Ankara2 Wikileaks

S E C R E T ANKARA 000126 
SIPDIS 
FOR BACKGROUND 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2020 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MASS MARR TU AF PK IR IZ IS AM
SUBJECT: SECRETARY GATES' TURKEY BILATERAL VISIT: 
SCENESETTER 
Classified By: Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, Reasons 1.4 (a,b,d) 
1. (S) PM Erdogan welcomed President Obama's reiteration of 
support to the fight against the PKK during the December 7 
meeting in the Oval Office, but the Secretary should expect 
questions about how we will operationalize that commitment as 
plans to withdraw from Iraq move forward.  A key issue will 
be how to reduce the gap between the time when the U.S. is no 
longer able to provide ISR support and when we will be able 
to help Turkey acquire its own capability.  On missile 
defense, we will look for the Secretary's help in advancing 
our work with Turkey to persuade the Turks to allow a key 
radar system to be based here.  The Turks are struggling to 
define what they will need in terms of NATO political cover 
to lessen the high cost - both in terms of domestic politics 
and in relations with Iran - that Erdogan's government 
believes it will have to pay should they agree. 

 2. (S) Although our agenda with Turkey is broad and complex, 
the following issues are likely to come up during the 
Secretary's trip: 
"Need To Raise" 
---------------- 
- Our commitment to continue sharing real-time intelligence 
to support Turkey's counter-PKK fight, but caution that the 
process for Turkey to acquire an armed UAV system from the 
U.S. will be long and complex. (para 3-5, 14) 
- The need for a NATO BMD system with Turkey's participation 
and the Iranian threat against NATO interests. (para 6-9) 
- Appreciation for Turkey's efforts on Afghanistan/Pakistan, 
particularly for its new commitments to training security 
forces. (para 10-11) 
- Appreciation for support to OIF/OEF through Turkey's 
territory, including the Incirlik Cargo Hub; easing transit 
of non-lethal mil cargo shipments from Iraq to Afghanistan. 
(para 12) 
- Our advocacy support for Raytheon and Sikorsky on sales of 
air defense systems and utility helicopters (para 13). 
"Be Ready To Respond On" 
------------------------ 
- Pressure for direct U.S. milops against the PKK (paras 5) 
- Turkish requests for 24/7 Predator coverage of the 
Turkey-Iraq border to counter PKK operations and activities 
(para 5). 
- Turkish requests for immediate delivery of AH-1W 
helicopters (para 15) 
Counter - PKK Operations: Still Turkey's Top Priority 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
3. (C) Turkey's counter-terrorist efforts against the PKK 
have evolved in the past year and have expanded beyond 
military action alone.  Although the government's renamed 
National Unity Project (initially called the "Kurdish 
Opening") was not fully developed when launched and appears 
to be moving slowly, the government has increased social and 
economic support to ethnic Kurds in southeast Turkey, 
dramatically broadened the rights of Kurds to use their own 
language, and increased educational opportunities as well. 
It is post's view that the military success against the PKK, 
supported by our intelligence-sharing operation, has given 
the civilians the political space to explore this opening and 
to deal directly with Masoud Barzani and other Iraqi Kurds. 
Turkish military operations against the PKK continue, 
however, and on October 6, 2009 Parliament extended the 
government's mandate to conduct cross-border operations 
against the PKK in Iraq for another year.  Turkey's leaders 
have learned from us and from their own experience that only 
a whole-of-government approach will succeed against the PKK 
insurgency. 
4. (C) Our November 2007 decision to share operational 
intelligence was a turning point for the bilateral 
relationship, and President Obama's declaration before the 
Turkish Parliament in April 2009 and during his oval office 
meeting with Erdogan in December 2009 of our continuing 
commitment to support Turkey's fight against the PKK were 
warmly welcomed.  Our cooperation has helped to improve the 
bilateral relationship across the board, particularly by 
making it difficult for PKK terrorists to use northern Iraq 
as a safe haven.  We can never reiterate enough our 
continuing committment, as President Obama did effectively 
with PM Erdogan in December. 
5. (C) Nevertheless, Turkish causalities are still occurring. 
Turkey still looks for more support, and will press us for 
more concrete action before the U.S. completes its withdrawal 
from Iraq.  CHOD Basbug will likely repeat the GOT's request 
for laser-designation of targets and/or direct U.S. 
operations against the PKK.  In December, PM Erdogan also 
asked POTUS for 24-hour Predator coverage.  At present we 
provide approximately 12-hour coverage, with an occasional 
surge to 24 hours to support specific Turkish operations, 
such as against High Value Targets.  A move to 24-hour 
coverage is not easy due to resources requirements elsewhere; 
however, we may be able to provide a few weeks of 24-hour 
coverage during crucial spring months, and are working with 
TGS to determine exactly where and when it would be most 
useful to do so, and what assets the Turkish military would 
employ if additional UAV support is made available. 
