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Viewing cable 07ANKARA1905, TURKEY: AN INSIDER'S VIEW OF PRIME MINISTER ERDOGAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ANKARA1905 2007-07-26 12:12 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Embassy Ankara
VZCZCXRO3114
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV
DE RUEHAK #1905/01 2071211
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 261211Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3133
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0915
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 5569
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RHMFISS/39ABG CP INCIRLIK AB TU
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/425ABS IZMIR TU//CC//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001905

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/10/2017
TAGS: PGOV PINR PBIO TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: AN INSIDER'S VIEW OF PRIME MINISTER ERDOGAN 

Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Kelly Degnan for reasons 1.4 (b,d)

1. (S) SUMMARY AND COMMENT. Prime Minister Erdogan, chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), is a perfectionist workaholic who sincerely cares for the well-being of those around him, according to a top-level Prime Ministry insider. His boss is very “democratic,” he said, but the overall description sounds more like a benevolent patriarch who runs his domain according to strict autocratic rules. While this is only one man's impressions, they come from someone whose daily exposure to the PM lends credibility and color to his comments. END SUMMARY AND comment.

2. (S) xxxxx provided a glimpse of PM Erdogan's personal style. Erdogan demands perfection from himself and from those around him; he finds a way for even perfect things to be improved. At the Central Decision-making and Executive Board meeting after the July 22 election (in which AKP soared above even its high expectations to win 46.6 percent of the vote), members expected Erdogan to praise the results. Instead, he laid out the party's next goal of gaining a foothold in the very few places left in Turkey without AKP representation: “Only one and a half years until local elections. For AKP to be the party of Turkey, we need to get Izmir, Trabzon, Tunceli, and (presidential palace) Cankaya.”

3. (S) The PM is a workaholic, xxxxx During the election, he traveled to three provinces a day – a daily logistical feat for his staff in this huge country. Erdogan is on vacation now for three days, which for him is a long time. Outside of the election period, his staff routinely works until 11pm or midnight; they stay in the office until they hear that the PM has gone to bed.

4. (S) “If you know the Prime Minister well, then you know he is very stubborn,” our contact told us. Once he sets his mind to something, or more importantly, once he believes in something, there is no dissuading him. He is a very determined individual. He is also very skilled and influential in direct personal relationships, which he works to cultivate with foreign leaders. As examples, xxxxx mentioned his long meeting with President Bush, and noted that even ice-cold Putin embraces Erdogan.

5. (S) The PM is a very fair person in his relations with employees. He supports his staff; he takes interest in and the utmost care of his employees and is attentive to their needs and concerns. He has a compassionate heart and inspires tremendous loyalty, xxxxx stated. Last Ramadan, when Erdogan got locked inside his armored car after collapsing from low blood sugar, his bodyguard Halit grabbed a sledgehammer from a nearby construction site and smashed the windshiel to break Erdogan out (Mercedes was apparently upset that it only took him six minutes). Despite the fiasco, made much of in the press, Halit kept his job; the PM viewed his action as one of true devotion and love for the Prime Minister.

6. (S) Erdogan expects employee initiative. xxxxx PM's health, which he described as “great.” If he were not

Ankara 00001905 002 of 002

in good shape, would he be able to travel so much and work such long hours?

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON