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Cablegate: Turkey Reacts Positively to Erdogan-Potus Meeting

VZCZCXRO2448
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIHL
RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #2744/01 3130650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090650Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4323
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/425ABS IZMIR TU//CC// PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEPGAB/MNF-I C2X BAGHDAD IZ PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002744

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/SE AND NEA/I

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER TU US IZ
SUBJECT: TURKEY REACTS POSITIVELY TO ERDOGAN-POTUS MEETING

1. (U) SUMMARY: Reactions in Turkey to PM Erdogan's November
5 meeting with President Bush span the spectrum depending on
the political and ideological views of the individual or
media outlet offering comment. In public comments subsequent
to his meeting with POTUS, Erdogan has made clear his
appreciation for support at the highest levels of the USG for
Turkey's struggle against PKK terrorism. He underscored the
intent of his government to carry out whatever operations
might be necessary to counter the PKK threat, emphasizing
that their sole target was the PKK. GOT officials have
emphasized that the POTUS-PM meeting demonstrated that Turkey
and the United States share a "joint determination" to combat
terrorism and noted that the two leaders discussed ways to
further enhance political, diplomatic, and military
cooperation in this struggle. President Gul commented that
the United States has a responsibility to fight the PKK,
adding that the diplomacy phase has given way to
military-to-military cooperation between Turkey and the U.S.
Meanwhile, most media outlets in Turkey speculate that
President Bush has given Turkey a green light to carry out
some form of military operation against PKK targets in
northern Iraq. Only the nationalist fringe has argued
otherwise, calling the POTUS-Erdogan meeting "a fiasco" and
claiming that Erdogan returns to Ankara only with more empty
promises of intelligence-sharing. END SUMMARY

ERDOGAN: RESOLUTE.AND HAPPY; SOLE TARGET IS THE PKK
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (U) PM Erdogan spoke at length about his meeting with
President Bush, as well as his government's determination to
counter the threat to Turkey's security posed by the PKK, in
public remarks in Washington and Rome. He lamented the lack
of international support Turkey has received in its fight
against terrorism, saying, "There are European countries
where the leaders of the PKK are caught...go through a
judicial process, but are not kept in custody and thus are
able to flee and return to Iraq. I find it very
difficult...to understand this." Consequently, "Turkey quite
naturally will exercise its own right to protect itself and
its people from terrorism, because states are responsible for
protecting their territorial integrity and their citizens."

3. (U) Erdogan made clear Turkey has the power to defend
itself and is prepared to take whatever action it deems
necessary to counter the PKK threat. "Turkey has no patience
left to deal with mechanisms which ... were tried but did not
yield any results. Turkey expects from the United States and
the central Iraqi government concrete and urgent steps which
will put a final end to PKK terrorism emanating from northern
Iraq...and we are on the point of using our rights emanating
from international law." He emphasized that any action
Turkey might take in northern Iraq would be solely focused on
the PKK, saying "Our aim, our sole aim here, is the PKK
terrorist organization based in northern Iraq, not
civilians...we have, especially with northern Iraqis,
relationships -- our people living in the southeastern part
of Turkey have family ties with people living there."
Erdogan also explained that any military action Turkey does
take will be of a limited nature, stating, "We are not on the
eve of a war. We have made a decision on an operation. I
want to stress once again that what we will do is an
operation."

4. (U) The PM noted that Turkey's goal is to dissolve PKK
camps in northern Iraq, cut off logistical support to the
organization, capture its leaders, prevent PKK involvement in
legitimate politics in Iraq, and increase the flow of
intelligence regarding PKK activities between Turkey and its
U.S. and Iraqi allies. He underscored Turkey's preference to
work toward these goals in cooperation with the U.S., saying
"It is important to work jointly and in solidarity with our
strategic partner, the United States, because they have
declared the PKK as a terrorist organization, and it is

ANKARA 00002744 002 OF 003


important that we fight jointly against the leaders, the
murderers of this organization. We place priority on
intelligence sharing...(and) have also discussed the
importance of real-time and on-time intelligence sharing."
Asked if the President had asked Erdogan not to carry out a
cross border operation into Iraq, Erdogan said, "No, they all
said that we are right...as I leave your country, I see that
we agree to a great extent. I am happy."

GUL: DIPLOMACY IS OVER
----------------------

5. (U) En route to Azerbaijan for a state visit, President
Gul told journalists traveling with him that all of Turkey's
state institutions, including the government, the armed
forces, all ministries, and other security forces, have come
to a consensus on how Turkey should respond to the PKK's
continued attacks. He said that the United States, as an
ally of Turkey's, has the responsibility to help it fight
against terrorism, and noted that, "in that fight the
diplomacy phase is over and a military-to-military period
between the U.S. and Turkey has begun." Like Erdogan,
however, Gul emphasized Turkey's intention to focus military
action solely on terrorists in northern Iraq, not on
civilians or the Kurdish Regional Government.

6. (U) Other GOT officials followed a similar line. Deputy
Chief of Defense Forces General Ergin Saygun, who accompanied
Erdogan during his meeting with POTUS, stressed the
importance of the determination demonstrated by U.S.
officials to fight terrorism, adding that the intelligence
mechanism to be set up between Turkey and the U.S. cannot be
compared to coordination mechanisms established earlier.

MEDIA: MIXED
------------

7. (U) Most Turkish media outlets and commentators reacted to
reports that Erdogan and POTUS had agreed upon an enhanced
intelligence cooperation mechanism as a sign that Washington
has given Turkey a "green light" to conduct military
operations against the PKK inside northern Iraq. Murat
Yetkin of liberal "Radikal" commented that the result of the
POTUS-Erdogan meeting pleased both the (Turkish) military and
the civilians. He quoted military sources saying the result
of the meeting was as they expected. The fact that the PKK
issue would be handled in military-to-military channels
indicated that the government and TGS would have common
responsibility for the outcome. "Radikal" also reported that
U.S. spy planes will monitor PKK activities in northern Iraq
and provide real-time data to Turkish forces to enable them
to launch coordinated operations against the terrorist group.
"Aksam" reported the U.S. will put its "Echelon" system into
use, involving satellite reconnaissance of PKK movements as
well as monitoring of PKK communications.

8. (U) Some opposition leaders agreed. Republican People's
Party (CHP) chairman Deniz Baykal cited as important
President Bush's reference to the PKK as an enemy of the U.S.
and noted the President did not say Turkey should not carry
out military operations. Former President Suleyman Demirel
said the result of the meeting "should not be underestimated.
It is a good result." Abdulhamit Bilici of the Islamist
leaning "Zaman" commented, "The meeting at the White House
indicates that Washington has taken the lead in the fight
against the PKK by bypassing Baghdad and the northern Kurdish
administration. President Bush did not want to give a direct
answer regarding a CBO but emphasized the sharing of
intelligence. Intelligence sharing is enough of an
indication for support of a military operation. Instead of
listening to what has been said in Turkish circles about the
result of the White House meeting, let's listen to what
(White House spokesperson) Dana Perino is saying: 'The U.S.
will provide intelligence for Turkey's limited and targeted

ANKARA 00002744 003 OF 003


operations against the PKK.' If this cannot be called a
green light for the operation, what is it then?"

9. (U) Turkey's nationalist fringe, which has attempted to
use Erdogan and the ruling AKP's record on the terrorism
issue to gain electoral support, was critical of the results
of the meeting. Nationalist Action Party (MHP) Chairman
Devlet Bahceli said the POTUS-Erdogan meeting was a "fiasco,"
and criticized the U.S. for not being willing to take
concrete action against the PKK. MHP Vice Chairman Tunca
Toskay said the meeting did not yield the expected result.
Nationalist "Cumhuriyet" complained, "The meeting of Erdogan
and Bush shows that the development will be controlled by
Washington." "Milliyet" columnist Semih Idiz attempted to
come down in the middle of the debate, noting that "the U.S.
will not object to a limited Turkish military operation in
northern Iraq...but has not given a green light to an
extensive operation."

PKK WARNING
-----------

10. (U) Turkish media reported on November 8 that the PKK had
sent a letter to U.S. officials in Iraq warning the U.S. to
stop reconnaissance flights over the PKK-controlled Kandil
Mountain region of northern Iraq, "and to avoid steps that
would lead to instability in the region."


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

WILSON

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