Missile Defense 
---------------- 
6. (S) The Turks asked us to postpone a return visit from 
Ellen Tauscher, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and 
International Security, as they are still considering how 
best to respond to our request to base an AN/TPY-2 and 
(potentially) other MD assets in Turkey.  While some of the 
Turks' technical questions remain unanswered, the key 
questions are now political.  During his meeting with 
President Obama, PM Erdogan said that such a system must be 
implemented in a NATO context to diminish the political cost 
that his government will likely bear, both in terms of 
domestic politics and in Turkey's relations with Iran.  The 
ball is now in the court of the civilian leaders here to 
determine just "how much NATO" will be enough for them 
politically; NATOs inability to fund an "interim capability" 
makes it harder for us to show parallel development of a NATO 
BMD system with PAA.  Erdogan is concerned that Turkey's 
participation might later give Israel protection from an 
Iranian counter-strike. 
7. (S) We have made the point to the Turks that a decision to 
not base the AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey is essentially a 
decision to opt out of missile defense coverage for Turkey; 
this would not be a political consequence, but just a fact 
based on physics and geometry.  It is important to make this 
point again (gently) with PM Erdogan, but also underscore 
that we value Turkey's participation and will try to 
"NATOize" the system, if Turkey will tell us how much NATO 
would be enough. 
8. (S) Behind all this, we fear, is a manifestation of both 
the Turkish government's, and to some degree the Turkish 
public's, growing distancing from the Atlanticist world view 
now that most dangers for Turkey are gone.  While Turks are 
not naive about Iran (see below), MD places them in a pickle, 
forcing them to choose between the U.S./West and a Middle 
East "vocation" - which, while not necessarily includes 
coddling Iran, requires palpable space between Turkey and 
"the West." 
Iran 
---- 
9. (S) Turkey understands and partially shares U.S. and 
international concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, but is 
hesitant to use harsh language in public statements, in part 
due to its dependence on Iran as an energy supplier and as a 
trade route to Central Asian markets.  It has worked quietly 
with us to prevent some proliferation-sensitive shipments to 
and from Iran.  Turkey's top civilian and military officials 
may have come to the conclusion that a military strike 
against Iran would be more harmful for Turkey's interests 
than Iran gaining a nuclear weapons capability; they believe 
international pressure against Iran only helps to strengthen 
Ahmadinejad and the hard-liners.  PM Erdogan himself is a 
particularly vocal skeptic of the U.S. position.  However, 
Turkey did press Iran (albeit quietly) to accept the P5 plus 
1 Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) offer and FM Davutoglu had 
been personally engaged in trying to rescue the TRR deal, 
which would have removed a significant portion of Iran's 
lowly-enriched uranium stockpile.  As a current member of the 
UNSC, the Turks would be very hesitant to support sanctions 
against Iran.  We need nevertheless to encourage PM Erdogan 
to support UN actions if Iran does not comply with Iran's 
international obligations while underscoring that we view 
Iran's program as a serious threat to NATO interests in 
Europe and would like to see a non-military solution 
(including Turkish participation in NATO BMD). 
Afghanistan/Pakistan 
---------------------- 
10. (SBU) Turkey has been a dedicated partner in Afghanistan. 
It has commanded ISAF twice since its inception and again 
took command of RC-Capital in November. Turkey leads PRT 
Wardak and plans to open a second PRT in Jawzjan (also 
covering Sar-e-Pol) in mid-2010.  Turkey has sponsored the 
"Ankara Process" dialogue, one of several efforts to 
encourage constructive communications between Kabul and 
Islamabad, and is a leading participant in the Friends of 
Democratic Pakistan.  It hosted a trilateral summit on 
January 25 and a Afghanistan Regional Summit (including all 
of Afghanistan's immediate neighbors as well as select other 
countries including the U.S.) on January 26, just prior to 
the January 28 London Conference on Afghanistan. 
