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Cablegate: Assistant Secretary Fried's December 8 Meeting

O P 151749Z DEC 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY ANKARA IMMEDIATE
INFO USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PRAGUE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY
AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY

S E C R E T STATE 131277


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV TU
SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRIED'S DECEMBER 8 MEETING
WITH TURKISH UNDERSECRETARY APAKAN

Classified By: EUR A/S FRIED FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (S) Summary: EUR Assistant Secretary Fried met December 8,
2008 with Turkish Undersecretary Apakan and a delegation from
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a two-hour discussion on
European issues as part of the Shared Vision strategic
dialogue. They covered U.S.-Turkish cooperation and shared
interests and policies in the European Union, NATO, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, and Georgia. (The Turkish delegation also held a
bilateral meeting and working lunch with Under Secretary
Burns and a meeting on energy, which will be reported
septel.) U/S Apakan emphasized his interest in working
closely with the new U.S. administration, and A/S Fried
undertook to advise the new team on the strategic importance
of the U.S.-Turkey relationship. End summary.

-------------
INTRODUCTIONS
-------------

2. (S) A/S Fried welcomed U/S Apakan and the Turkish
delegation, emphasizing the importance of our exchange with
Turkey on crucial issues. Turkey is a major player in our
foreign policy priorities, and the United States looks to
Turkey for collaboration, wisdom, and advice. Though the
last several years have not always been easy, Turkey and the
United States have ended up in a place of strength and
partnership. A/S Fried recognized the challenges to our
bilateral relationship in the immediate wake of the October
2007 House Foreign Affairs Committee vote on H.Res. 106, the
"Armenian genocide" resolution. Avoiding the floor vote was
the right thing to do for American interests, and he was
pleased that the bilateral relationship had since improved.
He was particularly pleased with the success of U.S.-Turkish
cooperation in the fight against Kurdistan Workers Party
(PKK) terrorism. The United States and Turkey work together
closely in NATO and will continue to work together in the
years ahead.

3. (S) Apakan thanked A/S Fried and his team for their
contributions to the bilateral relationship. He agreed that
ties had been strained in the past, but they had improved
because of the good working relationships between our
embassies and our offices. He had been pleased to welcome
Jim Jeffrey as the new U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and was sure
our close cooperation would continue. Turkey would like to
continue to expand this partnership with the new
administration on the basis of the Shared Vision document.
The United States should know that Turkey is a reliable
partner that places importance on its relationship with the
West -- the United States, NATO, and the European Union.
Turkey and the United States have a shared vision and a
shared responsibility for defense and security in the region,
including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Mediterranean, the Black
Sea, and the Caucasus. Countering terrorism has been a major
issue, and Turkey would like to expand its cooperation in
this area. Turkey also looks forward to cooperating with the
United States and the international community in the United
Nations Security Council (UNSC) and will send a delegation to
Washington December 12 for UNSC consultations. Energy is also
an issue on which Turkey and the United States are strategic
partners. Turkey wants to work closely with the United States
to ensure a strategy that balances global and regional energy
needs. Turkey also understands its responsibilities as a G-20
country and wants to cooperate on economic matters. Though
there may be occasional differences of interpretation and
approach, the United States and Turkey share the same goals
of peace and stability. Apakan repeated that he would like this
close cooperation to continue with the new administration on the
basis of a shared philosophy of friendship, solidarity, and
partnership.

--------------------------
EUROPEAN UNION AND REFORMS
--------------------------

4. (S) A/S Fried recognized as critical Turkey's path to
deepening its democracy and the evolution of its secular
democracy over the last generation as he opened a discussion
of Turkey's European Union accession. Turkey's being a
democracy lent great weight to our partnership. Apakan
stressed that Turkey has always been oriented to the West and
that the EU accession is an important element of Turkey's
transformation to a modern society. Turkey may be involved
in the Middle East, but Apakan said Turkey has no other
option than the EU and the United States. Turkey will not
identify with Russia or Iran, so its objective remains the EU.

5. (S) Apakan said Turkey wants to move more quickly on its
accession but internal politics with some EU members, such as
France, are hindering Turkey's progress. Other countries --
like Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic, United Kingdom, and
Finland -- are doing their best to be openly supportive of
Turkey's accession. Turkey is working with the Czech
Republic in advance of it taking the EU presidency in January
2009. Apakan saw the EU process not just as opening and
closing chapter, but as a "way of life." While Apakan
acknowledged Turkey must do more on reforms, including human
rights, the Europeans should not allow the process to be left
"in limbo." The Europeans should be mindful of Turkish
public opinion and how it is negatively affected by European
attitudes and actions, including not allowing the word
"accession" to be used in EU documents or freezing certain
chapters. France's insistence on dropping the word
"accession" appeared to Apakan to be "antidiplomacy" because
France blocks Turkey in the EU, yet wants to work with Turkey
in the Middle East. Turkey appreciates U.S. support for Turkey's
EU membership.

