Cablegate: Das Kaidanow's Initial Consultations in Turkey

Published: Wed 9 Sep 2009 02:54 PM
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 001326
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2019
Classified By: CDA Doug Silliman, Reasons 1.4 (b,d)
1. (C) Summary: GoT officials told EUR DAS Kaidanow during
her initial visit to Ankara that:
-- Turkey is committed to the reconciliation process with
Armenia, but Ankara also needs to see progress on
-- Ankara fully supports Talat and is giving him maximum
flexibility, but is concerned that the Greek Cypriots are not
motivated to deal. Turkey believes UN Special Envoy Downer
needs to be more engaged in the process and wants UN SYG Moon
to host a meeting for Talat and Christoufias at UNGA to give
visibility to this issue;
-- There is ongoing Greece-Turkey bilateral dialogue
regarding the Aegean, including on the issue of military
flights. Greek allegations about Turkish air activities are
often misleading, including recent allegations of Turkish
harassment of a Greek civilian airliner;
-- The Kurdish Opening is at the forefront of Turkey,s
domestic agenda. The government has a strong will to move
forward and appreciates USG's continuing support on intel
sharing against the PKK and working with Europe to curb the
PKK's fundraising and political activities;
-- Turkey is concerned about Iranian efforts to form a Shiite
coalition in Iraq and wants to work with the U.S. to support
a more liberal, democratic, pro-Western regime in Baghdad.
Rising tensions between Syria and Iraq are a concern;
-- FM Davutoglu will visit Iran the week of September 7 and
will urge the Iranians to respond constructively to the P5
Plus 1 offer;
-- Turkey is committed to Nabucco as an important element of
energy security and does not view Southstream as a
competitor. End Summary.
2. (C) During her initial visit to Ankara September 3-4,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian
Affairs Ambassador Tina Kaidanow met with MFA Undersecretary
Feridun Sinirlioglu and other senior MFA officials, Deputy
Chief of the Turkish General Staff (TGS) GEN Aslan Guner,
Energy Undersecretary Metin Kilci and Foreign Trade
Undersecretary Ahmet Yakici. Ambassador hosted a dinner for
DAS Kaidanow with pundits and thinktankers on September 3 and
a separate dinner with senior GoT advisors and members of
opposition parties on September 4. DAS Kaidanow and
interlocutors agreed on the positive and close partnership
between the U.S. and Turkey on a full range of key issues,
including particularly Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iraq.
Discussions in the various meetings focused on Turkey,s
approach on Armenia, Cyprus, Greece, the "Democratic Opening"
to address the Kurdish issue and energy.
--------------------------------------------- --
3. (C) MFA Undersecretary Sinirlioglu told DAS Kaidanow that
Ankara is committed to normalizing relations with Armenia,
and that the protocols to establish and develop diplomatic
relations between Turkey and Armenia has created very
positive momentum on which all parties should build. While
acknowledging that Nagarno-Karabagh is on a separate track,
Sinirlioglu stressed that Turkey also needs to see progress
on Nagorno-Karabakh. This message was echoed by TGS Deputy
CHOD Gen Guner during his meeting with DAS Kaidanow.
Sinirlioglu also predicted that this sensitive step will be
fiercely debated in parliament.
4. (C) MFA Deputy U/S Cevikoz, the MFA point person on
normalization with Armenia told DAS Kaidanow in a separate
meeting that Turkey was pleased with how the press was being
managed and thanked the U.S. for helping to manage the
Azeris. "Turkey hopes this is the beginning of an end,
rather than the end of the beginning," Cevikoz quipped, but
said a lot will depend on how the next steps play out,
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including the Minsk Group meeting in Chisinau (on the margins
of the CIS summit) between Armenian President Sargsian and
Azerbaijani President Aliyev, and Sargsian,s attendance at
the World Cup qualifier match in Turkey between Turkey and
Armenia on October 14.
