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Cablegate: Turkish Ambassador, Charge Discuss Steps Forward On Pkk

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PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3155/01 2401338
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281338Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6525
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0329
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC// PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHWSR/WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003155

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/27/2016
TAGS: PREL PTER TU IZ
SUBJECT: TURKISH AMBASSADOR, CHARGE DISCUSS STEPS FORWARD ON PKK

REF: BAGHDAD 3073

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Daniel V. Speckhard for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a meeting on August 25 with Turkish Ambassador Cevikoz and Turkish DCM Selcen, Charge d'Affaires informed the Turks that President Talabani had expressed full agreement with the Turks that the PKK needed to lay down their arms permanently, rather than agreeing to just another ceasefire. Cevikoz noted that Ankara's primary goal was to destroy the PKK as a political and militarily active organization intent on attacking Turkey. Cevikoz called on the Government of Iraq (GOI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to issue a joint statement condemning the PKK as a Known Terrorist Organization. The Turkish Ambassador also dismissed rumors of a PKK ceasefire, noting that previous offers of a ceasefire were accompanied by conditions that were unacceptable to Ankara. The Turks provided Post with a list of operating PKK front offices as of August 25 (see paragraph 6 below), and urged the Charge to pressure the GOI and KRG to take active steps toward containing and eliminating the PKK. END SUMMARY.

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The PKK Must be Eliminated
--------------------------

2. (C) In a meeting on August 25 with Turkish Ambassador Cevikoz and Turkish DCM Selcen, Charge d'Affaires informed the Turks that President Talabani had expressed full agreement with the Turks that the PKK needed to lay down their arms permanently, rather than agreeing to just another ceasefire (see reftel).

3. (C) Cevikoz quoted Talabani's promises to Turkish DCM Selcen during their July 22 meeting: Talabani and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masud Barzani would issue a stern warning to the PKK leadership to immediate stop all terrorist acts against Turkey; the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) would take all possible measures to prevent the PKK in northern Iraq from mobilizing for an attack against Turkey; and finally, the Government of Iraq (GOI) and the KRG would close down all the PKK and PKK front offices throughout Iraq. Of these promises, the first two were the most important, Cevikoz stated. The PKK can no longer be allowed to exist as a terrorist organization intent on attacking Turkey. The GOI and the KRG had to be pressured to surround the PKK in the Kandil Mountains and prevent them for being able to mobilize and initiate attacks across the border. Cevikoz referred to a recent PKK attack in Anatolia that resulted in two Turks - one allegedly a civilian - being wounded.

4. (C) Cevikoz then referred to Ankara's list of five preconditions for the Trilateral Talks, and noted that the key item is for the GOI to proclaim the PKK a Known Terrorist Organization (KTO). For more than a year, Cevikoz maintained, the GOI has been unable or unwilling to shut down the PKK. Officially declaring it a KTO would give the GOI the legal basis to take all necessary steps to eradicate the PKK as a politically and militarily active organization. Moreover, it was crucial that the GOI speak as one voice: the effect of having a GOI statement condemning the PKK as a terrorist organization would be negated if the KRG voiced a dissenting view.

Offer to Jointly Confirm PKK Front Office Closures
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (C) Charge noted that there were some contradictory statements from Talabani's office and Ankara about whether the PKK front offices had been duly closed throughout Iraq. According to Talabani in a recent meeting with Charge, the Turkish Embassy had expressed its satisfaction that the closures had been carried out. Cevikoz clarified that the GOT had expressed its appreciation for Talabani's promise to close the PKK front offices, but that only the Ocalan Center in Baghdad had been shut down since Talabani's July 22 pledge. Although he conceded that following the various PKK front offices were not significant in terms of their link to operations and that closing them would likely be followed by new offices with alternative names springing up elsewhere, he thought it was an important symbolic step for the GOI to take. Cevikoz provided Post with a list of all known PKK front offices currently operating in Iraq as of August 25; the list is reprinted below:

6. (U) (Begin Text) PKK/Kongra-GEL has two affiliated political parties registered in Iraq: the Democratic Solution Party (PCDK, leader Muhammad Amin Golbi) and the Democratic Structure Party (DCP, leader Esad Hamed al-Abbawi).

PCDK office in Baghdad is situated near the Beyrouth Junction on the Palestine Street, which is within a mile range slightly to the northeast of the Turkish Embassy. It moved to a side street near by and a signpost on the Palestine Street indicates its new location. Its signpost is removed but it is fully functional.

DCP office is located in the Mustansariyah neighborhood, 506 Street number 57/2 which is also within the same range to the north of the Turkish Embassy. Now it operates as the headquarters of an ethnic nationalist Kurdish newspaper supporting the PKK.

"Ocalan Literature and Scientific Research Institute" affiliated to PCDK is across the old Women's Union office near the Maghreb Junction on Waziriyah Street to the northwest of the Turkish Embassy again within a mile range or even less. It is recently shut down by the Iraqi Police.

PCDK has two offices at the Arafa and Iskan neighborhoods in Kirkuk. Both are fully functional with signposts and banners disposed.

DCP has an office at the Wasiti neighborhood in Kirkuk. It is fully functional.

PKK newspaper Roji Welat and the PKK Women's Union both have offices in Kirkuk.

In Mosul, PCDK offices at the northern entry of the town and at the Andalus neighborhood are closed.

PCDK office in Sulaymaniyah is fully functional with signpost and banner visibly exposed.

PCDK office in Irbil is fully functional although its signpost is removed.

The so-called Free Yazidi Movement office in Sinjar is open. (End Text.)

No Ceasefire at Hand
--------------------

7. (C) Charge noted that Talabani informed U.S. officials on August 24 that the PKK had announced a ceasefire, to begin on September 1. He referred Cevikoz to a letter Talabani had shown the Embassy on August 23 from the PKK leadership promising to announce a ceasefire under certain conditions. Cevikoz neutrally stated that he had not seen a copy of the letter, but had seen some reports in the media. He observed that in any case the term "ceasefire" was inappropriate, connoting as it did two equal sides fighting each other, while the PKK was a terrorist organization that unilaterally launched attacks on Turkey. In addition, Ankara would not accept any conditions attached to a ceasefire: at one point earlier the PKK had even asked for the release of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan as a prerequisite for a ceasefire, a demand Cevikoz dismissed as ridiculous.

COMMENT
-------

8. (C) During the meeting, the Turks expressed their appreciation for Talabani and his willingness to work with Ankara on the PKK issue. However, the Turkish DCM stated as they were being escorted out of the Embassy that Ankara was "well-acquainted with Mr. Talabani and his empty promises." The Charge's offer for a Turkish military liaison officer to accompany any U.S. military patrols to inspect the remaining PKK front offices was politely set aside, but Cevikoz pressed very strongly for the U.S. to ensure that a joint public statement by the GOI and KRG specifically condemning the PKK as a terrorist organization to Iraqi and international media outlets. He particularly stressed the need for the proclamation to be announced in the Iraqi news media: according to Cevikoz, certain GOI officials - like Talabani - were prone to labeling the PKK as "terrorists" for international consumption, while using vaguer language at home.

SPECKHARD

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