2003-01-10 16:34:00
Embassy Ankara
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 000278 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/09/2013


(U) Classified by DCM Robert Deutsch. Reasons: 1.5 (B and D).

Summary and Comment

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 000278


E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/09/2013


(U) Classified by DCM Robert Deutsch. Reasons: 1.5 (B and D).

Summary and Comment

1. (S/REL UK) Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud
Barzani briefed DCM, PolMilCouns, Operation Northern Watch
POLAD and UK Charge in Ankara Jan. 9 on his Jan. 7-9 meetings
with Turkish officials. Barzani said the tone of Turkish
official interaction had improved significantly this visit
and had set the stage for the KDP to once again be Turkey's
"good friend and ally" in the region. However, when the
subject of possible Turkish military intervention in northern
Iraq came up, Barzani told us that even if the Turks came as
part of a US-led coalition, the KDP would object and would
view the Turks as invaders, not liberators like the US and
the UK. He said the aim of a Turkish military presence would
be to strangle Kurdish aspirations and that once the Turks
came in large numbers, they would never leave. The alarming
problem, Barzani complained, is that if the KDP objects to
Turkish participation, the Turks will accuse the KDP of being
ant-coalition and pro-Saddam. If the KDP acquiesces to
Turkish participation, the Turkish presence will work
underground against the KDP. end Summary.

2. (U) KDP leader Masoud Barzani visited Ankara January 7-9
for the first time since May 2002. Barzani was accompanied
by KDP "Deputy PM" Sami Abdulrahman, Politburo member Azad
Barwari and KDP Ankara rep Safeen Dizayee. While in Ankara,
Barzani met PM Gul, TGS D/CHOD Buyukanit, MFA U/S Ziyal and
Turkish National Intelligence Organization (TNIO) Chief
Atasaygun. Barzani briefed DCM, PolMilCouns, ONW POLAD and
UK Charge for breakfast Jan. 9, before his meetings with the
PM and D/CHOD (details of those meetings to be reported
separately). Barzani told us he plans to travel from Turkey
to Damascus Jan. 9 for a two-day visit before returning to
northern Iraq.

3. (S/REL UK) Comment: The conversation with Barzani
underscores the urgency of getting the Turks, KDP, PUK and

appropriate US representatives into the same room at the same
time to make clear the rules of the road we envision as we
move forward with our Iraq planning. Clearly, there will be
ruffled feathers no matter which way we go. But better to
have them ruffled now and work out solutions in advance where
possible than to deal with the disagreements for the first
time on the ground in northern Iraq after D-day. Septel with
recommendation to follow.

KDP Relations with Turks Improving

4. (S/REL UK) Barzani said that in his meetings with TNIO,
MFA and TGS 1/7-8 the Turks had displayed a new and improved
tone toward the KDP. They told him, "we assure you we have
no intention of taking Kirkuk or Mosul. We want to work
together with you. We respect the will of the Iraqi people.
Turkey and the KDP should cooperate." Barzani replied that
this position would generate positive steps from the KDP, and
that if the language of the relationship was that of mutual
respect and cooperation rather than of threats, the KDP would
once again be Turkey's good friend and ally in the region.
Barzani emphasized Turkey's importance for northern Iraq and
assured the Turks that the KDP did not seek an independent
Kurdish entity. He asked them why they repeatedly accused
the KDP of seeking one. The KDP supported the outcome of the
London opposition conference as an expression of the will of
the Iraqi people and would work on that basis for all of Iraq.

5. (S/REL UK) Barzani went on to say that post-Saddam Iraq
should be a place where all people exist on an equal basis
with protection for the rights of all individuals. He asked
the Turks why they believed the KDP oppressed, or would in
the future oppress, the Iraqi Turkmen. He again invited the
GOT to send a parliamentary and/or MFA delegation to northern
Iraq to investigate the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) accusations
against the KDP so Turks could see for themselves the ITF
violations of the law and the rights they enjoy nonetheless.
Barzani pointed out that at London the KDP had supported
granting the Iraqi Turkmen Front a second seat on the
Advisory Committee to avoid hard feelings in Ankara.

London a Great Success

6. (S/REL UK) Turning to the London Conference, Barzani
called it a great success that exceeded his personal
expectations. He said the opposition and its friends and
allies should be extremely satisfied. "We went in with no
idea of what we could all unite behind and ended up with
something very satisfying (the vision statement and the
political declaration) and with good balance in the
composition of the Advisory Committee." Barzani praised both
the message from the White House following the conference and
his and Jalal Talabani's meeting with UK PM Blair. He hoped
the next steps would be as successful as London, and declared
that since London "the Iraqi regime has given up all hope.
After the next meeting in Salahadeen on January 20 or 21,
they'll be even more angry and agitated." He said he
expected the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS/Mukhabarat) to
direct terror attacks against the meeting, but was confident
that the KDP had the security situation on the ground under
control. "We are taking all the necessary security
meansures," he said, but noted that Saddam was "upset and
sensitive" about the whole opposition project.

