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Cablegate: Turkey: Pol-Mil Round-Up: January 2008

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INFO RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RHMFIUU/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ4/ECJ5//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//ISA-EUR/DSCA//
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000166

SIPDIS


SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS MARR PREL CH KZ GR TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: POL-MIL ROUND-UP: January 2008


(Note: This is one of a regular series of unclassified reports on
significant Turkish defense and national security issues in the
press and other open sources. End note.)


Contents
--------

-- Turkey Carries out Cross-Border Operations in N. Iraq
-- December 5 Anti-Terrorism High Council Readout
-- December 5 Defense Industry Executive Board Readout
-- Turkish Troops Hands over ISAF Command
-- National Security Council Convenes
-- Donations to TAF Foundation Up 73%
-- Turkey's Security Relations with Other Countries
-- Defense Industry Activity


Turkey Carries out Cross-Border Operation in N. Iraq
--------------------------------------------- -------

1. Turkey launched air strikes against PKK terrorist positions in
northern Iraq on December 16, 17, 22 and 26. Several of the air
strikes were supported by artillery fire. During the same period,
counterterrorism operations within Southeast Turkey and against PKK
terrorists in several cities continued. Both civilian and military
officials made public announcements after each operation about the
scope and results of the operations. The apparent harmony between
civilian and military authorities as reflected in these public
announcements has not been seen since before the April 27, 2007
"e-memorandum" issued by the Turkish General Staff warning against a
Gul presidency.


Anti-Terrorism High Council Convenes
------------------------------------

2. Anti-Terrorism High Council convened under Deputy Prime Minister
Cemil Cicek on December 5. Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Justice
Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, Deputy
CHOD GEN Ergin Saygun, Jandarma Commander GEN Isik Kosaner attended
the meeting. In its statement, the Council discussed recent
counter-terrorism activities of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and
additional measures to follow. The Council also discussed the
difficulties Turkey has experienced in extraditing terrorist
suspects from foreign countries.


Defense Industry Executive Board Convenes
-----------------------------------------

3. Turkish Defense Industry Executive Board convened under PM
Erdogan on December 5 to discuss the needs of Turkish Armed Force.
The Board decided to:

- disqualify the Israeli IAI for the Gokturk Satellite project and
to continue talks with Britain's Eads Astrium, Germany's OHB System
and Italy's Telespazio;

- manufacture Turkey's own 5.56 mm assault rifle and machine gun to
replace the German made G-3 rifles;
- award Turkish Aselsan the 47 million Euro contract to set up
surface and underwater security systems for the Aksaz Naval Base;

- launch negotiations for the manufacture of multi-purpose
helicopters in Turkey with Sikorsky and Augusta Westland;

- award Turkish Aselsan the 80 million dollar contract for radar
surveillance systems;

- launch contract negotiations with Norway's Konsberg Company for
the supply of Penguin guided missiles to be deployed on Seahawk
helicopters; and

- launch negotiations with Turkish Yonca Onuk Company for a 25-ton
coast guard boat.

Turkish Troops Hand over ISAF Command
-------------------------------------


ANKARA 00000166 002 OF 002


4. Turkey concluded its eight-month command of International
Security and Assistance Force in Afghanistan's (ISAF) Kabul Regional
Command, turning the command over to Italy on December 12. A
welcoming ceremony was held for the 400 troops at the 4th Army Corps
Command in Ankara. The Kabul Regional Command was created in summer
2006 under the joint leadership of Turkey, France and Italy.

National Security Council Convenes
----------------------------------

5. Turkey's National Security Council (NSC) convened its last
meeting of 2007 under President Abdullah Gul on December 28. The
NSC assessed the results of cross-border operations carried out
against the PKK in northern Iraq, and reiterated Turkey's
determination to continue operations. The Council reviewed
diplomatic, economic, social and other dimensions of the fight
against terrorism. The NSC also discussed recent developments in
Iraq and other external developments affecting Turkey's security.

Donations to TAF Foundation Up 73%
----------------------------------

6. Donations to the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) were up
73% during the Ramadan Holiday in December 2007. Although many
other institutions received donations during the Ramadan Holiday
based on this Muslim tradition, TAFF is the only institution that
experienced such a dramatic increase this year. Surprised by the
considerable increase in donations, Turkish General Staff (TGS)
increased monthly pension for veterans and families of soldiers
killed by the PKK. Recent terror attacks and cross-border
operations seems to have contributed to the outpouring of support
for the Turkish military in general and the families of soldiers
killed by the PKK in particular.

Turkey's Security Relations with Other Countries
--------------------------------------------- ---

7. China: Chinese Deputy Chief of General Staff GEN Zhang Li visited
Turkish Land Forces Commander GEN Ilker Basbug and Turkish CHOD GEN
Yasar Buyukanit on December 10-11, respectively. No information on
the purpose of the visit was made public.

8. Kazakhstan: Kazakh Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov received his
Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonul in Astara on December 14. The
ministers discussed prospects for cooperation.

9. Greece: TGS reported 24 air interceptions by Greek jets in
international airspace over the Aegean Sea and one violation of
airspace in December. 34 incidents of violation of Turkish
territorial waters in the Aegean were reported in December. Turkey
sent a diplomatic note to Athens on December 26 after considerable
increase in what the TGS considers violations of territorial water
by Greek fishing boats and Coast Guard vessels.

Defense Industry Activity
-------------------------

10. TAF is planning to announce a tender for the purchase of
heavy-lift helicopters for the army. Boeing's CH-47 Chinook
helicopters are reportedly TAF's first preference because of low
maintenance costs and suitability for Turkey's terrain, according to
a defense industry expert.

11. Turkish Havelsan developed an 'Integrated Command and Control
System' for Turkish Air Forces. The system, which is the most
sophisticated integrated command and control system of the country,
was delivered in a ceremony held at the Havelsan Headquarters on
December 30.


MCELDOWNEY

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