C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 ANKARA 000302



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2020


Classified By: AMB James F. Jeffrey, for reasons 1.4 (b,d)

1. (C) Summary:  During February 18 “Shared Vision and
Structured Dialogue” meetings in Ankara,   Turkish MFA
Undersecretary Sinirlioglu:

— Appealed for “simultaneity” between Armenian Protocols
ratification and the Minsk Process;
— Registered increasing GoT dissatisfaction with Iraqi PM
— Expressed hope USF-I CG Odierno’s engagement would elicit
substantive cooperation from the KRG against the terrorist
— Urged higher profile USG involvment in the Cyprus
reunification talks, and;
— Confirmed GoT interest in further dialogue on missile

End Summary.


2. (C) Burns strongly urged Sinirlioglu to support action to
convince the Iranian government it is on the wrong course.
Sinirliolgu reaffirmed the GoT’s opposition to a nuclear
Iran; however, he registered fear about the collateral impact
military action might have on Turkey and contended sanctions
would unite Iranians behind the regime and harm the
opposition.  Burns acknowledged Turkey’s exposure to the
economic effects of sanctions as a neighbor to Iran, but
reminded Sinirlioglu Turkish interests would suffer if Israel
were to act militarily to forestall Iran’s acquisition of
nuclear weapons or if Egypt and Saudi Arabia were to seek
nuclear arsenals of their own.  He said the international
community’s patience with Iran had been met with the Iranian
refusal, since October, to work with the P5-plus-1, the
clandestine enrichment facility near Qom and Tehran’s recent
decison to enrich its low-enriched uranium to 20%.  The
IAEA’s creative proposal to fabricate new fuel assemblies for
the Tehran Research Reactor had stumbled on a technically
unfeasible Iranian counter-offer for a simultaneous exchange
in Iran of Iranian fuel for fuel assemblies.  Carefully
constructed sanctions, Burns argued, targeting the
increasingly pervasive economic power of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard Corps, would convey the international
community’s unity and determination.  “We’ll keep the door
open to engagement,” he stressed.  A visibly disheartened
Sinirlioglu conceded a unified message is important.  He
acknowledged the countries of the region perceive Iran as a
growing threat:  “Alarm bells are ringing even in Damascus.”


3. (C) Sinirlioglu appealed for “simultaneity” between
Armenian Protocols ratification and the Minsk Process.  He
emphasized “a strong reaction” against the protocols among
ruling party MPs had to be overcome before the government
would hazard a ratification effort.  He warned Congressional
passage of an Armenian genocide resolution would “complicate”
his government’s domestic political calculations regarding
ratification.  He said if something acceptable to Azerbaijani
President Aliyev can found, then “we can move” the protocols
forward.  Sinirlioglu suggested Azerbaijan and Armenia’s
announcement of an agreed framework for Minsk Group progress
would provide the GoT with the necessary political cover.
Burns inquired about the prospect for progress on a natural
gas deal between Turkey and Azerbaijan.  Sinirlioglu implied

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Aliyev is holding an agreement hostage to Turkey’s handling
of the protocols:  “He doesn’t trust us.”


4. (C) Sinirlioglu registered the GoT’s increasing
dissatisfaction with PM Malaki and fear that he is tending
“to get out of control.”  “He is preoccupied with his
political survival;” nevertheless, Sinirlioglu continued,
the GoT is in frequent contact with him.  The MFA hosted
Maliki advisors Sadiq al Rikabi and Tariq al Najmi to
meetings 10 days prior.  Sinirlioglu lamented Iran’s efforts
to influence the election.  He noted Saudi Arabia is also
“throwing around money” among the political parties in Iraq
because it is unwilling to accept the inevitability of Shia
dominance there.  “We want a free, transparent and fair
election,” he said, “we need to forestall a deepening of the
sectarian divide.”

5. (C) After the March 7 elections, Sinirlioglu said, Turkey
would initiate an effort to connect Iraqi gas fields to the
Turkish grid via a 300 kilometer pipeline, costing USD 500
million.  He asserted the pipeline could begin pumping within
two years.  He alleged Iranian opposition to the pipeline
because most of Iraq’s gas fields are in Kurdish and Sunni
areas.  Sinirlioglu advocated a second pipeline that would
give Iraqi oil an alternative to the Gulf as a route to
Europe once the country is able to meet its OPEC quota.  He
asserted the piplines’ construction would pull the several
Iraqi communities together into a common project.  The
creation of new “common assets,” he said, could be more
important for its politically unifying effect than its
economic impact.

