Cablegate: Turkey: Response for Global Context Section of The

DE RUEHAK #1695/01 3290718
R 250718Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) This cable responds to the information request in
reftel. This cable is sensitive but unclassified, please
protect accordingly.

2. (SBU) To what degree will/can technology empower
individuals, or civil society in the host country, to
exercise a more active role in public life? Are host country
officials and citizens attuned to (orindifferent) to this
issue? Is the host government supportive of or hostile to
expansion of access to social networks or other similar
tools? What non-state actors will be playing critical roles
over the next two decades?

Turks, especially the younger generation, are
enthusiastically embracing technology as a means to express
themselves on everything, including international and
national issues. Physical infrastructure is not an
impediment to Turks' access to the internet, cell phones or
satellite television. The Turkish government last year
denied its citizenry access to YouTube when officials found
film clips they deemed insulting to the founder of modern
Turkey, Kemal Ataturk. Turks are able to circumvent the
restriction with little difficulty. Ministries have been
uneven in their willingness to use technology to encourage
participatory government. The major government initiative of
the latter half of 2009, "the Democratic (Kurdish) Opening,"
has been presented to the population primarily through
government statements, ministers' televised speeches and
public appearances by the minister of interior throughout the
country. Turkey's EU Secretariat, however, is encouraging a
nation-wide exchange of perspectives on Turkey's EU candidacy
by inviting Turks to join its recently established chatroom.

3. (SBU) What attitude do critical publics in the host
country display toward the so-called rising powers - India,
China, and Brazil, for example - and how do they perceive
other important international players, including key
international organizations?

Critical publics generally admire the rise to prominence of
India, China and Brazil. Positive attitudes towards China
are tempered by Beijing's perceived repression of the
Turkic-speaking Uighurs, with whom many Turks feel an ethnic
kinship. Turks view India with tremendous respect, but have
difficulty identifying an India model they can emulate.
Physical distance from Brazil probably attenuates Turkish
interest in that country. Turks' attention to international
organizations tends to focus on NATO, to which they look for
their ultimate security guarantee, and the EU, which they
seek to join as a validation of their European-ness. It
should also be kept in mind that Turkey considers itself,
with some justification, to be a rising power along the lines
of the countries mentioned above.

4. (SBU) What does the host country identify as the most
important issues (both internal and external) critical to its
own development and to international development writ large?

As Turkey integrates ever more fully into the global
marketplace with an export-led development model, it views
continued access to existing markets and diversification into
new markets (such as the Middle East, Africa, and Latin
America) as essential to growth and development. Integration
of the less-developed eastern and southeastern regions of the
country into the national economy is a priority for the
government, and involves not only economic and infrastructure
development but also cultural and political inclusion of
minority populations. Access to reliable sources of energy
both for rapidly growing internal consumption and for transit
will be a key determinant of future growth and is a focus of
government attention. Continued progress toward joining the
EU will help spur new reforms, cement existing institutions,
and potentially bring in new sources of development funds.
Access to capital markets and the necessary financing to
cover current account deficits will be vital to avoid
disruptions to upward economic development.

5. (SBU) What is the host country position on climate change
issues, or on any resource conflict questions? What steps is
the host country government taking to deal with potential
future demographic challenges?

Turkey has shown a commitment to contributing to the global
effort on climate change by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and
making renewable energy one of the main pillars of its energy
strategy. Turkey has set a goal of generating 30 percent of

ANKARA 00001695 002 OF 002

its power from renewable sources by 2023. To help the
country toward achieving that goal, the government is now
amending the Renewable Energy Law to include stronger
incentives for investment in power generation from
renewables. Efforts in this and other areas related to
addressing climate change, however, are limited by Turkey's
financial constraints. The GoT has been clear that despite
its inclusion among the Annex 1 industrialized countries of
the Kyoto Protocol, its economy is less developed than other
Annex 1 countries and it cannot afford the same level of

6. (SBU) To what extent does "backsliding" pose a threat to
local democratic movement (or to what degree does the country
perceive this as a threat elsewhere)?

The unparalleled success of the Justice and Development Party
(AKP) has made Turkey subject, in recent years, to the
democratic weaknesses of a one-party system. The ruling
party's tendency to abuse the tools of governmental power in
pursuit of political and media enemies is infringing upon the
professionalism of the civil service, the neutrality of the
judiciary and the independence of the press. The rampant use
of wiretaps of dubious legality is chilling political
discussions among individuals who take issue with government


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