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Cablegate: Peres Encourages Moderation, Compromise With

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RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #2769/01 3181456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141456Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4362
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002769

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KMDR TU IS
SUBJECT: PERES ENCOURAGES MODERATION, COMPROMISE WITH
TURKISH STUDENTS

REF: ANKARA 2734

1. (SBU) Summary: Israeli President Shimon Peres addressed a
group of Bilkent University students and faculty on November
11, his first public event during a three-day visit to
Ankara. He encouraged the students to embrace a future
defined by moderation and risk-taking. Throughout his talk,
Peres emphasized the importance of economic development in
reaching a sustainable peace, indirectly complimenting the
Turkey's industrial revitalization efforts in the Gaza Strip
and West Bank. Students asked thoughtful questions regarding
the region, Peres' life, and his views on the next round of
the Middle East peace process. In his answers, Peres
repeatedly warned against Iran's growing influence. Of
Annapolis, he said a success need not be perfect, but a
failure would be absolute. Students took to heart his
message of peace and conciliation, but generally rejected his
commentary on Israel's role in the region and USG policy.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) In an address to Ankara's Bilkent University
students and faculty on November 11, Israeli President Shimon
Peres encouraged moderation and compromise. The future,
Peres contended, will be led not by governments, but by civil
society groups and NGOs who will lead using harmony and
goodwill, not armies and force. Unlike many of today's
politicians, future leaders must be willing to take risks.
In a theme to which he returned many times throughout his
discussion, Peres emphasized the crucial role economic
development plays in reaching a sustainable peace. The state
of the economy, he noted, dictates political goals.

3. (SBU) During the question and answer session, Peres
repeatedly warned against Iran's increasing influence in the
region. Many Middle Eastern countries subscribe to the
"Turkish model" of understanding, compromise, and rule of
law. However, Iran, in its attempt to become a hegemon, is
"taking the Muslim world by force." Noting that one should
not hate people or a nation, Peres argued the main problem is
Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who has "put the nuclear bomb
at the same rank as Mohammad."

4. (SBU) On the Middle East peace process, Peres underscored
the difficulty of striking a balance between fair compromise
and the demands of his domestic constituency. Nevertheless,
a successful agreement would involve a two-state system in
which both countries would live together as neighbors. Peres
cautioned that if Annapolis is a success, it will not be a
"perfect success." If it is a failure, however, it will be
an "absolute failure." For the last question of the night, a
student asked Peres to what extent the "Jewish lobby"
manipulates USG Middle East policy. Peres instructed him to
"show a little respect" for the United States. While the
U.S. has made mistakes, the world would be in a far worse
place without its efforts. After explaining Israel's
geo-strategic realities, Peres asked the student not to make
the issue "so cheap and easy" by implying conspiratorial
intentions.

5. (SBU) Comment: The students with whom we spoke after
Peres' address expressed great appreciation for his words on
peace and conciliation. His political message, however,
missed its mark. One undergraduate openly disagreed with his
assessment, placing the blame for Middle East tensions on
Israel, and to a lesser degree on the U.S. All to whom we
spoke to afterward believed that a "Jewish lobby" heavily
influences, if not dictates, USG Middle East policy. One
student noted that a sizable minority of Turks openly dislike
Israel, although most Bilkent students (private, relatively
exclusive institution) did not share that view. Several
others questioned Peres' assessment of the Iranian threat,
dismissing his opinion as an attempt to drag the
international community into Israel's fight. When pressed,
however, these students could not articulate how Iran did not
present an equal threat to Turkey. End Comment.

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


ANKARA 00002769 002 OF 002


WILSON

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