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Cablegate: Mfa Views Visit of German Opposition Leaders As

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ANKARA 001287

SIPDIS


DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM TU
SUBJECT: MFA VIEWS VISIT OF GERMAN OPPOSITION LEADERS AS
POSITIVE


REF: ANKARA 975


1. (U) Kemalettin Eruygur, chief of the MFA Deputy
Directorate General for Western Europe, told us March 1 that
he believes the February 15-17 visit to Turkey of German
opposition CDU-CSU opposition leaders Angela Merkel and
Wolfgang Schauble was helpful for both sides, although
neither side shifted from its position regarding Turkey's EU
candidacy. Merkel and Schauble had not visited Turkey
before, and were clearly unfamiliar with the country, so the
visit was an opportunity for them to learn about Turkey and
meet some of the GOT leaders behind the EU-related
legislative reforms. This cable is a follow-up to reftel, in
which we reported the German Embassy view of the visit.


2. (U) In his meeting with Merkel and Schauble, PM Erdogan
flatly rejected the idea of a "privileged partnership"
between the EU and Turkey, advocated by the German opposition
leaders as an alternative to full membership. The PM argued
that Turkey, as a member of the EU Customs Union, already
enjoys a privileged partnership. The GOT's reform efforts
are aimed at nothing less than full membership. At the same
time, Eruygur said, Erdogan emphasized that he knows the EU
at the December Summit will decide only on the question of
whether to set a date to begin accession talks with Turkey.
Turkey's accession to the EU is years away. When the time
comes, the EU will have an opportunity to judge Turkey's
performance and determine whether it fully meets membership
criteria.


3. (U) Merkel told Erdogan she is impressed by the
legislative reforms adopted by the Turkish Parliament over
the past two years, and does not doubt Turkey's ability to
meet EU membership criteria. However, she questioned the
EU's ability to absorb a large country like Turkey with such
a distinct culture. It is important for the EU to maintain
good relations with Turkey. However, EU membership for
Turkey might not be the best option for either side. Merkel
said she does not necessarily oppose starting accession talks
with Turkey, but argued that both sides should accept the
possibility that the talks will lead to something less than
full membership. Eruygur said Merkel and Schauble did not
define their concept of a privileged partnership.


4. (U) Eruygur said Merkel appeared to be breaking new ground
politically by saying she is not opposed to starting
accession talks with Turkey. She clearly wanted to deliver
the message that she is not anti-Turkish. Eruygur opined
that her position seems entirely based on internal German
politics -- i.e., she is addressing the concerns of German
voters concerned about the economy and fearful that EU
membership for Turkey will lead to an overwhelming influx of
Turkish migrants.
EDELMAN

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