Cablegate: Turkey Scenesetter for Staffdel Grove, July 25-28,


DE RUEHAK #1890/01 2051358
O 241358Z JUL 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: Turkey's ruling Justice and Development
Party (AKP) scored a significant victory in Sunday's polls
and appears set to form another single-party government with
a mandate to pursue its economic reform policies. On Iraq,
Turkey continues to be an essential partner, supporting
coalition forces by allowing use of its territory as a
logistical hub. The single biggest obstacle to bilateral
relations is PKK terrorism. Turkey has repeatedly expressed
impatience at the lack of U.S. action against PKK terrorists
in northern Iraq and has threatened to strike at PKK targets
across the border if the U.S. or Iraq do not act. A U.S.
Congressional Armenian genocide resolution would likely work
against those in Turkey calling for a collaborative look at
1915 events, jeopardize U.S. national security interests in
Turkey and Iraq, and complicate the security environment for
U.S. citizens and USG personnel. Turkey's economy has
achieved five years of GDP growth averaging over 7% -- the
highest rate of any OECD country. Because of its strategic
location, Turkey aspires to increase its role as an energy
transit country by piping natural gas to meet Europe's
growing needs, and will soon begin transporting gas from
Azerbaijan to Greece. End summary


2. (SBU) Mission Turkey consists of four posts: Embassy
Ankara, Consulate General Istanbul, Consulate Adana, and a
two-person Consular Agency in Izmir. Country-wide, there are
currently about 300 American positions and almost 700 locally
employed staff (LES) members working for over 20 agencies
throughout the Mission. The Mission's FY 2007 operating
budget was $30 million. Mission Turkey is scheduled for a
New Embassy Compound (NEC), with construction set to begin in
2010. We are now working to identify a property for the NEC
site that is both centrally located and affordable.


3. (U) In the July 22 parliamentary elections, unofficial
results indicate that Turkey's ruling AKP scored a
significant victory, returning to power with 46% of the vote,
up from 34% in the 2002 election. Two other parties crossed
the ten percent election threshold required to enter
parliament, along with 27 independent candidates, creating a
fractious if more representative legislature. AKP appears
set to form another single-party government, with around 340
of parliament's 550 seats, but returns with a reduced
majority and short of the 367 seats needed to elect the next
president or amend Turkey's military-drafted constitution.
The opposition CHP, with 20% of the vote, lost seats in
several of its strongholds. Commentators view the results as
the opposition's failure as much as AKP's success. Official
results are expected within days, barring major challenges.
The new parliament will convene five days after final results
are announced; election of a Speaker, formation of a new
government, and election of Turkey's next president will top
the agenda.

4. (U) AKP now has a mandate to pursue its economic
development and modernization policies, EU membership and
political reform for another term. Erdogan was magnanimous
in an acceptance speech which stressed unity, democracy, and
stability. His first real test will be choosing a
presidential candidate who can bridge the divide between a
shattered left and jubilant AKP supporters. Turkey's
elections were a clear showing of the strength and increasing
maturity of Turkey's democracy.


5. (SBU) For over 22 years, the PKK has conducted terrorism
against the Turkish government which has resulted in the
deaths of about 37,000 Turks. Since the end of its
self-imposed five-year cease-fire in 2004, the PKK has
conducted attacks against Turkey from strongholds in northern
Iraq, killing over 600 Turkish civilians and military and
foreigners in 2006 alone, and nearly 100 in 2007. The
increased violence prompted the government and military to

warn of possible cross-border operations into Iraq. The USG
has strongly discouraged this, citing Iraqi sovereignty and
the risk of increased instability. The United States has
been Turkey,s closest ally in the fight against the PKK,
securing EU agreement to place the PKK on its list of
terrorist organizations; spear-heading a Europe-wide effort
to close PKK financial, logistical, and media support outlets
there; and leading a trilateral (US/TU/IZ) process to stop
the threat emanating from northern Iraq. In August 2006, the
U.S. appointed Gen (ret) Joseph Ralston as Special Envoy to
Counter the PKK to head-up a renewed trilateral process.

6. (SBU) Iraq remains a major concern for Turkey. Turkey
worries about increasing instability in Iraq, growing Iranian
influence in the region, and the potential for Iraq to
splinter along sectarian or ethnic lines. The GOT is also
concerned about Iraqi Kurdish ambitions to expand their
territory to include oil-rich Kirkuk. The prospect of a
referendum later this year on the future status of Kirkuk
exacerbates Turkish fears that a Kurdish annexation of the
province will lead to massive inter-communal violence, and,
ultimately, the dissolution of the country. Transfer of the
control of Kirkuk to the Kurdish Regional Government also
sparks fears of the creation of an independent Kurdish state.
Turkish political leaders have sought to reinforce Iraq's
unity and territorial integrity, and have been among the most
active of Iraq's neighbors in the Iraq Neighbors Process.
Turkey hosted a meeting of the energy working group in June
and hopes to host ministers in September in Istanbul.