11. (C) Turkey pledged significant aid to both countries: 
USD 200 million to Afghanistan and USD 100 million to 
Pakistan, as well as USD 1.5 million to the ANA.  There are 
1750 Turkish troops in Afghanistan, and Turkey has four OMLTs 
currently in Kabul and, since December, pledged two more 
OMLTs and one POMLT. Because of its culture, history and 
religious orientation, as well as Foreign Minister 
Davutoglu's strategic ambition, Turkey is well disposed to 
act as an agent of the international community's goals in 
Afghanistan and Pakistan.  In 2010, Turkey has pledged to 
offer 6-8 week trainings for up to a brigade's worth of 
Afghan military and police personnel in Turkey and will 
establish a training center in Kabul capable of training up 
to 600 ANSA personnel at a time. 
Retrograde through Turkey 
------------------------- 
12. (S) Turkey's agreement to allow us to use its territory, 
facilities and airspace has been essential to our ability to 
support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We now look to 
expand current capabilities to transit materiel from Iraq to 
join up with the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) to 
Afghanistan.  CENTCOM logisticians, working with us and our 
EUCOM Office of Defense Cooperation, seek to take advantage 
of improved commercial ties between Turkey and Iraq to move 
non-lethal equipment across Turkey to join the NDN.  We are 
working to expand our current retrograde agreements to 
minimize the time and bureaucracy involved, and to expand 
permissions to allow non-lethal military equipment, including 
armored transport vehicles. 
Advocacy for U.S. Defense Industry 
---------------------------------- 
13.  (C) We much appreciate SecDef's help in advocating for 
U.S. firms competing for key projects in Turkey, and hope he 
can raise both Sikorsky's and Raytheon's cases in person. 
Sikorsky's "International Blackhawk" proposal holds 
remarkable benefits.  This deal represents a new level of 
industrial partnership; Sikorsky guarantees that it would 
build in Turkey - for sale outside of Turkey - one Blackhawk 
for each one the GOT builds and buys for itself; this is a 
boon of hundreds of millions of dollars for the Turkish 
economy.  On Air Defense, Raytheon's PAC-3 is competing in a 
tender for Turkey's air defense.  Raytheon also seeks to take 
advantage of Turkish industry's ability to co-produce complex 
systems with us and would produce systems for sale in the UAE 
and elsewhere.  The benefit to Turkey's economy from such 
co-production would likely exceed USD 1 billion.  Technically 
and operationally, there is no system which can compete with 
the PAC-3, but Turkey's Defense Ministry seeks to broaden 
competition to include lower-cost options from Russia and 
even from European producers.  Raytheon often asks us to 
remind the Turks that a decision on requests for support on 
Missile Defense should not necessarily affect a decision on 
PAC-3. 
UAV's, Attack Helicopters, and Intel Surge 
------------------------------------------ 
14. (C) Turkey seeks to acquire, on an urgent basis, its own 
ISR capability to replace the US assets currently being used 
in anti-PKK operations.  President Obama told PM Erdogan in 
December that we support Turkey's request to acquire armed 
Reaper UAVs.  Nevertheless, approval for armed Reapers is 
complicated due to Hill concerns.  We have explained this to 
the Turks.  However, even if those could be overcome, the 
delivery pipeline for these systems is long, and Turkey's 
leaders have sought reassurance that we will not pull our 
intelligence support until they can replace it.  While we are 
working to enhance Turkey's ISR capabilities, we have not 
made this commitment to date. 
15. (C) Bad GOT procurement decisions led Turkey to a severe 
shortage of dual engine, high altitude attack helicopters, 
which it desperately needs to fight the PKK.  PM Erdogan 
raised this issue with the President in December 2009; SecDef 
should expect this issue to be a top priority in meetings 
with Minister Gonul and with GEN Basbug.  The Turks took 
SecDef's May 2009 letter to provide up to four AH-1W 
helicopters each in 2011, 2012 and 2013 as a firm commitment, 
and now have asked us to advance that date to 2010.  They do 
not accept our explanation that these aircraft are simply not 
available from our inventory, as they believe they have -- 
just like the U.S. -- "troops in contact" and need the close 
tactical support.  While SecDef should make no commitment, we 
should also explore whether we can persuade Taiwan to sell or 
lease some of its own AH-1W aircraft now that Taiwan is 
taking delivery of Apaches. 
Support For The US-Turkey-Iraq "Tripartite Security Dialogue" 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 
16. (S) SecDef's visit will take place just as USFI's GEN 
Odierno will have left.  We expect that GEN Odierno's visit 
will give a political boost to the U.S.-Turkey-Iraq 
Tripartite Security talks.  Turkey's civilian leaders are 
taking heat from their domestic political opposition for 
pressing the "Kurdish Opening" while casualties from PKK 
attacks continue.  They hope to use GEN Odierno's visit to 
show that their whole-of-government approach against PKK 
insurgency is producing results and that it has the support 
of senior USG officials in Iraq. 
17.  (S) Trilateral meetings continue regularly and a new 
Tripartite operational office in Erbil, established to share 
counter-PKK intelligence was established over the summer. 
The most recent tri-lat meeting took place in Baghdad in 
December, followed by a joint Turkey-Iraq visit in Erbil. 
The Turks remain frustrated that, in their view, the KRG is 
not doing enough to combat the PKK.  The Turks remain shy in 
sharing intelligence data; they are not convinced that they 
can trust Iraqi/Kurdish individuals to keep information 
concerning operations secret.  Turkish officials have become 
more strident in their calls for KRG officials to take action 
against the PKK. The cooperation that does exist is a step in 
the right direction; however, it will need to improve 
significantly prior to the U.S. pullout of Iraq.  CHOD Basbug 
and PM Ergodan want the U.S. to put more pressure on the 
Iraqis - and particularly Masoud Barzani - to take actions to 
cut PKK supply and logistics lines in northern Iraq.  We 
should stress the need for more trust and collaboration 
between Turkey and Iraq, eventually on Turkish CBOs.  Absent 
greater cooperation, we could see significant bilateral 
problems post-2011, to include Iraqi claims of Turkey's 
violation of its sovereign territory. 
Northern Iraq 
-------------- 
18. (C) Turkey will not consider any alternative to the 
political unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, but has 
become more flexible on how it engages "the local authorities 
of northern Iraq" (how Turkey refers officially to the 
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)).  Turkey's policy remains 
focused on the government in Baghdad, but its outreach to the 
KRG is expanding.  This outreach is reinforced by the 
continued dominance of Turkish products and investments in 
the KRG's healthy economy. 
Armenia 
------- 
19. (S) The signing of the Protocols to reestablish 
Turkish-Armenian relations and open the common border in 
Zurich on October 10 was a landmark for the region.  However, 
neither Turkey nor Armenia have taken steps toward 
ratification; the GOT argues that progress toward withdrawal 
of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani provinces surrounding 
Nagorno-Karabakh is a pre-condition.  (Note:  This was 
not/not part of the agreement, and not a position the U.S. 
supports.  End note.)  Future relations will nevertheless 
still be heavily linked to the 1915 "Armenian genocide" 
issue.  Any U.S. determination of the events of 1915 as 
"genocide" would set off a political firestorm in Turkey, and 
the effect on our bilateral relationship -- including 
political, military, and commercial aspects -- would be 
devastating. 
Israel 
------ 
20. (C) While the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish General 
Staff agree with us that a strong Turkey-Israel relationship 
is essential for regional stability, PM Erdogan has sought to 
shore up his domestic right flank through continued populist 
rhetoric against Israel and its December 2008 Gaza operation. 
His outburst at Davos and the last-minute cancellation of 
Israel's participation in the Fall 2009 Anatolian Eagle 
Exercise (a multilateral Air Force exercise which had US, 
Turkey, Italy, and Israel as planned participants) were the 
most noticeable examples of this rhetoric, which we and his 
staff have sought to contain.  The latest incident, a snub in 
early January of the Turkish Ambassador by Israeli Deputy 
Foreign Minster Danny Ayalon, almost caused the GOT to both 
recall its Ambassador and cancel the visit of Israeli Defense 
Minister Ehud Barak.  However, the very public row was 
resolved with an Israeli apology and Barak's visit on January 
17 helped to stem the downward spiral for now.  Nevertheless, 
we assess that Erdogan is likely to continue anti-Israel 
remarks and the issues will continue to cast a shadow on the 
TU-IS bilateral relationship. 
Political Environment 
--------------------- 
21. (C) PM Erdogan's Islamist-leaning Justice and Development 
(AK) Party remains Turkey's strongest political party,  but 
its poll numbers are slumping, and it continues to fear an 
erosion of its political base from more conservative/Islamist 
parties.  Civilian-military relations remain complex.  Chief 
of Staff General Basbug has worked out a modus vivendi with 
PM Erdogan, but the long-running struggle between Turkey's 
secularists (with the Army as its champion) and Islamists 
(represented by the government) naturally puts them at odds. 
Erdogan has the clear upper hand, a fact with which Basbug 
has seemingly learned to live.  Alleged past military 
involvement in coup contingency planning or even deliberate 
generation of internal chaos remains political theme number 
one and preoccupies both Erdogan and Basbug and their 
respective underlings.  Public trust in the military is 
starting to decline, the result of several very public 
on-going investigations into the alleged planning against the 
government. 
Jeffrey