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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05ANKARA1953 2005-04-05 11:25:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

USNAVEUR ADM MULLEN DISCUSSES IRAQ, BLACK SEA AND BILATERAL RELATIONS IN ANKARA

Tags:   BU GG IZ MARR MASS PREL RO RS TU UP 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001953 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/25/2025
TAGS: PREL, MARR, MASS, TU, RO, BU, GG, UP, RS, IZ
SUBJECT: USNAVEUR ADM MULLEN DISCUSSES IRAQ, BLACK SEA AND
BILATERAL RELATIONS IN ANKARA


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

1. (C) Summary: Having arrived from Iraq, USNAVEUR and Joint
Forces Command-Naples Commander ADM Michael Mullen provided
an upbeat assessment of the situation there to Turkish naval
(TNFC) and general staff (TGS) leaders during his visit to
Turkey March 22-24. The CHOD and DCHOD expressed cautiously
optimistic views of Iraq. On the Black Sea, CHOD GEN Ozkok
stated that while he was not opposed to NATO's expansion into
the Black Sea per se, he feared such a move could damage
NATO's relations with Russia and maybe Ukraine. TGS appeared
unaware of the extent of the problems American firms see in
the current attack helicopter tender. All of ADM Mullen's
interlocutors congratulated him for his nomination to be CNO,
while both TNFC and TGS leaders acknowledged that no CNO has
visited Turkey in 16 years. The Turks and the Mission
appreciated the visit as another step in improving US-Turkey
mil-mil relations. End Summary.

2. (C) In Ankara on March 22, Naval Forces Europe (USNAVEUR)
and NATO Joint Forces Command-Naples (JFC-N) Commander ADM
Michael Mullen attended a dinner hosted by Turkish Naval
Forces Commander ADM Ozlem Ornek, and on March 23 made an
office call on DCHOD GEN Ilker Basbug and met with CHOD Hilmi
Ozkok who also hosted lunch. March 23-24, ADM Mullen called
on Turkish naval commanders in Istanbul and on the Aegean
coast, and visited JFC-N's air component in Izmir. This
message reports the Admiral's meetings in Ankara.



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


Iraq


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



3. (C) ADM Mullen told his interlocutors that his visit to
Iraq just before arriving in Turkey left him much more
optimistic than his last trip there in October 2004. The
January 30 elections had had a more profound impact than he
had understood previously, he continued. The Iraqi security
forces were much more motivated now. And surprisingly, the
Iraqi people view the armed forces as they have for the past
80 years, as their protectors. ADM Mullen was confident that
the ISF would succeed.

4. (C) Basbug said having an ISF that was "sufficient and
efficient" was important for success in Iraq. ADM Mullen
responded that LTG Petraeus, the MSTC-I commander, reported
that the ISF is fighting much better with the coalition and
even carrying out their own operations. In many places, CF
now provides back-up for ISF. Another factor important for
success, Basbug added, would be for the new ITG to be
respected and accepted by the people, and govern efficiently.
ADM Mullen and the Charge provided an update, noting that the
Iraqis were close to an agreement. Regarding the status of
Kirkuk, Basbug noted that everyone cites Transitional
Administrative Law Art 58 (on returns), but one should not
forget Art 53 (defining the KRG area and creating a special
status for Kirkuk and Baghdad), he declared.

5. (C) Basbug credited this turn around to training. ADM
Mullen noted that, under his NATO hat, he was responsible for
the NATO Training Mission-Iraq. He expressed appreciation to
both Basbug and Ozkok for Turkey's recently increasing its
contribution to NTM-I. The mission was doing well, he
observed, with the UK running basic officer training program
and the military academy's resuming instruction. The new
Iraqi commandant of the academy was enthusiastic about
networking his institution with the outside world, something
impossible under Saddam. Basbug noted that Turkey had
offered leadership training for Iraqis in Turkey. ADM Mullen
undertook to check on the status on these offers, but
observed that Iraqis preferred to train in Iraq. Basbug
acknowledged that no Iraqi decision on out-of-country
training was likely before the new government was in place.



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


Bilateral Relations


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



6. (C) Ozkok observed that American initiatives in the Middle
East were "winning." "Your success is our security," he
declared. Despite the Mar. 1, 2003 parliamentary vote
preventing US troops from transiting Turkey to open a
northern front in Iraq (which Ozkok termed a "parliamentary
accident"), Turkey supported the US, such as with air space
access (including for cruise missiles, two of whom landed in
Turkey). "We shouldn't allow this (Mar. 1) to overshadow our
relations," he declared. We cannot only focus on the
problems when there are many good elements of our relations.
The political leadership was trying to focus on the good, he
observed. He thought military relations were generally good,
with "only one incident" providing a cloud (the July 4, 2003
arrest of Turkish military personnel in Suleymania), "and
even that is fading," he said. ADM Mullen agreed that it was
time to focus on ways to move forward in the relationship.

