CIA Director Porter Goss and FBI Director Mueller's visits to Turkey received extremely little attention in the Western press, but from the stuff that's leaked out in the Turkish press, there is reason to think that it might do well for all of us to pay attention to what's going on there.
According to this summary of Hurriyet's reporting, a major topic of the discussions centered around the PKK, which is currently subsisting in their Brave New World-style communes in northern Iraq and has launched a number of attacks into Turkey since the 2003 US invasion. Most Turks (correctly) regard the PKK the same way that most Americans do al-Qaeda, so this is understandably a big issue in Turkey and one that we have been trying to resolve together with them and the Iraqis for some time now, particularly because we do not want the Turks sending the several thousand troops and support personnel into Iraq that it would take to finally wipe out the PKK.
For those who are curious about this passage:
Turkey will warn that such a development would increase the influence of al Qaeda terror network.
What the Turks are referring to here is the various Kurdish Islamist groups that once banded together under the aegis of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan during the early 1990s but have since splintered into a number of different factions, one of which was Ansar al-Islam. I should stress that we are talking 5,000 Islamist fighters at the absolute maximum, as opposed to the 100,000+ peshmerga now fielded by the various Kurdish factions. With the exception of maybe Komala Islamiyyah (which jointly garrisoned Sergat together with Ansar al-Islam prior to the war), none of these other Kurdish Islamist factions have overt ties to al-Qaeda, but they are still a security concern for the Turkish government.
Then from Zaman we get a look at some of the Turkish pressure on the US to stop what they see as European tolerance for PKK activity in Europe, some of which more or less resembles the way that Israel criticizes the Europeans for drawing a distinction between the military and political wings of Hamas and Hezbollah. It also seems that Mueller raised the issue of Louai Sakra, which suggests that the CIA agrees with the Turkish assessment of him as a senior al-Qaeda leader.
The most interesting details of the meeting seem to have appeared in Cumhurriyet, which states the following:
During his recent visit to Ankara, CIA Director Porter Goss reportedly brought three dossiers on Iran to Ankara. Goss is said to have asked for Turkey’s support for Washington’s policy against Iran’s nuclear activities, charging that Tehran had supported terrorism and taken part in activities against Turkey. Goss also asked Ankara to be ready for a possible US air operation against Iran and Syria. Goss, who came to Ankara just after FBI Director Robert Mueller’s visit, brought up Iran’s alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons. It was said that Goss first told Ankara that Iran has nuclear weapons and this situation was creating a huge threat for both Turkey and other states in the region. Diplomatic sources say that Washington wants Turkey to coordinate with its Iran policies. The second dossier is about Iran’s stance on terrorism. The CIA argued that Iran was supporting terrorism, the PKK and al-Qaeda. The third had to do with Iran’s alleged stance against Ankara. Goss said that Tehran sees Turkey as an enemy and would try to “export its regime.”
The implication here is that the US believes that it'll be using Incirlik in any aerial operations against Iran and wants to secure Turkish cooperation on that score - the visit of Turkish Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit to DC is likely related here. I would also note that the issue of Iranian support for the PKK has long been the official position of both the US and Turkish governments, as can be seen in this excerpt from the 1999 Patterns of Global Terrorism that was completed during the Clinton administration:
Tehran still provided safehaven to elements of Turkey's separatist PKK that conducted numerous terrorist attacks in Turkey and against Turkish targets in Europe. One of the PKK's most senior at-large leaders, Osman Ocalan, brother of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, resided at least part-time in Iran.
With the Turkish capture of Abdullah Ocalan ("Apo"), Osman is now the de facto head of the PKK. As for Iranian support for al-Qaeda, revelations that al-Qaeda leaders based in Iran helped to finance the November 2003 Istanbul bombings (the "Syrian" referenced in the article is Louai Sakra) in direct contradiction to Iranian claims that such individuals are in detention and unable to direct or support terrorist operations.
I would note that for Turkey, Iranian support for Sunni Islamist terrorism against the Turkish state is not nearly as controversial an issue as it is in say, Europe. Since 1979, Iran has deployed every means at its disposal in an effort to undermine or otherwise destroy the secular foundations of the Turkish state. Indeed, the unyielding Iranian hostility towards Turkey is one of the reasons that the country has no problems maintaining close military ties to Israel - the two nations share pretty much the same enemies. Whether it's recent events or past ones, Turkish military and intelligence officials will have no trouble believing the US on this one - it's simply been part of their daily lives for the last 25 years.
Please note that what the Turks think is a different issue altogether from whether or not airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities are prudent or even wise at this point. I should note that myself am skeptical of the idea that limited airstrike on Iran would deter their nuclear program. Rather, I think that most likely outcome of such an attack would be to push back the date nuclear program with the unintended consequences of shoring up domestic support for the regime, an event that would but ensure the emergence of a nuclear Iran a little further down the line.
I see that Mehran Riazaty, a former CPA analyst now blogging out of Regime Change Iran, has some thoughts of his own on Iranian support for terrorism in Turkey, which he ties back to the Qods Force unit of the Revolutionary Guards that we've mentioned before.