|05ANKARA3953||2005-07-07 12:58:00||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy Ankara|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (C) Summary: During introductory calls as USNAVEUR and
Joint Forces Command Naples commander, ADM Ulrich won Turkish
Navy's agreement to hold consultations on information sharing
between the Turks' Black Sea Harmony (BSH) operation and
Allied Maritime Component Command Naples sometime before
August. The Admiral also alerted Turkish military leaders
that the US Navy would be sending ships into the Black Sea
several times a year, and that they would welcome the
opportunity to work with the Turks while there. The Turks
requested that ADM Ulrich encourage the Bulgarians and
Romanians to cooperate in tracking suspicious ships that
enter their territorial waters after being shadowed by the
Turkish Navy. ADM Ornek announced that Turkey would begin a
BSH-like operation in the eastern Mediterranean given the
steady reduction of OAE coverage of the area over the last
year and the requirement to protect increased ship traffic
after the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan oil reaches the terminal in
Ceyhan. DCHOD General Basbug informed the Admiral that
Turkey was considering contributing trainers in addition to
the five staff personnel already committed to the NATO
Training Mission - Iraq. GEN Ozkok asked for US assistance
with the identification and safe destruction of IEDs. End
2. (U) Admiral H.G. Ulrich made initial calls as Commander,
US Naval Forces Europe and Commander, Joint Forces Command
Naples on Chief of the Turkish General Staff (TGS) General
Hilmi Ozkok, Deputy Chief General Ilker Basbug and Turkish
Naval Forces Commander Admiral Ozlem Ornek on June 29. The
Turks congratulated ADM Ulrich on his recent appointment to
his commands during the three cordial meetings.
3. (C) ADM Ulrich explained to GEN Ozkok and ADM Ornek that
Operation Active Endeavor needed better information on what
is happening in the Black Sea. He proposed that a team led
by a flag officer from TNFC visit CCMAR Naples to discuss
what information OAE collects, how this data is processed,
disseminated and used. This would permit Turkey to then
provide better, more timely information collected by Turkey's
OAE-like Operation Black Sea Harmony. With ADM Ornek, he
expressed the hope this could be done before Ornek's
retirement (in August). GEN Ozkok noted Russian
sensitivities regarding the Black Sea, but did not see a
problem in talking. Ornek was less guarded, saying "we will
4. (C) As the USNAVEUR commander, ADM Ulrich explained, the
US Navy would continue its practice of sending vessels to
work in the Black Sea, probably two or three times per year.
With Ornek, he recalled that C6F Commander VADM Stufflebeem
had proposed to Ornek that the two USN vessels going to the
Black Sea in July exercise with the Turkish Navy both before
and during their Black Sea deployment. In more general
terms, whenever USN vessels are in the Black Sea, ADM Ulrich
wanted them to work with Turkey in ways that assist Turkey's
ongoing operations there. Ornek lamented the lead time was
too short to plan as ambitious an exercise as proposed by
VADM Stufflebeem, but his staff was working on an
alternative, a large PASSEX in the Aegean involving two
frigates, two fast patrol boats, a submarine and two aircraft
sorties. NAVATT expressed appreciation for the enthusiasm
TNFC staff have demonstrated for working with the US Navy.
5. (C) Both Bulgaria and Romania have requested naval
training from the US, and USNAVEUR would welcome Turkey's
advice on what training would be most useful. Ornek
initially replied, "all kinds." ADM Ulrich said he wanted to
have bilateral consultations in advance on what would be most
useful to provide to the two new NATO members. Ornek agreed
that the Turkish Navy understood their neighbors'
deficiencies given that the Turkish Navy has two or three
exercises per year with each of the two countries, plus the
experience of semiannual BLACKSEAFOR activations.
6. (C) In addition to training, RADM Gurdeniz hoped that ADM
Ulrich would encourage the Romanians and Bulgarians to
utilize the information provided by Turkey to shadow
suspicious vessels and report on their activities when these
ships enter territorial waters. Turkey, through BSH, follows
these vessels, but cannot do so in other countries'
territorial waters. Despite excellent cooperation among
littoral countries' coast guards, Bulgaria and Romania do not
take any action regarding vessels reported to them by Turkey.
ADM Ulrich thought developing better information through the
talks between TNFC and CCMAR Naples would help, and he agreed
to raise the matter when he visited Bucharest and Sofia.
