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2004-09-07 15:32:00
Embassy Ankara
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005015 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2029

REF: A. STATE 188228



Classified By: Ambassador Eric S. Edelman. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: MFA DDG for Disarmament and Arms Control
reacted angrily to ref a points, threatening at one point to
do all he could to scale back Turkish participation in PSI.
We talked him out of withdrawing Turkey from the Spanish
exercise in early 2005 for now, although whether Turkey will
send an observer to the Japanese exercise is in question.
Instead, he demanded assurance that the next time the PSI
participants assemble (such as the meetings in Krakow and
Lisbon) that Turkey be accepted into the Core Group, if it
still exists. This reaction was disappointing but not
surprising. We will follow up with the Turkish military to
try to contain the fallout. End Summary.

2. (C) Polmilcouns and EXBS Advisor delivered ref a points to
MFA DDG for Disarmament and Arms Control Haluk Ilicak on Sept

3. Polmilcouns highlighted the need for Turkey to decide
whether it would prefer to host an operational experts
exercise or a regional exercise in 2006 and the USG offer to
then talk to the Dutch to accommodate the Turkish desires.
On Turkey's request for the criteria for membership in the
core group (ref b), polmilcouns emphasized how the center of
activity within PSI was now with the Operational Experts
Working Group (OEWG) activities and that there were no plans
to convene the core group for the foreseeable future.

3. (C) Ilicak said that the GOT had held an interagency
meeting on Sept 2 to discuss PSI. At that meeting, COL Iptes
who led the Turkish delegation to the Copenhagen and Oslo
meetings, asserted that following those meetings Turkey was
now seen as one of the leading 18 nations participating in
PSI. Ilicak said he told Iptes he was wrong. Every
international activity has a steering group, and Turkey was
not in PSI's. He understood ref a points to mean Turkey
would not be accepted into the core group. While he was not
the ultimate decision maker, he pledged to do everything he
could to withdraw the Turkish aircraft from the 2005 Spanish
exercise, to refuse to send an observer to Japan's exercise
in October, and to generally reduce Turkey's participation in
PSI to a minimal level. (He lamented that it was too late to
stop the Turkish delegation from attending the Maritime
Interdiction Game in Newport, Rhode Island later this month.)
If he were not able to convince his superiors to agree with
his recommendation, he certainly would work to delay
everything related to PSI within the GOT. He explained his
ire was due to the fact that he and TGS Strategy Department
Chief MG Arslan had personally argued against those in the
GOT who initially argued that PSI was equivalent to "official
piracy." To convince the others, Arslan and Ilicak had
applied considerable pressure plus a carrot -- if Turkish
agencies contributed actively to the initiative, Turkey would
be recognized as among the leaders of the Initiative.

4. (C) Polmilcouns noted that it would only make sense to
scale back Turkey's participation if Ilicak did not believe
that PSI served Turkey's interest in preventing
proliferation. Ilicak acknowledged that PSI was in Turkey's
interest, but Turkey was capable of conducting its own
anti-proliferation activities, such as the ongoing operation
Black Sea Harmony, or multilaterally, such as through
BLACKSEAFOR. Polmilcouns again drew Ilicak's attention to
the point that the Core Group was not expected to meet in the
foreseeable future and that PSI would henceforth be focused
on the OEWG. EXBS Advisor added that the US delegation to
the Oslo meeting reported that the Turks there were helpfully
influential in steering the OEWG meeting.

5. (C) After further discussion of the value of PSI and some
back and forth on Russia's acceptance into the core group,
Ilicak concluded the meeting by asking whether we could
assure that Turkey would be accepted into the core group by
the time of the next meeting of all PSI participants as
occurred in the past with Singapore and Russia, assuming the
core group still existed by that time. Polmilcouns said that
he had delivered all the points contained in his instructions
and would convey Ilicak's question to Washington. Ilicak
said that he would not recommend reversing any decisions the
GOT had already taken regarding PSI (such as participation in
the Spanish exercise), but whether Turkey would send an
observer to the Japanese exercise would "need to be assessed
in light of the US message."

6. (C) Comment: Ilicak's response is not surprising given his
earlier emotional reaction to the lack of answers to his
questions about the core group (ref c). We will follow up
with MG Arslan, but based on his past comments to us, we
expect he will be as angry as Ilicak. Both feel personally
invested in Turkey's PSI participation and are bitter that
Turkey appears locked out of what they view as PSI's steering
committee, the core group. For now, we have bought some
time. We will urge the Turks to send an observer to the
Japanese exercise, but we doubt that Ankara will decide on
the kind of exercise (experts or regional) it will host in
2006 (or whether it will host any PSI activity at all) until
after the GOT reconsiders its future in PSI. End Comment.