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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Codel Murtha's Visit to Turkey,

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #2815/01 3251515
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211515Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4423
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD IMMEDIATE 1069
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT IMMEDIATE 0880
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 6081

UNCLAS ANKARA 002815

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

BAGHDAD FOR RICH HOUGHTON,
KUWAIT FOR AGGIE BERRY, PLEASE PASS TO CODEL MURTHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER MASS PARM IR IZ TU
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR CODEL MURTHA'S VISIT TO TURKEY,
NOVEMBER 24-25, 2007

1. (SBU) Summary: Your visit comes on the heels of PM
Erdogan's November 5 meeting with President Bush, when we
promised to support effective measures to eliminate the
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist threat from northern
Iraq. A November 20 follow-up visit by Generals Cartwright
and Petraeus here was well received. The Turks appreciate
your key role in preventing House passage of an Armenian
genocide resolution (H.R. 106) in October. This and our
intensified cooperation against the PKK have reinvigorated
bilateral cooperation. Seeking to support Middle East peace,
the GOT invited President Abbas and Prime Minister Peres to
an unprecedented joint visit, where both addressed the
Turkish parliament. Turkey has been invited to participate
in the Annapolis peace talks. However, Turkey continues to
contemplate energy deals with neighboring Iran. Your visit
is an ideal opportunity to emphasize that we stand with
Turkey in its fight against PKK terrorism and appreciate
Turkish help with the Middle East peace process, as well to
remind Turkey of the dangers of a business-as-usual approach
with Iran. End summary.

FIGHT AGAINST PKK TERRORISM
---------------------------

2. (SBU) So far this year nearly 160 Turks have been killed
in PKK attacks, including 134 Turkish security personnel.
Following a particularly vicious ambush in which 12 soldiers
were killed and eight taken prisoner near the border in
October, parliament authorized the government to launch
cross-border attacks on PKK camps in Iraq. Political
pressure has been building on Prime Minister Erdogan for some
time to mount such a strike, and he has publicly stated that
Turkey is prepared to do so in the near future.

3. (SBU) 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; spearheading a
Europe-wide effort to close PKK financial, logistical, and
media support outlets there; and leading a trilateral
(US/Turkey/Iraq) process to stop the threat emanating from
northern Iraq. USG pressure on Iraqi Kurdish leaders to
tighten the noose on PKK operations in northern Iraq and
other measures agreed to at the November 3 Iraq Neighbors
Ministerial in Istanbul have helped lower the temperature.
Following his November 5 meeting with PM Erdogan, President
Bush stated that the PKK is our common enemy and promised to
provide Turkey with intelligence in support of effective
measures against the PKK.

IRAQ
----

4. (SBU) 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 northern Iraq's
Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) ambitions to expand its
territory to include oil-rich Kirkuk Province, and see it as
the prelude to 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,
hosting the most recent meeting in Istanbul in early
November. FM Babacan made the first high-level GOT visit to
Baghdad since 2003 in October, taking Turkey's message
directly to the Iraqi leadership.

5. (SBU) Turkey's agreement with the U.S. to allow the use of
its territory as a logistical hub has been a combat
multiplier for our Iraq operations. Approximately 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. Almost 75% of all air cargo
into Iraq transits 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 delivering over 192 million pounds
of fuel. You will want to express gratitude to Turkish
officials for this important cooperation.

ARMENIAN RESOLUTION
-------------------

6.(SBU) The House Foreign Affairs Committee vote in favor of
the Armenian genocide resolution in October further inflamed
already high anti-American sentiment in Turkey. Turks from
all walks of life have difficulty understanding why Congress
would pass judgment on historical events. Had the resolution
passed the full House, the GOT was prepared to take
retaliatory actions which would have affected the overall
relationship -- security cooperation in particular. Turkish
officials will express their appreciation to you for your
role in preventing the resolution from coming to the floor.

IRAN
----

7. (SBU) Turkey remains concerned about the possibility of a
nuclear-armed, missile capable Iran. This threat is a
distant one, however, in the minds of the public and some in
the government. It is overshadowed by what the Turks see as
the more immediate concerns, including the need for energy
resources and concern about the possible emergence of an
independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Turkey is
mindful of U.S. policy on Iran and has been helpful, but
argues that without a reliable, guaranteed energy supply,
Turkey cannot ignore its eastern neighbor's huge reserves.
Energy Minister Guler and others have stated the GOT desires
to get reliable gas supplies from Turkmenistan. To date,
this has proven problematic, although the GOT will continue
efforts to tap this resource. We are encouraging Turkey to
continue to look to the Caspian or other resource rich
neighbors like Iraq, rather than Iran, to meet its growing
energy demand. You can underscore the dangers of a
business-as-usual approach with Iran.

MIDDLE EAST PEACE
-----------------

8. (SBU) Turkey increasingly sees itself as a player in the
Middle East Peace Process, and believes
it made a notable contribution prior to Annapolis by bringing
Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas together in Ankara on November 13.
Peres became the first Israeli leader ever to speak before a
predominantly Muslim parliament when he addressed the Turkish
Grand National Assembly. He praised Turkey's contributions
to a lasting peace through economic programs, adding that
"Turkey will be a partner in Annapolis." Abbas also
acknowledged Turkey could play an effective role in finding a
solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

POLITICAL OVERVIEW
------------------

9. (SBU) In July parliamentary elections, the ruling Justice
and Development Party (AKP) -- in power since 2002 -- won a
resounding 47.7% of the vote. In a contentious presidential
election that followed, Abdullah Gul, former AKP Foreign
Minister, was elected over the strong objections of the
Turkish military. The AKP then launched an ambitious and
controversial effort to revise the 1982 military-written
constitution. A series of PKK attacks in October caused an
outpouring of nationalist sentiment across the country that
appeared to minimize the political differences between the
AKP government and the military. The military continues to
be the most widely respected public institution in Turkey.
Fundamental ideological differences between the military
leadership and the AKP remain, however, and the Turkish

military will continue to play a powerful role in Turkey's
politics.

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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