Black Sea Harmony South
7. (C) Ornek informed ADM Ulrich that Turkey was planning a
national operation in the eastern Mediterranean similar to
Black Sea Harmony. He was unhappy that over the past six to
twelve months the force devoted to Operation Active Endeavor
had diminished, leaving holes in the area. In September, oil
would begin reaching the port of Ceyhan from the Caspian (via
BTC pipeline), and the resulting increase in traffic must be
protected. He recalled in the past working with DEA to
intercept drug shipments in the region that would have been
used to finance terrorism. When OAE operated there, this
threat was deterred, but with its departure he feared
criminal activity would return. Therefore, Turkey would
conduct its own OAE-like operation beginning in July,
continuing indefinitely, and would coordinate with OAE. As
with BSH, Turkey would pass information collected on
suspicious vessels to NATO. ADM Ulrich noted this made the
need for talks on information requirements more pressing.
8. (C) Deputy TGS Chief GEN Basbug discussed other regional
issues with ADM Ulrich. Basbug noted the Turkey had
increased its personnel on the NATO Training Mission Iraq
(NTM-I) staff from three to five recently. He said TGS also
"may consider sending trainers" to Baghdad. He recalled how
for the past two years Turkey had made numerous proposals to
train Iraqis in Turkey. Two months earlier, at NTM-I's
request, Turkey developed a proposal to receive two groups of
15 officers for training and submitted it to SHAPE. There
has been no response, he said. Recently, however, two Iraqi
officers arrived for training at Ankara's PfP Training
Center. ADM Ulrich responded that it was understandable that
Iraq would be reluctant to take personnel out of the fight to
send them abroad for training. He and Basbug agreed that
training was nonetheless essential for success, with Basbug
adding a second requirement -- "efficient government."
9. (S/NF) On bilateral issues:
-- ADM Ulrich proposed increasing the number of medium-term
(2-3 month) exchanges, putting officers and senior enlisted
personnel on each others' ships. Besides affording the
opportunity to share skills and experience, this would
strengthen Navy-Navy relations as personnel on both sides
came to understand the other side better.
-- NAVATT expressed appreciation for Turkish support on
force protection for ship visits. Ornek approved of what he
perceived as an increased frequency of visits. Basbug
thought there were not enough ship visits. ADM Ulrich said
his intention was for USN ships to call at Turkish ports more
-- ADM Ulrich thanked GEN Ozkok for cooperation on examining
the Syrian SCUD that landed in Turkey earlier in the month.
-- CDA noted that the cargo hub at Incirlik was working well
and expressed gratitude for Turkey's support of that
-- GEN Ozkok thought much of the intelligence the US was
sharing on the PKK was "too general." What Turkey truly
appreciated was "timely, practical" (read: actionable)
-- GEN Ozkok noted that, with plenty of explosives in Iraq
in "unauthorized hands," IEDs were showing up more in Turkey.
Most have been radio detonated, but there have also been
wire and pressure triggered devices found. He asked for US
assistance in detecting and disposing of these devices.
ODC-T Chief MajGen Sutton recalled that this subject was
discussed during GEN Basbug's meeting with VCJCS Gen Pace.
ADM Ulrich and GEN Ozkok thought a team from Joint Staff
should visit Ankara ASAP to continue the discussion.
Comment: Removing Irritants
10. (C) ADM Ulrich's proposals to improve Turkey's
cooperation with NATO and the US in the Black Sea could go a
long way in removing this irritant from our bilateral
relations. The test will be whether the Turks follow
through. We believe there is a good chance that they will.
Turkey's new national operation in the eastern Med makes
sense given the increased tanker traffic that will come as
BTC comes on line and as more Iraqi crude is pumped through
the northern pipeline (which also terminates in Ceyhan).
However, this operation could increase Turkish naval activity
near Cyprus, potentially causing a reaction there. Finally,
Ozkok's reiteration of the request Basbug made in Washington
in early June underscores the seriousness with which the
Turks view the threat from IEDs. We encourage the Joint
Staff to respond to the Turkish request for information as
soon as possible. End comment.
11. (U) The Admiral was accompanied by the CDA, JFC-N POLAD
Amb Dean Curran, ODC-T Chief MajGen Peter Sutton, NAVATT CAPT
Devon Goldsmith, USNAVEUR Deputy EA CDR John Rinko, Flag Aide
LCDR Craig Mattingly, and PolMilCouns. JFC Naples Deputy
Chief of Staff for Operations MG Emin Alpman participated in
all three meetings; TGS/J5 LTG Aydogan Babaoglu sat in the
TGS meetings; and RADM(UH) Nusret Guner (TNFC/N3) and
RADM(LH) Cem Gurdeniz (TNFC/N5 Strategy and Agreements
Director) participated in the meeting with ADM Ornek.
12. (U) USNAVEUR cleared this cable.