Cablegate: Turkey's Way Forward On Cyprus
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 002341
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2014
TAGS: CY GR PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S WAY FORWARD ON CYPRUS
(U) Classified by Ambassador Eric Edelman, E.O. 12958,
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: Despite the wake of the GCs' "no," we need
to move toward an eventual GC "yes" to the Burgenstock
agreement. On the Turkish side, we should help Ankara
preserve the its delicate balance for Cyprus settlement;
encourage the Erdogan government to continue its "one step
ahead" policy; reach out to Turkish Cypriots; and engage the
EU. End Summary.
Help Preserve the Balance in Ankara
2. (C) The Erdogan government and the MFA pieced together a
tenuous Cyprus balance with the military, the President, the
bureaucracy and Parliament that enabled them to move forward
for the past four months. The possibility of receiving a
date in December to begin EU accession negotiations may help
preserve the balance over the next few months. However, this
balance is not locked in: it remains precarious and subject
to the vagaries of Turkish politics.
3. (C) We must work preemptively to help maintain the
balance in Ankara. In the event the GCs ever bring
themselves to endorse the basic terms of the Annan Plan, a
settlement will still require Turkish Parliament's and
President Sezer's formal approval. While the military has no
formal role, it still wields enough behind-the-scenes power
to scuttle an agreement.
4. (C) Progress in two key areas will help maintain the
-- Primary law: We should work with the UK to gain more
specific guarantees that the terms of an ultimate settlement
will become primary EU law. This will help meet President
Sezer's and the military's principal reservations and dampen
the effect of domestic political critics.
-- TCs' situation: We must act on our promise to ameliorate
the TCs' situation (more below). This will strengthen the
hand of pro-solution forces in the Turkish government and
bureaucracy, allowing them to point to "progress" on the
island stemming from Turkey's pro-settlement orientation.
Encourage Turkey to Continue "One Step Ahead"
5. (C) Erdogan's Cyprus mantra has been to stay "one step
ahead" of the GCs. This has played well domestically and in
Europe. We should encourage its explicit continuation. We
expect the GOT to push back, arguing Turkey's efforts and TC
referendum approval already put it one step ahead and now it
is the GCs' turn. Still, many Turks worry that, come
December, the EU will have forgotten Turkey's achievements.
We can effectively use this argument to urge continued steps
ahead, albeit small ones. In doing so, we need to be careful
not to cross the line that would fuel expectations of
re-opening negotiations; the specter of new negotiations will
unravel Ankara's support for the agreement.
6. (C) For starters, we should again raise the idea of
easing passport requirements for GCs. Although Ziyal told us
on April 20 this will not happen, "TRNC Interior Minister"
Murat told Nicosia DCM on April 22 that discussion on this
were still ongoing. We can also press the Turks to complete
unfinished technical work on the agreement.
Speak Promptly, Act Concretely To Help Turkish Cypriots
7. (C) We need to speak out promptly and then act concretely
on our promises not to leave TCs out in the cold. While the
EU reaction is key, we cannot be seen in Ankara to be merely
the tail on an EU dog. We should begin by announcing
specific steps the U.S. plans to take, followed by their
gradual implementation. This will have the twin salutary
effects of helping maintain Ankara's pro-settlement stance
and demonstrating to GCs the cost of a continued "no." At
the same time, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is a
united Cyprus, we should take great care not to raise Turkish
expectations of a divided island. Some steps should include
honoring "TRNC" export documentation; helping TCs gain
economic assistance, including from the IMF, World Bank and
EU; opening TDA and ExIm operations to the Turkish Cypriots,
particularly in the tourism sector; removing the ban on
direct travel by USG officials to Cyprus via the north;
offering technical assistance to build rule of law and to
combat money laundering; ending restrictions on flights to
the north; a visit to Washington by Talat; upgrading the
status of the "TRNC's" representation in Washington.
Engage the EU
8. (C) The goal of getting a date to begin EU accession
negotiations remains an effective, largely-accepted external
discipline in Ankara. We should encourage the EU to
explicitly recognize Turkey's positive efforts on Cyprus in
the months leading up to December. This will reassure Turkey
its efforts have not been in vain and will help
pro-settlement forces hold the line in Ankara. We should
raise the idea of opening some channel for TCs to express
themselves within the EU. While staying out of technical
details, we should keep reminding the EU of the importance of
working to give Turkey the primary law guarantees it needs to
keep President Sezer and the military on board.