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05ANKARA5825 2005-09-30 13:23:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 005825 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2015

Classified By: CDA Nancy McEldowney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: In a 90-minute meeting with APNSA Hadley on
September 23, Turkish PM Erdogan spoke of the challenges in
the Middle East and the need for concrete steps to promote
democracy. In that context, he stressed his theme of
building personal relations with leaders of Turkey's
neighbors, including Syria and Iran, but also Israel and the
Palestinian Authority, because of the dividends those
relations could reap in the form of encouraging reforms and
democracy. Erdogan was appreciative of U.S. support for
Turkey's EU aspirations and on the fight against the PKK, but
pushed hard for concrete steps against the PKK in northern
Iraq. The PM was scathing in his criticism of Iraqi
President Talabani, whom he said presented himself as the
"President of the Kurds, not the Iraqis" during his UNGA
speech, and expressed concern about the Iraqi constitution,
which had failed to deal with the special status of Kirkuk.
He welcomed Hadley's proposal to establish a strategic
dialogue between the U.S. and Turkey, as well as of the
resumption of High Level Defense Group meetings and companion
meetings between MFA and State Department as a means to
strengthen our strategic partnership. End summary.

2. (C) PM Erdogan opened by describing the U.S.-Turkish
relationship as a strategic partnership that goes back 50
years, and which has expanded and improved over the years
through cooperation in international organizations and on
regional issues. Erdogan focused on the BMENA Initiative as
the way gradually to build democracy in conflict-torn
countries in the region. Progress has been made - the
withdrawal of 34,000 Syrian troops from Lebanon; Israel's
withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Now the Palestinian
Authority must crack down on terrorism to ensure further
progress. Erdogan said he had met with Wolfensohn and PM
Sharon in New York, and Shimon Peres the week before in Italy
and pledged that Turkey would help facilitate the process.
Concrete steps include:

--Creating a "solidarity" group among the Palestinian,
Israeli and Turkish Chambers of Commerce; their first meeting
took place in Turkey, their second on Palestinian territory;
the third would be in Israel;

--The Turkish Union of Stock Exchanges and Chambers of
Commerce was prepared to rebuild the Erez industrial area; PM
Sharon, per Erdogan, had reacted positively. Erdogan
estimated that infrastructure and other construction projects
could employ as many as 5,000 Palestinians.

3. (C) More concrete steps are needed on BMENAI, Erdogan
continued, to ensure it was more than just words. The
Quartet will continue to play an important role. The 9
billion envisioned for infrastructure in the West Bank and
Gaza can be significant, but only with broad cooperation.
Turkey, he claimed, is prepared to contribute its experience,
knowledge and assets.

4. (C) NSA Hadley noted that his trip to Turkey was his
first solo stop as NSA. Stressing the importance of the
strategic partnership and our shared values and interest, he
focused on:

--Europe, describing the U.S. vision of a Europe whole, free
and at peace, with Turkey as a full contributing member - a
step important for both the EU and Turkey. Recognizing
Turkey's frustration with the lead-up to the October 3 start
of accession negotiations, he urged Erdogan to keep his eye
on the prize.

--The Middle East and the region surrounding Turkey, a key
priority for President Bush. To achieve that, we must defeat
terrorism and advance democracy and freedom; Turkey could
play a critical role in both areas. With respect to Iran,
Syria, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, it was important that the
U.S. and Turkey share common policies to the extent possible.

5. (C) Erdogan responded that the BMENAI was a long-term
process that would require countries in the region to acquire
democratic rights - the right to organize, to associate, to
pursue enterprise, as well as the right of free speech.
Progress was piecemeal; each country holds elections, but
they are not without flaws. The key was to create the right
atmosphere, and that was not in the 170-member UN or other
international meetings - a more intimate setting - bilateral
relationship - was needed. Turkey, Erdogan said, should not
be considered a model - that would be presumptuous - but
some in the region could draw inspiration. Democracy,
Erdogan stated, should be a system of "modesty". And
Turkey's democracy remains imperfect; the 59 years since a
multi-party system was established in Turkey have seen 59
governments, and "interventions" (i.e., coups) have no place
in democracy.

6. (C) Bilateral contacts could achieve results, per the PM.
He offered Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip -
completed despite internal opposition - as an example. The
Palestinians should view this not as a victory, but as a step
along the road to democracy. He described the preferable
road via a Turkish proverb: You can fight with the vineyard
owner or you can have the grapes. Turkey would rather
harvest the grapes.

