for women in the national 
     parliament from 30 to 45; 
     -- legal reform in Latvia now prohibits discrimination 
     against women in the area of employment; 
     -- a new national ministry in Angola has been created 
     for the promotion and development of women; 
     -- in Kyrgyzstan, gender studies centres in higher 
     educational institutions have been opened; 
     -- in Ethiopia, there are now educational scholarship 
     programmes for girls and at least 30 per cent of the 
     total number of university seats are allocated to 
     female students; and 
     -- in Argentina, two women judges have been appointed 
     to the Supreme Court of Justice. 
     Among those who were to take part in today's 
     commemorative event were Deputy Secretary-General 
     Louise Frechette and present and past Committee 
     chairpersons and members Feride Acar (Turkey); Dame 
     Sylvia Rose Cartwright, the first female High Court 
     Judge and the current Governor-General in New Zealand, 
     Ivanka Corti (Italy); Salma Khan (Bangladesh); Aida 
     Gonzalez Martinez (Mexico); and Charlotte Abaka 
     NOTE:  (Please address) Renata Sivacolundhu, UN 
     Department of Public Information, tel.:  +1 212 963 
     2932, fax:  +1 212 963 1186, e-mail:  For the full text of the 
     Committee's statement, visit  For more information 
     on the Convention including States parties, 
     reservations, and concluding comments of the Committee, 
     visit END TEXT. 
¶7. (U) Published October 7, 2004 by the Reuters: 
     TITLE: EU Commission says 'yes, but' to Turkey talks 
     BEGIN TEXT: The European Commission gave a green light 
     yesterday for Turkey to open membership negotiations 
     with the EU, a watershed decision after 40 years of on- 
     again, off-again talks. 
     But the recommendation by the 30-member EU executive 
     carried several conditions, including the possibility 
     of suspending talks if Ankara backtracks on democracy 
     and human rights. 
     "The Commission's response today is yes. That is to 
     say, its response as regards compliance with the 
     criteria is positive, and it recommends opening 
     negotiations," Commission President Romano Prodi told 
     the European Parliament. 
     "However, it is a qualified yes that is accompanied by 
     a large number of recommendations on following up and 
     monitoring the situation in Turkey, and some specific 
     recommendations on the conduct of negotiations." 
     A strong Europe had nothing to fear from Turkish 
     accession, he said. 
     The start of talks was conditional on Turkey bringing 
     into force outstanding legal reforms, notably of the 
     penal code and the code of criminal procedure, which 
     are in the works. 
     Accession talks would be "an open-ended process whose 
     outcome cannot be guaranteed beforehand", the 
     Commission said. It proposed no start date, leaving 
     final decisions on whether and when to EU leaders at a 
     December 17 summit. 
     In Ankara, Mehmet Dulger, head of the parliamentary 
     foreign affairs commission, said: "We're very pleased, 
     we were expecting it. Justice has been done. We hope 
     the rest will come." 
     The prospect of Turkish membership, giving the EU 
     borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran, is controversial 
     across Europe. Public opinion is divided on whether to 
     accept a large, poor and mainly Muslim nation of 70 
     million with a patchy record on human rights into what 
     has been a "Christian Club" up to now. 
     Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot, whose country is 
     president of the 25-nation bloc, said he expected talks 
     to start in the second half of 2005. 
     The EU executive said Turkey had made substantial 
     progress in political reforms but must improve 
     implementation, notably in the fight against torture, 
     and expand freedom of expression and religion, and 
     rights for women, trade unions and minorities. 
     "The Commission will recommend the suspension of the 
     negotiations in the case of a serious and persistent 
     breach of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect 
     for human rights and fundamental freedoms on which the 
     Union is based," it said. EU ministers would then 
     decide by qualified majority. 
     Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen told 
     parliament the recommendation was adopted by a very 
     wide consensus. Commission sources said only two 
     members voiced misgivings Dutchman Frits Bolkestein and 
     France's Pascal Lamy. 
     Speaking to Reuters on the eve of his outgoing 
     executive's last major decision, Prodi played down the 
     novelty of introducing such an explicit "emergency 
     brake", saying it had been implicit in earlier 
     enlargement talks, notably with the 10 ex-communist 
     east European countries that joined in May. 
     The Commission made clear Turkey could not join the EU 
     before 2015 at the earliest, saying the EU would have 
     to agree its budget for the period from 2014 before 
     concluding the talks. 
     Turkey's accession would be "different from previous 
     enlargements", it said, because of the combined impact 
     of Turkey's population, size, geographical location, 
     economic, security and military potential. 
     It recommended that the EU consider permanent 
     safeguards on free movement of workers from Turkey with 
     long transition periods and "specific arrangements" 
     before Ankara benefits fully from EU farm subsidies. 
     Accession - key points of study 
     Accession of Turkey to the European Union would be 
     challenging both for the EU and Turkey. If well 
     managed, it would offer important opportunities for 
     Ankara's accession would be different from previous EU 
     enlargements because of Turkey's population, size, 
     geographical location and its economic, security and 
     military potential. 
     Turkey would be an important model of a country with a 
     majority Muslim population adhering to such fundamental 
     principles as liberty, democracy, respect for human 
     rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. 
     The economic impact of Turkish accession would be 
     positive but relatively small as its economic 
     integration is already well advanced. Turkish gross 
     domestic product is expected to grow faster than the EU 
     Turkey to qualify for EU funds over a long period. A 
     number of regions In present member states could lose 
     Integration of Turkey into the EU's internal market 
     will be beneficial. 
     Agriculture, accounting for half of Turkey's territory 
     and one-third of its workforce, will be eligible for 
     special support. Turkish accession would help secure 
     better energy supply routes for the EU. A planned 
     pipeline route carrying oil from huge reserves around 
     the Caspian Sea runs to the Turkish Mediterranean port 
     of Ceyhan. 
     EU's external borders to become longer, needing 
     significant investment. Managing migration, asylum, 
     fighting organised crime, terrorism, human trafficking, 
     drugs and arms smuggling to be eased by closer 
     Budgetary impact of accession can only be assessed 
     Turkey's membership would significantly affect 
     allocation of seats in European Parliament. Turkey to 
     have important voice in EU decision-making given its 
     population share (now 70 million).