ANKARA DELIGHTED WITH PKK ARRESTS IN FRANCE AND BELGIUM

Identifier: 
07ANKARA336

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 000336

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

TREASURY FOR OTI - JSERAFINI
JUSTICE FOR DAAG SWARTZ AND OPDAT - JSILVERWOOD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2017
TAGS: KTFN, PTER, EFIN, FRU, TU, BE
SUBJECT: ANKARA DELIGHTED WITH PKK ARRESTS IN FRANCE AND
BELGIUM

REF: 2006 ANKARA 6496 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: DCM Nancy McEldowney for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary: Turkish MFA Director General for Security
Guven stressed the importance of the recent French and
Belgian arrests of PKK individuals and looked forward to
further cooperation with the French on the case. At the same
time, Guven noted French concerns about press reports
crediting the U.S. role. The Belgian DCM hinted a separate
Belgian anti-PKK action might be in the works. End Summary.

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Turkish MFA Pleased, Cooperating with French
--------------------------------------------

2. (S) Turkish MFA Director General for Security Affairs told
us February 14 that Turkey is very pleased with the arrests
in France and Belgium, particularly the fact that three
important figures -- Riza Altun, Canan Kurtyilmaz and Nedim
Seven -- were among those arrested. In contrast to the views
that press reports attribute to Turkish Justice Ministry
officials, Guven understood that a prosecution in France --
while not as desirable for Turkey as extradition -- is still
a very good outcome. Guven and Head of Department Ceren Etiz
said French Counter-terrorism prosecutor Philippe Dorcet had
contacted the Turkish authorities and would be coming to
Ankara in early March with a team to explore further
cooperation in the prosecution of this case and possible
extradition.

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French Concern about U.S. Credit
----------------------------------

3. (S) Guven said the French Embassy was disturbed by press
reports that attributed the French prosecutors' action to
U.S. pressure. Guven passed on the French Ambassador's
remark that "the Americans had nothing to do with it," and
that France is not "the valet of the CIA." We pointed out
that U.S. officials had made no such claims, the allegation
of which only supported pressure in France to let Altun and
others go. The most important goal was to keep them behind
bars. Pressing too hard for extradition could sour French
prosecutors' desire to cooperate. Indeed, Etiz referred to
press reports that Sarkozy advisor Patrick Devedjian had said
the arrestees would not be extradited since Turkey was not a
democratic country. Guven agreed with us that prosectors and
police often had a different attitude than diplomats or
politicians and could cooperate well against PKK. We noted
that this attitude had been much in evidence at the recent
prosecutors' workshop organized by Ankara RLA. Guven said
the MFA supported the workshop and continued to press the
Turkish Justice Ministry to cooperate better with other
countries.

4. (S) Meanwhile a French CT prosecutor and an Ankara-based
French diplomat separately told RLA that press reports of a
"CIA" role were erroneous: the arrests were due to a long and
painstaking investigation in France and the French
authorities believe they have strong evidence. Both were
very encouraged by the arrests and looked forward to working
with Turkey to develop more information. The diplomat was
very skeptical about the possibility of any extradition in
this instance because the criminal jurisdiction and
violations charged are French. The French officials hoped
Turkey would not push for extradition of the arrestees before
prosecution for crimes in France. This could sour
prosecutorial cooperation.

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Belgian Hints at More to Come
-----------------------------

5. (S) The Belgian DCM, who previously worked at the Belgian
Justice Ministry, told us the Belgian role in the arrests was
entirely derivative of the French investigation. The
Belgians had acted on an EU warrant from the French, which he
said required the Belgians to hold suspects and deliver them
to the requesting country. He said that two other prominent
PKK leaders (Zubeyir Aydar and Cemil Bayik) were with Canan
Kurtyilmaz when she was detained but that they could not be
held because they were not the subjects of an EU arrest
warrant. When we pointed out that they were wanted by Turkey
under Interpol red notices the Belgian DCM said this was not
sufficient in Belgium. Separately, the Belgian DCM hinted
that he was hopeful there would be additional Belgian actions
against the PKK in the near future, and stressed the need for
Belgium to cooperate with Germany and the Netherlands in
particular on PKK networks.

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Comment
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6. (S) The arrests in France are a marked validation of the
U.S. policy to encourage European countries to take action
against the criminal activities of PKK elements in their own
countries, even if the U.S. had no direct role in the actual
investigations or arrests. The priority now must be to
ensure that these individuals remain behind bars. This
should seriously hamper PKK support activities in Europe,
although new funding mechanisms will quickly emerge.
Domestic political opposition in France to the arrests, as
shown by baseless allegations of a CIA role, USG "pressure"
or Devedjian's scandalous remarks seems to be growing. We
need to remain alert and encourage the French authorities to
stick to their guns. At the same time, these arrests show
the openness of European law enforcement to the "Al Capone"
approach. We should move now to support deeper
European-Turkish-U.S. information sharing and cooperation to
break down remaining PKK fronts and propaganda organs like
Roj TV and Firat News.

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

WILSON