LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - U.S. diplomats have cast doubts
on the reliability of NATO ally Turkey, portraying its
leadership as divided and permeated by Islamists, according to
the German Der Spiegel magazine's website.
Der Spiegel, citing U.S. diplomatic documents released on
Sunday by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, said advisers to
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan were described as having "little
understanding of politics beyond Ankara".
Erdogan has introduced sweeping liberal economic reforms in
pursuit of Europan Union membership since his AK Party was first
elected by a landslide in 2002. He denies accusations by
secularists that he harbours secret Islamist ambitions.
Der Spiegel cited a cable as saying Erdogan had surrounded
himself with an "iron ring of sycophantic (but contemptuous)
Turkey has traditionally close relations with Washington,
but ties have been strained of late, partly as a result of
Ankara's falling out with Israel over its invasion of Gaza.
"The leaked diplomatic cables reveal that US diplomats are
skeptical about Turkey's dependability as a partner ... The
leadership in Ankara is depicted as divided and permeated by
Der Spiegel's website gave few details or direct quotations
from the cables but said its magazine would provide a broader
account on Monday.
(Writing by Ralph Boulton, editing Ralph Gowling)
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