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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ANKARA1472 2009-10-13 08:08 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Ankara

DE RUEHAK #1472/01 2860830
P 130830Z OCT 09
S E C R E T ANKARA 001472 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/07/2019 
Classified By: Ambassador James F. Jeffrey reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
1. (S) Sandy, Glad you'll be able to visit Turkey at this key 
time. Your short visit will give you an opportunity to engage 
with key Turkish leaders on, first and foremost in their 
minds, missile defense.  The Turks are keen to learn more 
about U.S. plans, in particular what role the U.S. 
wants/expects Turkey and others in Europe to play.  The 
Turkish General Staff (TGS) will be interested in our ideas 
for HLDG reform, even if they may be slow to accept them. 
2. (S) You know how broad our agenda is with Turkey.  As you 
will have a short time in country, I suggest you focus on a 
few key issues. 
Be sure to raise: 
- Missile Defense, with emphasis on how the U.S. will look to 
several Allies - not just Turkey - for help (para 3) 
- Repeat our commitment to our intel and other support for 
strikes against the PKK (para 5-6) 
- Appreciation for Turkey's efforts on Afghanistan/Pakistan 
(para 13) 
- Float the idea of HLDG reform and ensure Guner knows we 
expect him in Washington (para 4) 
- Press for a realistic assessment of Turkey's view of the 
threat assessment from Iran (para 10) 
Watch Out For: 
- Pressure for direct U.S. milops against the PKK (paras 
- Conflation of Turkey's exploration of air defense 
capabilities with our Missile Defense needs (para 3) 
Missile Defense 
3. (S) The Turks will appreciate your update on U.S. missile 
defense plans and in particular will expect you to have 
specific ideas on how Turkey would contribute to the PAA. 
While the top-level bureaucrats with whom you will meet will 
understand the rationale for the PAA and will be ready to 
explore ways Turkey can help, the political environment for a 
request to base assets in Turkey is mixed, and Turkey's 
perception of the Iranian threat to its territory differs 
from ours.  The GOT continues to tread a fine line in 
managing its strong relationship with the U.S. and its ties 
with both the Islamic world and Russia.  The government must 
be able to demonstrate that any missile defense program is 
not specifically anti-Iran, nor blatantly pro-Israel. 
4. (S) Likewise, it will want to ensure that Russia is not 
opposed to Turkey's role.  Also important will be clarity on 
the degree to which this system is a NATO one, under NATO 
Command and Control (C2).  The PAA would presumably 
complement Turkey's effort to establish a domestic missile 
defense capability that would protect Turkey's major 
population centers.  The PAC-3 has been offered in response 
to Turkey's air defense tender and you should highlight the 
system's ability to be interoperable with any future NATO 
command and control architecture. 
5. (C) You will need to outline U.S. views to streamline and 
alter the current HLDG format to make it into a more 
substantive discussion.  The Turks are shy to stray from the 
status quo; you should emphasize why we feel this change is 
necessary while underscoring that it is vitally important the 
DCHOD Guner attend the upcoming HLDG in December, when 
decisions about future dialogues will be agreed upon.  (We 
have learned that the new position of TGS number three, a 
four-star slot held by General Balanli (with a focus on 
hardware), might get the nod for the HLDG representative. 
We've told Guner it should be his.)  You should also be 
prepared for the Turkish General Staff to raise the Shared 
Defense Vision document, as they await a response to their 
latest proposed text. 
