Author Topic: SECRET: Turkey: Scenesetter For FBI Director Mueller (2009)  (Read 2058 times)

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SECRET: Turkey: Scenesetter For FBI Director Mueller (2009)
« on: January 18, 2015, 14:22:33 PM »
Turkey: Scenesetter For Fbi Director Mueller
Origin   Embassy Ankara (Turkey)
Cable time   Fri, 13 Nov 2009 15:27 UTC
Classification   SECRET


S E C R E T ANKARA 001633
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/2019
Classified By: Ambassador James Jeffrey, for reasons 1.4 (b,d)
¶1. (C) The GOT will warmly welcome your November 18 visit as
a further sign that Washington views Turkey as an important
strategic partner.  It will be seen as yet another indication
of U.S. respect for Turkey's international role and domestic
progress.  Despite turmoil and unrest in its neighborhood,
Turkey has remained an island of relative stability and a
valuable, if complicated, NATO ally.  Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan will meet with the President on December 7 in
Washington and your visit will be an opportunity to raise
important security issues before that agenda has been set.
Key Issues to Raise
¶2. (C) During your meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Cemil
Cicek, Director General of the Turkish National Police (TNP)
Oguz Koksal, and Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin, I
suggest you raise the following key issues:
-- Proposed New CT Structure.  The Turkish government has
been discussing a proposed new counterterrorism structure
since last fall.  Deputy Prime Minister Cicek accepted our
invitation to visit Washington to discuss our own "lessons
learned" but postponed his July visit at the last minute.
(see para 4)
-- Changes to Turkish CT Laws.  Turkish CT laws, amended in
2005, do not consider an attack outside Turkey or planned or
committed in Turkey against non-Turkish governments to be a
terrorist attack.  We are looking for ways to get the Turks
to amend this law.  (see para 5)
-- High-level CT Dialogue.  Turkey accepted in principle our
proposal to begin a high-level interagency CT dialogue.  We
are now working on setting a date.  (see para 7)
-- Information-sharing Initiatives.  Last year we offered
several information-sharing programs to the Turkish
government but have not received responses, despite repeated
follow-up inquiries.  (see para 8)
-- Joint Law Enforcement Operations.  We would like to
propose the creation of a joint counterterrorism task force
to share intelligence with the TNP in real time and
facilitate joint law enforcement operations against targets
of mutual concern. (see para 9)
Watch Out For
¶3. (C) The Turkish National Police value past training and
other instructional opportunities from the Bureau.  Your
interlocutors may seek assistance in new areas.  One
possibility is protection of nuclear facilities.  (see para
Counterterrorism Restructuring
¶4. (C) Mounting frustration at the Turkish military-led
counterterrorism effort prompted extensive discussion late
last year and led to the unveiling of a proposed new
structure:  a counterterrorism undersecretariat within the
Ministry of the Interior (MOI).  Contacts tell us the new
organization will focus on two primary tasks:  coordinating
the GOT's "strategic messaging" to counter PKK propaganda
efforts and improving intelligence sharing among entities
with counterterrorism responsibilities.  On intelligence
sharing, few would dispute that intelligence remains badly
stove-piped throughout Turkey's various security services.
The new body would be tasked to improve communication among
the services.  Draft legislation on the new structure is now
in legislative committee.  Its details remain murky and some
skeptics suggest bureaucratic resistance from the powerful
military and the TNIO will stymie the initiative.  We had
hoped to influence the process during the planned July visit
to Washington by Deputy Prime Minister Cicek, which was to
focus on "lessons learned" during our own post-9/11
counterterrorism restructuring.  Unfortunately, Cicek
postponed the visit at the last minute, citing pressing
domestic issues.  You should encourage DPM Cicek to
reschedule his visit at his earliest convenience.
