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Viewing cable 07ANKARA1258, TURKEY'S MILITARY AND DEMOCRACY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ANKARA1258 2007-05-23 14:02 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Embassy Ankara
VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #1258 1431422
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 231422Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2242
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA//
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
S E C R E T ANKARA 001258 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/18/2022 
TAGS: PGOV PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S MILITARY AND DEMOCRACY 
 
 
Classified By: DCM Nancy McEldowney for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (S)  The Turkish military's April 27 memorandum that 
fueled the political crisis here was followed by a virtual 
black-out with the military refusing to speak with either 
domestic or foreign contacts.  The silence was broken 
recently when D/CHOD Saygun volunteered an explanation of the 
military's motives and current thinking.  We used the 
exchange to reiterate the need for pragmatism and compromise 
-- by all players -- in support of Turkish democracy and the 
constitutional process. 
 
2.  (S)  In a recent meeting with DCM, Saygun raised the 
subject of Turkish domestic politics and said it was 
important we understand why the military felt compelled to 
make its April 27 statement.  He said the military spoke out 
solely to ensure the protection of Turkey's secular system. 
This is the principle responsibility of the Turkish military, 
which they are both obligated and determined to fulfill.  He 
asserted that Turkey's constitution empowered the military to 
protect the secular state -- that was what they had done and 
what they would continue to do. 
 
3.  (S)  DCM responded by emphasizing the most precious 
quality of contemporary Turkey is that it is both secular and 
democratic -- and both must be preserved.  She noted the 
growing tensions and polarization throughout the country and 
urged that the military exercise caution and pragmatism. 
Avoiding confrontation and instability and ensuring that the 
political process proceeds in a way that is fully consistent 
with the constitution is in the best interest of Turkey and 
of all Turks regardless of their partisan affiliation. 
 
4.  (S)  Saygun said that the military did not want 
confrontation and would not seek it out.  He claimed they 
easily could have sent tanks rolling in the streets if they 
had wanted to, but they did not.  He also argued that the 
military was far more concerned with stability -- political, 
economic, and social -- than the AKP which had made no effort 
to compromise. 
 
5.  (S)  DCM underscored the importance of having the 
on-going parliamentary election proceed calmly and that all 
accept the results of the popular vote.  Saygun agreed 
enthusiastically and claimed the TGS had "no problems" with 
AKP in parliament or in government -- their only difficulty 
was with radical policies that threaten stability. 
 
6.  (S)  Comment:  There is rampant speculation here about 
TGS' next move in the on-going political drama.  Overheated 
rumors include efforts to shut down the AKP, discredit the 
party leadership by releasing incriminating dossiers, and the 
manufacture of crises.  More prudent observers have suggested 
that a tacit -- if still tense -- understanding has been 
reached whereby the TGS has clarified its red lines on the 
presidency and Islamist policies and the AKP has agreed not 
to cross them.  Rumors notwithstanding, it is clear that 
maneuvering will intensify in the lead up to the July 22 
elections, and USG support for democracy, compromise, and the 
constitutional process will remain critical. 
 
Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/ 
 
WILSON