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Cablegate: A/S Harty's Meetings with Turkish Officials Strike

VZCZCXRO8165
RR RUEHDA
DE RUEHAK #0513/01 0661033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071033Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1235
INFO RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 2269
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1717

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000513

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CMGT CVIS TU
SUBJECT: A/S HARTY'S MEETINGS WITH TURKISH OFFICIALS STRIKE
OPTIMISTIC TONE ON US-TURKISH PARTNERSHIP

REF: ANKARA 157

1. (SBU) Summary. A/S Harty met with senior Turkish officials from
the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Foreign Affairs during a
visit to Ankara on March 6. Expressing gratitude for Turkey's
recent efforts to resolve a number of high profile child abduction
cases, A/S Harty also conveyed the urgent need for the Turkish
parliament to pass implementing legislation for The Hague Convention
on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. A/S Harty
thanked Turkish officials for their assistance to American citizens
in Turkey, underscoring the GOT's extraordinary efforts in
processing almost two thousand American citizen evacuees from
Lebanon through the port of Mersin last July. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- --
'WHEN' NOT 'IF' IMPLEMENTING LEGISLATION PASSES
--------------------------------------------- --

2. (SBU) Acknowledging Turkey's steady progress towards full
compliance with The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, A/S Harty emphasized to Ministry of
Justice (MOJ) Deputy Undersecretary Sadi Guven the need for the
Turkish parliament to pass implementing legislation sooner rather
than later. Citing upcoming elections and a shortened parliamentary
session as likely impediments to the legislation's passage this
term, Guven assured A/S Harty that The Hague Convention has the full
force of law in Turkey, despite the absence of implementing
legislation, and expressed confidence in the legislation's passage,
if not this term, certainly in the near future.

3. (U) Reflecting on the positive working relationship between the
MOJ and the US Mission in handling child abduction cases, A/S Harty
praised Judge Aykut Kilic for his tireless efforts in helping to
resolve a number of difficult cases this past year, in particular
his crucial role in achieving a successful resolution to the high
profile and contentious Ciloglu case this past December (see
reftel).

4. (U) A/S Harty detailed the proactive role Consular Affairs
undertakes to educate US judges and their law clerks on Hague
Convention obligations to ensure efficient and informed processing
of Hague cases in the United States. Noting most judges' preference
to learn about legal issues from their peers, A/S Harty described
the Hague Permanent Bureau-sponsored (HPB) training sessions that
take place in the United States and internationally. Guven was
receptive to A/S Harty's offer to work with the HPB to arrange for
judges versed in The Hague Convention to travel to Turkey to train
their Turkish counterparts. Referring to the Embassy's current
sponsorship of a 15-week English language training course in Turkey
for eight local judges, Guven expressed appreciation for the US
commitment to fostering improved communication on Hague cases.

-------------------------------------
PRAISE FOR GOT'S ASSISTANCE TO AMCITS
-------------------------------------

5. (U) A/S Harty informed Ministry of Interior Undersecretary
Sahabettin Harput that the United States expects approximately a
half million American citizens to travel to Turkey in 2007, nearly
double the number who visited in 2005. Welcoming this news, Harput
remarked that many Americans, after spending time in Turkey,
frequently commented on their changed perceptions of the country
after visiting and getting to know Turkish people. A/S Harty shared
with Harput the belief that the best commercial for America is
America, and that the same clearly holds true for Turkey. With
twelve thousand Turkish students currently studying in the United
States, A/S Harty enthusiastically noted that more university
students come to America from Turkey than any other country in
Europe and she hoped that number would continue to rise.

6. (U) A/S Harty warmly thanked Harput for the professionalism,
efficiency, and courtesy Turkish officials display in providing
assistance to Americans when they are injured or become crime
victims. In particular, she praised the high standard of service
shown to the almost two thousand Americans who evacuated through the
port of Mersin from Lebanon last July, despite the overwhelming
workload and unexpected circumstances Turkish officials' faced.
Describing CA's oral history project of the evacuation effort that
is currently underway, A/S Harty explained CA's intention to not
only document the extraordinary contributions of those who
participated in the evacuation, but to use it also as a training
tool for handling crises of that magnitude in the future. Quoting
Ataturk ("Liberty and freedom are two aspects of my character"),
Harput insisted it only natural for Turkey to assist Americans given
Turkey's embrace of all individuals regardless of race, religion, or
ethnicity.

----------------------------------------
US-Turkish Relationship Valued in Turkey

ANKARA 00000513 002 OF 002


----------------------------------------

7. (U) Deputy Undersecretary for Consular Affairs Ambassador Ugur
Dogan assured A/S Harty that whatever happens in Turkey, Turks'
favorable attitude towards Americans would not change given the
value and importance Turks place on the US-Turkish relationship. On
a personal note, he shared the reservations he had about sending his
three children to study at universities in the United States after
9/11, fearing their possible mistreatment or discrimination for
being foreigners from a Muslim country. He noted such fears were
unwarranted, and that on a person-to-person basis Turks' attitude
toward Americans would remain positive because "deep down Turks are
very fond of Americans." Just as thousands of Turkish students
study in the United States each year, Dogan hoped that more American
students would consider attending university in Turkey.

WILSON#

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