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WikiLeaks: 2002-11-04: 02ANKARA7775: Northern Iraq: Turkmen Front Unhappy with Opposition Conference Plans, Acknowledges Mistake in Equating Barzani with Saddam

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 09:53 AM CT


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
02ANKARA7775 2002-11-04 11:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 007775 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2012 
REF: A. ANKARA 7550 
     B. ANKARA 7509 
     C. ANKARA 7148 
 (u) Classified by DCM Robert Deutsch.
Reasons:  1.5 (B and D). 
Summary and Comment 
1. (C) Operation Northern Watch POLAD met with Iraqi Turkmen 
Front (ITF) Ankara rep and Executive Committee member Dr. 
Mustafa Ziya November 1.  Ziya complained the ITF wanted to 
be in the opposition conference steering committee and have 
ten percent of the seats at the conference, but a Kurdistan 
Democratic Party (KDP) veto was preventing this.  He also 
objected to the KDP filling Turkmen conference slots with 
pro-KDP Turkmen who were ITF opponents and asked for USG help 
in turning the KDP around on these issues.  Ziya acknowledged 
that hostile Turkmen rhetoric directed against KDP leader 
Masoud Barzani was unhelpful and painted the ITF as 
anti-Barzani, but not necessarily anti-Baghdad.  He hoped to 
control the message better by getting himself appointed as 
the ITF rep responsible for external relations and press. 
End Summary. 
2. (C) Comment: The good news is that Ziya knows the ITF was 
out of line by letting some of its people use the "Barzani 
equals Saddam" slogan in the Turkish election campaign.  They 
apparently just couldn't help themselves and the Turkish 
press was clamoring for such stuff.  Hopefully, Ziya will be 
able to exercise more control over ITF public statements now 
that Turkish elections are behind us, especially if he gets 
designated as the ITF's official spokesman.  The Assyrian 
example of convening all major Assyrian groups in London to 
decide for themselves how to apportion the Assyrian seats at 
the opposition conference strikes us as the best recipe to 
resolve the issue of individual Turkmen representation.  We 
believe Washington should encourage the Turkmen to convene 
such a meeting in London in the near future to avoid bitter 
disagreements that are bound to draw Turkey into the fray and 
that could poison the conference's outcome.  As things 
currently stand, Barzani will not discard the Turkmen who 
have stood by him, and the ITF will not sit at a table where 
those Turkmen are present.  We expect Turkey to press hard on 
behalf of the ITF position.  End comment. 
ITF Pushes "Conditions" for Opposition Conf. 
3. (C) On November 1, ONW POLAD met ITF Ankara rep Dr. 
Mustafa Ziya to discuss the opposition conference and ITF-KDP 
relations.  Ziya had been in London in mid-October for 
meetings with the opposition conference steering committee. 
He said the ITF had three conditions: 1) ITF wanted to be in 
the steering committee; 2) ITF wanted to have a rep in each 
subcommittee; and 3) ITF wanted at least 10% Turkmen 
representation at the conference.  Ziya claimed that five of 
the steering committee members he saw separately in London 
agreed to these conditions, but when the committee met as a 
group the KDP, whose reps had refused to see him in London, 
vetoed the changes.  The committee then told Ziya that the 
ITF had to accept the committee's decision.  Ziya told the 
committee that if the percentage of representation could not 
be changed, every group, rather than every individual, should 
have one vote.  This, he said, would solve many problems for 
many groups.  The ITF Executive Committee is writing a letter 
to the steering committee complaining about the status of 
arrangements (Ziya said ITF would provide a copy to Embassy 
Ankara and NEA/NGA).  Ziya also objected to the KDP filling 
limited Turkmen slots at the conference with non-ITF, pro-KDP 
Turkmen.  Ziya told us the ITF needs the USG's help in 
getting the KDP to back down on these points. 
4. (C) Ziya said that while he was in London, Iraqi National 
Congress (INC) leader Ahmed Chalabi had called the INC office 
from the US and told the INC staff to prepare for an INC 
General Assembly.  It was unclear to Ziya when and where this 
might take place and who might provide the Assembly's 

--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
Ziya Will Try to Stop "Barzani is Like Saddam" Rhetoric 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
5. (C)  We showed Ziya a Turkish Daily News article from 
10/22 (faxed to NEA/NGA) reporting an Iraqi Turkman 
demonstration in Istanbul where people chanted "death to 
Barzani, the enemy of Turkey" and held placards showing 
Barzani, Talabani and Saddam supported by the US trampling on 
the Iraqi Turkmen.  We told him this did not help the cause 
of trying to get the Turkmen a seat at the serious table of 
Iraqi opposition, and added that the ITF's recent press 
statements sounded like they were mainly anti-Barzani, not 
anti-Baghdad.  He acknowledged the problem and hoped it would 
disappear after the Turkish election campaign.  Ziya said the 
TDN article was written by a man in Ireland who knows nothing 
about the real situation, and that the ITF had nothing to do 
with either the article (which calls the Turkmen of Iraq 
loyal to the Iraqi government) or the Istanbul demonstration. 
 In fact, Ziya related, he had told Turkish TV that such 
demonstrations were dangerous and would be used by the other 
parties inside northern Iraq against the Turkmen.  Ziya told 
us that while the crowd at the demonstration contained only a 
few dozen Iraqi Turkmen, it was organized and attended by a 
few hundred Turkish MHP activists.  "It was done for the 
Turkish election campaign," he said. 
6. (C) Ziya insisted his public line has consistently been 
that the ITF had problems with the KDP, but that these could 
be solved via negotiations, which he hoped could start with 
the visit to northern Iraq of a Turkish MFA delegation in the 
near future.  He told us that he had recently proposed to the 
ITF Executive Committee appointing him the sole point of 
contact with the media/external relations chief (something 
like the KDP's Hoshyar Zebari or the Patriotic Union of 
Kurdistan's Sade Piri, he said).  He said he would try to 
stop the "Barzani is as bad as Saddam" rhetoric coming out of 
some of the ITF's constituent ranks (including some 
Turkey-based leaders).  Ziya said he understood that outside 
of Turkey such talk only hurts the ITF.  He expected a 
decision on the creation of the new position within a few 
weeks, and said he would in any case press the ITF 
constituent organizations to stop the harmful rhetoric. 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
Ziya Explains Why ITF Didn't Attend Joint Assembly 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
7. (C) We asked Ziya why the ITF did not attend the October 4 
and 7 joint assembly sessions in Irbil and Sulaymaniyah, 
after the GOT and we had weighed in hard to get the Turkmen 
Front invited.   Ziya replied that ITF Chairman Sannan Aga 
told him the invitation came late the night before the first 
session, was not "official," and that all Iraqi Turkmen would 
have opposed him if he had attended.  Ziya added that the ITF 
had a problem in principle with the other Turkmen who 
attended the sessions (those who work with Barzani in the 
regional administration).  We told Ziya that, in our view, 
the ITF's decision not to attend the assembly sessions 
represented missed opportunities.  Ziya then said that the 
ITF wanted to meet with the KDP to work things out but that 
the KDP consistently refused to sit with ITF leaders.  He was 
confident that the KDP-ITF problems could be solved in a 
matter of weeks and that they need a period of media truce. 


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