7. (SBU) Turkey,s agreement to allow the use of its
territory as a logistical hub has been a combat multiplier
for our Iraq operations. Approximately 3 million gallons per
day of gasoline and diesel fuel for the Iraqi people and 25%
of sustainment fuel for coalition forces crosses into Iraq
through the Ground Line of Communication at Habur Border
Gate. Since May 2005, when Turkey approved the use of
Incirlik Air Base as a cargo hub to support coalition
operations in Iraq, over 152 million pounds of equipment have
been shipped to U.S. troops. Over 50% of all air cargo into
Iraq has transited the Incirlik cargo hub. Six C-17 aircraft
now deliver from Incirlik the amount of supplies it
originally took 9-10 planes to deliver from Germany, saving
over $160 million per year in transportation costs. Up to
ten KC-135 tanker aircraft have been based at Incirlik since
2003 to support refueling operations in support of Operation
Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, running over
2800 refueling sorties and delivered over 192 million pounds
of fuel. Turkey has four personnel assigned to NTM-I in Iraq
and has trained 57 Iraqi military officers in Turkey.


8. (U) A double-election year contributed to the GOT,s
failure to enact reform on several high-profile political
issues, such as Turkish Penal Code Article 301 (insulting
"Turkishness"), even while technical-level EU harmonization
continued. The EU,s June 26 decision to open negotiations
on two chapters (Statistics and Financial Control) but not an
expected third (Economic and Monetary Union) left Turkish
officials frustrated and concerned that the EU,s December
annual progress report could recommend suspension of
additional chapters. The Turkish public, meanwhile, has
grown increasingly skeptical of the EU venture, in large part
as a reaction to Euro-skepticism of Turkey, reflected most
notably by French President Sarkozy,s preference of a
"privileged partnership" vice full membership. AKP,
historically the party most committed to Turkey,s EU
membership, now has the chance to use its electoral mandate
to breathe new life into the process.


9. (SBU) The USG has worked hard to encourage a candid
discussion in Turkey of the tragedy suffered by ethnic
Armenians during World War I. The Turkish and Armenian
governments have discussed commissions of academics and
historians from Turkey and Armenia to ascertain the facts, in

parallel with efforts to reestablish official bilateral
relations. The January 2007 murder of Turkish Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink has contributed to a new openness, with
growing calls for changes to Penal Code Article 301, which
criminalizes "insulting Turkishness," and stifles Turks,
ability to discuss fully the events of 1915. A U.S.
Congressional resolution labeling this tragedy a "genocide"
would trigger an intensely negative and nationalist response,
and would work against those voices in Turkey that are
calling for a comprehensive exploration of these events and
for normalizing bilateral relations with Armenia.

10. (SBU) A resolution would also have negative consequences
for U.S. national security interests in Iraq and elsewhere.
Supply routes into Iraq that are crucial to supporting U.S.
troops, military overflights, and use of Turkish bases that
support U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
could be jeopardized. Additionally, major defense
procurement contracts with U.S. manufacturers (with expected
and potential sales exceeding $10 billion) could be scrapped.
Agricultural purchases might also be canceled and consumer
boycotts could ensue. Anti-Americanism in Turkey would
likely intensify, increasing the threat level for U.S.
citizens and USG personnel living and working in Turkey.


11. (U) The Turkish economy has recovered strongly from the
2001 financial crisis, having achieved five years of GDP
growth averaging over 7% -- the highest rate of any OECD
country. In dollar terms, per capita GDP doubled to $5,482 in
2006. Since 2004, for the first time since the early 1970's,
inflation has been in single digits. At the same time,
Turkey has stabilized its economy and reduced its
vulnerability to financial problems, with net public sector
debt to GDP falling from 90% in 2001 to 45% in 2006. Turkey
achieved this through its IMF-sponsored economic program,
including a 6.5% primary surplus target for the public sector
and orthodox, pro-investor, pro-market policies. Despite
this improved situation Turkey remains somewhat vulnerable if
global emerging market sentiment turns negative because of
Turkey's large current account deficit (8% of GDP in 2006),
the public sector's continued reliance on foreign portfolio
investors rolling over mostly short-term debt, and risks of
political or regional instability.


12. (U) Turkey imports nearly all of its oil and natural gas.
However, Turkey's strategic location, in-between Europe and
the Middle East and Caspian regions, makes Turkey an
important energy transit country. More than 3 million bbl of
Caspian oil pass every day through the Bosporus Straits, and
nearly 1 million bbl/d of oil pass through the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, the first transitional
pipeline for Caspian oil that does not cross Russian soil.
Turkey aspires to increase its role as an energy transit
country by piping natural gas to meet Europe's growing needs,
and will soon begin transporting gas from Azerbaijan to
Greece, the first time Europe will receive Caspian gas by a
non-Russian route. Turkey also aspires to construct the
larger Nabucco pipeline to deliver natural gas across Turkey
to Austria. The USG supports Nabucco, but only if filled with
non-Iranian gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and
possibly Iraq. Russia's recent announcements, reinforcing
its hold on Turkmen gas and bypassing Turkey to sell gas to
Italy, spurred Turkey to announce a preliminary MOU with Iran
on a future gas deal, which we have protested.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at


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