7. (C) ADM Mullen mentioned to Ozkok that a USN vessel would
participate in the Marmaris festival in April. Ozkok was
appreciative, noting that ship visits are useful economically
and they demonstrate to the public that the bilateral
relationship is sound. He also noted that public opinion was
increasingly hard to control.

8. (C) At lunch, ADM Mullen, the Charge and ODC-T Chief
MajGen Sutton all raised the recently released attack
helicopter tender with Ozkok, Basbug and TGS/J5 LtGen
Babaoglu, noting the considerable problems that American
companies have voiced and that have resulted in one
manufacturer's, Bell Helicopter, droping out of the
competition. They averred ignorance of the procurement
process, which is handled by a civilian procurement agency.
(Comment: Subsequently, Babaoglu invited MajGen Sutton to a
March 28 meeting to review the American companies' issues
with the tender.)



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


Russian and the Black Sea


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



9. (C) ADM Mullen noted that Russia had recently sent two
ships to participate in OAE and was deploying vessels to the
North Atlantic in numbers not seen for a long time. Ozkok
said that he had insufficient information to make a
definitive judgment about Russia, but that Ankara was
cautiously trying to cooperate with Moscow. In the Black
Sea, the risks were fewer than during the Cold War, but
Russia has yet "to live up to its commitments." (Comment:
Ozkok did not elaborate, but this is likely a reference to
Russia's Istanbul Commitments to reduce forces in the
Caucasus and Moldova.) He was generally cautious on Russia,
noting that Turkey wants to be friendly, but within limits.
In fact, there were not many bilateral military connections
between Russia and Turkey, with most of their contact coming
through the NATO-Russia Council. Bilateral relations were
mainly economic, he said.

10. (C) While NATO and the NRC are useful channels, NATO
cannot do everything, Ozkok continued. That was why Turkey
views regional cooperation as important. However, regional
cooperation should proceed in a manner that Russia does not
see as harming its interests. In the Black Sea, where there
is intelligence that smuggling is occurring, Turkey began
Operation Black Sea Harmony and is now inviting other
littorals to join. BLACKSEAFOR is growing and shows promise.
Turkey wants to create a secure environment in the Black
Sea. It is not opposed to NATO's eventually expanding into
the Black Sea, but does not want to damage the fragile
confidence Russia and the Ukraine have in the NRC and the NUC.

11. (C) ADM Mullen noted that SACEUR was anxious to support
Turkey's strategy of countering trafficking and smuggling in
the region through regional engagement. Turkey should lead
the effort, he said. NATO could help. OAE has been
effective in the Mediterranean. Expanding OAE to the Black
Sea was one possible approach. He invited Ozkok to let him
know how he could help, either as the JFC-N commander or as
CDR USNAVEUR.

12. (C) Ozkok observed that the Black Sea is the only region
where Russia still has the capability to maintain constant
operations. As OAE is an Article 5 operation, its expansion
into the Black Sea might be seen as insulting to Moscow -- an
indication that the Alliance has no confidence in Russian
forces.

13. (C) ADM Mullen observed that both Romania and Bulgaria
were anxious to have NATO expand its presence into the Black
Sea as quickly as possible. Ukraine was coming around to the
same view. Ozkok changed the subject, commenting that
Turkey's aim is to have a democratic region that would yield
stability and predictability. Georgia and Ukraine have
evolved in a democratic manner; Egypt, Saudi Arabia and
Pakistan have even had some positive movement toward
democracy. Nothing would be better for Turkey's security.



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


NATO


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



14. (C) ADM Mullen praised Turkey's support for NATO, both in
the quality of the officers it sends to NATO HQ positions as
well as its contribution to NATO missions, such as in the
Balkans where the Alliance has made a real difference. Ozkok
observed that in Kosovo, the international community needed
to find a way to transition to a permanent resolution. ADM
Mullen agreed that Kosovo was only "one incident away from a
disaster" politically, although the military situation was
good. "Time is the enemy," he said.

15. (C) ADM Mullen and Ozkok agreed on the need to better
educate Alliance political leaders on the new command
structure. They also agreed that the NRF concept was good.
ADM Mullen noted, however, that of the 18,000 troops under
his NATO command, only about 33% were available to respond to
a crisis.



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


Moving On/Coming Back


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



16. (C) All the Turks congratulated ADM Mullen on his
nomination to be the next CNO. Both sides were perplexed
that no CNO had visited Turkey in 16 years. ADM Mullen
thanked them and said he intended to come to Turkey again.

17. (C) Comment: ADM Mullen's Turkish counterparts were
pleased with his visit and especially with the opportunity to
develop a rapport with someone they expect to be a member of
the Joint Chiefs soon. They clearly were interested in
putting past difficulties over Iraq behind us and moving
forward cooperatively. They, and we, saw this visit as
another step in moving our bilateral military relations to a
more positive footing. End Comment.
EDELMAN