Counterterrorism Legislation
¶5. (C) Turkey was one of the few states to define terrorism
prior to September 11.  Its main legal provisions are set
forth in its 1991 anti-terrorism law, and a 2005 provision of
the Turkish Criminal Code.  However, under current Turkish
law, only those individuals targeting Turks or the Turkish
state can be prosecuted for terrorism.  The Turks have
maintained that the law, in conjunction with the 13
international conventions they have signed, allows for
adequate prosecution of terrorism offenses planned or
committed within Turkey yet targeted against non-Turkish
governments.  Our Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) disagrees with
this assessment, and is examining possible ways to strengthen
Turkey's CT legislation.  In January 2009, the previous RLA
hosted a successful study visit to Washington for a group of
MOJ counterterrorism legislation experts.  The current RLA
has been meeting with MOJ officials to express his concerns
about their terrorism laws.
¶6. (C) Separately, the looming Financial Action Task Force
(FATF) review in February has generated renewed Turkish
attention to the "definition issue."  An interagency working
group lead by MASAK (Turkey's FIU), and also including MFA,
Justice and TNP, has been meeting to revise its definition of
terrorism to meet FATF concerns.  They have prepared a number
of possible changes to the current law which would, among
other things, bring UN counterterrorism finance (CTF)
sanctions into Turkish law.  They know it will be difficult
to pass the required legislation by February.  In the
interim, they plan to institute new CTF implementation
mechanisms to demonstrate they are moving in the right
direction.  You might remind your interlocutors that we
remain concerned about the narrow focus of Turkey's terrorism
High-level CT Dialogue
¶7. (C) While the PKK dominates the CT agenda here,
authorities are increasingly aware of threats from the Al
Qaeda network and other groups and are receptive to broader
bilateral cooperation.  Our Combined Intelligence Fusion Cell
(CIF-C) is a model of military-to-military intelligence
cooperation that has resulted in crippling PKK operations in
northern Iraq.  Indeed, it is a model that the U.S. hopes to
emulate on the Pakistan-Afghan border.  We hope to expand
this strong cooperation beyond PKK-related issues.  During
the November 2008 visit by DOS S/CT Coordinator Dailey, we
proposed a broader high-level CT dialogue.  After
considerable delay, the Turks are now prepared to move ahead.
 The proposed CT dialogue could take place as early as early
December on the margins of Prime Minister Erdogan's
Washington visit.  You should welcome the proposed dialogue
and encourage broad interagency cooperation.
Information-sharing Initiatives
¶8. (C) Last year we offered several information-sharing
programs to the GOT.  We have been told by the MFA that the
Turkish Government looks favorably on receiving TIP/PISCES
and HSPD-6 systems from us, but is still determining what
legislative framework must be established first.  The GOT has
yet to respond to a separate USG proposal to share terrorist
biometric data.  We hope you will encourage your
interlocutors to give these proposals full and positive
Joint CT Operations
¶9. (C) We would like to encourage joint law enforcement
investigative efforts between the TNP and FBI, particularly
in counterterrorism matters.  In particular, joint
investigations on CT matters and creating a CT task force
between the FBI and the TNP Intel Department to facilitate
real time exchange of intelligence would further both
countries' counterterrorism mission.  The assignment of an
Asistant Legal Attache in Ankara would support this effort.
This effort would be similar to our CT effort in Denmark, and
our criminal efforts in Bucharest, Budapest, and San Salvador.
Possible Request for Assistance
¶10. (C) Turkish officials value the law enforcement
assistance we have provided in the past and they may take
advantage of your visit to request more.  One possible area
is the protection of nuclear facilities.  In 2008 Turkey
solicited tenders for its first civilian nuclear power plant,
a 4,000 MW facility.  Largely because of lack of clarity in
the tender specifications, particularly regarding liability,
a Russian consortium was the only bidder.  That bid is now
being evaluated and a decision is expected any day.  The new
plant would not go online for at least eight years.  In the
interim, TNP officials have quietly approached us asking how
the FBI manages intelligence as it relates to nuclear
facilities.  They may pursue this issue with you.
