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Cablegate: Investigation Launched Against Initiator of Kurdish GNU/Linux Distribution

Posted in Asia, Cablegate, Europe, GNU/Linux at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Abdullah Demirbas, who is named for his role in making a Kurdish GNU/Linux distribution, is being badly treated by the authorities

“Diyarbakir Chief Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation against Abdullah Demirbas,” says the following Cablegate cable, “who launched efforts to create software in Kurdish that would be used on the computer systems of the municipality. The software was promoted by Mr. Demirbas and Mr.Rainer Haider, its creator who is a U.S. national, a while ago in the Sur district. The software was named as ‘Ubuntu’ which meant “help, support” in one of the local languages of South Africa.”

According to an article from April 2010, “Abdullah Demirbaş, Mayor of the Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir-Sur was arrested in late December 2009 by the Turkish police. He was arrested on baseless allegations” and he was “suffering from the disease vein thrombosis (DVT)…”

While we don’t know the full nature of the story, we mentioned him a couple of years ago in relation to GNU/Linux in Turkey. The cable is basically an accumulation of many short reports from 2006. As he was able to launch a GNU/Linux distribution years later, we assume that he was out of jail and probably innocent. A political prisoner perhaps? He is a town mayor according to Wikipedia.

DE RUEHDA #0250/01 3331322
R 291322Z NOV 06

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PINS [National Security], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PHUM [Human Rights], TU [Turkey] 
This is the Southeastern Turkey press summary for November 29, 
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. 
Prosecutor's Office initiated an investigation against Abdullah 
Demirbas, Sur District Mayor in Diyarbakir, who launched efforts 
to create software in Kurdish that would be used on the computer 
systems of the municipality.   The software was promoted by Mr. 
Demirbas and Mr.Rainer Haider, its creator who is a U.S. 
national, a while ago in the Sur district.  The software was 
named as 'Ubuntu' which meant "help, support" in one of the 
local languages of South Africa. 
EVRENSEL:       Regarding the incident about two villagers fired 
upon by security officers in Hakkari's Yuksekova district (see 
press summary for November 27), the Hakkari Governor's Office 
dismissed the allegations that the office initially announced 
immediately after the incident that the two persons were PKK 
terrorists.  The Governor's office claimed that some media was 
misinforming the public about it, and the office allegedly only 
stated that "two persons did not obey security officers' halt 
warning and entered into clash with the security personnel." 
EVRENSEL:       Author Orhan Miroglu, who is a member of party 
assembly of DTP, said that the government should express more 
reasonable grounds for not establishing dialogue with the DTP. 
According to Miroglu, Turkey is in need of facing the reality of 
the PKK. 
EVRENSEL:       According to some secret documents made public on a 
television program called "Reports Mainz" broadcast on Germany's 
ARD TV station, people detained unlawfully in Europe were being 
transferred to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Prison via Incirlik 
Air Base in Adana. 
ZAMAN:  Two people, who were feigning as a decent family 
with a baby, were caught with nine kilograms of heroin as they 
were traveling in their private car in Diyarbakir.  The heroin 
was reportedly purchased in Hakkari and traffickers were aiming 
to trade it in the western provinces. 
BOLGE / EVRENSEL / ZAMAN:       Because of the decrease in demand 
in the internal market for citrus fruit, farmers were reportedly 
experiencing difficulty in selling their produce at reasonable 
prices.  Turkish Army recently pledged to citrus fruit farmers 
in Mersin that the army would start serving at least two times 
in a week citrus fruit to the soldiers in their meals. 
SABAH (GUNEY):  During a seminar called "Cooperation between 
Turkey and the U.K." held at the chamber, Mehmet Aslan, 
Chairperson of Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce, requested from 
Nick Braid, new ambassador of the U.K. to Ankara, that the U.K. 
should eliminate the difficulties experienced in issuing visas 
to Turkish industrialists. 
ZAMAN:  A group of businessman in Hatay's Dortyol district 
made a cultural and business trip to Northern Iraq.  The group 
paid visits to cultural sites, to schools, and to a hospital 
opened by Turkish doctors, at Arbil, Kirkuk and Suleymaniyah 
HURRIYET (CUKUROVA):    The gala night of Turkey's likely Oscar 
nominee in 2007, "Dondurmam Gaymak", which won two awards at the 
4th Queens Film Festival in the United States, has been held in 
Professor Suha Aydin and Professor Serafettin Canda, have been 
appointed to Mersin University in Mersin and Mustafa Kemal 
University in Hatay respectively.  The rector of the Sutcu Imam 
University in Kahramanmaras has been reappointed to his former 
rector's position at the same university. 
BOLGE / EKSPRES / SABAH (GUNEY):        The Press Office of the 
ADANA 00000250  002 OF 002 
Adana Municipality released a statement saying that air 
pollution observed in quarters located around the D-400 highway 
and in the southern part of Adana is decreasing the quality of 
life for people.  However, the northern parts, which were 
selected as new settlement areas of the province by Mayor Aytac 
Durak in terms of good urban planning, were experiencing no 
decrease in the quality of air, according to the office. 
Experts are reportedly warning people not to go out especially 
during evenings in those parts. 
ZAMAN / EVRENSEL / HURRIYET:    A 44-year-old prosecutor, who was 
appointed to Kars's Ardahan district two months ago, reportedly 
committed suicide yesterday morning with his gun.  The 
prosecutor reportedly conducted an operation against fuel-oil 
smuggling in 2002 in Van's Saray district, and jandarma teams 
detained four officials of the Ministry of Environment under 
that operation then.  One year before that operation, 
unidentified person(s) opened fire on the prosecutor's car and 
wounded two privates who were escorting the prosecutor. 
BOLGE / EKSPRES / EVRENSEL:      Unrest broke out between students 
and police when police allegedly did not allow students to enter 
an Adana high school.  The students were not able to afford the 
3 YTL requested by school administration in exchange for a 
school identity card.  When the tension subsided, the students 
were allowed in the school. 
BOLGE:  Mersin Municipality announced its donation of fifty 
wheel chairs to 50 handicapped persons. 
ZAMAN / BOLGE:  Turkish Red Crescent sent 4500 tons of flour 
to the Palestinian authority via the port of Mersin as 
humanitarian aid.  A ceremony was held at the port as the vessel 
set off for its destination. 

We will have some more cables to share on Tuesday (I am away in London all day tomorrow).

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