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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08ANKARA1405
2008-08-06 14:17:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TURKEY: GOT OUTLINES AHMADINEJAD VISIT

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  IR  TU 
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INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
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RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU PRIORITY
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001405 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/SE, NEA/IR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV IR TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: GOT OUTLINES AHMADINEJAD VISIT

REF: A. ANKARA 1368

B. ANKARA 1379 (NOTAL)

Classified By: Ambassador Ross Wilson, reasons 1.4 (b,d)



1. (C) BEGIN SUMMARY. Iranian President Ahmadinejad will
visit Turkey August 14, in what the GOT is describing to us
as a "working visit." He will travel only to Istanbul -- not
Ankara -- where he will meet with President Gul and, most
likely, PM Erdogan. The visit has not been officially
announced and no specific program has yet been decided;
Iranian Deputy FM Sheikh-Attar and a sizable advance team
will visit Ankara August 6 for meeting preparation. Based on
the composition of Sheikh-Attar's delegation, the Turks
believe the Iranians wish to focus on energy. The GOT is not
predicting any breakthroughs with the Iranians, but believes
every country with influence on Iran should be doing its best
to persuade Iran to respond positively to the refreshed P5/1
offer and enter into substantive negotiations on its nuclear
program. Turkey, the GOT emphasizes, is not seeking to
mediate between the P5/1 and Iran. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) MFA DDG for South Asia and Iran Babur Hizlan told us
that the GOT, after months of pressure from Tehran, decided
to offer Ahmadinejad a "working visit" -- not a state visit
-- on August 14. An overnight and August 15 program is
possible, but has not yet been scheduled; the Iranians are
notorious for changing plans at the last minute. According
to Hizlan, President Gul was already scheduled to be in
Istanbul. Plus, meeting there helps the GOT avoid the
inevitable controversy of the Iranian leader not wishing to
visit Ataturk's mausoleum, Anitkabir. Turkish media
nonetheless seized on reports the trip would exclude Ankara
because of Ahmadinejad's refusal to pay homage to Turkey's
founder. FM Babacan stoked the controversy August 4 by
commenting that the substance of the visit should be the
focus and not "minor details." Hizlan said Ahmadinejad's
unwillingness to lay a wreath at Anitkabir was an obstacle to
his coming to Ankara, but noted that, despite the press
hysteria, there is precedence for such a visit: former
President Iranian Rafsanjani visited Ankara without calling
on Anitkabir. Protocol aside, by scheduling it in the middle
of August and steering clear of the capital, the GOT hopes to
give Ahmadinejad's visit a lower profile, though Hizlan
agreed the Iranians will try to hype it. Hizlan reminded
that previous Turkish President Sezer visited Iran in 2002,
during the Khatami presidency (the last presidential visit
between the two sides), but then refused to reciprocate an
invitation to Ahmadinejad. Gul finally invited the Iranian
president, but would only accept this "working visit" formula.



3. (C) An Iranian protocol team is traveling to Istanbul and
a large advance team led by Iranian Deputy FM Sheikh-Attar is
visiting Ankara August 6 to prepare for the Ahmadinejad
visit. Based on the composition of Sheikh-Attar's
delegation, Hizlan believes the Iranians wish to focus on
energy. A wide range of other subjects will likely be
discussed, including the nuclear issue, border management and
security, and regional (Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq)
affairs.



4. (C) We reiterated the points in reftel, arguing that
scheduling the visit now will contrast negatively with Iran's
failure to respond clearly and positively to the refreshed
P5/1 offer and its continued defiance of the international
community. Hizlan said a political decision on the visit has
been made. In any case, there has never been a good time for
Turkey to host Ahmadinejad, suggesting MFA, at least, will be
happy to get this visit finally over with. Turkey did not
consider conditioning Ahmadinejad's visit on a favorable
response from Tehran to the refreshed P5/1 offer, but Hizlan
suggested subsequent high-level exchanges might be
conditioned on such progress. While Turkey is the first NATO
country to receive Ahmadinejad bilaterally, it is the only
NATO country neighboring Iran, he underlined.



5. (C) Hizlan stressed that Turkey wants a negotiated,
diplomatic solution to this crisis and would try its best to
convince Iran to accept the existing, P5/1 mechanism; the GOT
neither supports nor plans to introduce any new mechanism.
He emphasized that Turkey has no intermediary role between
Iran and the P5/1; even Tehran has denied explicitly such a
role for Turkey. According to Hizlan, every country with
influence on Iran should be using it to try to persuade Iran
to respond to the P5/1 offer and enter into substantive
negotiations. He noted that France had reportedly implored
the Syrians to do the same thing.



6. (C) The GOT is hopeful but not optimistic that it can
realistically persuade Iran to at least freeze its existing
enrichment program. Hizlan believes the Iranians want to
enter into negotiations, but are so far only willing to talk
about talking. Hizlan believes suspending nuclear enrichment
is a major hurdle for Iran: it has a built-in suspicion of
any and all potential nuclear suppliers, Russia and Turkey
included, and is not convinced the United States would ever
allow it to be treated as a regular NPT country, with a right
to civilian nuclear technology.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON