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Cablegate: Codels Nelson and Whitfield Meeting with D/Chod

VZCZCXRO4453
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #1373/01 1551401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041401Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2396
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/425ABS IZMIR TU//CC// PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001373

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OVIP PGOV PREL MARR TU
SUBJECT: CODELS NELSON AND WHITFIELD MEETING WITH D/CHOD
GEN SAYGUN


1. (SBU) Summary: Deputy Chief of Defense General Ergin
Saygun briefed Codels Nelson and Whitfield on May 28 on
Turkey's contributions to regional peace and stability. He
complained that some European nations were seeking to
re-define trans-Atlantic security at NATO's expense. He
described the situation in Iraq as the greatest security
challenge and "the executive summary of the Middle East."
Partition of Iraq would be a disaster, he stressed; the
coalition should seek to make all parties to the conflict
there "equally happy or unhappy." He criticized creation of
a de facto Kurdish state and accused Iraq Kurd leader Barzani
of supporting PKK terrorism. He said Turkey cooperates with
Iran on border security against the PKK but will support the
international community's efforts to prevent Iran from
developing a nuclear weapon. Syria needs a "helping hand" to
separate Basher from hard line Baathists in his government
and Iran's embrace. He reaffirmed Turkish support for Israel,
with which Turkey shares common regional challenges. Saygun
said Congressional passage of an Armenian genocide resolution
would hurt Turkey. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Using a powerpoint presentation, Saygun highlighted
Turkish contributions to NATO missions in Afghanistan and the
Balkans, its support to UNIFIL, and its assistance to
humanitarian missions in Africa. He underlined Turkey's
troop contributions to the NATO Reaction Force (NRF),
including its leadership of NRF 8. He described threats to
NATO from some European countries who are seeking to
re-define trans-Atlantic security, mentioning France's
objections to NATO's engagement out of area. He complained
that Turkey feels as if it must defend NATO against some of
its own members. He noted, however, that NATO has not
identified the PKK as a terrorist organization, although the
EU has.

3. (SBU) Saygun described the situation in Iraq as the
pre-eminent security challenge in the region. Iraq is the
"executive summary of the Middle East," he asserted,
lamenting the sectarian divisions plaguing the region. the
Baghdad government appears unable to foster reconciliation.
Saygun evinced little hope that the situation in Iraq could
be brought under control. Partition, however, would be a
disaster. He criticized Iraqi Kurds for seeking a separate
state in northern Iraq, prohibiting the Iraqi flag and
promoting their own institutions. He highlighted the status
of Kirkuk as an issue of major concern for Turkey. While
120,000 Kurds were displaced from Kirkuk by Saddam, now
400,000 were being resettled in the area with the intention
of making it a Kurdish city. Meanwhile, the Shi'a are
expanding their influence from Tajikistan to the Gulf in a
Shi'a "arc," Saygun warned.

4. (SBU) Senator Lott thanked Turkey for its leadership in
NATO and asked if Turkey could do more in Iraq. Saygun said
that Turkish facilities are available for the recalibration
and refurbishment of U.S. equipment from Iran, with a
potentially large cost savings to the U.S. government.

5. (SBU) Saygun complained that PKK terrorists were operating
in northern Iraq with impunity, despite Turkey-Iraq treaties
from 1926 and 1946 whereby both sides pledge to address
security problems on either side of the common border. He
expressed appreciation for U.S. help, said U.S. envoy General
(retired) Ralston had done a "fantastic job," and hoped for
success in a slow, painstaking process of combating PKK
terror. Saygun asserted that the PKK is responsible for 80
percent of drugs going into Paris neighborhoods and controls
the distribution of 40 percent of Europe's heroin. The PKK
is also deeply involved in the smuggling of weapons and
people.

6. (SBU) Turkey has enjoyed a peaceful border with Iran for
centuries and Turkish authorities are cooperating with
Iranian counterparts on border security against a common PKK
threat, Saygun explained. At the same time, Turkey does not
want Iran to have a nuclear weapon and will participate in
the international community's efforts to prevent this. While
Turkey is skeptical that economic sanctions will work, the
GOT will do whatever it can without harming its relations in
the region, Saygun said. Asked what Turkey would recommend
in the absence of diplomatic success, Saygun said trade and
travel sanctions were of limited usefulness. If Tehran wants
to develop a bomb, it will, Saygun concluded, and Turkey will
have to evaluate the political implications.

ANKARA 00001373 002 OF 002

7. (SBU) Saygun asserted that the largest number of
terrorists entering Iraq are being funneled through Syria.
While Basher al-Assad is less violent than his father, he is
still influenced by old Baathist stalwarts. It will take
time for Syria to integrate with the West. In Saygun's view,
Basher needs a "helping hand" to keep out of Iran's embrace.

8. (SBU) Turning to the Caucasus, Saygun said that Turkey
invites Armenian officers to NATO PfP activities and reported
that he had sat with his Armenian counterpart at a NATO
meeting in Istanbul. Turkey tolerates the presence of 40
thousand or more illegal Armenian "guest workers." Saygun
told the Codels that Turks had also suffered much from
Armenians. If the Congress passes an Armenian genocide
resolution, Turkey will be deeply hurt.

9. (SBU) NATO must be successful in Afghanistan, Saygun
stated, noting that Turkey had donated 155 mm howitzers to
the Afghan National Army. Conditions on the ground remain
difficult, however, and Afghanistan requires extensive
reconstruction support.

10. (SBU) Discussing energy security, Saygun said Russian
President Putin's intentions are clear: Russia wants to
control every drop of oil going to the West.

11. (SBU) Saygun said Turkish - U.S. relations had stood the
test of time. Since the end of the Cold War, however, there
have been divergent interests. In Saygun's view, the U.S. is
far too big to share identical interests with smaller
countries; this is natural and we are not expected to agree
on everything. Saygun denied that there is an organized
anti-American "campaign" in Turkey.

12. (SBU) Asked about Turkey-Israel relations, Saygun
described a close security and defense industrial
relationship. He said that, as the only democracies in the
region, Turkey and Israel share a common fate and common
challenges.

13. (U) Codel Nelson and the Congressional Study Group on
Turkey have cleared this message.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

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