2005-09-30 13:58:00
Embassy Ankara
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301358Z Sep 05
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005841 


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

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005841


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

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

1. SUMMARY: In a one-hour meeting with APSNA Hadley on
September 23, National Security Council Secretary General
Yigit Alpogan spoke of the importance of opening new channels
of dialogue to enhance the U.S.-Turkish relationship. The
GOT appreciates U.S. support with the accession process, but
what will happen next is up in the air. The image of the
U.S. in Turkey would soar if the U.S. hands over several PKK
leaders as the Turkish public has concluded that the U.S. is
not fighting the PKK. The GOT is concerned with the fate of
the Turkomen in Iraq and asserts that there is no influence
on Iraqi Shiites from Iran. If the U.S. wants Turkey to be a
tangible presence in Central Asia, Turkey will need U.S.
backing. The GOT has not been able to assess the
administration of Iran yet and any non-peaceful use of
Iranian nuclear power would not be tolerated. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) SecGen Alpogan opened by stating that the
U.S.-Turkish relationship is a strategic relationship in
which respect for human rights, rule of law, freedom and
democracy are the cornerstones. He commented that the U.S.
and Turkey must go beyond bilateral relations and look
together to Southeast Europe (the Balkans),the Eastern
Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Caucuses, and Central Asia.
Syria, Iran, Iraq and maybe Lebanon were areas that
U.S.-Turkish cooperation "might be fruitful."

3. (C) Alpogan said that a high-level civilian strategy
group, using the current military group as a model, would be
a way to "fill in the gaps" of this "rich menu" of
international concerns, and that Turkey is ready to
participate. Hadley agreed that there is a need to
institutionalize and regularize U.S.-Turkish discussions on
all levels, noting that there needs to be a common frame of
reference. Alpogan stated that more channels of
communication need to be opened. On this point, Hadley
invited Alpogan to Washington to further discussions.

The European Union

4. (C) Alpogan thanked the U.S. for its behind the scenes
support for Turkey's bid for EU accession. He stated that
Turkey is unhappy at this stage of the process and that
Turkey "did not merit the counter-declaration." Alpogan
bitingly remarked that 600,000 people (Cyprus) have taken 450
million people hostage and "they are dictating to everyone
else." He stated that U.S. efforts are valuable to reaching
the October 3rd goal, but said that he was not really sure
what might happen in the meantime.

Iraq, the PKK, and the Turkomen

5. (C) Turning to Iraq, Alpogan expressed that Turkey wants
a sovereign, independent, unified and united Iraq.
Dismemberment of Iraq would be a catastrophe which might make
for a realigned Middle East. Alpogan stated that while the
Kurdish and Sunni nationalism elements are problems, the
Shiite element is the most dangerous due to the interest of
Iran, Bahrain, Kuwait and the petrol-producing provinces of
eastern Saudi Arabia.

6. (C) Though Alpogan said he did not want to dwell on the
issue, he noted that the image of the U.S. in Turkey is
directly linked to the PKK issue. The Turkish public
perceives that the U.S. is not acting on the PKK problem and
Alpogan stated that "something has to be done." The GOT is
working hand-in-hand with the U.S. in the fight against
terrorism, but wonders why the U.S. is not fighting the PKK
after deeming it a terrorist group. Alpogan opined that the
prestige of the U.S. would skyrocket with the handing over of
a few PKK leaders, as it did when the U.S. returned PKK
leader Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey. The factions provoking the
Turkish public against the U.S. would also be dealt a blow.

7. (C) The Turks are watching developments in Kirkuk, Mosul
and Talafar (three Turkomen cities) with keen interest.
Alpogan stated that the GOT was disappointed that Article 53,
maintaining Kirkuk's autonomous status, was not included in
the Iraqi constitution. If there is Kurdish governance in
Northern Iraq, the GOT will be "disturbed," according to
Alpogan. He further stated that if Kirkuk goes, Iraq will
not stay together, so Kirkuk's special status must be
maintained "at all costs." Alpogan asserted that the
Turkomen population is between 8-10 percent in Iraq and that
the Turkomen are "always in our minds." (Comment: Many
western experts believe that Turkomen comprise less than one
or two percent of the population in Iraq. End Comment.)

8. (C) Hadley agreed that Alpogan's points were good and
that they further underline the need for a strong government
in Iraq. He said that the new government in December would
have to address these points.

9. (C) Alpogan added that as long as the ideological shift
between the Majlis Taklit and the Velayiti Fikr continues,
there will be no influence from Iran on the Shiites of Iraq.
Hadley expressed that the U.S. view is the same and that the
U.S. has been surprised at the level of concern of
neighboring Shiite nations looking at Iranian influence in
Iraq. Former Turkish Ambassador to Iran, Selahattin Alpar
interjected that when and how the U.S. leaves Iraq is
important and not to underestimate the brigades that were
trained in Iran.

Turkey in Central Asia

10. (C) Alpogan was the Turkish Ambassador to Turkmenistan.
Turkey and the countries in Central Asia have religious,
ethnic and historical ties to the area. The Turkish private
sector has invested 15 billion USD and have rebuilt
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and to a lesser extent
Uzbekistan. Alpogan admitted, however, that if the U.S. was
looking to Turkey to be a tangible presence in the region
that it would need U.S. backing. He also admitted that
Turkey's approach in the Ozal era of being "the big brother"
was not right and that "we learned our lesson."

11. (C) Hadley stated that the U.S. and Turkey share a
common interest to spread common values and democracy in
Central Asia. The U.S. sees Turkey's role in the region as
an inspiration, not a model. He noted that Russia sees the
U.S. as trying to keep it out of the region, but that the
U.S. objective, like Turkey's, is to spread freedom and


12. (C) On Iran, Alpogan stated that the basic tenet is
that Iran is Turkey's neighbor. To date, the GOT has been
treating Iran carefully. Alpogan stated that Iran hasn't
"opened their cards yet" and that no one yet knows what kind
of administration Iran has. He asserted that the Iranian
people are more interested in a better standard of living now
and that the Iranian president was only elected because the
public was tired of following reformers. The GOT supports
Iran's nuclear ambition for peaceful means, but anything more
will not be tolerated.

13. (C) Alpogan stated that Iran wants to pipe its natural
gas to Europe through Turkey. He said that there is pressure
from both Iran and Europe, but that the GOT knows how the
U.S. feels.

14. (C) Hadley asked how the U.S. and Turkey can keep the
people of Iran's aspirations for more freedom alive without
empowering the current regime with claims of U.S.
interference. Alpogan noted with a smile that the current
Iranian minister of foreign affairs and his deputy were
nearly declared persona non grata when they were posted in
Turkey, which shows that "life is not so easy for us (Turkey)
now." Amb Alpar noted that the only thing that changed in
the Iranian government was its president - the parliament and
religious leadership are the same. In response to Hadley's
question of keeping aspirations alive, Alpar noted that the
younger generation wants more freedom, but he is not sure
that they will be able to achieve it.