6. (C) Turkey's counter-terrorist efforts against the PKK 
have evolved in the past year and have expanded beyond 
military action alone.  Although the government's Democratic 
(i.e., Kurdish) Initiative is not yet fully developed, the 
government has increased social and economic support to 
ethnic Kurds in southeast Turkey, has dramatically broadened 
the rights of Kurds to use their own language, and increased 
educational opportunities as well.  It is our view that the 
TGS military success against the PKK, supported by our 
intelligence--sharing operation, has given the civilians the 
political space to explore this "opening."  Turkish military 
operations against the PKK continue, however, and on  October 
6 Parliament extended the government's mandate to conduct 
cross-border operations against the PKK in Iraq for another 
7. (C)  Our 2007 decision to share operational intelligence 
was a turning point for the bilateral relationship, and 
President Obama's declaration before the Turkish Parliament 
of our continuing commitment to support Turkey's fight 
against the PKK was warmly welcomed.  This cooperation has 
helped to improve our bilateral relationship across the 
board.  Turkey's military leaders value this intelligence and 
the advice our military leaders give them.  Our work has made 
it difficult for PKK terrorists to use northern Iraq as a 
safe haven.  Turkish causalities are still occurring, 
however, and an increasing proportion are from IEDs.  Due to 
pressure on Chief of Staff General Basbug and the Turkish 
General Staff (TGS) to "finish off" the PKK this year, the 
government wants and has requested direct U.S. kinetic action 
against the PKK; we have refused this request to date due to 
our own rules of engagement.  The GOT has also requested the 
sale of armed MQ-9/Reaper UAVs, which will be a challenge to 
fulfill (see para 10). 
Northern Iraq 
8. (C) Turkey will not consider any alternative to the 
political  unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, but has 
become more flexible on how it engages "the local authorities 
of northern Iraq" (how Turkey refers officially to the 
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)).  Turkey's policy remains 
focused on the government in Baghdad, but its outreach to the 
KRG is expanding.  This outreach is reinforced by the 
continued dominance of Turkish products and investments in 
the KRG's healthy economy.  It is also tied to turkey's new 
opening to its own Kurds, by far the biggest and most 
controversial domestic political issue here. 
9. (S) The U.S.-Turkey-Iraq Tripartite Security talks 
continue regularly and a new Tripartite operational office in 
Erbil, established to share counter-PKK intelligence was 
established over the summer.  The Turks remain shy to share 
data; they are not convinced that they can trust 
Iraqi/Kurdish individuals to keep information concerning 
operations secret.  Nevertheless, it is a step in the right 
direction.  Turkish military officials have become more 
strident in their calls for KRG officials to take action 
against the PKK. 
U.S. Drawdown through Turkey 
10. (S) Habur Gate and the Incirlik Cargo Hub -- vital to our 
sustainment operations -- could be helpful in our drawdown if 
other options prove too difficult.  Minister of National 
Defense Vedci Gonul suggested to Secretary Gates in June that 
Turkey was ready to agree to the increased use of Incirlik 
for this purpose.  Using the surface route from Habur Gate to 
Mediterranean ports (Iskenderun, Mersin) is also worth 
exploring, and we may be able to involve Turkish commercial 
shippers in support of the Northern Distribution Network.  We 
caution that the rough terrain, security environment, and the 
cantankerous nature of the Turkish government bureaucracy 
will challenge any U.S. operation.  Nevertheless, we are 
evaluating these options in cooperation with CENTCOM and 
EUCOM partners. 
11. (C) Turkey understands and partially shares U.S. and 
international concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, but is 
hesitant to use harsh language in public statements, in part 
due to its dependence on Iran as an energy supplier and as a 
trade route to Central Asian markets.  PM Erdogan himself is 
a particularly vocal skeptic of the U.S. position.  Turkey 
believes international pressure against Iran only helps to 
strengthen Ahmadinejad and the hard-liners.  However, it 
continues to press Iran quietly to accept the P5 plus 1 
offer.  The GOT is a strong partner in our non-proliferation 
efforts, with several significant results.  Politically, 
Turkey will try to position itself on Iran between wherever 
we are and where Russia is.  In a pinch or if pressed, the 
Turks will slant to us. 
UAVs and Attack Helicopters 
12. (C) Turkey seeks to acquire, on an urgent basis, its own 
UAV capability.  The administration has made clear at high 
levels that we support this goal, and Turkey has pending 
request to acquire armed Reaper UAVs.  Ultimate approval for 
armed Reapers is complicated due to MTCR obligations and Hill 
concerns.  However, even if those could be overcome, the 
delivery pipeline for these systems is long, and Turkey's 
leaders have sought reassurance that we will not pull our 
intelligence support until they can replace it.  We have not 
made this commitment to date. 
