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Cablegate: Turkey: President, Pm, and Chod Meet in Effort To

VZCZCXRO3268
OO RUEHIK
DE RUEHAK #0304/01 0561514
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251514Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2250
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD IMMEDIATE 1582
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL IMMEDIATE 7052
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RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU IMMEDIATE
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RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000304

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: PRESIDENT, PM, AND CHOD MEET IN EFFORT TO
REDUCE TENSIONS

REF: A. ANKARA 300
B. ANKARA 294
C. ANKARA 288

ANKARA 00000304 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: President Gul, PM Erdogan, and CHOD Basbug
met on February 25 in an effort to dispel tensions resulting
from the February 22 detention of scores of active duty and
retired military officials, including the former deputy CHOD
and retired force commanders (refs a and b). Deputy PM Cicek
disclosed to the media some of the atmospherics of his
February 22 meeting at the Turkish General Staff. He
dismissed rumors of the generals planning to resign en masse
or threatening a coup and said the generals instead informed
Cicek in advance of their extraordinary February 23 meeting
and expressed their regret about the detentions. Cicek
stressed that the government and the army are "on the same
team" and that "the crisis will be overcome." According to
media reports, former deputy CHOD Ergin Saygin, former Naval
Forces Commander Ozden Ornek, and former Air Force Commander
Ibrahim Firtina will be questioned today by the chief
prosecutor. Retired VADM Ogutcu was formally arrested today
together with four other military officers, including two
active duty officers. The Istanbul Stock Market has fallen 7
percent since February 23, and financial analysts attribute
this to rising political uncertainty resulting from the
crisis in the judiciary and rising tensions following the
wave of military detentions. End Summary.

"THREE-PARTY SUMMIT"
--------------------

2. (SBU) In an apparent effort to reduce tensions following
the wave of arrests and detentions targeting senior retired
and active duty officers, President Gul met with PM Erdogan
and military chief General Basbug on February 25. The
meeting, which included lunch, lasted for three hours. The
President's office issued a short statement after the
meeting: "In the meeting issues that have been debated in the
public over the last couple of days were examined. In this
regard, our citizens should rest assured that the issues on
the agenda will be solved in accordance with constitutional
order and our law." Press quoted PM Erdogan as stating the
meeting went well.

DEPUTY PM CICEK: MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT ON SAME TEAM
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (SBU) According to daily "Hurriyet," Deputy PM Cicek
provided the press some details of his February 22 meeting at
the Turkish General Staff (TGS) headquarters. Cicek made
clear that he took the initiative to go to the TGS and met
with Deputy CHOD Aslan Guner for almost two hours, and also
spoke with CHOD Basbug. Cicek rejected media speculation
that the generals threatened to resign en mass or to conduct
a coup, saying that he did not detect any hints of a move by
the generals to resign in protest nor were there any
indications of preparations for a military coup. He stated
that such speculation was insulting for both the military and
the government. The generals, instead, indicated their
sadness over the arrests and expressed concerns about the
need to do something to prevent "systematic attacks" against
the military. Cicek stressed to reporters that the
government and the military are on the same team and that
"the crisis will be overcome."

MORE FORMALLY ARRESTED, COMMANDERS FACE QUESTIONING
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (SBU) Multiple media sources reported that retired VADM
Ali Feyyaz Ogutcu was formally arrested yesterday along with
two other retired officers and two active duty officers.
According to local press, 20 of those detained on February 22
have now been formally arrested, 15 of which are active duty
officers. These include (in addition to ref A) Former
Turkish Naval Forces Commander, Admiral (retired) Ozden
Ornek, former Turkish Air Force Commander General (retired)
Ibrahim Firtina, and former First Army Commander and former
Deputy CHOD General (retired) Ergin Saygun reportedly will
face questioning from the chief prosecutor today (February

ANKARA 00000304 002.2 OF 002


25). Former First Army Commander Cetin Dogan reportedly will
be questioned on February 26.

BASBUG CANCELS TRIP TO EGYPT
----------------------------

5. (SBU) In response to the arrests of senior retired and
active duty officers, Basbug has, according to media reports,
cancelled his counterpart visit to Egypt, a trip that had
originally been postponed. There are also reports that all
generals have been ordered to stay in Ankara and to refrain
from travel until further notice.

MARKET FALLS DUE TO "SLEDGEHAMMER" ARRESTS
-------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Milliyet newspaper noted that the Istanbul stock
market has fallen 7 percent in three days. Financial
analysts attribute the drop to rising political uncertainty
surrounding the crisis in the judiciary (ref b), mounting
tensions related to the arrests of senior military personnel,
the possibility of another closure case against the ruling
Justice and Development Party (AKP) (although the Chief
Prosecutor indicated February 24 that he is not pursuing a
closure investigation now), and the possibility of early
elections.
Jeffrey

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

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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