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Cablegate: Consul General's Introductory Call On Istanbul

VZCZCXRO3020
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHIT #0779 2411057
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291057Z AUG 07
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7443
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000779

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PTER PHUM TU
SUBJECT: CONSUL GENERAL'S INTRODUCTORY CALL ON ISTANBUL
GOVERNOR

REF: A. ISTANBUL 0556
B. ANKARA 2145
C. ANKARA 1876

1. (SBU) Summary. Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler stressed
the importance of US cooperation in combating PKK terrorism
during a cordial introductory meeting with the incoming
Consul General. Guler offered his continued full support to
the Consulate General, including and especially with respect
to security issues and for assistance with responding to
inquiries associated with USG interests. The Governor and
Consul General also discussed Turkey's economic growth, EU
accession and Turkey's presidential elections, among other
issues. End summary.

2. (SBU) Consul General presented her credentials to
Governor Guler during an August 20 introductory call that was
cordial and included surprisingly more substance than such
occasions would normally engender. Consul General expressed
her appreciation for the Governor's good cooperation with the
Consulate General, in particular with respect to security and
to support for USG visitors. Guler responded he had enjoyed
good relations with the two previous Consuls General and
would continue to give his full support.

3. (SBU) Emphasizing the strategic nature of US-Turkey
relations, Guler underscored the important role Turkey plays
in the region as a secular and democratic state among Islamic
countries. He stressed the importance of cooperating in the
Middle East in order to contain the spread of nuclear weapons
and combat international terrorism, which he said was the
most important issue affecting the relationship. Turkey is
concerned about terrorism originating in northern Iraq and
the Turkish people's highest expectation is for a show of
determination in the fight against the PKK, the Governor
warned. Iraq, he added, must continue to be administered by
a centralized government. Consul General assured the
Governor that the United States views the PKK as a terrorist
organization and is doing everything it can to ensure it does
not represent a threat to Turkey. The United States
understands more needs to be done, she acknowledged, while
stressing that the USG shares Turkey's interests in a unified
Iraq.

4. (SBU) Though Turkey had sustained a high economic growth
rate over the last few years, Guler admitted that in order to
create jobs, foreign direct investment needs to be channeled
to production rather than just financial sectors as has been
the case. EU accession was critical for Turkey, he argued,
and European countries should not delay the process. Consul
General reiterated USG support for Turkey's EU accession
while recognizing the central role Turkey plays in issues
spanning across Europe and the Middle East.

5. (SBU) Reaffirming US interests in the concerns of
Turkey's religious minority communities, Consul General
thanked the Governor for his cooperation in responding to
associated inquiries. She informed him that we had received
a different type of inquiry recently concerning frozen
Amnesty International funds (ref A), and noted that Consulate
General staff would follow up this issue with the
Governorship. Guler agreed, stressing that he and his staff
would be willing to answer any question on any subject.

6. (SBU) With the first round of Turkey's presidential vote
in parliament scheduled later that day, Guler spoke candidly
about FM Abdullah Gul who was widely expected to be elected
in the third round on August 28 (ref B). Observing that Gul
knows foreign policy very well, the Governor proffered that
he would be a very active president who would ring in a new
era in international relations for Turkey, thus diminishing
the burden currently placed on PM Erdogan. Guler maintained
that democratic forces (presumably the Justice and
Development party's resounding success in the July 22
parliamentary elections -- ref C) compelled Gul to pursue the
presidency. He further remarked that FM Gul's presidential
candidacy had received positive reactions from Europe and the
US. Consul General responded that the US position on the
elections was one of support for Turkey's democratic
institutions.
WIENER

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