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Cablegate: Arrest of Turkish Sf Closes Border

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

S E C R E T ANKARA 004231


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2013


(U) Classified by DCM Robert Deutsch, reasons 1.5, b/d.

1. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.

2. (S) Ambassador spoke with MFA Acting U/S Baki Ilkin the
morning of July 5 concerning the arrest of Turkish Special
Forces in Iraq (reftel). Ilkin said that US military
authorities in northern Iraq told the Turkish Liaison team
with the 173rd in Iraq that an unidentified group of Turks
had been arrested and that those held could be released if
they were identified and if there were a request for release
through diplomatic channels. Ilkin reported that the
American unit involved was observed Friday morning in Kirkuk
training to storm buildings. After a number of repetitions,
they headed for Suleimaniya accompanied by PUK security with
a convoy totaling some 40 vehicles. They entered the
building housing the Turkish SF behind two smoke bombs.

3. (S) In contact with OCPA chief of staff, Ambassador was
unable to confirm the offer allegedly made to the Turkish
Liaison team to release the suspects if identified. From
Baghdad, we understand that the investigation of the alleged
participation of one of the Turkish Special Forces in a plot
to assassinate the mayor of Kirkuk is continuing.

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4. (S) We have indications from US military sources that an
additional raid in which another 10 Turkish Special Forces
were possibly taken into custody may have occurred the
morning of July 5. We also understand that the Turks have
closed and secured the Habur gate with armed guards as a
result of this incident. BG Kilicarslan, Deputy Commander of
the Turkish Special Forces is on his way to Suleimaniya with
a delegation of 16 people in three cars to meet with PUK "PM"
Barham Seleh and check on the situation.

5. (U) The mainstream Turkish "Hurriyet" newspaper this
morning contained a banner front page report of the incident
noting the US allegations of an assassination plot. PM
Erdogan called the event "an extremely distressing incident"
and "not acceptable." DCHOD general Buyukanit said the story
is regrettably true. He categorized the allegation that
Turks were plotting an assassination of the Governor of
Kirkuk as nonsense. One news report said Secretary Powell
told Gul that whatever was necessary would be done. Another
claimed that as a result US officials have pressed for
Turkey's military withdrawal from Iraq. Journalists have
begun pressing the Embassy for a reaction.

6. (S) Comment: Based on the conversations the evening of
July 4 between FM Gul and the Secretary, CHOD Gen Ozkok and
EUCOMCDR Gen Jones, the Turkish leadership believes that the
American senior leadership is now working to resolve this
incident expeditiously. This expectation and the relative
calm of a weekend provide a short period in which the
incident could be brought to a conclusion. However, if the
incident is not resolved and the Turkish Special Forces are
not released by Monday morning, there will be a rapidly
accelerating political and public reaction in Turkey that
would seriously damage to US Turkish relations with broad
repercussions. Embassy Ankara is ready for any action that
can contribute to resolving the issue within the next 48

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