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Cablegate: European Parliament Debates Turkish

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 005212

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV TU CY AM EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES TURKISH
ACCESSION


1. (SBU) Summary: On December 14, the European
Parliament (EP) will present its non-binding but
influential "opinion" whether or not the EU should
open accession negotiations with Turkey. The EP
views will not have much influence on the European
Council decision of the heads of states and
governments, but will likely be cited by them in
their own debate on December 17. In particular, EU
leaders could mine the final EP opinion for
arguments and points to support their positions.
End summary

POSITIVE FIRST STEP IN DEBATE
-----------------------------

2. (U) In their draft report adopted on November 30
by the Foreign Affairs committee, MEPs called for
opening the accession negotiations with Turkey
"without undue delay." Amendments tabled by some
Christian-democrats, stating that the door should
stay open for the negotiation process to end in a
"privileged partnership" instead of formal
accession, were rejected in committee. Some
Christian-Democrats might retable amendments for the
plenary vote on December 14. Currently, a majority
of MEPs appear to be in favor of opening
negotiations in 2005 with Turkey's full EU
membership as the objective by means of an "open-
ended process".


3. (SBU) The European Parliament (EP) has been, and
remains the center of intense political debate on
the opening of negotiations with Turkey. Very tough
of Turkey in its first draft, the report drafted by
Dutch Christian Democrat Camiel Eurling, had been
widely criticized in committee, with Liberal,
Socialist and green MEPs qualifying its tone as
"brutal." Hundreds of amendments tabled and adopted
in committee made the final version much more
positive towards Turkey's prospects for accession.
A Turkish diplomat told us that the Turkish Mission
had been very active in providing MEPs with
documents including suggestions to make the report
more acceptable to Ankara

4. (SBU) In the foreign affairs committee debate,
amendments stating that the negotiation process
could be leading to a "special partnership" between
Turkey and the EU instead of full membership were
all rejected. An EP staffer told us these
amendments could be resubmitted by French and German
Christian democrats who still strongly oppose
Turkey's accession to the EU. Current conventional
wisdom is these amendments will fail on December 14.

ARMENIA
-------

5. (SBU) Another delicate matter in the report
involved the language on the Armenian issue. The
report, as adopted in the foreign affairs committee,
mentions the word "genocide" once but amendments
proposing Turkish acknowledgement of "genocide" as a
prerequisite for accession were not adopted. French
MEPs have been most active in pushing this issue and
it could comeback on December 14. On this issue
also, most political groups are split and a staffer
from the socialist group told us that his group
would not impose any "party line."


CYPRUS
------
6. (SBU) Cyprus is difficult for the EP. The foreign
affairs report contained relatively vague language
saying that start of accession negotiations
"implies" Turkish recognition of Cyprus. The report
however dropped the word "occupying" forces and
simply calls for the "early withdrawal of its
(Turkey's) forces according to a specific
timetable..." How to handle Cyprus is likely to a
point of debate during the plenary session.

A TURKISH ASSESSMENT
--------------------

7. (SBU) According to a Turkish diplomat following
this debate in the EP, the heads of states may want
to refer to it to give their final decision at the
Eureopean Council the seal of "democratic
legitimacy."

MCKINLEY

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