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Cablegate: Ambassador Discusses U.S. Visit, Cyprus, Nato

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000004

SIPDIS


DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SE


E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2009
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR EINV AM CY TU
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES U.S. VISIT, CYPRUS, NATO
SUMMIT WITH PM


Classified by Ambassador Eric S. Edelman; reasons 1.5 (b) and
(d).


1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador met with Turkish PM Erdogan
December 31 in advance of Erdogan's late-January U.S. visit.
The Ambassador said White House officials view the visit as
an opportunity to enhance U.S.-Turkey relations and set the
stage for the June NATO Summit in Istanbul. The USG and GOT
continue to work to address GOT concerns over the conditions
of a USD 8.5 billion loan to Turkey. He urged the GOT to
resolve outstanding investment disputes with U.S. companies
and improve relations with Armenia. Erdogan offered to send
a high-level MFA team to Washington in advance of his visit
to discuss the Summit. He said he is committed to resolving
investment disputes and improving relations with Armenia
through reciprocal steps. The GOT remains committed to
Cyprus negotiations based on the Annan plan and may hold a
Cyprus summit once a government is formed in the "TRNC." End
Summary.


-------------------------------------
U.S. Visit Sets Stage for NATO Summit
-------------------------------------


2. (C) The Ambassador told Erdogan that President Bush and
other top USG officials are looking forward to his visit to
Washington in late January. A column in the Turkish press
claiming that the PM would only have a 20-minute meeting with
President Bush was incorrect. The Ambassador outlined the
PM's White House program, which he said was similar to the
format used for other world leaders, including UK PM Blair,
Spanish President Aznar, and French President Chirac. White
House officials would welcome a visit by senior MFA
representatives in advance of Erdogan's visit to discuss the
June NATO Summit in Istanbul. The White House is interested
in using the Summit as a means to promote the values of the
NATO alliance in the greater Middle East. Turkey has much to
contribute to this goal, and the USG is eager to discuss the
vision and substance of the Summit with the GOT. Erdogan
thanked the Ambassador for his efforts in support of the
Washington visit. He said he believes the visit will have an
important impact on the Middle East, Cyprus, and the NATO
Summit. In addition to the Washington meetings, Erdogan will
also speak to groups in New York and Boston. Turkish
businessmen traveling with Erdogan will meet with U.S.
counterparts. These meetings should help strengthen and
expand Turkey-U.S. relations. The GOT could send a
high-level MFA delegation to Washington 10-15 days before the
PM visit to discuss the Summit. Erdogan said the Turkish
press is unreliable and frequently strives to make the GOT
look bad. He asked the Ambassador to tell the press that the
column concerning Erdogan's visit was inaccurate; the
Ambassador agreed.


------
Cyprus
------


3. (C) The Ambassador formally delivered to Erdogan a letter
from President Bush concerning the PM's U.S. visit and
Cyprus. The Embassy delivered the letter informally in
advance of Erdogan's December 30 briefing on the MFA Cyprus
plan. Erdogan said the letter was constructive and had been
a useful element in his exchange with the MFA. He noted that
since coming to power in the November 2002 elections, the GOT
has consistently supported negotiations based on the Annan
plan, and he said that continues to be the goal. Elements of
the Turkish State agreed that negotiations on the basis of
the Annan Plan need to resume as soon as possible, but
internal discussions on details of the approach are
continuing. After a "TRNC" government is established the GOT
wants negotiations to resume quickly. It might be necessary
to hold another summit with the "TRNC" leadership in Turkey
to move the initiative forward.


----------------------------------
Working to Resolve Loan Conditions
----------------------------------


4. (C) The Ambassador noted that the USG continues to work
with the MFA to address the GOT's concerns over the language
tying the USD 8.5 billion loan to Turkey to a GOT agreement
not to enter northern Iraq unilaterally. The goal is to meet
the political requirements of the GOT while staying within
the limits of U.S. congressional legislation. The Embassy
has confirmed with the U.S. Treasury Department that the
money will continue to be available while both sides work to
resolve the issue. Erdogan said the political opposition,
particularly in Parliament, has been "very ugly" on this
issue, even accusing the GOT of "selling" Turkey. Neither
the U.S. nor the GOT can afford to allow the GOT's opponents
to use this issue as a political tool to damage the
U.S.-Turkey strategic partnership.


-------------------------------
Outstanding Investment Disputes
-------------------------------


5. (C) Erdogan said the GOT is committed to maintaining
fiscal discipline. The government plans to stick to its 2004
inflation target of 12 percent. Growth for next year should
meet the 5 percent target, but the goal for the following
year should be 7 or 7.5 percent. The Ambassador said that
Erdogan's visit should highlight Turkey's solid economic
performance, but should also focus on progress on some
outstanding investment and business disputes. If a few of
these disputes could be resolved before the visit, it would
enable both sides to portray Turkey as a good place for U.S.
companies to invest. For example, the GOT has made
significant progress on the Cargill zoning dispute, though
Parliament must pass legislation in order to fully resolve
it. Erdogan said he places a high priority on resolving
these types of disputes, and had given instructions to
resolve the Cargill issue. The GOT needs to take the
necessary measures to attract foreign direct investment. He
asked whether the Embassy could provide a list of all such
disputes involving U.S. companies. The Ambassador said the
Embassy had given the list to a number of GOT officials, and
would also send a copy directly to the PM's office.


--------------------------
Turkish-Armenian Relations
--------------------------


6. (SBU) The Ambassador said Turkish-Armenian relations might
also be raised during Erdogan's visit. Anything Turkey could
do to enhance relations, particularly in the economic field,
would he helpful for both Armenia and northeastern Turkey.
It would also help the U.S. administration politically.
Erdogan said the GOT has a positive approach toward relations
with Armenia, and has even encouraged the Azeris to take a
positive approach. The GOT is willing to negotiate, but the
Armenians must agree to take reciprocal steps.


--------------------------
Rotations Through Incirlik
--------------------------


7. (C) The Ambassador thanked Erdogan for the GOT's decision
to approve the use of Incirlik to rotate troops in and out of
Iraq. The USG will handle the rotations in a low-key manner,
with no public comments, but is very grateful for the
support.

EDELMAN

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