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.
VZCZCXRO1330 RR RUEHDA DE RUEHDA #0250/01 3331322 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 291322Z NOV 06 FM AMCONSUL ADANA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4369 INFO RUEUITH/AFOSI DET 521 ANKARA TU RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0915 RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0791 RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC RHMFIUU/AFOSI DET 522 INCIRLIK AB TU RUETIAA/DIRNSA FT MEADE MD RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 0971 UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADANA 000250 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PINS [National Security], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PHUM [Human Rights], TU [Turkey] SUBJECT: SOUTHEAST TURKEY PRESS SUMMARY FOR NOVEMBER 29, 2006 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. POLITICAL RADIKAL / EVRENSEL / ZAMAN / HURRIYET: Diyarbakir Chief 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. CRIME / LAW ENFORCEMENT 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. ECONOMY 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 provinces. CULTURE / SOCIETY / ENVIRONMENT 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 Mersin. HURRIYET (CUKUROVA) / BOLGE / EKSPRES / ZAMAN: Two new rectors, 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. GREEN
We will have some more cables to share on Tuesday (I am away in London all day tomorrow). █