Cablegate: Presidential Cabinet Chief Atacanli On Cyprus,

Published: Mon 26 Apr 2004 07:27 AM
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 002330
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2014
(U) Classified by Ambassador Eric Edelman, E.O. 12958,
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: On April 21, President Sezer's Cabinet
Chief (also Senior Foreign Policy Adviser and Spokesman)
Atacanli told Ambassador that Sezer remains concerned with
making a Cyprus agreement primary EU law, and with
implementation of the agreement's property arrangements. In
the event of a TC "yes" and GC "no" in the referendum,
Atacanli urged concrete steps to help TCs and "in the other
direction" for the GCs. Ambassador urged restraint in GOT
statements in the event of a "yes/no." Ambassador explained
that Turkey is not a "target" of the Greater Middle East
Initiative (GME); it is up to Turkey to decide the role it
wishes to play. Atacanli emphasized the need for close
U.S.-Turkey consultation as GME moves forward. End Summary.
President Sezer's Concerns on Cyprus
2. (C) On Cyprus, Ambassador Edelman emphasized that
President Bush and Secretary Powell have been deeply engaged
with all parties and a number of other leaders. The U.S.
shares President Sezer's core concern that the agreement
have some mechanism to prevent it from being picked apart in
the European Court of Justice. The Ambassador asked
Atacanli's insights on what President Sezer thinks necessary
for the agreement to be legally secure and whether Sezer has
other concerns about the agreement.
3. (C) Atacanli acknowledged different viewpoints within the
GOT on "modalities" of a Cyprus settlement but, with the
referendum three days away, claimed the GOT is "past that
stage." Atacanli said Sezer is concerned about
implementation of the agreement's property arrangements.
This could open a Pandora's Box if property disputes escalate
to threaten peace and stability. Atacanli said there is
still a valid question whether efforts to provide primary law
guarantees are sufficient and this remains very important.
He noted that in reaching the agreement, TCs accepted much GC
legislation, some of it "anti-Turkish" (NFI), he added.
4. (C) (FYI: We note that, in an April 20 meeting with
Ambassador Edelman, MFA U/S Ziyal said Sezer has given the
MFA "no clue" about his views on the agreement. Ziyal noted
with concern that Sezer's office has not replied to a recent
MFA invitation to discuss the legal aspects of the agreement;
this is the first time Sezer's office has not responded to
the MFA on a Cyprus-related matter. End FYI.)
Thinking Ahead to "Yes/No"
5. (C) In the event of a TC "yes" and GC "no" to the
referendum, Atacanli urged concrete positive steps toward the
TCs and steps "in the other direction" for the GCs. He
worries that GCs will withstand initial pressure after a "no"
and that pressure from the international community will fade
after a few months. The Ambassador noted EU High Rep
Solana's recent statements when meeting with Secretary Powell
as an example that the EU and others are beginning to think
about next steps in the event of a "yes/no."
6. (C) The Ambassador also encouraged the GOT to react
publicly with restraint in the event of a TC "yes" and GC
"no." The Ambassador advised letting the EU carry the burden
of strong criticism, in order not to take the focus off GC
rejection of the agreement. Atacanli said he understood the
point of modulating GOT reaction in the event of a GC "no."
Greater Middle East
7. (C) The Ambassador noted that some parts of President
Sezer's April 13 speech at the Istanbul War Academies
appeared to be partially directed at Secretary Powell's
later-corrected comment that Turkey is an "Islamic republic."
Atacanli interrupted to remark that the Sezer's comments
were directed at others as well. The Ambassador reiterated
that there is no change in the long-standing U.S. view of
Turkey as a secular democratic republic.
8. (C) Noting that Sezer's speech rejected the idea of
Turkey as a GME "target," Ambassador Edelman emphasized the
USG does not consider Turkey a target. It is up to Turkey to
decide what role it wishes to play in GME. The Ambassador
laid out regional economic, educational and political reforms
that GME aims to support. Turkey offers a powerful example
of a successful Muslim-majority nation integrating into
international institutions.
9. (C) Atacanli acknowledged the Secretary's correction of
his comment but added that Sezer had come under fire for not
responding quickly to the misstatement. The secular nature
of the Turkish state is the single most important issue for
Sezer. On GME, Atacanli emphasized the need for close
consultation between the U.S. and Turkey. He said Sezer's
remarks were intended to state for the record the importance
of keeping regional developments "under control." Atacanli
said he would convey the Ambassador's explanation to Sezer.
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