7. (C) Turning to Syria, for decades Turkey and Syria were
nearly enemies. Syria harbored PKK leader Ocalan; the two
countries came to the brink of war. Then they began to talk.
Now the Syrians hand over terrorists to Turkey. The
dialogue began with the Syrians sending their PM to Ankara;
then President Asad came; finally, Erdogan traveled to
Damascus. Prior to his Syrian trip, Erdogan stated, a number
of Europeans asked him to raise issues. They were, he
assured them, already in his talking points. Erdogan claimed
to have told Asad that Syria needed to withdraw from Lebanon
- it was bleeding his treasury dry and creating a bad
international image. The response had come when Turkish
President Sezer traveled to Syria several months later and
Asad told him he would hear of the withdrawal of troops
within one week "as a result of Turkey's request".

8. (C) With respect to terrorists who cross Syria's border
into Iraq, Erdogan said he raised the issue and Syrian
government ministers told him Syria had a long border that
they could not control - much like Turkey's own porous border
with northern Iraq, Erdogan added. In his own electoral
district of Siirt, landmines and IEDs had exploded in recent
weeks, killing and injuring soldiers. Iran, too, was
fighting the PKK.

9. (C) Hadley expressed appreciation for Turkey's role. He
stressed the importance of leadership, especially in the
Palestinian Authority. President Abbas needs to provide
leadership, bring in young people, take control of the
security services. Erdogan agreed fully that Abbas needed to
be strengthened and show leaderhip. On Syria, Hadley
referred to the UN report on PM Hariri's assassination that
Detlef Mehlis was expected to submit in three weeks. Seeking
Erdogan's counsel, Hadley said that many believe the report
will implicate some of the most senior officials in the
Syrian government. Some in the region thought it might bring
down Asad's government. Erdogan demurred, noting he had not
met with Asad in some time. When he had visited Damascus,
however, he had been struck by the apparently relatively high
level of popular support for Asad. On the Hariri
assassination, it was necessary to determine who the killers
were; it could not be left a mystery. Hariri, Erdogan said,
had been a good friend; he tried to maintain relations with
his widow and had met with his son Sa'ad at UNGA.

10. (C) Erdogan's concern was that if Bashar al Asad goes,
it would likely not/not pull Syria toward democracy; just the
opposite. It could push Syria, he stated, into a chaos worse
than that in Iraq and make Turkey's life - and that of all in
the Middle East - more difficult. Asad wanted to make good
use of his relationship with Turkey, Erdogan continued, but
Syria needed a change in mentality. The establishment was
stuck in old-think. Asad was trying to move past his
father's legacy, be more inclusive in parliament, improve
relations with a variety of groups. Over time, hearing
different views could lead to greater understanding.

11. (C) The U.S., Hadley responded, had been frustrated by
Asad. We had gone to him repeatedly over the past two years
urging him to turn his back on terrorism and open the door to
reform. We know that extremists cross into Iraq from Syria.
Asad has done nothing. Now we are going to let the UN
investigation into Hariri's assassination run its course.
The results would come out and we would all have to live with
the consequences, which could be "very consequential."
Erdogan did not respond.

12. (C) Turning to the PKK, Hadley stressed that the U.S.
has no illusions - they are terrorists who kill Turks. We
know part of the problem comes from northern Iraq and we
clearly have not done enough, he stated. Our opportunity
will come as the Iraqi government strengthens, which we hope
will occur after the December elections, and as their
security forces gain strength. President Bush carried the
message to Iraqi President Talabani last week that the U.S.
and Iraq, working with Turkey, need to do more. We can
disrupt the flow of money to the PKK and work to reduce their
support base in Europe. He pledged to tell President Bush
that the one thing we could do to improve relations with
Turkey would be to do more against the PKK.

13. (C) Erdogan thanked Hadley, but responded that Talabani
had no power, no troops and was not the PM. Every day the
PKK disperses itself more widely and becomes more difficult
to track down. The border with Turkey is long and porous.
Pressing, the PM stated that a joint U.S.-Turkish decision to
take action would be "very important." Until we did so, the
PKK would continue its attacks. Yes, it was important to cut
off financing, but the PKK had many sources of income,
including narcotics trafficking. They enjoyed support in
Europe, too, both overt (from a political party in Norway,
for example) and through tolerance for PKK broadcasting.
Erdogan referred to Roj TV's Kurdish broadcasts from Denmark.
"The mothers (in the southeast) know only that language;
they listen and teach their children," said the PM. The
broadcasts help create a structure that threatens Turkey's
unity. Mothers of Turkish soldiers who die at the hands of
the PKK have, he said, lost patience. At funerals, they
shout, "Down with the PKK" in the same breath as "down with
the U.S." (Note: There was discussion in Turkish as to
whether he should tell Hadley this; Hadley responded that he
was already aware of it. End note.)