13. (C) Additionally, bad procurement decisions led Turkey to 
a severe shortage of attack helicopters, desperately needed 
for its fight against the PKK  Turkey has looked to us to 
help them bridge the capability gap, asking to purchase 
additional AH-1W Super Cobra aircraft.  These aircraft are in 
short supply in our own inventory, but Secretary Gates and 
VCJCS Cartwright have promised to try to support with request 
within a few years (four each in 2011, 2012, and 2013).  The 
Turks took this as an affirmative, and recently started 
pressing for delivery in 2010 instead of 2011. 
14. (C) Turkey has commanded ISAF twice since its inception 
and will take command of RC-Capital this November. Turkey 
leads PRT Wardak and plans to open a second PRT in Jawzjan in 
early 2010.  Turkey has sponsored the "Ankara Process" 
dialogue, one of several efforts to encourage constructive 
communications between Kabul and Islamabad and is a leading 
participant in the Friends of Democratic Pakistan.  Turkey 
pledged significant aid to both countries:  USD 200 million 
to Afghanistan and USD 100 million to Pakistan.  Because of 
its culture, history and religious orientation, as well as 
Foreign Minister Davutoglu's strategic ambition, Turkey is 
well disposed to act as an agent of the international 
community's goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Constraining 
Turkey's potential is a lack of resources.  Our conversations 
with Turkish interlocutors have helped us identify several 
areas in which Turkey can be of particular help:  education 
and health, military training and support, economics, 
counter-narcotics, and trilateral engagement.  (Note:  Turkey 
will not support any CT operations in Afghanistan.  They do 
not believe there is a NATO/ISAF mandate to engage in these 
operations, and they additionally have national caveats 
preventing them from participating in NATO/ISAF CT 
operations.  The GOT also believes that ISAF should not/not 
be engaged in the counter-narcotics fight, believing that 
foreign fighters who engage in this fight just produces 
antipathy against foreign forces in the local population.  I 
do, however, believe the GOT are willing to engage the 
training of Afghan security forces.) 
15. (C) Turkey seeks to develop itself as a regional power 
and recognizes that the Caucasus region, stymied in its 
growth by frozen conflicts, could turn to Turkey for develop. 
 The signing of the Protocol document in Zurich on October 10 
was a landmark for the region, and should serve as a starting 
point for establishing bilateral relations and, ultimately, 
the opening of its closed border.  Nevertheless, future 
relations will still be heavily linked to the 1915 "genocide" 
issue and the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict 
between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  Turkey consistently warns 
that any U.S. determination of the events of 1915 as 
"genocide" would set off a political firestorm in Turkey, and 
the devastating effect on our bilateral relationship -- 
including political, military, and commercial aspects -- 
would be unavoidable. 
Political Environment 
16. (C) PM Erdogan's Islamist-leaning Justice and Development 
(AK) Party is squarely in the driver's seat, but fears an 
erosion of its political base from more conservative/Islamist 
parties.  Civilian-military relations remain complex.  Chief 
of Staff General Basbug has worked out a modus vivendi with 
PM Erdogan, but the long-running struggle between Turkey's 
secularists (with the Army as its champion) and Islamists 
(represented by the government) naturally puts them at odds. 
Erdogan has the clear upper hand, a fact with which Basbug 
has seemingly learned to live.  Alleged past military 
involvement in coup contingency planning or even deliberate 
generation of internal chaos remains political theme number 
one and preoccupies both Erdogan and Basbug and their 
respective underlings. 
17. (C) While the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish General 
Staff agree with us that a strong Turkey-Israel relationship 
is essential for regional stability, PM Erdogan has sought to 
shore up his domestic right political flank at the expense of 
this relationship.  His outburst at Davos was the first in a 
series of events the results of which we and his staff have 
sought to contain.  The latest of these was Exercise 
Anatolian Eagle.  Erdogan canceled Israel's participation 
hours before the exercise was to begin.  With an Israeli 
strike - across Turkish airspace - against targets in Iran a 
possibility, Erdogan decided he could not afford the 
political risk of being accused of training the forces which 
would carry out such a raid.  Through some remarkable work 
with Allies and with the inter-agency, we engineered a public 
"postponement" of the international portion of the exercise, 
but the relationship has begun to sour. 
           "Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.s"