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Cablegate: Codel Biden Meets with Fm Babacan

VZCZCXRO8796
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIHL RUEHIK
RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSR
RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #0384/01 0581517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271517Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5393
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000384

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958; N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV TU
SUBJECT: CODEL BIDEN MEETS WITH FM BABACAN

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: CODEL Biden discussed with Turkish FM Babacan
ongoing U.S.-Turkey cooperation and efforts to promote stability in
the region, notably in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, during a
February 22 meeting. Babacan described the EU accession process as
integral to Turkey's ongoing democratic transformation. He said
Turkey will continue its efforts to promote stability in Afghanistan
and Pakistan, namely through humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan
and by continuing the trilateral summit process, probably in April.
He underscored Turkey's support for a prosperous, stable and
multicultural Iraq, secure in its borders, looked toward progress on
Cyprus and Armenia in 2008, and said Turkey's approach on the
Ecumenical Patriarchate should be seen in the context of efforts to
expand religious freedom in the country. END SUMMARY.

TRANSFORMING TURKEY
-------------------

2. (SBU) Babacan welcomed CODEL Biden and emphasized the broad
scope of U.S.-Turkey cooperation. Turkey embraces U.S. values of
democracy, rule of law, pluralism and multiculturalism. The EU
accession process is key to Turkey's future; it's not about one more
EU member, but about transforming Turkey and the EU. Such a Turkey
will negate arguments that Islam, democracy and secularism cannot
coexist. From Morocco to Indonesia, Babacan said, the Muslim world
is following Turkish reform efforts, thus contributing to democracy
in the region.

STABILIZING PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Senators Biden, Kerry and Hagel briefly described their
visit days earlier to Pakistan and Afghanistan. They praised
Turkey's effort to bring together Presidents Karzai and Musharraf,
as well as President Gul's pre-election engagement with Pakistan's
opposition and Turkey's contributions to NATO/ISAF.

4. (SBU) Babacan reviewed Turkey's help to win hearts and minds in
Afghanistan. He cited the PRT in Wardak. Turkey has built 24
schools -- now transferred to Afghan authorities -- and Turkish NGOs
continue to operate six or seven other schools. Over 40,000
students have benefited from these schools. Turkey has also
invested in health care facilities. Afghan perceptions of a foreign
occupation create a fertile ground for terrorists; Turkey thinks
more should be done on the development side, Babacan maintained.

5. (SBU) Turkey plans to bring Presidents Karzai and Musharraf
together again in Turkey, probably April 8, according to Babacan.
President Karzai has agreed; confirmation from the Pakistan side is
pending. Babacan said he had been the one to ask President Gul to
visit Pakistan, and Gul's messages to all political parties there
were clear: do not damage the stability of the country and
participate in the political process. Bhutto's assassination had
changed the mood, but Turkey will continue to do what it can to
ensure Pakistan's stability. Babacan noted his recent visit to
India, and said he found New Delhi also focused on Pakistan's
stability. FM Babacan said he and his Indian counterparts had
agreed to remain in closer touch on the situation in both Pakistan
and Afghanistan.

SUCCEEDING IN IRAQ
------------------

6. (SBU) Senator Kerry solicited Babacan's views on Iraq.
Referring to Turkey's just-announced, limited incursion in northern
Iraq against the PKK, Kerry urged Babacan to keep the Iraqi
government in the loop and not complicate what we are trying to get
done there. Babacan said Turkey is mindful of the concern Senator
Kerry noted. He described Iraq as a neighbor and brother. Turks
share ethnicity with the Iraqi people and care deeply about the
country's stability and prosperity. Turkey has channels to every
Iraqi group, without discrimination. It supports a multicultural
Iraq, secure in its borders.

7. (SBU) Asked by Senator Kerry where we are in the process of
reaching that objective, FM Babacan said the situation there is
better than a year ago. The surge has helped, as have efforts to
engage Sunni groups in the Iraqi government and parliament. More
local ownership of Iraq's future is the key. FM Babacan appealed
for more predictability in the future U.S.-Iraq relationship. The
strategic framework agreement to be negotiated between the USG and
GOI is crucial. Predictability will lead the Iraqi people to
support the central government. Babacan also noted progress

ANKARA 00000384 002 OF 002


reflected in recent laws passed by the Iraqi Parliament. He noted
Turkey's role in promoting the Iraq neighbors process. The
comprehensive communique issued at the Istanbul ministerial
reflected international consensus on the future of Iraq. He said
the future status of Kirkuk is important and requires consensus from
all sides. Turkey supports a special status for Kirkuk. If there
is a referendum, we should be clear what it is about, who will vote,
and what size majority will be acceptable.

OPPORUNTITIES FOR PROGRESS ON CYPRUS AND ARMENIA
--------------------------------------------- ---

8. (SBU) While emphasizing a shared approach on many issues,
Senator Biden pointed out two "irritants" in the relationship:
Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. While not defining issues
in U.S.-Turkish relations, there is an inconsistency between
Turkey's current, positive direction and the continued obstacles
faced by the Patriarchate, such as the closure of the Halki
Seminary. Senator Kerry opined that it is time to get something
done on Cyprus and asked for FM Babacan's views. Senator Biden
described as "historic" President Gul's congratulatory message to
Armenian President-elect Sargsyan.

9. (SBU) FM Babacan said the biggest obstacle to progress on Cyprus
was Papadopoulos. Sincere willingness on all sides to make progress
is the key. He observed that the status quo has suited the Greek
Cypriots. Nominally representing the whole island, the Greek
Cypriot government has enjoyed a monopoly on EU funds,
representation in the European Parliament, trade and tourism.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriots are isolated. Turkey would like to
see more international pressure on Cyprus to solve the problem,
through a comprehensive -- not piecemeal -- solution, based on the
existing UN parameters. On Armenia, FM Babacan reiterated the GOT's
offer to convene a historical commission to look at the shared
histories of Turks and Armenians. Quoting Israeli President Shimon
Peres, he said politicians should look to the future and historians
to the past. Turkey has opened its archives, but this has not been
reciprocated by Yerevan or by Armenian diaspora groups. However,
the Greek, Cypriot, Armenian and Turkish governments have all fresh
mandates, making 2008 a year of possibility to work toward
solutions.

10. (SBU) FM Babacan identified the Patriarchate issue as part of
Turkey's trend toward religious freedom -- evidenced by the
headscarf reform. He said the GOT wants to see European and
American freedoms in Turkey. It is a process, but Turkey recognizes
its responsibility. What Turkey does, he said, has an impact
throughout the region, and even globally.

11. (U) CODEL Biden has cleared this message.

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