6. (S) A/S Fried agreed that internal politics in Europe, and
Europe's own identity problems were creating disadvantages
for Turkey. The United States has supported Turkey's
membership and insisted on no backward movement. Fried
encouraged Turkey to prepare now for future changes in the
European political climate. The more Turkey does to
accelerate its reforms, the more it can undercut Europe's
existential concerns. Turkey's record of reform in 2003 was
impressive. A second wave of reforms now, including on the
status of the Ecumenical Patriarch and freedom of expression,
would force Europeans to look again and overcome their
hesitation. Movement on the Cyprus negotiations would also
help Turkey's prospects for EU membership. Turkey should
think about the timing of its efforts, and can work with its
advocates in the EU like the UK or people like EU Enlargement
Commissioner Ollie Rehn and EU Council Secretariat Director
General Robert Cooper to determine when best to push its
candidacy. DAS Bryza also noted that if Europe were to close
its door to Turkey, it would send the wrong signal to Europe's
Muslim population. Europe should focus on its big, strategic
interests.

7. (S) Apakan said that Europe had to prepare itself for
eventual Turkish membership. However, the Turks are also
becoming discouraged because of the difficulty in movement on
the acquis chapters. Berk pointed out that eight chapters
are frozen because of the Cyprus issue, and France has
suspended four Chapters (those that imply Turkish membership
in the EU, and Cyprus is blocking the energy Chapter).
Turkey wants to see the energy chapter opened and sees only
one state (Cyprus) blocking progress on it. Deputy U/S Berk
observed that the EU commission is often encouraging and
motivating other countries, but its rhetoric is the reverse
with Turkey. It is serving to diminish the Turkish public's
excitement about the EU, which makes it more difficult for
the Turkish government to use the EU process as an incentive
to implement difficult and costly reforms. Turkey is
concerned there may be no chapters opened during the Swedish
presidency of the EU in 2009. DAS Bryza expressed support
for the opening the energy chapter, saying that we had to
find a way to do so.

8. (S) Apakan stressed the importance of Europe and the
Mediterranean countries as a center of political and economic
gravity in the region. Turkey places great importance on the
transatlantic alliance and the need for a strong NATO. When
there is a strong NATO, there is a strong EU. EU partners
need to think strategically about the realities of the 21st
century. Turkey sees the UK as thinking strategically but
believes other EU countries need to think more broadly. A/S
Fried agreed on the importance of NATO, noting the increase
in U.S. support for the EU has been predicated on a strong
NATO.

----
CSCP
----

9. (S) Apakan briefed on the expert-level meetings Turkey
held on the margins of the OSCE meeting in Helsinki with
Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia as part of its
Caucasus Security and Cooperation Platform (CSCP). Deputy
U/S Cevikoz represented Turkey in the meeting, which Apakan
characterized as useful. The participants worked on a paper
to develop CSCP modalities and implementation. Georgia had
expressed some initial hesitations about CSCP that appear to
be resolved. Turkey expects to hold another meeting at the
deputy under secretary level and is pleased that there has
been some "modest" progress. Turkey is telling Russia and
the other participants that, at the right time, it would like
the United States and the EU to participate as observers.
A/S Fried asked when that might be and whether Russia had
objected. Apakan did not give a specific timeframe,
explaining that it may be six weeks before the group meets
again. He clarified that the involvement of third parties is
specifically mentioned in the current draft paper and Russia
had not raised concerns about that to date. Fried and Bryza
indicated U.S. support for CSCP, after initial confusion when
the proposal was broached to Russia and Georgia without
consultation with the United States.

----------------
NAGORNO-KARABAKH
----------------

10. (S) Turkey has heard from the Azeri and Armenian foreign
ministers, as well as Azeri President Aliyev, that the
Azeri-Armenian discussions about Nagorno-Karabakh have been
going well and that there is a good chance they will find a
settlement. DAS Bryza agreed that progress had been good,
though noted it may take more time than everyone would like
to get to a final agreement. He reviewed that the
Azeri-Armenian talks had been improving steadily since June
6, particularly given the better dynamics between Armenian
President Sargsian and Aliyev. Sargsian is more of a risk
taker and a problem solver who has been willing to tackle
this process head on, and Aliyev has recognized and welcomed
this engagement. During the November 2, 2008, meetings in
Moscow, both sides said they were ready and instructed their
foreign ministers to finalize a deal. They are now thinking
through the modalities of the corridor connecting the two
sides. It is positive that both sides have started to
prepare their publics for a settlement and the trade offs,
but bad journalism continues to hinder the presidents. It
looks like mid-2009 is the likely timeframe for an agreement,
though everyone would like one as soon as possible. Turkey
could be helpful in pushing Aliyev to finalize the agreement.

