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Cablegate: Presidential Special Envoy Cumber's June 6-8 Visit

VZCZCXRO0408
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHGI RUEHJS RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV
DE RUEHAK #1113/01 1681423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161423Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6583
INFO RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 4351
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001113

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIC PREL PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL SPECIAL ENVOY CUMBER'S JUNE 6-8 VISIT
TO TURKEY

1. (SBU) Summary: Presidential Special Envoy Cumber
underscored the need for cooperation and innovation within
the OIC during May 6-8 meetings in Ankara and Istanbul with
GOT officials, OIC representatives, intellectuals, and
journalists. S/E Cumber explained his mandate and briefed on
efforts to increase U.S. engagement with the Muslim world.
Noting the slow pace of OIC negotiations, S/E Cumber
solicited Turkish support for his initiatives targeting youth
and women. Turkish interlocutors warmly received his
messages and highlighted their efforts at OIC modernization.
End Summary.

ANKARA
------
2. (SBU) Meeting with MFA Gulf Department Head Ebru Barutcu
Gokdenizler, S/E Cumber explained his mandate to improve
relations with OIC countries and to address misperceptions of
the U.S. in the Muslim world; it was not a mission to impose
U.S. policy. Based on conversations within and outside the
U.S., S/E Cumber reported he has worked with the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security to reduce unjust targeting of
Muslims, especially regarding immigration. Gokdenizler, new
to her position, noted S/E Cumber's visit occurred the week
of FM Babacan's Washington trip. She highlighted Turkey's
prominent role within the OIC.

3. (SBU) S/E Cumber provided an in-depth briefing on the
proposed U.S./OIC MOU. Based on established OIC priorities,
the USG has proposed working with the organization to
increase cooperation on science and technology, education,
and health. For all three issues, enhancing the role of
women would take top priority. He highlighted a targeted
training and apprenticeship program aimed at OIC youth. In
addition, S/E Cumber briefed on a program to place virtual
libraries with access to over 1 million publications in the
OIC's ten poorest countries. Lamenting procedural delays in
ratifying his proposals, S/E Cumber solicited GOT support
within the OIC to encourage a more expeditious process.

4. (SBU) Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and
Cooperation (ICFY) President and Prime Ministry Foreign
Policy Advisor Ali Sarikaya and Secretary General Elshad
Iskandarov provided S/E Cumber with an overview of the their
organization's efforts to increase the role of youth within
the OIC. Comprised of over 40 youth organizations from OIC
member nations, the ICFY is an umbrella NGO aimed at
resolving the socio-economic, moral, and cultural problems of
Muslim youth while promoting dialogue, civil society, and
tolerance. Iskandarov explained that the OIC initially
envisioned the youth forum to play a passive role and focus
on softer issues such as sports. The ICFY, however, has
actively endeavored to increase the younger generation's
voice in all aspects of the organization, an effort that has
met with resistance from the traditionally static body.

5. (SBU) S/E Cumber encouraged the ICFY to partner with the
Young Arab Leaders (YAL) organization headquartered in Dubai.
Noting that Iskandarov mentioned the ICFY would send a
delegation to the UN in late-June, S/E Cumber invited the
group to visit Washington and offered to assist in setting up
meetings. He and Iskandarov agreed to speak later about the
event.

6. (SBU) S/E Cumber highlighted the importance of science and
technology, education, and health during his meeting with
COMCEC Director General Ferruh Tigli. Soliciting Tigli's
assistance, S/E Cumber encouraged COMCEC and the GOT to push
Jeddah to support the U.S./OIC MOU. Tigli agreed to do so
and highlighted Turkey's leadership role in the OIC and its
efforts to modernize it. Empowering women, he underscored,
is key to improving economic conditions.

7. (SBU) Fulbright Executive Director Ersin Onulduran
reviewed the Fulbright program's success in Turkey,
highlighting his own personal experience as a Turkish student
in the U.S. S/E Cumber agreed that having a highly educated
society was key to a sustainable democracy, as was the case
in Turkey. Onulduran and Ankara University Theology Dean
Mualla Selcuk discussed the function of Turkey's Religious
Affairs Directorate, the struggle to define secularism, and
the country's reputation as a successful democracy with a
Muslim-majority population. Selcuk noted her department's
interest in harmonizing Islam and the modern world, adding
she will host on seminar on religious values and ethics in
July.

ISTANBUL
--------

ANKARA 00001113 002 OF 002

8. (SBU) On May 7, S/E Cumber met with Galatasary University
Law Faculty Chairman Emre Oktem, Turkish Daily News columnist
Barcin Yinac, and senior staff at the Islamic Research Center
(ISAM), a dependent of the State Directorate of Religious
Affairs (Diyanet). Oktem and Yinac applauded S/E Cumber's
endeavors to counter misperceptions of the U.S. in the Muslim
world, but expressed skepticism regarding his chances for
success. Both interlocutors cautioned that Turkey was a
unique case and should not be held up as a model. In
discussions with the seven ISAM representatives, several of
whom also teach at Marmara and Fatih Universities, S/E Cumber
solicited advice on how to describe Turkey's role. The
scholars recommended using phrase "the Turkish experience"
when discussing Turkey's unique democracy.

9. (U) This message has been cleared by S/E Sada Cumber.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON

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