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Cablegate: Turkey's Robust Role in Peacekeeping And

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RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #1923/01 2080759
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270759Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3158
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/425ABS IZMIR TU//CC//
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOCOM CMD CTR MACDILL AFB FL
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA//
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001923

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR MOPS NATO UN TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S ROBUST ROLE IN PEACEKEEPING AND
HUMANITARIAN MISSIONS

1. (U) Summary: Turkey's contributions to multi-national
peacekeeping operations around the world are significant.
Possessing NATO's second largest military, Turkey has led
operations in the Middle East and the Balkans, and has
provided troops and support to UN initiatives in Africa and
East Asia as well. Current peacekeeping activities are
stretching the military's capabilities, however, since the
bulk of its large conscript force is either unsuitable for
foreign deployment or engaged in combating PKK terrorism in
the southeast. End Summary

Continuing Leadership in Afghanistan
------------------------------------

2. (U) Since the inception of NATO's International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, the Turkish Armed
Forces (TAF) have continuously contributed troops and have
held leadership roles several times. Turkey led ISAF-II with
1300 troops in 2002 and ISAF-VII with 1430 troops in 2005,
while simultaneously managing the Kabul International
Airport. In 2003, former Turkish foreign minister Hikmet
Cetin was assigned as NATO's senior civilian leader in
Afghanistan. Currently hosting its rotating headquarters in
Istanbul, Turkey is a founding member of the Southeast Europe
Brigade (SEEBRIG), which successfully made its first
deployment in command of the Kabul Multi-National Battalion
in 2006. Turkey has also carried out in-place training of
1500 Afghan military personnel and has consistently provided
vehicles and supplies to ISAF. As is true for other ISAF
partners, Turkish forces operate under caveats that limit
their ability to operate outside of their assigned area of
responsibility.

3. (U) Through its provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in
Wardak, established in November 2006, Turkey has further
extended the scope of its reconstruction and development
contributions. Since 2002, Turkey has provided almost 42
million dollars worth of economic and technical assistance,
including the construction and renovation of hospitals,
schools, bridges, mosques, and potable water wells. Turkish
entrepreneurs have undertaken USD 1.5 billion worth of
projects since 2002, and Turkish firms hold investments
totaling USD 200 million, leading those of all other
countries. The GOT has also provided vocational training
courses for Afghan women, higher education scholarships, and
training opportunities in Turkey and Afghanistan for Afghan
diplomats, politicians, and police. Turkey has encountered
risks in Afghanistan as well: a July 17 suicide bomber attack
on a convoy carrying Wardak PRT personnel nearly killed the
Turkish PRT chief and injured a Turkish security official.

Rebuilding Lebanon
------------------

4. (U) The TAF's participation in the UN Interim Force in
Lebanon (UNIFIL) is its second-largest commitment to Middle
East peacekeeping after ISAF. Following the adoption of UN
Security Council Resolution 1701 in 2006, a Turkish
engineering construction company of 261 military personnel
and a Navy frigate carrying 234 personnel were deployed as
part of UNIFIL. With the objective of aiding the Lebanese
Armed Forces in Southern Lebanon, securing aid to civilians,
and ensuring the resettlement of refugees, the TAF had
supported UNIFIL with approximately 1000 army and navy
personnel as of May 2007. Turkey also volunteered to command
UNIFIL's naval component and has made air and seaports, as
well as airlift, available to UNIFIL contributors. The
Turkish government pushed through this deployment despite
strong criticism from opposition parties, who argued Turkey
should not risk its troops in a Middle East dispute while the
West provides little help to Turkey against PKK terrorism.

Peacekeeping in the Balkans
---------------------------

5. (U) Turkey has aided peacekeeping operations in the
Balkans since 1993. The TAF contributed 1400 troops to the
UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Croatia, Bosnia, and
Herzegovina between 1993 and 1995. Following the transfer of
duty to NATO in line with the Dayton Peace Agreement, Turkey

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reinforced its contribution, deploying a brigade to the
Implementation Force (IFOR) in 1995, a brigade to the
Stability Force (SFOR) in 1996, a battalion to the European
Union Force (EUFOR) in 2004, and a motorized infantry company
with staff officers to EUFOR-ALTHEA in 2005. In parallel
with UNPROFOR and later NATO operations, Turkey contributed
ships and sailors to Operation Sharp Guard under NATO's
Standing Naval Force Mediterranean in the Adriatic between
1993 and 1996.

6. (U) Turkish F-16's completed more than 2000 hours of
flying time during NATO operations in Kosovo. The TAF later
granted the use of three Turkish airfields to NATO aircraft.
Turkey joined the Albania Force (AFOR) with a Field Duties
Division in the summer of 1999. Additionally, Turkey
provided shelter for 18,000 refugees during the height of the
NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. The TAF continues its
contribution to the Kosovo Force (KFOR) Multi-National Task
Force South (MNTF-S) with 660 personnel; Turkish Brigadier
General Ugur Tarcin took command of MNTF-S in May, 2007.

7. (U) The TAF has also made small but consistent
contributions of troops and materiel to the following
peacekeeping operations: Deny Flight over Bosnia, ALBA in
Albania, and Essential Harvest and subsequent missions in
Macedonia.

Extending its Reach
-------------------

8. (U) Turkey has contributed to humanitarian missions well
beyond the Middle East and Balkans, providing support to
multi-national peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in
Africa, East Asia, and recently even the U.S. -- the TAF
provided a C-130 transport aircraft for NATO support efforts
in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

-- Provide Comfort: Following the first Gulf War, more than
300,000 displaced people sought refuge in Turkey. Turkey
contributed shelter and humanitarian aid to refugees within
its borders and in Iraq, and granted NGOs access to its
borders. In 1991, with the aim of providing immediate
assistance to Northern Iraqis fleeing dire conditions in the
South, the TAF joined Joint Task Force Provide Comfort. The
Task Force deployed to Turkey's Incirlik Air Base, from where
it delivered supplies, built refugee camps, established
security zones, and maintained a no-fly zone above Northern
Iraq.

-- UNOSOM: The TAF sent a 300-person mechanized unit to the
UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) in 1993. UNOSOM command was
for a time held by a Turkish lieutenant general.

-- UNMISET: The TAF contributed military personnel to the UN
Mission in East Timor (UNMISET) from 2000 until 2004.

-- Pakistan Earthquake Relief: In October, 2005, Turkey
quickly dispatched civilian and military search and rescue
teams to Pakistan. Turkey contributed two airbases as NATO
forward logistics bases, and Turkish aircraft flew 19 sorties
to Pakistan.

An International Observer
-------------------------

9. (U) The Turkish military also participates in several
ongoing international monitoring missions: the UN Observer
Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), Temporary International Presence
in Hebron (TIPH), the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the UN
Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM), and the EU Police
Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In April,
2006, Turkey set up a military field hospital with Turkish
doctors in the Darfur region of Sudan, and is currently
scouting locations for a permanent hospital. Also, the TAF
donated the use of a C-160 aircraft to transport troops to
UNMIS.

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


ANKARA 00001923 003 OF 003


WILSON

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