11. (S) Apakan said Turkey had been speaking to Aliyev, who
appreciated Sargsian's constructive attitude and has a
positive image of Sargsian. Turkey sees the good dynamics
between the two leaders as a rare opportunity that needs to
be realized and has encouraged acceleration of the
negotiations. Turkey does not see a linkage between the
Azeri-Armenian track and the Turkish-Armenian track, but
acknowledges that progress between Turkey and Armenia could
have a positive effect on the Azeri-Armenian talks. He
repeated there was no link and said Turkey was working on
each track on its own merits.

-------
GEORGIA
-------

12. (S) A/S Fried turned to the subject of Georgia and said
the U.S. strategic assessment is that South Ossetia and
Abkhazia are lost to Tbilisi for a long time. Though the
regions may never receive full independence, Tbilisi will not
govern them. The Georgians need to think about the
long-term, not the short-term, on territorial integrity, and
the United States has told Saakashvili this bluntly. The
good news is that Russia failed to overthrow the Georgian
government, and Georgia did not lose much. Russia's
recognition of the regions may have been a blow, but Russia
did not gain much and was only joined by Nicaragua and Hamas.
The strategy now for Georgia is to help it survive, recover,
and consolidate as an independent nation even though it has
been deprived of its territories. In principle, Russia
cannot be a barrier for Georgia's accession to NATO. The
United States was satisfied with the NATO ministerial because
it left the door open for Georgia, but in reality, Georgia is
years away from qualifyi
ng for NATO membership.

13. (S) A/S Fried reiterated that being provoked was not
sufficient cause for foolishness, but now it is important to
focus on strengthening Georgian democracy and institutions.
It is not necessary to hurry Georgia's NATO aspirations, but
we can all help Georgia do the work required to qualify for
membership. The situation on the ground is not encouraging,
which A/S Fried saw first hand when he visited South Ossetia
several weeks ago. Ambassador Tefft has also reported
shootings, attacks on police, mining the border, and Russian
violations of Georgia's maritime boundaries. Georgia must
live with Russia's illegal recognition, and the international
community must use the Geneva process to consolidate Georgia
and stabilize the situation on the ground. A/S Fried has
urged Georgia to remain calm and patient and to focus on
rebuilding the country, not being sucked into a war it cannot
win. Georgia needs enough confidence and support from the
international community so it does not feel panicked and
abandoned, but not so much that it is emboldened. In the long
run, Georgia needs to have strong institutions, not just one
charismatic leader. Georgian democracy will benefit from a
healthy opposition, and Georgia may need two peaceful changes
of government before it is ready for NATO.

14. (S) Apakan said Turkey views Georgia similarly and has
repeatedly stressed respect for Georgia's territorial
integrity, which is a matter of principle for Turkey. Turkey
looks to the Georgians as cousins so will maintain good ties
and will assist Georgia's recovery. Turkey had asked to be
involved in the Geneva process, but will support that process
even though it has not been invited. Apakan said the CSCP
should reinforce the efforts of the Geneva process, helping
with political reconciliation in the region. Apakan said
Turkey would like to consult more frequently and closely with
the United States on Georgia and the Caucasus more broadly.
A/S Fried advised that we all continue to watch the situation
in Georgia closely, and he and DAS Bryza welcomed the
opportunity to consult more closely on the Caucasus. Bryza
also stressed that the United States was supportive of the
CSCP and looked forward to working with Turkey on these
issues.

15. (U) Participants:

United States
EUR Assistant Secretary Dan Fried
EUR DAS Matthew Bryza
EUR/SE Director Kathleen Fitzpatrick
EUR/SE Deputy Bridget Brink
EUR/SE Turkey Desk Officer Danielle Garbe (notetaker)

Turkey
Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan
Ambassador to the U.S. Nabi Sensoy
Deputy Undersecretary for Bilateral Affairs Haydar Berk
Director General for Policy Planning Dicle Kopuz
Deputy Director General for the Americas Ersin Ercin
Deputy Director General for the Middle East Omer Onhon
Deputy Chief of Mission Ali Murat Ersoy
Special Assistant to the Undersecretary Deniz Eke
First Counselor Ihsan Kiziltan (notetaker)


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