Cablegate: Turks Determined to Continue to Fight Armenian
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002517
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ASEC PREL PTER MOPS TU US AM
SUBJECT: TURKS DETERMINED TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT ARMENIAN
GENOCIDE RESOLUTION AS IT MOVES TO THE HOUSE FLOOR
REF: A. ANKARA 2500
B. ANKARA 2509
C. ANKARA 2510
D. ANKARA 2504
1. (U) Summary: Initial GOT reaction to the House Foreign
Affairs Committee (HFAC) October 10 decision to send
Resolution 106 - the Armenian genocide resolution (AGR) - to
the House floor reflects disappointment and anger, as well as
appreciation for US Administration efforts and determination
to continue to fight the measure in the full House. End
2. (U) PM Erdogan, in a CNN-Turk interview prior to the HFAC
vote, recognized the scope of Administration efforts and the
need to take a reasoned, long-term approach; the US was a
democracy and no one could guarantee the outcome. He noted
that if it passed, the measure would serve only the Armenian
diaspora, not the interests of the country of Armenia. In
the immediate aftermath of the HFAC vote, President Gul said,
"Unfortunately, some politicians in the US turned a deaf ear
to calls for common sense and once again attempted to
sacrifice major issues for small domestic matters. This is
not a stance that befits the representatives of a major power
such as the United States of America."
3. (U) The MFA issued a formal statement in the name of the
GOT, stating its regret and condemning the HFAC decision.
"It is not possible to accept that the Turkish nation is
accused of a crime it never committed." The statement refers
to HFAC action as "irresponsible," placing the strategic
relationship on delicate, difficult footing, and adds that it
is the job of historians, not legislative bodies, to evaluate
history. It notes the Turkish proposal to examine their
history jointly with Armenians, which Armenia has not
accepted. It recognizes efforts by the highest levels of the
US Administration to defeat the measure, and expresses
determination to continue to combat it in the full House. It
concludes, "It is very clear that an historic responsibility
falls on all members of the House of Representatives and
especially on the Speaker of the House."
4. (U) The print press carry the story in banner headlines.
Some refer to the HFAC as bowing to the pressure of
lobbyists, and sacrificing relations with an important ally
in a troubled region for a few domestic votes. As the
country embarks on a 4-day post-Ramadan holiday, it is a lead
story on television and radio.
5. (U) "Ask the Ambassador" on the Embassy's website has
received 50 entries since the HFAC vote, with anger the
predominant tone. One said, "Shame on you. You say you are
our ally and you stab us in the back. This is not humanity."
Another message from the central Anatolian city of Kayseri
appeared 32 times; its gist: "Don't consider Kayseri, a city
that has been an engine of Turkish-US ties, as your future
partner from now on." A sheaf of 71 faxes of similar tone
arrived in the Embassy's political section.
6. (U) The HFAC vote coincides with heightened public
concern over the PKK terrorist threat, for which the US also
receives public blame, due to PKK safe havens in northern
Iraq. In the wake of unusually high casualties over the past
10 days and an October 9 GOT Counter-Terrorism Council
meeting, PM Erdogan announced in measured tones during an
October 10 CNN-Turk interview that his government would
submit to parliament a motion authorizing a cross-border
operation into Iraq. He stressed that all such operations in
the past have failed to achieve the desired results;
conditions in the region must be considered as well. He said
he would use the November 3 Iraq Neighbors Ministerial in
Istanbul to consult on the matter, as well as his upcoming
Oval Office visit. He stated that the authorization would be
open-ended and valid for one year.
ANKARA 00002517 002 OF 002
7. (SBU) As of 1300 local October 11, there has been no
change that we can determine in the Turkish Armed Forces'
security posture in southeastern Turkey, which continues at a
high counter-terrorism ops tempo (ref C). There was no
unusual military activity reported in or around Silopi or at
the Habur Gate road. Commercial truck traffic from Turkey
into Iraq was reported at normal levels, with 595 trucks
crossing the border in the past 24 hours. A visit by the
local Turkish Special Forces commander for a meeting with his
US counterpart inside Iraq was proceeding as planned on
October 11. However, Turkish Naval Forces Commander Admiral
Atac canceled his participation in a US Chief of Naval
Operations-sponsored international sea symposium.
8. (U) The Mission's security situation appears stable.
There were small demonstrations in Ankara, Istanbul and Adana
October 10 prior to HFAC passage of the measures, as well as
a small-scale follow-on demonstration in Ankara October 11.
Police support was thorough and we expect it to continue.
The long holiday weekend will temporarily lower our profile.
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