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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08ANKARA965
2008-05-21 13:35:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TURKEY: STOPPING THE FLOW OF FOREIGN FIGHTERS TO

Tags:   PTER  PREL  ASEC  IZ  SY  TU 
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VZCZCXRO9713
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHAK #0965/01 1421335
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211335Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6348
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 4235
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU//TCH// PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000965 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2028
TAGS: PTER PREL ASEC IZ SY TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: STOPPING THE FLOW OF FOREIGN FIGHTERS TO
IRAQ; URBANCIC FOLLOW-UP

REF: A. STATE 50888

B. ANKARA 487

C. 06 AMMAN 8495

Classified By: Political Counselor Janice Weiner. Reasons: 1.4 (b) (d)
.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000965

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2028
TAGS: PTER PREL ASEC IZ SY TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: STOPPING THE FLOW OF FOREIGN FIGHTERS TO
IRAQ; URBANCIC FOLLOW-UP

REF: A. STATE 50888

B. ANKARA 487

C. 06 AMMAN 8495

Classified By: Political Counselor Janice Weiner. Reasons: 1.4 (b) (d)
.


1. (C) Summary. Turkey is acutely aware of the Al Qaeda
Network (AQN) threat and is actively collecting against it,
an MFA official told us May 20. Turkey cannot, however,
engage in broad "profiling" of young male travelers. Urged
to consider new border security and information-sharing
arrangements with the United States and regional partners, he
noted both political and technical considerations.
Separately, he observed that a review of Turkey's
counterterrorism laws was "on going." The upcoming visit of
DHS Secretary Chertoff offers a prime opportunity to press
for closer counterterrorism cooperation. End summary.

Enhanced Collection on AQN
--------------

2. (C) Turkey is already highly focused on intelligence
collection against possible Al Qaeda Network (AQN)
facilitators, financiers and recruiters within Turkey, MFA
Security Affairs official Metin Ergin told us May 20. The
Turkish government is acutely aware of the AQN threat. While
many people focus on the bombings in London and Madrid,
Istanbul, too, was the site of major AQN attacks in 2004, he
reminded us.

Increased Regional Information Sharing
--------------

3. (C) Asked about increased regional information sharing,
Ergin responded that Turkey already enjoys robust information
sharing on terrorists with key relevant countries. Pressed
about the nature of those relationships, he acknowledged they
were largely informal arrangements between law enforcement
officials and intelligence agencies. We urged that Turkey
continue to strengthen those ties, including through more
formal arrangements.

Increased Screening of Young Male
Travelers to Countries of Concern
--------------

4. (C) Asked whether Turkey had increased its scrutiny of
young male travelers destined for Syria and other countries
of concern, as requested by S/CT PDAS Urbancic in early

February (Ref B), Ergin insisted that Turkey's immigration
officials maintain good border controls, including through
the use of specific information provide by the United States.
Pressed about special screening for young male travelers
headed to Syria and possibly Iraq, Ergin stated that for both
political and diplomatic reasons, Turkey cannot impose
"profiling" by broad categories, such as "males between the
ages of 17-25," for example. More specific information or
more narrow criteria are needed. He recalled that Turkey
used broad profiling against Kurds in its war against the PKK
in the 1990s, and soon learned such an approach was
counter-productive. "Targeting" a certain male age group
would have diplomatic consequences, he asserted. He invited
the United States to provide more specific information,
including more recent statistics on the flow of foreign
fighters into Iraq.

Improved Travel Documents
--------------

5. (C) When asked about Turkish efforts to enhance the
quality of its travel documents and increase vigilance
against the use of fraudulent documents, Ergin stated that
Turkey is working to improve its own documents and ward
against their misuse. Fraudulent foreign travel documents,
he admitted, were more difficult problem. We used the
discussion to urge GOT consideration of various biometric and
other information-sharing arrangements offered by USG
agencies in recent months and to argue the need for greater
regional biometric sharing on terrorists, as proposed to
Turkey and other regional players in at the Amman November
2006 biometrics conference (Ref C). Ergin took the comments
on board and promised to share with his superiors, noting
that both political and technical decisions were involved.


ANKARA 00000965 002 OF 002


Information Campaign to Undercut Public Support for AQN
-------------- --------------

6. (C) Ergin acknowledged sympathy among many Turkish people
for insurgents in Iraq, including, to an extent, for Al Qaeda
in Iraq (AQI). He speculated that public opinion polls
likely reflect disapproval of U.S. policy rather than actual
support for AQI. He pointed to the lack of positive or
constructive media reports on coalition efforts and
developments like the "Anbar Awakening." At the same time,
the Internet features videos of coalition soldiers using
puppies for target practice and similar negative incidents.
Asked for suggestions, we proposed encouraging more balanced
media coverage, including successes and constructive actions
by coalition forces, as well as more coverage of the death
and destruction caused by AQI and insurgents groups.

Security cooperation with Syria
--------------

7. (C) Turkey and Syria have a security cooperation
relationship that includes border security cooperation, Ergin
explained. Asked to use Turkey's influence to press Syria to
stop Syrian citizens from traveling to Iraq to conduct
terrorist operations and to stop the transit of foreign
fighters, he promised to relay the request to his superiors.

Urbancic Follow-up
--------------

8. (C) We used the meeting to request an update on other
counterterrorism proposals made by S/CT PDAS Urbancic (Ref
B), starting with strengthening Turkey's counterterrorism
laws. Ergin noted that studies of Turkey's
counterterrorism-related laws were "on going"; it was not
possible to say, however, whether legislative change would
result. Some legal experts argue the current criminal code
already allows law enforcement to deal with all actions, even
if not defined as "terrorism." The review of the laws was
nonetheless ongoing to determine if there were any loopholes.


Comment
--------------

9. (C) While the PKK continues to pose the most direct
terrorist threat to Turkey, Turkish authorities insist they
are also focused on AQN. Turkey is now considering several
U.S. information sharing arrangements briefed recently in
Ankara and Washington. The upcoming visit of DHS Secretary
Chertoff offers a prime opportunity to press the Turks on
closer counterterrorism cooperation.


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

WILSON