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Cablegate: Turkish Business Leader Criticizes Akp; Seeks U.S.

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000392

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


STATE FOR E, EB/IFD/OMA AND EUR/SE
TREASURY FOR OASIA - MILLS AND LEICHTER
STATE PASS USTR - NOVELLI AND BIRDSEY


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKISH BUSINESS LEADER CRITICIZES AKP; SEEKS U.S.
ASSISTANCE IN LETTER TO AMBASSADOR

Sensitive But Unclassified. Not for Internet Distribution.


1. (U) In a January 13 news conference in Istanbul, Turkish
Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TUSIAD) Chairman
Tuncay Ozilhan criticized the new AKP government for its
loosening of fiscal discipline and its failure to take a
stand on the Iraq issue. "We don't need any of this in such
a critical period for Turkey," he said. "The society was
expecting a consistent and determined performance from the
government with the power of a single party government, but
faced a contrary picture." On the Iraq issue, Ozilhan said
that while he would prefer a peaceful solution, he said the
government needed to cut its losses and give its allies "a
rational amount of support." He added that "as a democratic
country Turkey must never stand by a totalitarian regime."


2. (SBU) Privately, in a letter to Ambassador Pearson dated
January 10, Ozilhan reserved some criticism for U.S. policy;
specifically, the lack of a determined compensation package.
Ozilhan stated that Turkey had never fully recuperated from
the losses it incurred from the Gulf War and complained that
the U.S. had never fully delivered on economic assistance it
promised.


3. (SBU) BEGIN TEXT OZILHAN LETTER


H.E. Robert Pearson
U.S. Ambassador
Embassy of the United States
Ankara


Dear Mr. Ambassador,


Developments in our part of the world are unfolding rapidly
and their management to minimize undesired consequences is of
utmost importance. In this regard, the cooperation between
our two countries is crucial and I am happy to observe that
the spirit of partnership and alliance is prevalent all
around.


What are also of importance are the existing perceptions in
our two countries and of course, I can only talk about mine.
I am writing to you in order to underline their importance so
that we would be aware and, if possible, try to contain them
so that they would not be an inhibiting factor for the
development of the aforesaid relations. I am referring in
particular to the consequences of the first Gulf War. This,
as has been pointed out by many on various occasions, has
inflicted a most serious economic damage to Turkey. Much has
been promised, discussed, elaborated but little has
materialized to recuperate the damages incurred from this
operation.


Similarly, following the tragic events of 9/11 and during the
Afghan operation, the subject of strengthening Turkey's
economic capabilities has also been discussed, elaborated and
explored. Various ideas were floated - qualified industrial
zones, quota increases, and preferential trade regimes, etc.
- none of which have borne any tangible results although a
lot of time has elapsed since.


At this point I beg your understanding on the following
point: I have observed that during your discussions with our
authorities you are again referring to "best efforts" for
American endeavors to make up for the losses of Turkey should
there be another operation in Iraq. This statement, I am
sure you would agree with me, is simply not sufficient to
alleviate the concerns of the Turkish public opinion in
general and the business community in particular.
Furthermore, this inhibits our deliberations to support our
Government in realizing an even more comprehensive frame of
cooperation between our two countries.


In short, Mr. Ambassador, I think it is of paramount
importance that Turkey is supplied with more than "best
efforts" and a solid commitment with realistic parameters is
put in place so that we will not be subject to the skepticism
towards the West which was exacerbated as a result of
unrealized desires of support and solidarity.


This of course does not imply at all that we are
unappreciative of all the support extended by the U.S. on
issues like Turkey's relations with the IMF/World Bank and
during the Copenhagen Summit of the EU in December for which
I would like to take this occasion to express heartfelt
gratitude.


I felt the need to underline the above so that the already
excellent relations that exist between our two countries
would be further developed and not flawed by disappointments.


I would also like to take this opportunity to extend to you
and your family my best wishes for the New Year.


Kindest personal regards,


TUNCAY OZILHAN
Chairman of the Board
END TEXT OZILHAN LETTER


4. (SBU) Comment: Ozilhan is generally a reasonable voice in
the Turkish constellation as demonstrated by his supportive
comments on economic reform and Iraq. His stress on the need
for something concrete from the U.S. on the economic/trade
side is a clear signal of how Turkish public attitudes
towards U.S. policies can be shaped.
PEARSON

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