Cablegate: Codel Wexler Staffers Discuss Eu-Turkey at Mfa

DE RUEHFR #2888/01 1841708
O 031708Z JUL 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 002888



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2017

Classified By: PolMC Josiah Rosenblatt for reasons 1.4 (B & D).

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a July 7 meeting with Representative
Wexler's Staff Director, MFA officials offered a broad
overview of French reasoning behind Sarkozy's opposition to
Turkish EU membership; his proposal for an EU discussion
before the end of the year on fixing the EU's final borders;
his commitment nonetheless to allow accession negotiations
with Turkey to proceed on those chapters not judged
incompatible with a status short of membership; the
calculation that Turkey has few options other than to remain
linked to the West irrespective of whether it accedes to the
EU; measures Turkey could take to improve its image among the
French electorate, including on Cyprus; and Sarkozy's
admittedly vague Mediterranean Union proposal. There was a
brief discussion of SAA process with Serbia. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) In the framework of Representative Robert Wexler's
(D-FL) July 2-3 meetings in Paris (septels), Staff Director
Jonathan Katz and staffer Beverly Razon met July 3 with FM
Kouchner cabinet advisor for EU affairs Jean-Louis Falconi,
DAS-equivalent for EU external relations Caroline Ferrari,
and DAS-equivalent for Southern Europe Marine de Carne to
discuss the status of French views on Turkey-EU relations.
POL Deputy and Poloff also attended.

No to Turkish EU Membership
3. (C) Katz gave a brief presentation on the importance of
Turkey for U.S. interests, including in Iraq and Afghanistan,
noted Sarkozy's and Kouchner's apparently differing views on
Turkish accession (see septels), and asked for a status
report on Turkey's EU accession negotiations. In response,
Ferrari noted that Sarkozy had been elected with a clear
mandate to refuse Turkish EU membership and reviewed French
intentions to schedule a discussion within the EU, before the
end of the year, on the EU's geographic limits. She insisted
that Turkey understood and respected Sarkozy's position on
Turkish membership, and vice versa, adding that,
paradoxically, French-Turkish relations were actually on the

Accession Negotiations May Continue
4. (C) Ferrari stated that France did not intend to
interrupt the accession negotiation process, as demonstrated
by the recent EU decision to open two more chapters, and
stated French willingness to open an additional two in the
near future. However, Ferrari also made clear that France
would agree to open only those chapters judged to be
compatible with a final status falling short of EU
membership. (NOTE: Ferrari and Falconi were unable to
specify precisely which 5 chapters of the 35 total France
does not wish to open, despite their long familiarity with
the subject matter. Ferrari said deliberations were ongoing
within the GOF. Falconi speculated that the chapters would
have to be those dealing with institutions, economic and
monetary union (blocked in the last two weeks), financial
contributions, and privileges and rights of members. END

Time to Debate EU Borders
5. (C) Asked which other EU members supported the French
approach on Turkey, Ferrari explained that the GOF plan was
merely to initiate a debate on the EU's borders by the end of
the year, not to bring it to conclusion. Domestically, this
was necessary as a means to demonstrate to French electors
that their concerns about EU enlargement generally and Turkey
more specifically, which were at the root of French rejection
of the EU constitutional treaty, were being taken seriously.
Sarkozy understood that this was a divisive question, but he
also believed that an open debate would be beneficial to all.
France did not want a crisis with Turkey, and in fact
Sarkozy strongly believed in the necessity of a strong
EU-Turkey relationship: on political, economic, and strategic
grounds. It was just that he also believed it should take
the form of something other than EU membership. Katz
cautioned that a sense of humiliation and being considered as
"not good enough" for the EU risked alienating Turkey from

Door Not Closed Irrevocably
6. (C) Falconi (who arrived late to the meeting) added that
France viewed Turkey as "a special situation." He insisted
that Sarkozy's rejection of EU membership for Turkey was
based not on fear of Turkey or Erdogan, but on broader
questions of EU identity. He said France understood that
Turkey would have slightly different policies, with Carne
adding that there was no "third way" for Turkey somewhere
between the Middle East and the West. Aligning itself with

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Hamas or Syria or Iran was not an answer. Echoing Ferrari's
earlier remarks, Falconi said it was important never to
forget that the EU was a political project; Turkish
membership had the potential to call that into question,
notwithstanding the promises that might have been made, and
questions that were never asked, in the past. He remarked
that the EU had a history of proceeding by "non-decisions"
rather than by "decisions," and Sarkozy was determined to put
all questions on the table. He insisted that the planned
working group to discuss the EU's borders did not close the
door to Turkish membership completely, since France was still
willing to talk.

7. (C) Katz asked if France had taken an active role in
pushing the EU to fulfill its promises to northern Cyprus in
the wake of Cypriot rejection of the UN plan, noting the
importance for Turkey of easing the economic isolation of
northern Cypriot community. Ferrari commented that the best
efforts of various EU presidencies had resulted in failure,
although it was not clear who was to blame. She indicated
that France had attempted to encourage the Cypriot government
to be flexible. Carne defended the EU record, saying it had
followed through on 2 of its 3 commitments. She added that
it was difficult for the Turks and Cypriots alike to show
flexibility during election periods, but this could change if
current Cypriot President Papadopoulos were not re-elected,
as now appeared possible. She also noted that northern
Cypriot leader Talat had rejected additional assistance.
Katz interjected that he wanted direct trade, not assistance.
(COMMENT: At no time did Carne suggest that the EU was in
the least responsible for creating the current impasse by
allowing Cypriot membership in the absence of a UN solution.

What Turkey Can Do
8. (C) Carne suggested that Turkish PM Erdogan consider
reducing the Turkish troop presence on Cyprus, commenting
that Europe's citizens had difficulty imagining how any
European country could have troops on its territory. She
suggested that the Turks could also do more to improve their
relations with Armenia and with the Kurds. During a brief
discussion of the status of U.S. and French parliamentary
consideration of Armenian "genocide" resolutions, Carne
suggested that Turkish actions to recognize its role and/or
to improve relations with Armenia could eventually help
change Turkey's image among the French people. She gave a
brief review of Turkish retaliatory measures (contracts and
military overflight clearances) in response to the National
Assembly's passage of legislation criminalizing the denial of
the "genocide," concluding that relations were now returning
to normal. In a brief discussion of the Turkish elections,
Carne indicated that the GOF favored the AKP party because it
viewed Erdogan's government as perhaps more religious, but
ultimately also "less dogmatic."

Mediterranean Union
9. (C) Katz asked Sarkozy's proposal for a Mediterranean
Union was intended primarily to deal with the Turkish
question. Falconi was insistent that Sarkozy's proposal for
a Med Union was not intended as a means to avoid the Turkish
question. Sarkozy was a direct man who did not need devious
machinations. That said, France's thinking on the
Mediterranean Union remained to be fleshed out. The GOF was
not sure whether it should be open to all countries on the
Mediterranean or a subset; whether it might be advisable to
begin with a subset and expand; or what its policy objectives
should be. Calling it "an enormous political project" but
also a complicated one, he described the overarching goal of
the Med Union as one of promoting more unity and common
values and of overcoming the division of the Med into north
and south.

10. (C) In a brief discussion of Serbia/Kosovo, Ferrari
assured Katz that Serbia was on the path to EU membership; it
was a question of "when" rather than "whether," unlike
Turkey. The Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA)
process had been relaunched and could technically be
completed in 2-3 months, but concluding would depend on
whether Serbia decided to cooperate with the ICTY and hand
over war criminals.

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