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Cablegate: Codel Biden Talks Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan With

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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIHL RUEHIK
RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSR
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DE RUEHAK #0385/01 0581517
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271517Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5395
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 000385

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958; N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV PK BM AF EUN TU
SUBJECT: Codel Biden talks Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan with
Turkish President


1. (SBU) Summary: President Gul, in a February 22 meeting with
Codel Biden, focused on political realism and participation as the
key to stability in Iraq. Maximalist demands were
counterproductive. The surge was working. Passage of important
legislation would further enhance political integration; Turkey had
already reached out to offer Baghdad help across the board. Kirkuk
was a potential tinderbox that should be given special status to
protect all its inhabitants. Turkey will continue its efforts to
bring the Pakistani and Afghan leaders together. Democracy and a
modernizing political process are the best solutions to Pakistan's
problems. With regard to Afghanistan, Gul preached investment in
visible road, school and hospital projects in large population
centers as the best way to win hearts and minds. End summary.

2. (U) Codel Biden praised the US-Turkish relationship as one of our
most important. How Turkey negotiates its future as a democratic,
majority Muslim country in a difficult region will be an important
marker for the 21st century.

3. (U) Senator Biden focused on Iraq as the most critical problem
facing the US and Turkey. In the US, there are real disagreements
on how best to achieve a viable political solution that will result
in a stable, functioning government and country that poses no threat
to its neighbors and is not a terrorist haven. Eventually, the US
will have to withdraw the bulk of its 150,000 soldiers and lower the
$15 billion/month bill for the taxpayers.

4. (U) President Gul acknowledged the negatives and mistakes, but
said it was important to focus on the positives as well: all groups
were participating in the political process. Had this occurred when
the constitution was being drafted, it would have encountered fewer
difficulties. From Turkey's standpoint, the surge is working. The
challenge now is for parliament to pass certain important pieces of
legislation, including the hydrocarbons law. De-Ba'athification
legislation was a good step, as was the recent amnesty.

5. (SBU) According to Gul, realism is the recipe for success in
Iraq. If all parties proceed rationally and inclusively, the Iraqi
government will succeed. Inclusion of the Sunnis as a major pillar
of the political process was key, and a success Gul personally had
worked hard to help make happen. The Iraqi Kurds, by contrast, are
currently pursuing a counterproductive maximalist approach.

6. (SBU) The next challenge is to pass the local administration law
and have local elections. Gul noted that Kirkuk remains a potential
tinderbox. Just as Iraq is the Middle East in miniature, so Kirkuk
is Iraq in miniature. Special status is needed for this
multi-ethnic city with its oil riches. Senator Hagel focused on the
term "special status". Gul responded that the Kurds have tried to
claim Kirkuk for their own, working to change the demographics,
though historically it was not a Kurdish city. Whatever Kirkuk's
original make-up, oil has changed the population mix. It is now an
Iraqi melting pot. This is not about Turks and Kurds; it is about a
city that could be a powder keg if not dealt with carefully, and
which must attain a status to which all feel they can belong.

7. (SBU) Gul referred to Iran's increased influence in Iraq
post-war. The two countries' long, uncontrolled border, Iranian
intelligence and its Shi'a population are among Iran's advantages.
Turkey's democratic, secular system, economy, and prospect of EU
membership together form an attractive model for Iraq. The February
21 National Security Council (NSC) meeting, which Gul chaired,
examined all aspects of relations with Iraq and concluded that
Turkey should reach out to help develop Iraq in all areas. He had
talked by phone with Iraqi President Talabani late February 21 and
shared with him the scope of projects envisaged. Turkey must make
an "extraordinary effort" to patch up wounds and gain the favor of
all Iraqis.

8. (SBU) Senator Kerry asked for Gul's views on Pakistan and
Afghanistan -- how those two countries can move forward with their
mutual problems and challenges, and how Turkey can help. Kerry
thanked Gul for his leadership in helping persuade all parties to
participate in the Pakistani general elections. Gul recapped his
efforts to bring together Presidents Karzai and Musharraf last year
to start a dialogue on their contentious border problems. The
effort produced a joint declaration and a mechanism for continued
consultations. Prior to that, their exchanges had only been
acrimonious. This process, Gul explained, is geared to helping the

ANKARA 00000385 002 OF 002


two leaders find a solution - perhaps setting up a "safe" zone along
their joint border. He will invite the two leaders to Turkey again
in March.

9. (SBU) Moving forward politically in Pakistan is a question of
modernization, Gul stated. A civilian government must push the
process forward by democratic means. A strong political alliance
can help, as can improved education. Gul talked to the Pakistanis
about modernizing their madrassas and would share Turkey's
experience on education.

10. (SBU) On Afghanistan, Gul said that as foreign minister, he had
repeatedly emphasized that armed struggle could have the opposite
effect of that intended, instead strengthening opponents.
Rebuilding and goodwill efforts would pay off. In Wardak province,
the Turks are building hospitals, schools and other facilities.
They had heard from Afghanis that the first thing the US did was to
build a prison. This immediately lost us goodwill, despite billions
spent. In Kabul in winter, for example, the streets are knee-deep
in mud. It would cost only $200,000 to asphalt all the streets of
Kabul, and the public relations result would be priceless. Senator
Biden responded that we had put down miles of paving, but he took
Gul's point was that perhaps we were doing it in the wrong place: if
we did it in a concentrated population center, it would be more
visible.

11. (SBU) In response to Senator Hagel's question about how Turkey's
EU accession process was proceeding, Gul thanked the Senators for
unflagging US support. The integration process continues. There is
a temporary bump in the road with France; President Sarkozy does not
yet recognize Turkey's economic advances and Turkey's positive role
in regional stability.

12. (U) Codel Biden has cleared this message. Wilson

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