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Cablegate: Turkey's New Speaker: Please, No Armenian Genocide

VZCZCXRO3985
PP RUEHCD
DE RUEHAK #2484 2781043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051043Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3941
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 1037
RHMFIUU/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU//TCH//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEHAK/TSR ANKARA TU
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS ANKARA 002484

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL TU US
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S NEW SPEAKER: PLEASE, NO ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
RESOLUTION, AND ARTICLE 301 NEEDS AMENDMENT


1. (SBU) During Ambassador's October 4 courtesy call, Koksal
Toptan, the new speaker of Turkey's parliament, stressed his
commitment to US-Turkey ties. Turkey was working well with
the US on Iraq, including through the Neighbors process, and
was strongly committed to Iraq's territorial and political
unity. A divided Iraq would only lead to greater instability
and increase Iran's influence in the region. Toptan
expressed appreciation for continued strong US support for
Turkey's EU accession process, cooperation on energy issues,
and joint efforts to interdict trafficking in persons, drugs
and weapons.

2. (SBU) Toptan's concerns mirrored those of other Turks: US
failure to take visible action against the PKK was hard to
understand, especially as the US was so active in the global
war on terror. His focus, though, was on possible passage of
a congressional Armenian genocide resolution (AGR). Toptan
recognized and expressed appreciation for ongoing USG efforts
to prevent AGR passage, but hoped the Administration would do
even more. To that end, a Turkish parliamentary delegation
was headed to Washington this weekend. He had also written
to Speaker Pelosi, urging against passage and inviting her to
visit Turkey. Toptan highlighted Turkish sensitivities on
this topic, stressed that Turkey wants improved relations
with Armenia, which could be set back years, and lamented the
effect passage would have on US-Turkish relations.
Ambassador asked for Toptan's help in continuing to move our
relations forward, even if an AGR passes; we have many
comment strategic interests in the region, he stressed, that
cannot be put on hold.

3. (SBU) Ambassador also raised domestic reforms. The US
would continue to support Turkey's EU accession. Parliament
has a full agenda. International interest is high, however,
in freedom of expression-related reforms, such as amending or
eliminating the controversial Article 301 of the Penal Code.
This would be good for Turkey, good for Turkey's EU accession
process, and be seen positively in the US as well. Toptan
indicated that there was, in fact, a problem with Article
301. It had been consulted with EU experts and a number of
European countries had similar provisions. The problem in
Turkey was primarily how prosecutors implement the law. The
GOT recognized this and would, he believed, move soon to
resolve the implementation problem.

4. (SBU) Toptan, the former chair of parliament's Justice
Committee, responded positively to the Ambassador's pitch
that parliament prioritize passage of the implementing
legislation for the Hague Convention on International Child
Abductions. Toptan acknowledged that he had had a keen
interest in it as Committee chair, and pledged to continue to
do his best to ensure early passage.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

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