US embassy cable - 98ANKARA9055

ARMY CHIEF WARNS SYRIA ABOUT SUPPORT FOR PKK

Identifier: 98ANKARA9055
Wikileaks: View 98ANKARA9055 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ankara
Created: 1998-09-19 15:45:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PTER MOPS PINR PREL TU SY IR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 191545Z SEP 98
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3293
INFO SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS IMMEDIATE 
AMEMBASSY BEIRUT IMMEDIATE 
JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ5/ECPOLAD//
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL//POLAD//
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
AMEMBASSY AMMAN 
ODC ANKARA TU
TLO ANKARA TU
AMCONSUL ADANA 
S E C R E T ANKARA 009055 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL:  09/18/09 
TAGS:  PTER, MOPS, PINR, PREL, TU, SY, IR 
SUBJECT:  ARMY CHIEF WARNS SYRIA ABOUT SUPPORT FOR PKK 
 
REF:  (A) ANKARA 8898, (B) ANKARA 8522 
 
(U)  CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MARK R. PARRIS, EMBASSY 
ANKARA.  REASON:  1.5 (A), (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (U)  TURKISH LAND FORCES COMMAND (TLFC) COMMANDER 
GENERAL ATILLA ATES WAS QUOTED IN THE LOCAL PRESS SEPTEMBER 
16 AS SAYING THAT TURKEY WAS "RUNNING OUT OF PATIENCE" WITH 
SYRIA'S ALLEGED SUPPORT OF THE SEPARATIST/TERRORIST 
KURDISTAN WORKERS PARTY (PKK).  THE CONSERVATIVE "TURKIYE" 
NEWSPAPER'S IHA NEWS AGENCY REPORTED ATES AS ASSERTING THAT 
BY "SUPPORTING THE `BANDIT' APO (PKK LEADER ABDULLAH 
OCALAN)," SYRIA HAD "CONTAMINATED TURKEY WITH THE CALAMITY 
OF TERRORISM."  HE WARNED THAT TURKEY "HAD NO MORE PATIENCE 
LEFT." 
 
2.  (C)  ATES'S COMMENTS WERE ALL THE MORE POINTED BECAUSE 
THEY WERE DELIVERED DURING A VISIT TO TROOPS IN HATAY 
PROVINCE, SOVEREIGNTY OVER WHICH SYRIA CLAIMS AND WHICH IS 
THEREFORE A MAJOR IRRITANT IN RELATIONS BETWEEN ANKARA AND 
DAMASCUS.  ACCORDING TO AN OFFICIAL OF THE TURKISH GENERAL 
STAFF (TGS), WHO SPOKE WITH EMBASSY CONTACTS SEPTEMBER 18, TGS' 
SENIOR LEADERSHIP DECIDED THAT A PUBLIC WARNING TO SYRIA ABOUT 
THE PKK WAS LONG OVERDUE.  THE FACT THAT IT WAS DELIVERED BY ARMY 
CHIEF ATES IN HATAY UNDERSCORED THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE MESSAGE 
BEHIND IT. 
 
3.  (C)  IN THREE SEPARATE CONTACTS SEPTEMBER 17, MFA U/S 
HAKTANIR AND TWO OTHER SENIOR MFA OFFICIALS LIKEWISE 
REITERATED THAT TURKEY IS "OUT OF PATIENCE" WITH SYRIA, AND 
THAT THE DIPLOMATIC INITIATIVES OF EARLIER THIS YEAR HAD "COME 
TO A STOP." 
 
4.  (S)  COMMENT:  IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT THE TURKS ARE LAYING 
OUT A GROUNDWORK OF DIPLOMATIC AND PUBLIC WARNINGS TO DAMASCUS TO 
PROVIDE A RATIONALE FOR AN EVENTUAL DECISION ON A MILITARY 
RESPONSE TO PKK ACTIVITY IN SYRIA.  SOME OF THE LANGUAGE THEY 
HAVE USED RECALLS OUR POST FACTO JUSTIFICATION OF OUR CRUISE 
MISSILE ATTACKS ON OSAMA BIN LADEN FACILITIES LAST MONTH.  WE 
HAVE NO INDICATION A DECISION TO ACTUALLY CARRY OUT AN ATTACK HAS 
BEEN REACHED.  WE RECOMMEND U.S.INTELLIGENCE ATTENTION TO 
INDICATIONS OF TURKISH MILITARY AND PKK ACTIVITY IN THE 
SYRIAN-TURKISH BORDER REGION, AS WELL AS THE BEKAA. 
 
 
PARRIS 

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