6. (C) Sinirlioglu registered his appreciation for USF-I
Commanding General Odierno’s recent visit.  He hoped for the
early drafting of an action plan that would elicit more
cooperation from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)
against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
leadership harboring in northern Iraq:  “We want the KRG to
understand that working with us is important.”


7. (C) Burns focused on Turkey’s strained relationship with
Israel.  Sinirlioglu argued “the problem is not bilateral,
but general.”  He attributed increasing regional country
frustration with Israel to the stalled Peace Process,
especially on the Palestinian track.  He blamed the lack of
progress on Israeli intransigence, which caused regional
stake-holders to question Netanyahu’s goals.  He contended
the “humanitarian situation in Gaza,” which is not a
punishment of Hamas, but of the Gazan people, fed Turkish
popular anger against Israel.  Even so, bilateral cooperation
with Israel is continuing.  Turkey is acquiring Israeli
military equipment, notably Heron UAVs.  Direct flights
between the two countries are routine.  Two-way trade is
healthy, he said, tourism has dropped re
cently, but “will
recover.”  Sinirlioglu described Israeli Defense Minister
Ehud Barak’s mid-January visit as “very good.”  He noted the
MFA is exploring the possibility of arranging a meeting
between the two prime ministers on the margins of an
international gathering.  Returning to a GoT obsession, he
recalled the Turkey-brokered Syria-Israel proximity talks,
“which were shattered by Cast Lead,” Israel’s December 2008
military operation in Gaza.  Burns noted Syria places high
value on Turkey’s role as a mediator and repeated Senator
Mitchell’s statement that Turkey-brokered proximity talks can
make an important contribution to the Peace Process.

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8. (C) Sinirlioglu contended Turkey’s diplomatic efforts are
beginning to pull Syria out of Iran’s orbit.  He said a
shared hatred for Saddam had been the original impetus for
their unlikely alliance.  “Now, their interests are
diverging.”  Once again pitching Israel-Syria proximity
talks, Sinirlioglu contended Israel’s acceptance of Turkey as
a mediator could break Syria free of Tehran’s influence and
further isolate Iran.


9. (C) Sinirlioglu said Turkey’s EU accession is being
obstructed by the politically motivated objections of several
member states, notably France, Austria and Cyprus.  He
reserved special criticism for President Sarkozy.  He accused
France of changing the rules mid-game.  He contended French
opposition to Turkey’s membership is “deepening the cultural
divide” between Christian Europe and the Muslim world:  “A
wider audience is watching this.”

10. (C) He regretted perceived Greek Cypriot complacency
regarding the island’s reunification talks:  EU “membership
makes them invulnerable.”  Greek Cypriots, he said, want the
world to forget the progress achieved by the Annan Plan in
2004.  They pretend relations between the island’s two
communities are an internal affair, even though, by treaty,
it’s been an international issue for 50 years.  Talat’s
cross-voting proposal, Sinirlioglu continued, should have
been a breakthrough, but the Greek Cypriots failed to react.
Downer is frustrated, Sinirlioglu alleged, and so are the
Turkish Cypriots.  He implied the island’s Turkish community
would register its frustration by voting out Talat as TRNC
“president” in April.  He renewed Turkey’s appeal for higher
profile direct USG involvement in the negotiations.

11. (C) Sinirlioglu welcomed Greek PM Papandeou’s belated
response to Erdogan’s October 30 letter seeking a frank new
discussion of the two neighbors’ several long-running
disputes.  He conceded Papandreou’s delay is understandable
in light of his likely preoccupation with Greece’s acute
financial crisis.  Based on Papandreou’s response,
Sinirlioglu said, Turkey expects to begin new talks with
Greece soon.


12. (C) Burns opened the discussion on Afghanistan with
praise for Turkey’s military, training and development
contributions there.  Sinirlioglu said Turkey had chosen to
focus on three Afghan challenges:  “the marriage of Wahhabism
and Pashtun nationalism”; the chronic antagonism between
Afghanistan and Pakistan, and; the country’s security forces
deficit.  He said Turkey plans to address the first by
ramping up its education programs in Afghanistan; the second
by pursuing its trilateral Ankara Process, which sponsors
meetings of senior Afghan and Pakistani ministerial and
intelligence counterparts, and; the third by establishing a
police training center in Kabul that aims for a throughput of
5160 trainees per year.  Keying off the last point, AMB Tacan
Ildem, who recently concluded an assignment as Turkey’s NATO
PERMREP, declared the EUPOL police training effort in
Afghanistan a failure.  He said the EU’s  criticism of
Turkey’s unwillingness to work directly with EUPOL is
unjustified.  He argued, since Turkey does not have a
security agreement with the EU and is excluded from the

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European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), the GoT lacks a
legal basis on which to cooperate with EUPOL.  “We would like
the EU to involve us not as a third country, but, in view of
our accumulated rights,” as a candidate for membership.  He
urged the USG not to coordinate bilateral agreements to
support EU operations but, instead, to route all cooperation
with the EU on security issues through NATO.

