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Cablegate: Turkey: Reactions to Continued Airstrikes Against

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIHL RUEHIK
RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #3028/01 3601535
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261535Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4756
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU PRIORITY
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RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/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
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEPGAB/MNF-I C2X BAGHDAD IZ PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 003028

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/SE AND NEA/I

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER MOPS PREL PGOV TU IZ
SUBJECT: TURKEY: REACTIONS TO CONTINUED AIRSTRIKES AGAINST
PKK

REF: ANKARA 3006 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Public reaction to repeated Turkish strikes
against PKK targets in northern Iraq continues to be
positive. The role the U.S. has played in sharing
intelligence and deconflicting Iraqi airspace has also
received a great deal of positive attention. Turkish media
continue to note the support Turkey has received from the
international community in its struggle with PKK terrorism.
The Turkish General Staff (TGS) announced December 25 that
airstrikes carried out December 16 and 22 resulted in immense
destruction to PKK personnel and infrastructure in its camps
and operation centers inside Iraq. Turkish media are
reporting steps the ruling Justice and Development Party
(AKP) is considering to follow-up on military strikes,
including an enhanced repentance law or other form of amnesty
for PKK rank and file and social/cultural, economic, and
political steps to reach out to the majority Kurdish
population in southeastern Turkey. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) In the days subsequent to December 22 Turkish
airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, Turkish
media have reported extensively on TGS claims of damage
inflicted on PKK operations. Overall reaction has been very
positive, stressing the belief that Turkey has finally
achieved an ability to strike back against terrorists who
have long enjoyed safehaven across the border. Media have
also focused on the U.S. role in sharing intelligence and
deconflicting airspace over Iraq, as well as what they
perceive as relatively muted reaction from Europe and
elsewhere, to claim that Turkey's struggle with terrorism is
finally receiving the support of the international community.

3. (SBU) In a December 25 announcement posted on its official
website, TGS stated that its recent airstrikes against PKK
targets in northern Iraq have resulted in extensive
destruction to the PKK. The announcement claimed at least
150-175 PKK personnel who were not inside caves or shelters
at the time of the attacks were killed, and surmised a number
more inside such shelters were killed. Some media quoted
unnamed sources claiming at least 350 PKK casualties. In
addition, TGS announced the destruction of three command
centers, two communication centers, two training facilities,
nine logistical bases, 182 shelters, ten anti-aircraft
batteries with their crew, and 14 arms/ammunition depots.
Pictures and video of the operations and their aftermath have
also been released by TGS to Turkish media. We have no
independent confirmation of any of these claims.

4. (SBU) Prime Minister Erdogan addressed the AKP
parliamentary group on December 25, saying that Turkish
forces are not targeting civilians during operations in Iraq
and accusing those who claim otherwise of lying. Turkish
media speculate Erdogan's comments are aimed at Kurdish
Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani, who has
been quoted by Turkish media as claiming numerous civilian
casualties. Erdogan said the PKK neither represents nor
speaks for Turkey's citizens of Kurdish origin. It does not
want Turkey's southeastern region to be developed so it can
continue to try to claim ethnic Kurds there are suffering.
Operations against the PKK are being carried out to make the
border secure and bring peace and stability to the region.
The world accepts that Turkey has the right to fight against
terror and disinformation efforts by the PKK to the contrary
will remain ineffective.

5. (SBU) Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal
said military operations should continue until the PKK is
eradicated from Iraq. Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader
Devlet Bahceli supports continued operations and said his
party would oppose any legislative efforts to enhance the
existing repentance law (Turkish Penal Code Article 221) into

ANKARA 00003028 002 OF 002


a broader form of amnesty.

6. (SBU) Pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) officials
were the most outspoken critics of ongoing military action
and the U.S. role. The DTP party assembly decided on
December 25 that DTP members of parliament would participate
in activities designed to form a human shield along the
Turkey-Iraq border to force Turkey to cease military
operations against the PKK. While laying a black wreath of
protest in front of the consulate in Istanbul, DTP Istanbul
MP Halik Aksoy said that among Kurds, "informing" on someone
is among the lowest actions one can take. They see U.S.
actions facilitating Turkish attacks against the PKK in this
light.

7. (SBU) Some media outlets reported on a follow-on package
they claim is now under consideration by the GOT with the aim
of attracting PKKers to give up their armed struggle. Among
the provisions:

- Expand upon existing Article 221 (repentance law) to offer
witness protection to those members of the PKK who provide
useful information that can be used against PKK leadership,
to include new identities, plastic surgery, employment, etc.
(NB: a new witness protection law is on parliament's agenda
this week);
- Convene a group of "wisemen" (i.e., MPs from the region,
imams, teachers, other community leaders) to contact
privately families who have members in the PKK and urge them
to convince their children to surrender;
- Ministers will travel weekly to SE Turkey to hear the
problems of citizens; and,
- Implement new measures in education, health, sports,
employment, transportation, and religious affairs to raise
the standard of living in, and better integrate, SE Turkey
with the rest of the nation. This would include greater
economic investment in the region, increasing the number of
doctors and health professionals working in the region,
increasing the number of teachers from 17,000 to 25,000 in
the region and building over 500 new schools, increasing
scholarships to students throughout the region, and
increasing funding for agricultural, irrigation, and
handicraft projects, including through expanded use of
micro-credit programs.

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

WILSON

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