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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05ANKARA4862 2005-08-19 04:37:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES AT TGS PROVIDE A WINDOW OF

Tags:   MARR PINR TU 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 004862 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/2015
TAGS: MARR PINR TU
SUBJECT: SIGNIFICANT CHANGES AT TGS PROVIDE A WINDOW OF
OPPORTUNITY

REF: A. ANKARA TU 4809

B. ANKARA 4409

Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Timothy A. Betts, reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Further to reftels report on Turkish military
promotions that were decided at the August 1-4 meeting of the
Supreme Military Council (Yuksek Askeri Surasi - YAS), post
has learned of numerous assignment changes for key military
interlocutors (Note: as well as additional information
requiring correction of several ref B points. End Note.)
Some moves are effective immediately, but all are effective
no later than Aug.30. In the Turkish General Staff (TGS)
headquarters, all but one Division Chief will change
assignments. In TGS Operations (J-3), the division chief and
the heads of the Training Department and the Command and
Control Department will move on. In Plans and Principles
(J-5), four of our close interlocutors, including LTG
Babaoglu, the division chief, and MG Arslan, the Strategy
Department Chief, will change jobs. Despite this, we do not
anticipate a major TGS strategy shift. That said, we will
need to work to establish the same cooperative relationship
with Kalyoncu, the new Chief of Operations, who has primary
responsibility for Iraq, and with our new J-5 interlocutors
-- who work the overall bilateral relationship, including
basing issues -- that we had with their predecessors, and to
reinvigorate the High Level Defense Group (HLDG), which has
not met in over two years. END SUMMARY.

MASSIVE J-HEAD EXODUS


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





2. (C) Despite some speculation that TGS would keep J-3 Chief
LTG Metin Yavuz Yalcin in place for another year given the
expected turnover of most other TGS division chiefs, Yalcin
has been reassigned as Commander of 5th Corps in Corlu. LTG
Saldiray Berk, former TGS Chief of Personnel (J-1) will take
command of 4th Corps in Ankara. LTG Abdullah Cahit
Sarsilmaz, previously TGS Chief of Logistics (J-4), will
command 7th Corps in Diyarbakir, and LTG Aydogan Babaoglu,
TGS Chief of Plans and Principles (J-5) will move to Istanbul
as War Academies Commander. VADM Sukru Taner Ezgu, former
TGS Chief of Communications, Electronics and Data Systems
(J-6) was retired. Only the J-2 Chief, LTG Aslan Guner,
remained in place.

NEW ARRIVALS GENERALLY UNKNOWN


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





3. (C) With the exception of Yalcin's successor in J-3, LTG
Bekir Kalyoncu, and Babaoglu's replacement in J-5, LTG Akin
Zorlu, little is known about the new TGS division chiefs.
Kalyoncu, who had been sidelined following the
much-publicized July 4, 2003 al-Suleymaniah incident (ref a)
as Commander of TGS Communications School in Ankara, knows
Iraq well. We do not expect any change in Iraq policy. LTG
Zorlu, the new J-5 Chief, is a tough interlocutor who was
well-regarded as the Commander of ISAF II and in his most
recent assignment as Land Forces Chief of Plans and Policy.
He is the first Land Forces officer to head J-5 since the
slot was taken over by the Air Force ten years ago. This
consolidates the two most prestigious divisions (J-3, J-5)
under Land Forces control. LTG Berk's successor as J-1 Chief
is newly promoted LTG Servet Yoruk, the former Special Forces
Commander. LTG Sarsilmaz (J-4) will be replaced by LTG Rasim
Arslan, a new promotee who headed the Air Force Staff
College, and retired VADM Egzu's successor at J-6 is VADM
Erdal Bucak, who was in the Naval Forces Inspector General's
office. Little is known about those individuals.



4. (C) The reassignment of MG Cengiz Arslan from J-5 Strategy
Division Chief to Deputy Commander of 3rd Corps and Commander
of the 52nd Mechanized Division in Istanbul is a great loss.
Arslan, our primary interlocutor on the PolMil Working Group
and HLDG, is a straight shooter who cares about the
relationship and worked hard to maintain open communication
and forward momentum during the dark days of our bilateral
relations. His successor, newly promoted MG Serdar Savas,
was Chief of Planning for the Land Forces. He will have to
work hard to match the effectiveness of his predecessor.



5. (C) Other J-5 changes include the succession of BG Baynur
Pekar by BG Yalicin Ergul as Chief of the Technology,
Armaments and Defense Research Department. Pekar, a
reluctant interlocutor on missile defense and space issues
who is uncomfortable with his English, will become Commander
of the 1st Main Jet Base in Eskisehir. We have higher hopes
for Ergul, an Air Force officer newly promoted from Colonel.
BG Ethem Halidun Solmazturk, former Chief of Disarmament and
International Security Matters and a solid interlocutor, was
retired and will be succeeded by BG Tuncer Erinmezler, who is
coming from the 3rd Army Command in Erzincan, where he was
Chief of Staff for Operations. This will likely be
Erinmezler's last assignment before retiring.

KOSANER IN LINE FOR CHOD


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





6. (C) Ref b report erroneously supposed GEN Kosaner was born
in 1943 not 1945; he, therefore, could become CHOD if he
progresses from the DCHOD position to 1st Army Commander in
Istanbul in 2007 and then succeeds GEN Basbug as Commander,
Turkish Land Forces in 2008. LTG Ergin Saygun, the former
Turkish National Military Representative (NMR) to NATO, who
received his fourth star, became TLFC Chief of Staff, not
Aegean Army Commander as previously reported.


LOOKING FORWARD


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





7. (C) Given our significant bilateral and multilateral
issues with Turkey, we must work to quickly develop
relationships with our new TGS counterparts. The HLDG, which
traditionally provided the forum to look to the future with
TGS and develop a joint strategy on issues of mutual
importance, has not been held since 2003. Reinvigoration of
this process early in the tenure of Kosaner and our J-5
counterparts will help to reinforce the importance of the
relationship and set the tone for our work together over the
next year. To start this process, post recommends that GEN
Pace send letters of congratulation to former DCHOD Basbug
and to Kosaner, noting:

1) For Basbug: USG appreciation for Basbug's work on behalf
of the relationship as DCHOD and our hope for his continued
efforts to support the relationship as 1st Army Commander in
Istanbul;

2) For Kosaner: USG appreciation for the cooperative
relationship we shared with his predecessor and our desire to
continue this close working relationship during his tenure --
beginning with the re-invigoration of the HLDG in 2005.
MCELDOWNEY