5. (C) DAS Kaidanow applauded Turkey's courage in moving
forward with normalization with Armenia. The U.S.
understands that although the two issues are on separate
tracks, it is important for Turkey to see progress on N-K in
order to move forward with normalization. She underscored
that the U.S. remains committed to finding a resolution on
N-K and noted the appointment of Amb. Bradtke as the new U.S.
co-chair for the Minsk Group as a reflection of the U.S.
commitment. Sinirlioglu welcomed this announcement and said
Turkey will look forward to working closely with Amb. Bradtke.
6. (C) Senior representatives from the opposition Republican
People's Party (CHP) and the National Action Party (MHP) told
DAS Kaidanow that opposition parties will reject the
protocols without a commitment from Armenia to withdraw from
occupied Azerbaijani territories. During the dinner hosted
by Ambassador Jeffrey on September 4, CHP Vice Chair and
former MFA Undersecretary Onur Oymen argued that Turkey
normalizing relations with Armenia before an Armenian
withdrawal would effectively condone the illegal occupation
by Armenia. This, Onur concluded, would set a terrible
precedent for other instances of illegal occupation in the
South Caucasus, including the Russian occupation of South
Ossetia and Abkhazia. Hakan Fidan, senior advisor to PM
Erdogan, retorted by noting that the protocol should be seen
as a confidence building measure in advance of ratification
by both parliaments and that the government understands the
need for progress on Nagarno-Karabagh in order to receive
opposition support for the protocols. DAS Kaidanow also
noted that if Azerbaijan was willing to accept finalizing an
agreement on the Madrid Basic Principles as a mark of success
in the Nagorno-Karabakh process, Turkey should not be in the
position of defining that success more stringently than Baku
7. (C) MFA U/S Sinirlioglu told DAS Kaidanow that Turkey
completely supports Talat's constructive, pro-solution
approach and that Turkey has provided him full flexibility in
the negotiations. Sinirlioglu expressed concern that the
Greek Cypriots seem unmotivated to negotiate and appear to be
using Turkey,s EU accession process as leverage to advance
their goals in the negotiations. He warned that the window
for a settlement is closing, pointing to the April 2010
presidential elections in the north as a likely turning point
given the growing sentiments in the north against a
settlement. He asked for U.S. support to encourage Special
Envoy Downer to be more engaged in the process and to back
Turkey's request for UN SYG Ban Ki Moon to meet jointly with
Talat and Christoufias at the UN to highlight his personal
interest in and draw international attention on the
negotiations. DAS Kaidanow agreed that the UN should be
fully engaged and that the window for a solution is limited.
She said a UN SYG meeting with the two leaders could be a
positive step and the US would consider supporting this.
8 (C) MFA Deputy U/S Berk told DAS Kaidanow that relations
with Greece are generally positive and outlined the ongoing
semi-annual meetings of the bilateral steering committee in
which he represents the Turkish side. Berk was upbeat in
describing the discussions with Greece that were broadening
and moving beyond the monotonous exchanges of their
respective positions on the continental shelf. Berk said the
Greeks had proposed five confidence building measures (CBMs)
and that he had sent a letter in mid-August to the Greek
PolDir to accept four of these CBMs and to propose an
additional five new ones. Turkey was even willing to
consider the selective
extension of territorial waters beyond the six mile limit in
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certain areas (while not in others). DAS Kaidanow raised the
issue of Turkish overflights of inhabited Greek islands,
expressing concern that the potential for escalation or
accidents was high. Berk warned DAS Kaidanow not to take
Greek allegations of Turkish overflights in the Aegean at
face value and rejected outright Greece's claim that Turkish
fighter aircraft had passed close by a Greek airliner on
August 31. Berk said that in addition to proposed CBMs, he
had sent to his Greek counterpart a proposal for an "Aegean
Code of Conduct" which he said could greatly reduce the
chance of a mishap with potential for escalation. Turkey was
ready to implement this proposal as well as the CBMs without
prejudicing the legal positions on either side. While noting
that the Greek government may be distracted with upcoming
elections, Berk pointed to polling that showed PASOK in the
lead. He commented that that Turkey is "not a stranger" to
PASOK and considers Papandreou a good partner.
