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Viewing cable 06ANKARA4688, TURKEY'S FOREIGN POLICY SPLIT - THE PM'S CIRCLE TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ANKARA4688 2006-08-11 14:02 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Ankara
VZCZCXYZ0015
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #4688/01 2231453
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111453Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7906
INFO RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 5386
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0316
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 1549
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3053
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 5290
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0075
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 1083
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 004688 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2021 
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S FOREIGN POLICY SPLIT - THE PM'S CIRCLE TO 
THE FORE 
 
 
Classified By: DCM Nancy McEldowney, reasons 1.4 (b), (d) 
 
1.(C)  The long-standing split between the professional MFA 
diplomats and the tight circle of advisers around PM Erdogan 
has widened noticeably in recent weeks.  This gap has existed 
under Erdogan,s Justice and Development Party (AKP) 
government, largely because of the close links that both PM 
Erdogan and FM Gul have with PM adviser Davutoglu, who has 
been willing to undertake numerous initiatives.  Until 
recently, however, such strains have usually been more 
effectively papered over.  This internal debate now affects 
every step the GOT takes on the international stage. 
 
2.(C) The Turkish diplomatic corps is highly educated and 
well attuned to what will sell in the U.S. or Europe; less so 
on the domestic political front.  PM Erdogan,s core of AKP 
advisers, including Davutoglu and the AKP vice chairs, 
understand what will play well with their constituencies. 
Their sense of how policy will play outside of Ankara is 
handicapped, however, by their Turkey- and Islam-centric 
vision of how they want the world to operate. 
 
3. (C/NF)  Decoupling MFA from the PM,s advisers can produce 
a greater willingness to take chances.  At the same time, it 
can also create greater room for misunderstandings or 
wrongfooted efforts.  In the run-up to the February 2006 
Hamas visit to Ankara, for example, MFA was kept in the dark. 
 The AKPers who dealt with the visit did so in a haphazard 
and uncoordinated manner.  MFA, uninformed, was unable to 
preview it with us.  The backlash from the U.S. in particular 
truly took AKP aback.  It took weeks -) even months -) 
before limited understanding dawned on the depth of the 
displeasure the Hamas venture had spawned, and why.  It did 
not (and still does not) fit within their frame of reference. 
 
 
4. (C/NF)  Most startling, perhaps, to AKP were those in the 
U.S. and elsewhere who, in the aftermath of the Hamas visit, 
asked how AKP would feel if we met with PKK leaders.  For 
Erdogan,s circle, it is not analogous: for them, terrorism 
equals the PKK.  It is difficult for PM Erdogan to believe 
that his philanthropist Islamic friend Al Kadi could be 
involved in terrorist financing, just as it is alien to their 
frame of reference to view specific Islamic groups as 
terrorists.  Hamas and Hizballah are the result of western 
policies gone awry, a response from desperate people )- not 
truly terrorists.  Allow them to talk reason to these people, 
exert Turkish influence, and the Hamases of the world will 
change.  This has been evident in other Turkish efforts 
throughout the region as well -- with Iran (FM Mottaki,s 
visit here; Erdogan,s talks with Ahmedinejad on the margins 
of international conferences); with Syria (the Turks believe 
they were instrumental in getting Syria,s Asad to agree to 
pull troops out of Lebanon, and to certain aspects of the 
Hariri investigation); with the current conflict in Lebanon 
and the Gaza strip. 
 
5.(C/NF) A more recent example of the PM circle-MFA 
disconnect involved Davutoglu,s trip to Damascus the first 
week of July, where he met not only with Asad but Misha,al 
as well.  The MFA was cut out and furious (their Ambassador 
to Damascus reportedly cooled his heels outside while 
Davutoglu met with Asad). 
 
6.(C) As the Israel-Lebanon crisis intensified, so has this 
tendency within Erdogan,s small circle.  AKP sees own its 
back to the public opinion wall.  Instead of exercising 
leadership, Erdogan -- in populist pre-election mode -- has 
followed.  He is playing to AKP,s constituency; to those 
within the party who have never been positively inclined 
toward Israel; and to the greater regional Sunni audience 
that he is trying to court.  Two early results, aimed at 
these audiences, were (1) the PM,s participation in the 
August 3 extraordinary OIC executive council meetin in Kuala 
Lumpur, where he again met with Irnian president Ahmedinejad 
and uttered strong anti-Israeli statements; and (2) FM Gul,s 
August 3 op-ed piece in the Washington Post, which aired GOT 
ire in an unhelpful way and blindsided the professional 
Turkish diplomats in Washington. 
 
7.(C/NF) Complicit or not (we believe the former), Gul has 
had his name sullied by a number of these efforts.  He  will 
have to decide whether to give the MFA renewed weight -) 
 
Foreign Ministry officials could be key in bridging certain 
delicate issues, particularly Cyprus, with both the 
government and the military, for example -) or go with the 
PM,s circle. 
 
Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/ 
 
WILSON