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Cablegate: Wide Support for Eu Accession Talks with Turkey

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

UNCLAS BRATISLAVA 001011

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EU UP LO
SUBJECT: WIDE SUPPORT FOR EU ACCESSION TALKS WITH TURKEY

REF: (A) BRATISLAVA 00909

(B) BRATISLAVA 00923

1. (U) Summary. The vast majority of Slovak political
parties have expressed support for beginning EU-accession
talks with Turkey. However, they caution that beginning
talks is not a guarantee of support for joining the EU;
Turkey must fully meet all the political and economic
requirements for membership. One government coalition
party, the Christian Democratic Party (KDH), has vocally
opposed opening EU accession talks with Turkey. A recent
constitutional amendment gives parliament the final
authority to make decisions on Slovakia's positions within
the EU. Deciding how Slovakia will vote in December on
Turkish EU-accession talks is the first test case of the new
law. End Summary.

Dzurinda Gets Support from Opposition
--------------------------------------

2. (U) True to his word, after promising in a 10/1 press
conference at his Slovak Democratic and Christian Union
(SDKU) party's headquarters to begin a dialogue among
political parties on Turkish EU accession (ref A), Prime
Minister Dzurinda did just that. He secured support for
setting a firm date to begin talks with Turkey from the co-
governing Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) and Alliance of
the New Citizen (ANO), and from the two major opposition
parties, Smer and the Movement for Democratic Slovakia
(HZDS). All were careful to say that beginning talks was
not a guarantee that Turkey would be admitted to the EU; it
must first fulfill all the conditions for membership. HZDS
Chairman Vladimir Meciar stated, "If EU entry talks begin,
they will consist of several years of political hang-ups,
but it is better that they start than not at all." Smer's
chairman Robert Fico indicated his party's support for
beginning negotiations did not automatically presume future
support of Turkey's membership in the union.

3. (U) Smaller parties in Parliament, such as the People's
Union (LU) and the Free Forum (FF), also agreed on the need
to start entry talks with Turkey. President Gasparovic
commented that Turkey should be admitted to the European
Union after its long wait. The president said, "Telling
Turkey 'no' would not be acceptable from a political or
civil view."

KDH Chooses God Over Politics
-----------------------------

4. (U) Of the four governing parties, only the KDH remains
resolutely opposed to opening talks. KDH Chairman Pavol
Hrusovsky recently stated on national TV that his party
objects to talks because of unresolved issues, such as
Cyprus, human rights violations, and maintaining standard
democratic practices throughout the EU. As a strong
Catholic-based party, KDH has also maintained that the EU
should remain solely a Christian community. The Slovak
Conference of Catholic Bishops said Turkey has not met the
criteria for entering the EU and "lacks the basic roots of
Europe, which are Greek philosophy, Roman law, and
Christianity."

5. (SBU) SDKU MP Roman Vavrik told emboffs 11/2 that KDH
sought support from opposition parties for its stance
against accession talks and against Slovakia signing the EU
constitution. However, only the KDH and the Communist Party
(KSS) oppose these two key foreign policies, which the vast
majority of Slovak politicians see as crucial for Slovakia's
prosperity and security. SMK MP Lajos Ladanyi summarized
the prevailing view when he told emboffs that cutting off
Turkey's option to join the EU could send the country in the
direction of extremism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Parliament's Role
-----------------

6. (U) Political party dialogue was crucial to this issue
because parliament will decide what stance the GOS will take
in December. Based on an amendment to the Slovak
Constitution effective August 1, 2004, parliamentary
decisions on EU-related issues are binding for the
government. The issue of opening accession talks with
Turkey is the first test of this process. Parliament
started the ball rolling by requesting that the MFA prepare
a report regarding Slovakia's stance on opening EU accession
talks with Turkey.

7. (SBU) The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for EU
Affairs, Tibor Mikus (HZDS), told poloffs 10/19 that
committee members thought the report was incomplete and
lacked a clear position. On October 20, the Committee

recommended postponing the parliamentary discussion on this
topic until December and requested a new MFA report due in
late November. However, Mikus also told poloffs that
Slovakia is a little player in the EU, and it should watch
and listen carefully, indicating the final decision would
not be anti-Turkey.

Comment
-------

8. (SBU) The GOS will likely flow with the prevailing stream
in the EU regarding Turkey. The new amendment to the
constitution has provided a valuable tool for coalition
parties to transfer this issue to parliament so that it
doesn't create too much tension in the cabinet. We can
expect heated parliamentary debate from the KDH, but the
overwhelming majority of coalition and opposition parties
agree on the position "open talks -yes, accession - maybe."

WEISER


NNNN

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