7. (S/REL UK) DCM asked Barzani if Turkey still had concerns
about the balance of the Advisory Committee. Barzani said
they did, mainly about SCIRI/Shia domination. But, he said,
the Shia are a majority of the population, some are Turkmen,
and many are not pro-SCIRI. The Committee roughly reflects
the population of Iraq although, he conceeded, no one really
know the demographics of Iraq today with any certainty.
Barzani thought the Turks exaggerated the balance issue and
said the solution is an internationally supervised census
immediately after Iraq is liberated. DCM then asked if the
Turks would support and facilitate access to the Salahadeen
meeting. Barzani said that MFA U/S Ziyal had not been
encouraging, but that Barzani would raise the issue with PM
Gul later that morning. Barzani added that Iran and Syria
had both promised to facilitate the access of the Committee
to the area.

Barzani Against Turkish Intervention

8. (S/REL UK) PolMilCouns asked if the Turks had raised any
military plans. Here the conversation became heated.
Barzani said they had been raised in a casual manner and he
expected more detail when he saw the D/CHOD later in the day.
Barzani said he had responded clearly that the intervention
of Turkish forces would lead to disarray and multiple
problems. He wondered under what pretext the Turks planned
to intervene. If to prevent the establishment of an
independent Kurdish entity, the KDP would give Turkey a
guarantee against it. If to prevent a mass exodus, Barzani
did not believe it would happen and if it did, the people
wouldn't come to Turkey after their experience from the past.
And Turkish intervention would draw in the Iranians making
the region a battlefield for settling old scores. "Frankly,"
Barzani said, "we and the people of northern Iraq cannot
tolerate such an intervention."

9.(S/REL UK) When the Turks asked Barzani whether Turkish
military presence could be arranged through coordination with
the KDP, he replied that the KDP had done so in the past for
operations against the PKK and could do so again if a
situation arises where Turkish assistance is needed. Barzani
pointed out that Turkey already has troops in northern Iraq.
They are visible and their presence is acceptable. Anything
more than what is there now is not acceptable. If there were
a decision for Turkish military involvement in northern Iraq,
he said, that would change the circumstances and balances.
He said, "Turkish military intervention is a survival matter
for us. It would mean that we would fall under Turkish rule.
If we can't stop that from happening, we would leave the

Even in US-Led Coalition

10. (S/REL UK) Even if the Turks came into northern Iraq as
part of a coalition under US command, Barzani said, in fact
under any circumstances, increased Turkish military presence
would be unhelpful. Barzani pointed to the Turkish-led Peace
Monitoring Force (PMF -set up in 1997 to monitor the
cease-fire between the KDP and the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan) as an example of why he does not want more Turkish
troops there. "I'll tell you clearly what the PMF does:
everything but mediation between us and the PUK. They try to
train and arm the ITF, they take away historical artifacts,
they engage in drug smuggling and even in assassination
plots. And they don't leave. And there are only a few
hundred of them. If the US signed a document saying the
Turks would leave immediately after their tasks were
complete, we could consider supporting Turkish participation
in northern Iraq." Barzani said he would welcome the chance
to discuss with US officials whether Turkish forces were
needed in northern Iraq and whether the Turks were open to a
tripartite (US/TU/KDP-PUK) meeting at any level to discuss

11. (S/REL UK) Barzani, twisting his napkin and becoming
emotional, continued. "My position is clear. Under any
circumstances, Turkish forces will be considered an invading
force whether alone or part of a coalition because Turkey's
intent is not to leave. The aims of a Turkish military
presence are different from those of US and UK liberators.
The Turks would be there to strangle Kurdish aspirations. If
this comes to pass, we will withdraw from all cooperation."
He said that US authorities had repeatedly assured him that
there would be no Turkish forces entering northern Iraq. "We
totally dislike the idea of their presence," he said. DCM
countered that while we were unaware of any decisions about
Turkish participation from the US or Turkish sides, we would
hope that if the Turks were there as part of the effort to
change the regime in Baghdad the KDP would see Turkish
participation as part of that effort and support it. DCM
urged Barzani to take the issue up further with Presidential
Special Envoy Khalilzad. Barzani said he would do so and
underscored that the alarming consideration for the KDP was
that although the Turks wanted to be in Iraq for their own
aims, if the KDP opposed their participation the Turks would
accuse the KDP of being anti-coalition and pro-Saddam. and
if the KDP accepted Turkish participation, the Turks would
work behind the scenes against the KDP, like they are doing
in the PMF.

-------------- -
Emergency Relief Preparations in Northern Iraq
-------------- -

12. (S/REL UK) KDP "Deputy PM" Sami Abdulrahman told us that
the World Food Program had begun an emergency three-month
advance distribution of food rations and would foillow this
with another two-month advance so that the 3.6 million ration
card holders in northern Iraq would soon have five months of
food at home. He said the KDP had spoken at length with
UNOCHI, NGOS and the ICRC and had done considerable
contingency planning. "Relief does not require military
intervention by Turkish forces," he said. "We've been running
the administration of the region for ten years and can handle
an IDP situation." KDP Ankara rep Dizayee noted that the
KDP's Ministry of Humanitarian Assistance and Cooperation had
completed a study of contingencies and set up a system for
implementation. They would soon send a rep to the embassy in
ankara to brief us on the plans. Barzani added that the KDP
would of course welcome any assistance with the relief
effort, including joint studies and contributions to their
system. But, Barzani said, he believed people would not move
to northern Iraq in large numbers. If they did, the KDP
would welcome them. But that did not mean the KDP needed
Turkish forces to be present. Turkey, he said, was using
protection of refugees as a pretext for intervention.