¶11. (C) For many years, and particularly since the start of
the Iraq war in 2003, our bilateral relationship was strained
by the commonly held perception in Turkey that the United
States was doing too little to help it with its primary
security issue - the decades-long struggle against its
Kurdish PKK insurgency.  The US declared the PKK a foreign
terrorist organization in 1997.  President Bush's November
2007 decision to share actionable intelligence on the PKK in
northern Iraq marked a major positive turning point for
U.S.-Turkey relations.  Turkey already provides vital support
to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the Incirlik
Cargo Hub.  The primary point of tension in the relationship
remains the annual debate in the U.S. Congress over the
Armenian genocide issue.  President Obama, who supported
resolutions in the past, alluded to the issue during his
visit without using the word genocide.  Although Turkey and
Armenia have taken steps in the past three months to
reestablish diplomatic relations, open their borders, and
appoint a commission to examine "the events of 1915," these
steps have not resulted in concrete action yet.  On October
21, Senator Robert Menendez (R-NJ) introduced a Senate
resolution to recognize the events as genocide.
¶12. (C) Turkey has worked hard under PM Erdogan to play a
more active role in the region and to improve relations with
its neighbors.  Our own improved intelligence sharing against
the PKK in northern Iraq helped facilitate better relations
between Ankara, the Iraqi central government, and Iraqi
Kurds.  The Turks use their relations with Iran to press
Teheran to abandon its nuclear weapons program and stop
supporting terrorist groups.  Likewise, we want the GOT to
encourage Syria to do more against terrorist facilitators.
We welcome Turkey's promised additional commitments in
Afghanistan and its expressed willingness to play a larger
role in "soft power" activities in Pakistan.  We strongly
support eventual full Turkish membership in the EU, believing
this will anchor Turkey more firmly in the Western orbit.
¶13. (C) Domestically, the Turkish government is dominated by
one party, the mildly Islamic Justice and Development Party
(AKP), led by PM Erdogan.  Although the party came out ahead
in March 2009 local elections, their lead was smaller than
expected and chastened somewhat the confident Mr. Erdogan.
As hoped, the government has begun to tackle some of the
sensitive issues that had been postponed, including freedom
of expression and rights for ethnic and religious minorities
through its "Democratic Opening" (formerly known as the
"Kurdish Opening" and now also known as the "National Unity
Project").  We strongly support this initiative as a sign of
the health of Turkey's internal democratic process, although
we are careful to avoid creating the impression that we
helped to design or implement it, as government opposition
parties have alleged.  Turkey is by far the strongest
democracy in the region.  Still, efforts by the military in
2007 to pressure or even oust the Erdogan government worried
many.  The government's own more recent attacks on the media
and apparent efforts to exploit investigations of alleged
coup attempts by group(s) ("Ergenekon", and other
conspiracies) associated with the military to attack AKP's
political opponents have also raised concerns about the
soundness of Turkey's democratic system.
¶14. (C) Part of the AKP's popularity since assuming power in
2002 stemmed from its economic success and strong growth
rates.  Turkey was slow to feel the effects of the global
economic slowdown, and was hit hard on exports and jobs, but
the situation has slightly improved recently.  Official
unemployment now stands at 13 percent, a drop of 2.5 percent
over the past 6 months.  The GOT has been in ongoing
discussions with the IMF since its last stand-by arrangement
matured in May 2008, but has not yet made a deal for a new
SBA.  Because of reforms it undertook after a financial
crisis in 2001, the Turkish banking sector is strong and will
play a leading role in jump starting an economic recovery.
Bilateral Cooperation
¶15. (C) We already enjoy a sound working relationship with
the Turkish intelligence community which we also hope to
strengthen.  Our LEGATT has established a close relationship
with the Turkish National Police (TNP); these ties were
instrumental in bringing down an Al Qaeda cell here in
January 2008.  Our RLA is also working with the Ministry of
Justice to enhance CT-related extradition cooperation with
our EU partners.
¶16. (C) Our Regional CT Coordinator, together with the
LEGATT, is supporting a TNP effort to establish a behavioral
analysis (i.e., profiling) unit which will facilitate
screening of potential terrorists.  Separately, the LEGATT
and EXBIS are working with TNP to develop a credible WMD
response capability.  Last August, EXBIS provided radiation
detection equipment and isotope identifiers to the TNP.
LEGATT is also working with other TNP units with WMD
responsibility to provide equipment and training.
¶17. (U) We look forward to your visit.