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04ANKARA4651 2004-08-18 16:13:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TURKISH READOUT ON IIG PRESIDENT AL-YAWAR VISIT:

Tags:   PREL PTER ENRG ECON TU IZ 
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1. (C) The GOT is pleased with the Aug. 16-17 visit of IIG
President al-Yawar and the IIG ministers for foreign affairs,
water resources, and trade. Al-Yawar told the Turks that he
and the IIG intentionally chose Turkey for his first major
trip abroad, and that they saw Turkey as Iraq's most
important neighbor. Contrary to press reports, the Turks
found al-Yawar and his delegation forthcoming on issues of
importance to the GOT: PKK/Kongra-Gel, Kirkuk, security for
the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, reestablishing a consulate in
Mosul, and the status of the Turkmen in the new Iraq. The
Turks did not press al-Yawar hard on security for Turkish
truckers and other workers in Iraq or Iraqi plans to
institute a visa regime. Though the tone appears to have
been quite positive, there were relatively few deliverables
on key issues; the Turks nonetheless seemed satisfied. The
Turks report that al-Yawar was not fully up to speed on the
details of a number of issues, and often turned to his
ministers for backup. End summary.



2. (C) IIG President Ghazi al-Yawar, accompanied by three
ministers, visited Ankara Aug. 16-17. Al-Yawar met with
Turkish President Sezer, Prime Minister Erdogan, Turkish
business leaders, and (along with his corresponding minister)
the Turkish foreign, foreign trade, and energy and natural
resource ministers. MFA Iraq Chief of Desk Mehmet Kemal
Bozay and Iraq Desk Officer Ferhat Alkan gave PolMilOff a
readout of the visit on Aug. 18. Alkan sat in on all six of
the president's meetings. The MFA officials reported that
the tone of the meetings was generally positive and
constructive (despite some sniping from the Turkish press),
but they noted that al-Yawar was generally weak on detailed
knowledge of specific issues, often turning to his ministers
for assistance. The Turks praised the ministers accompanying
al-Yawar as informed and non-confrontational on the issues,
and believe this visit set the table for a successful visit
by IIG PM Allawi on Sept. 7. The Turkish press was so
negative in its coverage of the first day of the visit (Aug.
16) that al-Yawar himself felt compelled to complain to the
press Aug. 17. We noticed that the Aug. 18 papers were
somewhat more generous. The Turks told us that they believed
the negative press was inaccurate and unfair.



3. (C) In the small meeting with Sezer, al-Yawar emphasized
that he and the IIG had wanted Turkey to be his first major
overseas visit, since he saw Turkey as Iraq's most important
neighbor and that, among Iraq's neighbors, Turkey is the only
one that could be a model that Iraq can follow as it
progresses economically and politically. Al-Yawar expressed
his personal support for Turkey's bid for EU membership.
Sezer told al-Yawar that Turkey will give agrement for Iraq's
new ambassador to Ankara, an issue on which the Turks had
been dragging their feet. The two presidents chiefly
concentrated on four issues: the Turkish request to open a
consulate in Mosul, the terrorist PKK/Kongra-Gel's continuing
presence and activities in northern Iraq, the status of
Kirkuk, and the status of Iraq's Turkmen population.
Interestingly, the issue of security for Turkish truckers
(ref a) only came up during the presidents' meeting together
with their delegations, not in the one-on-one.

Mosul Consulate


--------------------------





4. (C) On the Mosul Consulate, al-Yawar told Sezer that the
IIG has no problem with the Turks' opening a consulate
(actually reopening its consulate, which had closed in 1995).
Al-Yawar said, however, that the security situation would
need to improve. In the delegations' meeting, IIG FonMin
Zebari added that Iraq is simultaneously reestablishing
diplomatic ties with 34 countries, Turkey being among the
most important. He added that the Iraqi embassy in Ankara
should be "fully operational" before addressing the Mosul
issue, but said that perhaps the issue could be revisited
during PM Allawi's Sept. 7 visit. (Note: Both the Iraqi
Charge here and MFA's Bozay told PolMilOff that they hope the
new Iraqi Ambassador, Sabah Omran, will arrive in Ankara in
September. End note.)

Al-Yawar: PKK Is Also a Threat to Iraq


--------------------------





5. (C) On the PKK/Kongra-Gel, al-Yawar told Sezer that the
organization is a threat for the Iraqis as well, and that he
did not want Iraq to be a base for international terrorism.
However, al-Yawar added, until the Iraqi security forces are
fully trained and equipped, the Iraqis will not be ready to
go after the PKK, at least not alone.

