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Cablegate: Working Erdogan Back Into the Fold On Iran

VZCZCXRO7618
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHFL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP
RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHAK #1583 3071641
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031641Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1134
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 6459
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RUETIAA/NSACSS FT GEORGE G MEADE MD
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001583

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2019
TAGS: PREL PARM MNUC TU IR
SUBJECT: WORKING ERDOGAN BACK INTO THE FOLD ON IRAN

REF: ANKARA 1561 (EXDIS)

Classified By: AMB James F. Jeffrey, for reasons 1.4 (b,d)

1. (C) Summary: During an October 21 meeting with MFA
Undersecretary Sinirlioglu, the Ambassador challenged Prime
Minister Erdogan's recent dismissal of international
community allegations that Iran intends to acquire nuclear
weapons as "gossip." The Ambassador emphasized Iran will be
the single most important topic when Erdogan and POTUS meet
in Washington December 7. In contrast to Erdogan, President
Gul November 2 pressed Iran to be transparent with IAEA
inspectors. We will urge Gul and senior Turkish bureuacrats
to curb Erdogan's damaging defense of Iran's nuclear
activities. End Summary

2. (C) During an October 21 meeting with MFA Undersecretary
Sinirlioglu, the Ambassador challenged PM Erdogan's public
statement, made the previous day while he was in Tehran,
dismissing allegations of Iran's intent to acquire nuclear
weapons as "gossip." Holding a copy of President Obama's
Pittsburgh Summit comdemnation of Iraq's nuclear ambitions,
the Ambassador asked Sinirlioglu if "this was the 'gossip'"
to which Erdogan had referred. The Ambassador emphasized
that Erdogan's statement made Turkey vulnerable to
international community criticism should Iran balk on IAEA
inspection of its Qom reprocessing facility or second-party
reprocessing of its low-enriched uranium stockpile. Erdogan
was, in effect, allowing the Iranians to infer a weakening of
the international community consensus against them. The
Ambassador warned Sinirlioglu that Washington was now
wondering if it could any longer count on Turkey to help
contain Iran's profound challenge to regional peace and
stability.

3. (C) Implying Erdogan's use of the term "gossip" was
unconfirmed, Sinirlioglu claimed that the Turkish government
"fully supports the P5-plus-1." He asserted the prime
minister's principled opposition to nuclear weapons in the
region. He argued Erdogan's rhetoric is a tactical effort to
gain him credibility with the Middle Eastern street so he can
better place the anti-nuclear weapons message. Though Turkey
"doesn't believe in sanctions," Sinirlioglu said, "we will
support consensus" in the Security Council. The Ambassador
responded that Iran would be the single most important topic
of conversation when Erdogan and POTUS meet in Washington on
December 7.

4. (SBU) In marked contrast to Erdogan, President Gul
November 2 said Turkey is against nuclear weapons in its
region and the world, "especially in neighboring countries."
In remarks to reporters while enroute to Slovakia, Gul
reaffirmed Turkey's preference for diplomatic means (as
opposed to the use of military force) to compel Tehran's
adherence to its international obligations, but insisted that
Iran "...must be transparent and open to IAEA inspection in
order to overcome suspicions."

5. (C) Comment: Erdogan's recent comments on Iran's nuclear
program amount to a defense of Tehran's defiance of the
international community's will. His desire for a "good"
Washington visit is the goad we will continue use to try to
turn him back towards the international community consensus
on Iran. We will also emphasize to Erdogan's senior
bureuacrats and, when the opportunity arises, to President
Gul their interest in reining in Erdogan on Iran.

JEFFREY

"Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.s
gov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turkey"

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