9. (C) TGS Deputy CHOD General Guner told DAS Kaidanow that
there are improvements in Turkey-Greece relations and Turkey
is looking to build on the personal relationships between the
two militaries, especially between the service commanders.
Guner said the new Greek CHOD had served in Ankara when Guner
was the J2 at TGS. Responding to concerns expressed by DAS
Kaidanow about Turkish military overflights over populated
Greek islands, Guner avoided getting into specifics, but said
that there are CBMs ongoing. He concluded by stating that,
"Man-to-man, military-to-military, we have no problems."
Kurdish Opening
10. (C) Sinirlioglu said there is a consensus of public
opening supporting the GoT's "Democratic Initiative," and
that there is strong political will to press forward. He
expressed appreciation for the continuing support Turkey
receives from the U.S. in the fight against the PKK and asked
for the U.S. to continue pressing the EU to prevent political
and fundraising activities in Europe. DAS Kaidanow agreed
that the EU can be doing more and that the U.S. will continue
to explore with the EU what more can be done to deny
political and financial support for the PKK. TGS Deputy
CHOD Guner flagged for DAS Kaidanow TGS Chief Basbug's July
25 announcement as key: it highlighted TGS's red lines but
provided general support for any efforts that would not cross
those lines. Guner concluded: "If there is something that we
can do to bring the PKK down from the mountains, we will do
it. But as long as they stay in the mountains, we will fight
11. (C) Turkey,s Special Envoy and soon-to-be ambassador to
Iraq Murat Ozcelik joined Sinirlioglu,s meeting with DAS
Kaidanow and stated that he is working closely with
Ambassador Hill. Ozcelik said he will focus on overcoming
the challenge of elections and on passage of the revenue
sharing and hydrocarbon laws once he arrives Baghdad. He
said a smooth drawdown of U.S. forces is important, and urged
the U.S. to not become overly focused on an "exit strategy,"
but to work with Turkey and others toward a more pro-Western
Iraq: "We don,t want another Iran in the region." He
stressed that Turkey supports a fair election process and is
following developments closely, particularly Iran,s efforts
to build a Shiite coalition in Iraq. He was encouraged by
Maliki's decision not to join a Shia coalition, but remains
concerned about Maliki's intentions. He asked that the U.S
and Turkey should work together for a constellation of
political actors who are more liberal and democratic. He
noted Turkey's concerns about growing tensions between Iraq
and Syria. FM Davutoglu had just traveled to both countries
and may do so again, following the September 9 meeting in
Cairo. Ozcelik noted that Turkey will remain engaged with
all groups in Iraq.
12. (C) Sinirlioglu noted that FM Davutoglu will be traveling
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to Iran in the near future and will convey a "tough message"
urging Iran to respond to the P5 plus 1 offer. He also said
that Turkey,s continuing engagement with Syria is difficult,
but worth the effort as changing Syria will be important for
the region.
13. (C) Turkey supports the free flow of energy to Europe,
Sinirlioglu stated, and believes that energy security is one
of Turkey's key contributions to Europe. He reiterated
Turkey's support for Nabucco and said Southstream is not in
competition with Nabucco. He agreed with DAS Kaidanow's
assessment that supplies for the pipeline remains the
lingering question mark over the project and said this is yet
another reason to have a breakthrough in Armenian-Azerbaijan
and Turkish-Armenian relations. Energy Undersecretary Metin
Kilci in a separate meeting told DAS Kaidanow that Turkey is
pushing hard in support of Nabucco, has high expectations for
it, and is working on secondary agreements such as the
Project Support Agreement (PSA) and setting up the national
Nabucco companies. Kilci said he expects the project will
begin within two years, compared to Southstream, which
remains a long-term and costly project.
14. (U) DAS Kaidanow has cleared this cable.
"Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.s"
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