Cablegate: Turkey Mfa Cyprus Department Head On Upcoming

Published: Thu 4 Dec 2003 03:35 PM
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 02 ANKARA 007451
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2013
REF: STATE 327579
(U) Classified by Political Counselor John Kunstadter, E.O.
12958, reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary. MFA Cyprus Department Head Levent Bilman
worries that despite its planned initiative for a Cyprus
settlement, Turkey will be unfairly blamed for future
breakdowns in negotiations. He claims Turkey's initiative
will be prepared in line with the SYG's requirements and
said, without giving details, that the GOT will prepare
public opinion for the concessions necessary for final
settlement. He requested U.S. intervention with the SYG once
Turkey's proposal is submitted and with the Greek Cypriots to
reach an agreement. End Summary.
Turkey's Upcoming Initiative
2. (C) Calling in poloff on December 4, Bilman handed over
copies of recent media interviews of Cypriot President
Papadopoulos and former President Clerides. He pointed out
Clerides' quotes to the effect that "we had to put blame on
the Turkish side for the failure of negotiations, while not
accepting anything or making any concession during the
negotiations." He particularly emphasized Papadopoulos'
statements that he had no intention of signing the Annan Plan
in Hague.
3. (C) According to Bilman, these showed that Turkey had
been unfairly blamed for breakdown of Annan Plan
negotiations. He worried this would happen again if there
were a breakdown when Turkey offered its new Cyprus
initiative after the elections. "If we're going to get
blamed, what's the point?" he asked rhetorically. Bilman
quickly added that the GOT was still committed to going
forward with its initiative, but was concerned about what the
response would be.
4. (C) Poloff replied these quotes demonstrated the
importance of Turkey framing its initiative in Annan Plan
terms, both procedurally and substantively, in order not to
leave room for anyone to claim Turkey had not done its part.
If it did not agree to Annan Plan procedures, or if it
contained substantive non-starters that re-opened basic
principles, Turkey's initiative would be rejected and Turkey
would again be blamed for the impasse.
5. (C) Bilman claimed Turkey was preparing its initiative in
line with the SYG's requirements. However, he worried that
in evaluating the proposal, the SYG, although
well-intentioned, would rely on advisors who would take a
harsh view of the initiative. He said Turkey would need help
with "access" to the SYG.
6. (C) Bilman asked for examples of non-starters; poloff
cited insistence on pre-settlement recognition of the "TRNC"
(reftel). Asked whether the GOT had thought about how to
prepare Turkish public opinion for the concessions necessary
to reach final settlement, Bilman replied the GOT had thought
about this, but he offered no details. He said PM Erdogan's
December 3 statements that there were "two different states,
two different religions, two different languages" on Cyprus,
fit with the Annan Plan's bicommunality provisions. He was
confident the public would accept a final agreement.
7. (C) Bilman predicted that even if an ostensible agreement
were reached, Greek Cypriots would use the Russians to block
approval in the Security Council. The Russians, he pointed
out, voted with the Greek Cypriots in the COE against the
recent Loizidou settlement proposal. He said the Greek
Cypriot side needed to be pressured in order for real
agreement to be reached; he asked for U.S. help in doing
this. Even if Turkey did everything in its power to reach
agreement, the Greek Cypriots would not have sufficient
pressure on them and felt they would suffer no consequences
for failing to respond. Poloff responded that leverage with
the Greek Cypriots would be highest prior to Cyprus' May 1 EU
December 14 Elections
8. (C) On elections, Bilman noted that voters lists were
complete; he claimed the "TRNC High Election Board" ("HEB")
had received 1232 objections and had stricken 921 names from
voter rolls due to insufficient proof of residency. He
claimed the "HEB" had received no additional objections to
the voter lists outside those in pending court cases.
Despite opposition claims to unequal time on local
television, Bilman said "reports from the island" suggested
these were untrue. He said the "Speaker" of the "TRNC
Parliament" had invited COE and OSCE observers to the island,
but none had come. Europe, he complained, had prejudged the
results and would recognize an opposition victory, but not a
victory but the current government parties.
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