On Al Jazeera’s Website we can read that the ‘whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has released a massive trove of leaked US diplomatic cables detailing candid opinions of various world leaders, repeated calls for a US attack on Iran, and requests for US diplomats to spy on officials of other countries. WikiLeaks started publishing the 251,287 cables – 15,652 of which are classified “secret” – from 274 US missions around the world on Sunday, even after its website apparently came under a denial of service attack before the release. The cables, communications between diplomatic missions abroad and the US state department in Washington, were mostly sent between 2007 and last February and could embarrass both the US administration and foreign governments. Some of the diplomatic notes detailed how Arab leaders in the Gulf have been urging an attack on “evil” Iran, while others reveal serious fears in Washington over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. They also detail advice given to US diplomats on how to gather intelligence and pass information of interest over to the country’s spy agencies. According to documents, senior UN figures were the target of intelligence gathering by US diplomats . . . In an introduction to the documents on its website, WikiLeaks attacked “the contradictions between the US’ public persona and what it says behind closed doors”. “The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in ‘client states’; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.” The White House has described the leaks as “reckless and dangerous. To be clear – such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. But Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, denied that any of the documents placed individuals at risk’.
Inside Story, (28 November 2010)
The story continues: the ‘cache of documents contains allegations of corruption against foreign leaders, who are subjected to stinging criticism in the cables, with Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, referred to as an “alpha-dog.” Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, “avoids risk and is rarely creative”, and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is described as being “driven by paranoia”, in comments contained within diplomatic dispatches. Advisers to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish premier, also come in for criticism for having “little understanding of politics beyond Ankara”. US diplomats visited foreign ministries in the days before the release hoping to stave off anger over the cables, which are internal messages that often lack the niceties diplomats voice in public. Steve Clemons, a political strategist and director of the American Strategy Programme at New America Foundation, told Al Jazeera that the US reaction to this latest round of leaks has been stronger than in the past because of mainly diplomatic concerns. “Certainly I wouldn’t take it to the level of lives lost on the battlefield. This is essentially diplomatic brouhaha,” he said. “I think also that the content of these documents is a lot about the gossip and innuendo and the nuance … and there are going to be a lot of embarrassing things that come out of these documents. There are be political repercussions of the way foreign leaders are going to read these documents. And in that sense, you’re going to see people, ranging from [Asif Ali] Zardari in Pakistan, to, I understand, Nelson Mandela of South Africa has had some bad swipes taken at him in these cables.” WikiLeaks previously published 400,000 Iraq war documents in October, the biggest leak to date in US intelligence history, and 77,000 classified US files on the Afghan conflict in July ’.
As for the specifically Turkish angle, in Today’s Zaman we read that the ‘US diplomats’ verdict on the NATO partner with the second biggest army in the alliance is devastating. The Turkish leadership is depicted as divided, and Erdoğan’s advisers, as well as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, are portrayed as having little understanding of politics beyond Ankara. The Americans are also worried about Davutoğlu’s alleged neo-Ottoman visions. A high-ranking government adviser warned in discussions, quoted by the US diplomats, that Davutoğlu would use his Islamist influence on Erdoğan, describing him as “exceptionally dangerous.” According to the US document, another adviser to the ruling AK Party remarked, probably ironically, that Turkey wanted “to take back Andalusia and avenge the defeat at the siege of Vienna in 1683.” The US diplomats write that many leading figures in the AK Party were members of a Muslim fraternity and that Erdoğan had appointed Islamist bankers to influential positions. He gets his information almost exclusively from newspapers with close links to Islamists, they reported. The prime minister, the cables continue, has surrounded himself with an “iron ring of sycophantic (but contemptuous) advisors” and presents himself as the “Tribune of Anatolia.” . . . UK’s The Guardian, in leaked documents published on late Sunday [, 28 November] said, in a tense conversation, a senior US envoy presses Turkish officials to support US-led action to convince the Iranian government that it is on the wrong course. The Turks insist their mediation efforts are the best way forward but are forced to concede that most countries in the region see Iran as a threat. According to the daily, the great Iranian-American struggle for control and influence in the Middle East is far from over – and may in fact be hotting up – and it was made plain again when US under-secretary William Burns held yet another meeting with the reluctant Turks in Ankara in February 2010. Burns insists Washington would prefer a negotiated settlement with Iran. Then, like Gates, he uses the spectre of an Israeli military attack to dramatise his arguments and unsettle the Turks’.
Given that the “Americans are also worried about Davutoğlu’s alleged neo-Ottoman visions”, it would seem to me that the time is now right for my piece on Davutoğlu and his new policy goals for Turkey to receive some more exposure: “A pseudo-Ottoman policy: Turkey’s new station in the world”, Today’s Zaman (04 November 2010). http://tiny.cc/6qkki . . . I do not think that the term Neo-Ottoman is applicable to Turkey’s current view of the world, instead I propose the term Pseudo-Ottoman to describe Davutoğlu’s new approach to Turkey’s foreign relations.
 “Secret US embassy cables revealed” Al Jazeera (29 November 2010). http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/11/20101128184116255899.html.
 “Secret US embassy cables revealed”.
 “Wikileaks unveils largest US diplomatic cables, Turkey makes up second biggest share” Today’s Zaman (29 November 2010). http://www.todayszaman.com/news-228225-wikileaks-unveils-largest-us-diplomatic-cables-turkey-makes-up-second-biggest-share.html.