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03ANKARA4423 2003-07-14 13:36:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
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141336Z Jul 03
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 004423 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2012

(U) Classified by Ambassador W.R. Pearson. Reason:1.5(b)(d)

1. (C) Ambassador paid a farewell visit July 14 on President
Sezer, who while maintaining his usually low-key and
disinterested demeanor reiterated several times his public
charge that the July 4 arrest (and subsequent release) of
Turkish Special Forces (TSF) troops in Iraq was
"unacceptable" under any circumstances. Sezer shook his head
"no" vigorously on several different occasions, while
Ambassador was relating that U.S. forces had strong reasons
for their actions. Sezer noted the mil/mil commission was
continuing its work; he expressed hope that its conclusions
would provide a clearer understanding and basis for
U.S.-Turkey relations in the future.

2. (C) Ambassador replied that there are two distinct issues
involved in the matter: 1) how TSF were treated; and 2) the
more fundamental issue, which is the fact that the U.S.
forces had solid reasons to be concerned about violent
activities planned by the TSF inimical to stability in Iraq.
It is thus the purpose of the joint Fact-Finding Team to
examine both issues. The USG understands the emotions on the
Turkish side; it is important, however, to lower the
temperature of deliberations and to ensure the development of
coordination procedures that will prevent such things from
happening again. Ambassador noted that relations between the
U.S. and Turkish militaries -- which for fifty years had been
a pillar of the wider U.S.-Turkey relationship -- are
strained; both sides should do the utmost to improve the
atmosphere. Gens. Abizaid and Jones are coming to Turkey
July 18, F.M. Gul is planning a visit to the U.S. thereafter;
such visits are very important to helping put the bilateral
relationship back on track. Ambassador reiterated that,
frankly, Turkey needed to understand that the U.S. units
involved had reason to act, even if the way the action
unfolded on the ground raised questions in Turkey about its
propriety. Ambassador elaborated that the USG is working to
demonstrate that Turkey and the U.S. share the same broad
perspective on Iraq, which given turkey's geographical
advantages would go a long way to encouraging and promoting
Turkish business and other interests.

3. (C) Sezer reiterated that the incident was unacceptable,
then volunteered the following as context: U.S.-Turkey
relations were fine, he said, until the March 1 failure in
Parliament of the Government's resolution that would have
allowed U.S. troop deployments to and through Turkey. "The
United States said that its main reasons for going to war in
Iraq were the WMD threat and the need to democratize the
country. I don't know if you have any WMD data yet, but as
for democratization: the Turkish constitution gives the
Parliament the authority to make such decisions. So, while
the U.S. campaigns for democracy in Iraq you should not
complain about democracy in another country." The AK
Government may have wanted the resolution to pass, Sezer
said, but the decision was up to the legislature.




4. (C) Sezer is politically tone deaf. He adhered to the
Turkish hard-liners' view regarding the July 4 incident; he
also showed a lack of interest in seeking ground that would
allow both Turkey and the U.S. to put the issue in context
and bilateral relations back on track.