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Cablegate: Military Puts Gul On Notice As He Approaches

VZCZCXRO1868
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHAK #2213 2401002
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281002Z AUG 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3558
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU PRIORITY
RHMFISS/425ABS IZMIR TU//CC// PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 002213

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2017
TAGS: PGOV MARR TU
SUBJECT: MILITARY PUTS GUL ON NOTICE AS HE APPROACHES
PRESIDENCY

Classified By: Ambassador Ross Wilson for reasons 1.4 (b,d).

1. (C) Summary: In a tersely worded Victory Day message to
the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) posted to the Turkish General
Staff (TGS) website the evening of August 27, Chief of
Defense GEN Buyukanit condemned those seeking to undermine
the unity and secular nature of the Turkish state.
Buyukanit's message, released one day before the third (and
final) round of parliamentary voting on FM Gul's presidential
candidacy on August 28, appears intended to put Gul and the
AKP on notice. Politicians and the media have, at least
initially, chosen not to react to Buyukanit's statement as
their way of saying that the democratic process will move
forward. End Summary.

2. (C) Buyukanit's message was posted on the Turkish General
Staff website three days before the August 30 holiday
commemorating the victory of the Turkish Republic, led by
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, over occupying powers in 1922 leading
to the formation of the modern Turkish state. While early
publication of Victory Day messages is not unprecedented,
Buyukanit's address was clearly timed to precede Gul's
expected election to the presidency on the third round of
parliamentary voting on August 28. Along with the usual
rhetoric glorifying the deeds of Ataturk and the Turkish
Armed Forces in achieving Turkey's independence, it contains
harsh words for those of "evil intent" who seek to destroy
the unity and solidarity of the Turkish nation. The message
condemns attacks on the TAF by "separatists" who are unable
to accept Turkey's unitary structure as well as the "dens of
evil" who seek to erode Turkey's secular structure --
codewords for the perceived dual threats of PKK terrorists
supporting Kurdish separatism and Islamic fundamentalists
seeking a more religious state. The message continues that
the TAF understands these threats and will not be intimidated
by them.

3. (C) Media reaction to the message has been muted so far,
partly due to its late evening posting on the web. Timing is
everything, and it also happened to be posted on one of
Islam's holiest nights, when people's prayers ascend to
heaven and forgiveness is granted - prayers were being aired
on most Turkish stations at the time.

4. (C) Most August 28 papers focus on the third round of
voting to take place in the afternoon and Gul's expected
swearing in as 11th President of the Turkish Republic the
same evening. A vice chair of the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP) stated, "We should not be dealing
with this." MHP, which the ultranationalist press has
excoriated for enabling Gul's election since the nationalists
announced they would participate in the presidential election
process, responded dismissively, with their deputy group
chairman Mehmet Sandir stating, "As politicians, we do not
find it necessary to evaluate the TGS statement." Only the
nationalist/secularist Republican People's Party (CHP)
referred to Buyukanit's statement as "meaningful."

5. (C) Comment: We expect this afternoon's third round of
presidential voting to proceed, with MHP, Democratic Left
Party (DSP), and pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP)
MPs in attendance and voting, as they have throughout the
process. Buyukanit's message constitutes yet another shot
across Gul's bow, presaging continued civil-military tension
and ever-present military watchfulness. The lack of
immediate and strong media and political reaction (in direct
contrast to the April 27 TGS e-memorandum) may also be a sign
of a maturing Turkish polity and a slight rebuke to the
military. The Turkish people spoke clearly in the July 22
general elections, with nearly 47% voting for stability and
continuity when they cast their votes for AKP. They continue
to respect the military, but right now, the Turkish people
are in charge. End comment.

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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