Cablegate: Turkish Cypriot Envoy Eager to Start Substantive


DE RUEHIT #0128/01 0731225
P 131225Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) The election of Cypriot President Demertis
Christofias provides an opportunity to resolve the Cyprus
Problem according to both Turkish Cypriot Special Envoy
Kurtaly Erk and DAS Matt Bryza in a March 2 meeting in
Istanbul. Erk stated that "President" Talat is ready to
begin negotiations under UN sponsorship using the basic
concepts of the Annan Plan as a starting point. Erk warned
that the Turkish Cypriots (T/Cs) are losing patience with
the peace process and that open ended talks that fail to
produce concrete results would increase the possibility of
a permanent partition of the island. Both Bryza and Erk
agreed that ending the isolation of the T/Cs will be a
positive step. Erk stated that existing confidence
building measures on the island has been generally
successful, and he provided additional measures that should
be undertaken.

New Prospects for a Settlement

2. (SBU) "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" Special
Envoy Kurtaly Erk and EUR DAS Matt Bryza were both hopeful
regarding prospects for a settlement on the Cyprus Issue
during a March 2 meeting, noting the election of Demetris
Christofias as president of Cyprus presents a new
opportunity for reunification. Erk added that "President"
Talat has had good communication with Christofias and the
exit of former President Papadopoulos removes a significant
obstacle towards a settlement.

3. (SBU) Erk stated that Talat is ready to begin
negotiation without preconditions under UN auspices. The
basic components of the Annan plan"a bi-zonal, bi-communal
federation with two equal "constituent states" should be the
vision for these talks. Erk stressed that the report
submitted by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in May
2004 should be approved. Bryza
questioned the logic of embracing a plan name that has a
negative connotation for the Greek Cypriots (G/Cs). Erk
acknowledged this, suggesting that using a such as "body of
might be more palatable for the G/Cs.

4. (SBU) Erk stated the importance of the "convergence" of
two states to create a "virgin birth" for the Turkish
Cypriots (T/Cs). Similar to the terms of the failed
referendum in 2004, the G/Cs need only to recognize the
"TRNC" for an instant, according to Erk. The new state
would maintain all the current treaty commitments of the

"No Talks for Talk,s Sake"

5. (SBU) Erk stressed that real progress must be realized
during these negotiations. Failures of the past have only
frustrated T/C public opinion. Both sides need to conduct
results-oriented negotiations, with target dates, or better
yet deadlines. Open ended talks will only be for talk,s
sake, and thus be counterproductive, according to Erk.
Before the talks begin, the parties need to establish a
"deadlock resolving mechanism" to overcome anticipated
impasses. Erk suggested drawing from US, UN, or EU
experiences in order to establish this mechanism. Erk
complained that the July 8 Agreement failed to work because
it was an open-ended negotiation that failed to set target
dates or action plans. If the G/Cs insist on using July 8
working groups to set the stage for comprehensive
settlement talks, Talat can agree. However, that
preparatory period should last no longer than two and
one-half months, according to Erk.

Divorce Becoming More Likely if No Progress Toward Agreement

6. (SBU) Erk stressed that his "government" is completely
focused on a one-state solution; however the reality of the
situation might force irreconcilable divorce. Turkish
Cypriot frustration over Greek Cypriot intransigence and
failed promises from the international community have
clearly dampened public enthusiasm for reunification in the
north. Bryza worried that some T/C and G/C opinion polls
showed increasing support for a two state solution, however

Erk admitted there remains a strong desire for reunification,
frustrations notwithstanding. Renewed talks would again
increase expectations for a settlement, and another failure
could cause the T/Cs to forever turn away from
reunification. Bryza stated that these facts on the ground
will hopefully push the G/Cs to embrace a lasting
one-state settlement.

End the Isolation of the "TRNC"

7. (SBU) Erk argued that ending the economic isolation of
the T/C community could increase the likelihood for
reunification, as well as ease eventual integration after a
prospective settlement. Bryza agreed, and added that
economic disparity had been one of the greatest problems
after the reunification of Germany. Erk lamented that the
biggest obstacle to the T/C,s economic development could be
easily solved by "a man with a stamp," referring to the
issue of certificates of origin for Turkish Cypriot-produced
goods. Before 1995 the "TRNC" was able to trade directly
with EU nations, but since then administrative requirements
have effectively isolated the T/Cs. Bryza noted that trade
with the EU is far more important economically for the T/Cs
than is trade with the U.S.

8. (SBU) Trade between the T/Cs and G/Cs through the Green
Line is fairly small and has limited utility, according to
Erk. He complained that the T/Cs cannot advertise their
products in the south, while the G/Cs frequently advertise
in the north. Bryza asked Erk whether pushing for direct
flights to Ercan Airport is worth the effort given the
commercial demand for flights to Western Europe. In
the issue of certificates of origin has far greater potential
to assist
the T/Cs, economic development. Erk countered that direct
remain important to the T/Cs.

Confidence Building Measures

9. (SBU) Erk noted the significance of confidence building
measures (CBMs), both to push the negotiations forward and
to provide practical benefits to all the residents of the
island. Successful past examples include deconfliction,
demining, and the property commission. Deconfliction,
including banning military exercises near the Green Line,
has reduced tensions. Removing land mines around the Green
Line is another positive; however more financial resources
are needed to enable the T/Cs to continue this process.
The existing property commission has already received about
300 applicants, of which 30 cases have been settled, two of
which resulted in restitution, according to Erk.

10. (SBU) Erk also provided examples of CBMs that could be
undertaken, such as sharing law enforcement/judicial
information. The tragic case of a triple murder committed
in the south, where the murder suspect fled to the north
highlights the need for greater cooperation, he argued.
Erk contrasted this with past assistance that Scotland Yard
has given to T/C authorities. Cooperating on fighting human
trafficking was another suggested CBM.

11. (SBU) Erk stated that the "TRNC" is ready to open
additional crossings across the Green Line, including at
Ledra Street. While the "TRNC" was ready to do this prior
to the election, Erk said confidentially that Talat had waited
to move on Ledra until after the ROC,s presidential

Other Issues

12. (SBU) Erk stated that the EU needs to make Turkish an
official language. Besides the obvious symbolic benefit
for the T/Cs, this measure also has important practical
implications since current EU regulations require foreign
workers to speak two EU official languages. This current
situation places T/C workers at a comparative disadvantage
since they need to speak two languages in addition to their
mother tongue.

13. (SBU) Another critical issue for the T/Cs, according to
Erk, is representation in the European Parliament. Erk
stated that it was "torture" to watch the G/Cs "invade and

occupy" the T/Cs, two seats. Erk noted the difficulties of
the T/Cs gaining full representation; however observer
status in the parliament would be acceptable.

14. (SBU) In a response to a question asked by Bryza, Erk
stated that Talat has freedom to negotiate with the G/Cs
and is not controlled by Ankara. Finally, Erk thanked
Bryza for the US,s continuing support for seeking a lasting
settlement of this problem. He also wanted to extend his
thanks to Embassy Nicosia for their efforts in this matter.
Bryza thanked Erk for his words and his direct and honest
approach to seek a settlement.

15 (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this message.

© Scoop Media

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