As Kirkuk Goes, So Goes Iraq


--------------------------





6. (C) On the Kirkuk issue, al-Yawar said that he welcomed
the Turks' expression of concern since it helps the IIG focus
on the city. Al-Yawar told the Turks that Kirkuk was the
first Iraqi city he visited as president, and he sees
Kirkuk--with its ethnic mix--as "a little Iraq." If the
Iraqi government is successful in dealing with Kirkuk, then
it will be successful in the country overall. The Turks told
PolMilOff that al-Yawar spent much of his later meeting with
FonMin Gul on Kirkuk, and the President cited a 1975 census
of the city which showed the population balance from most to
least as Turkmen, Arabs, and Kurds. Al-Yawar said he
preferred to use this census as the basis for dealing with
the current situation, i.e. to deal with Turkish complaints
that Arabs (under Saddam) and Kurds (after Saddam) have been
coming into the city and trying to wrest political and
economic control from the Turkmen. Al-Yawar said that people
returning to the city after Saddam's purges should do so "on
a legal basis."

Turkmen in the New Iraq


--------------------------





7. (C) In the Turks' view, Al-Yawar was forthcoming on the
issue of Turkmen representation in the new Iraq. He told
Sezer that "the Turkmen are our brothers," and said both the
Iraqis and the U.S. had made mistakes in underrepresenting
the Turkmen. He said it was a mistake that the lone Turkmen
representative on the IGC was not from the Iraqi Turkmen
Front, and he said her performance in office was poor. He
pledged to work for greater Turkmen representation in the
future of Iraq, including in government posts.

Erdogan Warns Against Sectarianism


--------------------------





8. (C) Bozay and Alkan told us that President al-Yawar and PM
Erdogan covered many of the same issues as in the Sezer
meeting, but added that al-Yawar spent a good deal of time
expressing his concern over the situation in Najaf and
blasting Muqtada al-Sadr for not participating in the
political process in Iraq. For his part, Erdogan shared his
view that the AKP opposes sectarianism, and that he hopes
Iraq will work for the same goal that he seeks: a country
whose citizens put their nationality before their sectarian
preferences. Erdogan and al-Yawar agreed that avoiding
Sunni-Shia violence is a key goal for the new Iraq.

Economic Issues: Second Border Crossing, Trucker Security,
Pipeline Security, Water, and Visa Gripes


--------------------------



--------------------------





9. (C) In the larger delegation meeting, IIG FonMin Zebari
told the Turks that Iraq supports opening a second border
crossing with Turkey, and both sides agreed to technical
talks on this issue. According to our MFA sources, neither
side pushed for a specific place, although each has a
different site in mind. On trucker security, FonMin Zebari
said the IIG shares Turkish concerns, but admitted that Iraq
cannot now guarantee the security of the truckers. Zebari
said that even his own safety and that of everyone else in
the IIG are not guaranteed. However, he told the Turks that
the Mosul-Baghdad corridor seems to be the main place where
insurgents are attacking truckers, and that MNF-I and the
Iraqi security forces are working on their procedures for
dealing with this particular stretch of road.



10. (C) Iraqi Trade Minister Jabouri told the Turks that the
IIG is committed to securing the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline, once
the source for one-third of Turkey's crude oil demand. He
reported that the IIG has an agreement with a private
security firm, which among other steps is providing 17,000
personnel to protect the pipeline.



11. (C) IIG Minister of Water Resources Rashhid told his
counterpart, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Guler,
that water is vital to Iraq since 60% of its population is
engaged in agriculture. Despite Rashid's comments in ref b,
MFA told us that the Iraqis showed no animosity toward the
Turks on the water issue, and were seeking to make it a
technical, rather than a political issue. The two sides
agreed to set up technical meetings (some on a trilateral
basis with the Syrians) to exchange data on water usage and
demand.



12. (C) Turkish business leaders told al-Yawar in an Aug. 17
breakfast meeting that they are deeply concerned about their
security in Iraq, and also annoyed that the IIG has decided
to institute a visa regime for Turkey. On security, Zebari
repeated the answer he gave to President Sezer in para. nine.
On the visa regime (which has not yet been implemented
though it was officially announced July 1), Zebari said that
Iraq has implemented this regime for all its neighbors (and
indeed, for all 34 countries with which it is establishing
relations) in an effort to secure Iraq's borders, but that
this move was not/not aimed at Turkey. Zebari said that Iraq
is committed to maximum flexibility for Turks wishing to
travel to Iraq, and that the IIG is looking into also issuing
visas at the Turkish border.

Comment: Turks Are Pleased, Await Allawi


--------------------------





13. (C) If the Turks' account is to be believed, al-Yawar
came to Ankara eager to establish good relations and to set a
constructive tone for the future, the nearest term to include
PM Allawi's visit here on Sept. 7. The Turkish press seemed
intent on blasting the Iraqis, especially on the visa issue,
but the Turkish MFA does not seem overly concerned about this
issue. Rather, the GOT is pleased that, in their view,
al-Yawar said the right things on almost every issue: Kirkuk,
the PKK, the Turkmen, and the Mosul consulate. End comment.
EDELMAN