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Cablegate: Codel Costello: Got Urges House Not to Pass Agr

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DE RUEHIT #0791/01 2480706
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P 050706Z SEP 07
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
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INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 000791

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL TU AM IZ
SUBJECT: CODEL COSTELLO: GOT URGES HOUSE NOT TO PASS AGR


1. (SBU) Summary. Turkish MFA Undersecretary (D Equivalent)
Apakan and a group of parliamentarians, separately, urged
Codel Costello to prevent passage of an Armenian Genocide
Resolution, noting it would cause serious damage to
US-Turkish relations. Turkish officials also pressed the
delegation for increased cooperation on combating the PKK in
northern Iraq. End summary.

TURKISH PARLIAMENTARIANS: PUBLIC BACKLASH TO AGR
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) At an August 21 Consulate General-hosted event, the
head of the Turkey-U.S. parliamentary friendship group Egemen
Bagis cited two issues which could pose serious harm to
relations: USG inaction against PKK terrorists in northern
Iraq and possible passage of a House resolution on Armenian
Genocide (AGR). While Turkey appreciates what the United
States has done in the past, it does not feel it is getting
enough support in its current fight against the PKK, he
lamented. Noting that 75% of logistics destined for Iraq
pass through Turkey's Incirlik Air Base and that Turkey is
second only to the United States in number of casualties
despite not having troops in Iraq, Bagis called upon the U.S.
to do more to combat PKK forces using northern Iraq as a
safehaven.

3. (SBU) Turning to the AGR, Bagis described a GOT offer
made two years ago to the GOAm, proposing a joint commission
of historians, scholars and other subject matter experts be
established to review the associated events of 1915-1916. PM
Erdogan even extended an invitation to his Armenian
counterpart in order to discuss the commission's findings
once its work was complete, he noted, but the GOAm has yet to
respond. Pointing out that a number of the delegation
members had signed on as sponsors to the proposed AGR, Bagis
urged them to reconsider, warning that passing this
resolution would cause serious damage to the relationship and
reaction of the Turkish people would be very negative. While
acknowledging these were not easy issues to deal with,
Chairman Costello recognized Turkey's assistance and
sacrifices with respect to Iraq and promised to share Bagis'
concerns with congressional colleagues.

TURKISH MFA: "AGR IS UNFAIR"
----------------------------

4. (SBU) At a separate August 21 event hosted by the Turkish
MFA, Undersecretary Apakan reminded the Codel Of the many
issues on which the United States and Turkey have shared
interests, including: Iran, Middle East peace, Afghanistan,
energy security and the preservation of the territorial
integrity and political unity of Iraq. He stressed Turkey's
continued commitment to moving towards the West included EU
accession and strong relations with the United States. "To
the extent it is successful in both of these, Turkey can play
a more effective role as a stabilizer in the region," he
asserted.

5. (SBU) Referencing the Shared Vision Document signed in
July 2006 and the third meeting of the Economic Partnership
Commission held last February, Apakan stressed the importance
of further enhancing US-Turkey cooperation. He described the
proposed AGR as the most significant obstacle to this
prospect. Reiterating Bagis' comments regarding the GOT
proposal to establish a commission to study the events of
1915-1916, Apakan claimed Turkey is ready to accept such a
commission's findings as truth. He pointed out that 70,000
Armenians had come to Turkey to find work in addition to the
40,000 Armenians living in Turkish society "that we accept as
Turks." Apakan urged the delegation members to re-think this
resolution that is unfair to Turkey, the Turkish people and
to US-Turkish relations at a time that Turkey is making every
effort to cooperate on a host of issues, including Cyprus.

6. (SBU) Congressman Costello assured Apakan that he had
heard Turkey's concerns regarding Iraq, Iran and the PKK and
that he agreed on the importance of maintaining a unified
Iraq and pursuing a diplomatic solution vis-a-vis Iran.
Regarding the AGR, Costello noted the resolution had been
introduced many times before and has not come up for a vote.
He acknowledged that many members of the delegation have
large groups of Armenians living in their districts and
recognized the need to go back and discuss this issue to
promote a better understanding of how the vote could affect
US interests. To that effect, Costello pledged to
communicate associated GOT concerns to congressional
colleagues in Washington.


ISTANBUL 00000791 002 OF 002


7. (SBU) Codel Costello did not have an opportunity to clear
this cable.
WIENER

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