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Cablegate: Turkey: Pol-Mil Round-Up, October 2006

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 006451

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS MARR PREL UY CH GR AM AF LE TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: POL-MIL ROUND-UP, October 2006


(Note: This is one of a regular series of unclassified reports on
significant Turkish defense and national security issues in the
press and other open sources. End note.)


Contents
--------

-- National Security Council Convenes
-- Turkey's Security Relations with Other Countries
-- Defense Industry Activity


National Security Council Convenes
----------------------------------

1. Turkey's National Security Council (NSC) held its bi-monthly
meeting on October 31. Internal and external developments affecting
Turkey's national security topped the agenda of the meeting.
Negotiations on Iran's nuclear program after the UN Security Council
resolution of July 31 were discussed in detail, while the importance
of solving the issue through diplomatic channels was underlined.
Developments in the south Caucasus and the PKK situation following
the terrorist organization's announcement of a unilateral ceasefire
beginning October 1, 2006, were among other issues discussed in the
meeting.

Turkey's Security Relations with Other Countries
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. Lebanon: Turkish Naval Forces Command deployed a frigate to
Lebanon on October 6 to serve at the Naval Forces Command of the
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. 19 officers and 203
non-commissioned officers and privates were assigned to staff the
frigate. The Foreign Ministry announced on the same day that Turkey
was planning to deploy 600-700 troops to Lebanon. A 7-member mine
detection team of the Turkish Armed Forces was deployed to Lebanon
on October 17. Two ships carrying 95 military construction
engineers and equipment were deployed to Lebanon on October 19. The
engineering squadron consisted of 261 personnel, including 237
soldiers and 24 civilians.

3. Afghanistan: Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul released an
official statement noting that Turkish troops will not assume combat
duties against the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida or resume responsibilities
in the south or other parts of Afghanistan, but only in the Kabul
area. Turkey, which initiated a joint command of ISAF Central
Command covering the Kabul region with Italy and France on August 6,
will hold the rotating leadership from April-December 2007, during
which time Turkey will increase its troop strength from 620 to 900.


4. Armenia: The Turkish General Staff (TGS) announced on October 11
that Armenians fired at Turkish soldiers on the Turkey-Armenia
border. No casualties or property damage were reported.

5. Greece: TGS announced on October 13 that Turkish F-16 fighter
jets and a CASA plane were harassed four times by Greek fighter jets
in international airspace over the Aegean Sea on October 12. The
Turkish F-16 fighter jets were on a training mission while the CASA
plane was on its way to Antalya from Incirlik/Adana, according to
the TGS. TGS reported three other interception incidents against
Turkish F-16 jets over the Aegean Sea on October 16, according to
ANA.

6. China: Air Force Commander of the People's Republic of China
General Qiao Qingchen met Turkish Air Forces Commander General Faruk
Comert in Ankara on October 18. Stating that both countries aimed
at boosting bilateral cooperation in several areas, Gen Comert noted
that the two countries were conducting joint activities regarding
technological developments and exchange of information. Gen Comert
further noted that China was interested in space projects and space
tenders in Turkey, according to the semi-official Anatolian News
Agency (ANA).

Defense Industry Activity
-------------------------

ANKARA 00006451 002 OF 002

7. The three-member Executive Defense Committee (Prime Minister,
Defense Minister, Chief of the General Staff), Turkey's top
decision-making body on defense industrial procurement, was to
convene on October 17, but was postponed when Prime Minister Erdogan
was hospitalized after collapsing in Parliament. According to press
reports, the Committee was expected to decide whether to accept a
bid for the production of up to 91 ATAK helicopters from South
Africa's Denel or Italy's Mangusta (the two finalists in a tender in
which no US company participated), or whether to cancel the tender
in favor of an FMS purchase from Boeing or Bell. Commenting on the
ATAK tender after postponement of the meeting, Defense Minister
Gonul said Turkey might consider procuring up to 150 helicopters.
The Executive Defense Committee meeting has been re-scheduled for
December 12.

8. Kalekalip Company, which manufactures parts for Boeing and for
the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35), is to produce Turkey's first
unmanned aerial vehicle, known as a 'spy plane,' under contract with
the Defense Industry Undrsecretariat (SSM), according to the
left-leaning daily Cumhuriyet.

9. During his official visit to the US, Defense Minister Gonul said
Turkey plans to purchase 30 F-16 Block-50 aircraft from the United
States. He further noted that the government wants Turkish defense
industry involvement in the manufacture of those jets.

10. Turkey's Aselsan Electronic Industry Co. signed a contract worth
2.8 million USD with the Armed Forces of Uruguay on October 18 to
supply wireless communication equipment and to establish internal
communication systems for Uruguay's military. (ANA)

11. The Black Sea and Caspian Business Group inaugurated a new
bi-monthly, English-language defense magazine called 'Defence
Turkey.' The magazine contains information about the defense
industry, private and government-owned defense companies, and the
Turkish Armed Forces.


WILSON

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