Cablegate: Asad Visit to Turkey
C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 004079
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2015
TAGS: PREL SY TU
SUBJECT: ASAD VISIT TO TURKEY
REF: STATE 129621
(U) Classified by CDA Nancy McEldowney, E.O. 12958, reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: Charge delivered reftel points July 13 to
MFA U/S Tuygan who, without providing details, defended as
"private" the upcoming Asad visit to Turkey and the AKP
government,s policy of engaging Asad. We received a similar
response from AKP Vice Chairman for Political and Legal
Affairs Firat. We expect the AKP government to continue to
engage Asad. End Summary.
MFA Defends Asad Visit
2. (C) Charge delivered reftel points July 13 to Turkish MFA
U/S Tuygan. Tuygan asserted in response that no dates are
yet fixed for the Asad visit. Tuygan stressed the ostensibly
"private" nature of the visit.
3. (C) If there is an Asad/Erdogan meeting, that will be
"private" as well, Tuygan asserted. It is Erdogan,s and the
GOT's intention that this and every contact is undertaken in
order to convey the need for Syria to stop its "objectionable
behavior" with regard to Iraq, Lebanon and Palestinian
4. (C) Charge stressed our concern that this type of
high-level contact conveys to Asad a lack of international
consensus about Syria,s behavior. Moreover, the Syrians
will portray such contacts as conferring legitimacy on the
regime. Charge argued that this type of high-level public
contact is especially damaging, as Syria,s objectionable
behavior is continuing and increasing.
5. (C) Tuygan claimed Turkey shares the U.S. "strategic"
goals with regard to Syria but differs on "tactics". Tuygan
argued that Turkey needs high-level contact in order to
deliver the necessary messages directly to Asad in the right
way. Tuygan insists Turkey has no illusions about the
Syrians: Turkey has a long, difficult history with Syria,
knows Syria,s track record, and will not allow Syria to
French Will Not Raise Visit with the Turks
6. (C) Charge also raised the Asad visit during a July 13
call on French Ambassador Poudade. Poudade agreed the U.S.
should be tough on the Turks regarding the visit but
predicted Turkey will continue to engage Asad. Poudade said
that France did not intend to raise the visit with the Turks.
AKP MP/Vice Chair Firat
7. (C) We also made reftel points July 13 to AK MP and VP
for Political and Legal Affairs Dengir Firat. Like Tuygan,
Firat provided no details about the Asad visit, insisted it
will be "private", and defended Turkey,s policy of engaging
8. (C) Comment: Despite our objections, Turkey will
continue to engage Asad. There is wide agreement in the MFA
and AKP government that Asad is a would-be reformer whom
Turkey should support. There is no sense in AKP that
Syria,s objectionable behavior with regard to Iraq, Lebanon
and Palestinian rejectionists directly threatens Turkey. End