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Cablegate: Turkey/Nato: Turkey Requests Support On Exercise

VZCZCXRO5223
OO RUEHBW
DE RUEHAK #0941 1361349
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151349Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6293
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU PRIORITY
RHMFISS/425ABG IZMIR TU//CC// PRIORITY
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// PRIORITY
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 000941

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR NATO GR TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY/NATO: TURKEY REQUESTS SUPPORT ON EXERCISE
NOBLE ARCHER

Classified By: A/DCM Kim Deblauw for reasons 1.4 (b,d).

1. (C) Summary: In conversations with Ambassador on May 14
and 15, MFA Undersecretary Apakan requested the U.S. urge
NATO political and military authorities to maintain NATO
impartiality in Aegean disputes, stating that conduct of
Exercise Noble Archer under the current scenario will
escalate tensions between Greece and Turkey while undermining
Alliance solidarity and credibility. MFA Maritime/Aviation
Deputy Director General Ozturk convoked us May 15 to
elaborate on the same points, stressing that NATO support to
the current Noble Archer scenario would violate NATO's
long-held policy of neutrality and could jeopardize progress
being made in the bilateral dialogue, including low-key
exploratory talks, between Turkey and Greece. Ozturk said
Turkey would protest vigorously a NATO decision to take part
in the exercise, suggesting the Turkish military may react
more strongly. End Summary

2. (C) Apakan told Ambassador May 14 that Turkey believes the
island of Aghios Efstratios, the focal point of Exercise
Noble Archer proposed by the Combined Air Operations Center 7
(CAOC 7) in Larissa, is demilitarized under international
agreements; any exercise involving that island would violate
its demilitarized status. In line with long-established
policy (the "Luns doctrine"), NATO should not get involved in
the dispute nor be the venue to discuss and judge
disagreements among Allies. Involving the Alliance in such
bilateral disputes will not be in the interest of NATO and
Allied countries. Apakan stated that conduct of the exercise
under the present scenario (with NATO participation) will
escalate tensions between two Allies, undermine Alliance
solidarity, and call into question NATO's impartiality.
Apakan noted that Greece and Turkey continue to try to solve
their problems through bilateral dialogue, including via
low-key exploratory talks.

3. (C) Ozturk told us May 15 that the May 8 meeting of Greek
and Turkish officials in Istanbul, under the 39th round of
exploratory talks, had gone extremely well with positive
feelings on both sides. The GOT is therefore surprised and
disappointed to hear the NATO Secretary General claim
bilateral talks are not going well. Ozturk wondered whether
the SYG is getting one-sided reporting from the Greek side,
and is therefore inclined to be sympathetic to the Greek
request for participation in Noble Archer. Ozturk also
stated that Turkish reporting from Brussels indicates the
U.S. is now leaning more toward the Greek view on Aegean
exercises. In any case, Ozturk emphasized, NATO
participation in Noble Archer would undermine the painstaking
bilateral talks underway to resolve the entire range of
complex and interlinked Aegean issues.

4. (C) Ozturk said the GOT would protest a NATO decision to
participate in Noble Archer vigorously and at all levels. He
stated he could not predict the Turkish military's reaction,
but suggested it would be very strong. At the least, NATO
participation under the current scenario would jeopardize
chances for any future NATO exercises in the Aegean. He
stated the U.S. has a great responsibility for taking a stand
in favor of NATO neutrality and that Turkey is hoping for our
strong support. We told Ozturk that any Turkish reaction to
a NATO decision to participate in the exercise should not
contribute to escalating tensions or creating dangerous
situations in the Aegean.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON

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