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Cablegate: Turkey Supports Us Observer Status to Bsec

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

Sensitive But Unclassified.

1. (U) In conjunction with the visit of EUR/ACE Special
Advisor John Markey to the Istanbul headquarters of the Black
Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organization, Econoff met
with MFA BSEC desk officer Ali Sain Akin April 6 to discuss
the U.S. application for observer status and Turkey's
objectives for BSEC.

2. (SBU) Akin "reaffirmed" Turkey's support for U.S.
observer status and explained that observer applications have
been blocked by Greece since Turkey vetoed the application of
Greek Cyprus. Akin emphasized that Turkey opposes the
proposal of several BSEC members (Georgia, Moldova, Romania
and Bulgaria) to take on "hard security" issues, such as
Transdnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh, because it would paralyze
the organization and because there is "still no real trust
among BSEC members." Akin said Turkey wants BSEC to focus on
building regional stability through economic development and

3. (SBU) However, Akin said Turkey supports efforts to use
BSEC to address "soft security" issues, such as organized
crime, terrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking.
Admitting that BSEC had few successes in its history, Akin
listed several BSEC initiatives that Turkey supports:
customs cooperation; a Black Sea preferential trade
agreement; improving transportation among the countries,
including a recent effort to ease visa requirements for truck
drivers; and mutual assistance for natural disasters.
Bulgaria is chairing a BSEC working group to prepare an
action plan for disaster assistance.

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4. (SBU) Noting that it is important to achieve some results
for BSEC, Akin implied that Russia's opposition under Putin
had stymied BSEC initiatives -- "Putin is different."
Still, Akin was hopeful, based on recent expressions of
support from the Russian government.

5. (SBU) In Markey's Istanbul meeting, BSEC Secretary
General Japaridze predicted that observer status for the U.S.
will be quickly approved, and expressed hope that the U.S.
would not just be a silent observer but would actively
contribute to the organization. He noted the accomplishments
registered under Greece's chairmanship in recent months, and
stressed his intent to help BSEC evolve from a meeting forum
to a project-focused organization. In addition to economic
topics, including particularly energy, he pointed to the
"soft security" topics Akin mentioned as areas where BSEC
should concentrate. He suggested a further meeting with U.S.
representatives when formal action on the observer
application has been taken, and noted that he and his
colleagues will soon embark on similar consultations with EU
officials in Brussels.

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