13. (C) Deputy Undersecretary for South Asian Affairs Engin
Soysal led the discussion on Pakistan.  He described the
Ankara Process and the recent Turkey-sponsored Afghanistan
Neighbors Summit as Turkish efforts to assert regional
responsibility for South Asia’s inter-linked problems.  He
said Turkey had not invited India to the neighbors summit in
deference to Pakistani sensitivities; however, he claimed,
Pakistan understands attempting to exclude India from the
nascent South Asian regional structures would be a mistake.
He reported Indian Prime Minister Singh had requested
President Gul’s assistance with Pakistan during the latter’s
visit to New Delhi the previous week.  Acting on that
request, Gul had phoned Pakistani President Zardari, who was
skeptical of Indian intentions.  Gul is planning to visit
Pakistan later this year.  Soysal said Iran is proposing a
quadrilateal summit, which would include Turkey, Afghanistan
and Pakistan, but that proposal had yet to generate

14. (C) Soysal, Turkey’s former ambassador to Pakistan, said
the Pakistani military, though displeased with Zardari,
remains unwilling to intervene; nevertheless, senior
officers’ patience may not be infinite.  Zardari needs to
increase the democratic legitimacy of parliament.  Soysal
offered.  Nawaz Sharif has become a much more constructive

15. (C) Soysal urged a NATO training role in Pakistan.
Picking up from Soysal, Tacan Ildem suggested NATO invite
Pakistani military officers to courses at Oberammergau.


16. (C) Sinirlioglu registered the GoT’s determination to
resist perceived EU efforts to exclude Turkey from the
Balkans, particularly Bosnia.&nb
sp; He identified effecting
rapprochement between Bosnia and Serbia as Turkey’s immediate
diplomatic goal for the region.  Towards that end,
Sinirlioglu said, we convinced Haris Siladjdzic, who had been
in Ankara the day before, to cease references to Serbian
“genocide.”    The United States and Turkey have “agreed to
disagree” on the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Bosnia;
nevertheless, “we value your involvement in the Balkans.”


17. (C) Burns inquired about Turkey’s bilateral relations
with Europe.  Sinirlioglu briefly recapped Turkey’s
unhappiness with Sarkozy.  He described his country’s
relationship with Austria as infected by the latter’s ethnic
prejudice.  He complained Belgium and Denmark are reluctant
to suppress terrorist PKK-affiliated organizations active in
their countries.  Tacan Ildem added that, as part of the 2009
POTUS-brokered deal that had overcome Turkish objections to
the appointment of Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO Secretary
General, Denmark had promised to clarify its legal
requirements prerequiste to acceding to Turkey’s request for
the closure of Roj TV, a PKK mouthpiece.  This still needed
to be done, Ildem said.

18. (C) Picking up from Ildem, Sinirlioglu recalled the

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POTUS-brokered deal had included an understanding that a
qualified Turk would be considered for Assistant Secretary
General.  Instead, he said, a German of uncompelling merit
was selected.  “We suspect a deal between Rasmussen and
Merkel.”  Ildem complained high-level positions should be
part of NATO reform:  “We missed an opportunity with the
selection of the Assistant Secretary General.”  Sinirlioglu
added:  “We let Rasmussen have Secretary General, because we
trusted you.”


19. (C) Sinirlioglu inquired about Russia’s reaction on
missile defense.  Burns said the Russians are much more
relaxed towards the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) and we
hope to have more conversations on missile defense
bilaterally and, eventually, within the NATO-Russia Council.
Sinirlioglu recalled PM Erdogan’s request in his recent
meeting with SECDEF Gates that the Iranian threat not be
highlighted to justify PAA.

20. (U) Participants:


Undersecretary Feridun Sinirliolgu
Deputy Undersecretary Engin Soysal
Ambassador Reha Keskintepe, Director General for the Americas
Ambassador Tacan Ildem, Director General for International
Security Affairs
Ambassador Aydin Sezgin, Director General for Intelligence
and Security Affairs
Ebru Barat Gokdenizler, Deputy Director General for the
Serhat Aksen, Department Head, Americas

United States

Undersecretary William Burns
Ambassador James Jeffrey
Deputy Assistant Secretary Tina Kaidanow
Bridget Brink, NSC
Daniel O’Grady, Political Counselor
Tamir Waser, P Staff
Jeremiah Howard, Deputy Political Counselor – Notetaker

21. (U) Undersecretary Burns has cleared this cable.


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