14. (C) Hadley proposed that the GoT provide the USG with an
inventory by European country of various forms of support
given to the PKK, which we could raise in capitals. Erdogan
reacted positively.

15. (C) Returning to Talabani, Erdogan described him as "not
the President of Iraq but the President of Kurdistan."
Hitting his stride, the PM related that he had confronted
Talabani at the UN and told him that personally. In five
paragraphs, Erdogan said, Talabani had presented greetings
from the Iraq people once, but spoken about Kurdistan and the
Kurds, conveyed greetings from the Kurds and delivered a
portion of his speech in Kurdish. "Are there no Arabs in
Iraq? No Turcomans?" Erdogan asked rhetorically. Talabani
needs to be inclusive, reach out to all Iraqis so that the
entire nation views him as their President. He did not do
it, Erdogan stated.

16. (C) The Iraqi constitution, in Erdogan's view, is deeply
flawed. It could cause major incidents and fail to guarantee
Iraq's territorial integrity. Kirkuk, he stated, must have
special status. Each day more Kurds move into Kirkuk,
creating a new reality and new claims on Iraqi oil resources.
Historically, Kirkuk was not a Kurdish city, but Kurds are
creating a demographic reality on the ground that, under the
constitution, would entitle them to a disproportionate share
of Iraq's oil riches. Moreover, the constitution is creating
rifts among religious groups; it has caused major incidents
in which many lives have been lost - the incident on the
bridge; the recent death of 150; the clashes in Tal Afar.
Steps should have been taken within the constitution to
prevent this; Sunni Arabs should have been involved. The
biggest difficulty was that some articles of the constitution
are not amendable and were, in Erdogan's words, only designed
to benefit Kurds - not a condition that should prevail in a
democracy. Iraq is 65% Shia; that,too will provoke problems.
Elections will likely resolve little.

17. (C) Erdogan was right to be concerned, Hadley responded,
but the U.S. did not think it written in stone that it would
go badly. Not everything was resolved within the framework
of the constitution. At this point, with a weak government,
it was not possible to solve these difficult issues. In our
view, the Iraqis made the right decision to leave some issues
for the government that would be formed after the December
elections. But, he agreed, delay had a cost as the situation
on the ground was changing.

18. (C) Hadley asked Erdogan for a readout of the PM's New
York meeting with Iranian President Ahmedinejad. Erdogan
responded that he had never before met Ahmedinejad, but they
had in common their experience as big city mayors (Erdogan -
Istanbul, and Ahmedinejad - Tehran). He implied that
Ahmedinejad was not as modernizing as one of his Tehran
mayoral predecessors, with whom Erdogan had enjoyed a warm
relationship and inaugurated Istanbul and Tehran as sister
cities. Erdogan spoke with Ahmedinejad about terrorism and
WMD. The Iranian President told him that he was determined
to continue the process with the IAEA, but that Iran needed
cheap, safe, peaceful energy; Iran, he told Erdogan, was
making no efforts to build WMD. Were that the case, Erdogan
noted, it would certainly be of concern to Turkey. Turkey,
too, he added, is looking into nuclear power to lower the KWH
cost of energy for its industry which, at 7 cents, renders
Turkish industry uncompetitive. Erdogan again stressed the
importance of "talking".

19. (C) Hadley responded that we, indeed, hoped Iran would
want to reopen discussions with the EU-3. Erdogan agreed,
saying they had to, or they risked further isolation. The
U.S., Erdogan said, offering Turkey's good offices, "should
have confidence in us; we can assume major responsibility.
We know their language, we can understand their culture, we
can sit down and discuss, together with the IAEA." Hadley
emphasized the difference between the peaceful use of nuclear
energy, and enriching or reprocessing uranium. He pointed
out that even if the Iranians undertook enrichment or
reprocessing under IAEA supervision, they could at some point
kick the IAEA out and start producing weapons.

20. (C) In closing, Hadley proposed that we re-start the
High Level Defense Group (HLDG) process with Turkey, which
has lain dormant for two years, and inaugurate a similar
structured dialogue between their Foreign Ministry and the
State Department. Erdogan responded enthusiastically,
proposing that the Interior Ministry be included as well
because of its responsibilities in the fight against
terrorism. Hadley concurred.

21. (C) As the meeting broke up, Erdogan pulled Hadley aside
to ask U.S. help on the EU, and to press the Austrians to
leave Turkey's EU negotiating framework as is. It was in any
event not an ideal document, Erdogan said, but Turkey was
prepared to accept it as is. What Turkey could not accept
was any attempt to move the Cyprus negotiations out of the UN