05ANKARA802 / 2005-02-11 13:57:00
Embassy Ankara
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 000802 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2015 
TAGS: MOPS, MARR, PREL, PARM, TU, RS, GG, UP, RO, BU 
SUBJECT: TURKS SEEK TO INCREASE MULTILATERAL MARITIME 
EFFORTS ON BLACK SEA, BUT REQUEST U.S. STAY OUT 
 
REF: A. BUCHAREST 308 
     B. ANKARA 552 
 
Classified By: DCM Robert S. Deutsch for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Turkish military and civilian officials have told us 
that Turkey is working to multilateralize its current Black 
Sea Harmony (BSH) operation, which monitors and assesses 
Black Sea maritime traffic and reports the findings to NATO. 
This effort would only extend to the other five littoral 
states.  Turkey envisions that within the next 12-18 months, 
all six littorals will participate in BSH and share 
information both with each other and with NATO, in essence 
creating a mini-Operation Active Endeavor (OAE) in the Black 
Sea.  The Turks want to place this operation under the 
umbrella of BLACKSEAFOR (BSF), and are resistant to efforts 
(even by fellow littorals like the Romanians) to bring NATO 
or the U.S. into the Black Sea, citing concerns by Russia. 
The Turks emphasize that they continue to want to work with 
us on frozen conflicts and other issues which affect littoral 
states themselves, but they do not want any real outside 
maritime presence in the Sea itself.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) On Feb. 7, NAVATT and PoMilOff called on Chief of the 
Turkish N5 RADM (UH) Deniz Kutluk and N5's Chief of Strategy 
and Agreements RADM (LH) Cem Gurdeniz to discuss Black Sea 
issues.  In addition, on Feb. 8 PolMilCouns and PolMilOff 
called on MFA Deputy DG for Security Affairs Fatih Ceylan, 
who told us that he had been instructed to carry out 
consultations with the U.S. on Turkey's latest efforts on 
Black Sea security. 
 
Turkish Officials: We Share the Same Goal... 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) The Navy's Kutluk portrayed the Black Sea as a center 
of stability for the past 70 years, citing the relative calm 
that reigned in the Sea throughout World War II and the Cold 
War, during which Turkey was "an honest broker."  All our 
interlocutors claim that Turkey, the U.S., and NATO all share 
the same goal for the Black Sea: peace and vigilance against 
asymmetric threats such as terrorism, WMD and dual-use item 
smuggling, and TIP.  Though Turkey does not discount the risk 
of these threats, Kutluk said that Turkey's year-old 
unilateral Black Sea Harmony (BSH) operation--which monitors, 
hails, and inspects (on a voluntary basis) ships within 
Turkey's Exclusive Economic Zone waters and reports the 
results to NATO--has an assessment that these threats are 
quite limited.  According to Gurdeniz, since March 2004 the 
Turkish Navy has monitored 9000 vessels and physically 
inspected 300, but have found no items or passengers of 
concern.  MFA's Ceylan added that the Navy has detected some 
smuggling of illegal migrants but BSH has deterred this 
activity.  He admitted, however, that BSH only extends to 
Turkey's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters, and the GOT 
believes some of the illicit traffic now bypasses BSH's areas 
of operation. 
 
4. (C) According to Ceylan, the BSF countries agreed in 2004 
to compile a joint threat assessment of the Black Sea. 
Officials reviewed this during their Feb. 3-4 consultations 
in Istanbul, and will present it to a BSF senior officials 
meeting in Kiev in March (date not yet set; we understand it 
has slipped from January, perhaps due to the political 
situation in Ukraine). 
 
5. (C) Gurdeniz reported that within the next 12-18 months, 
the other five littoral states will join the BSH operation in 
practice, sharing information not only among themselves but 
with NATO.  Ceylan said fellow NATO Allies Bulgaria and 
Romania would join first, with the others following as their 
suspicions recede and their confidence grows.  Gurdeniz said 
there are some "political and administrative" barriers which 
may prevent the other littorals from stating explicitly that 
they are joining under the BLACKSEAFOR (BSF) rubric.  (NOTE: 
Since Turkey only operates BSH in its EEZ, we are not sure 
why Turkey is so sanguine that the Black Sea presents little 
in the way of asymmetric threats, but if all the littorals 
indeed begin to carry out a similar cooperative operation the 
picture should become more accurate, something the Turks 
claim they are aiming for.  END NOTE.) 
 
...But Please Stay Out of the Pool 
---------------------------------- 
6. (C) Gurdeniz's account does not exactly jibe with the 
Romanians' and Bulgarians' understanding that BLACKSEAFOR 
will not carry out "constabulary functions" that NATO could 
do (ref a).  The Turks have complained to us before that 
Romania and Bulgaria (especially the former) are overanxious 
to involve NATO (and by extension the U.S.) in Black Sea 
maritime security.  Both our MFA and Navy interlocutors claim 
that any effort to involve NATO in Black Sea maritime 
security will spook the Russians, even something as 
apparently innocuous as a PfP or PSI maritime exercise or the 
U.S. observing BSF's relatively modest annual exercises.  The 
Turks have thus explicitly requested us not to seek any U.S. 
or NATO role in this area, citing their concern that the 
Russians would then cease cooperation within BSF.  Indeed, 
the Turks say, now that half the littorals are NATO Allies 
and the multilateral BSH operation will report its results to 
NATO, NATO is effectively in the Black Sea anyway.  Ceylan 
told us, however, that should the littoral states determine 
that their combined efforts are not enough to deal with 
security risks in the Black Sea, Turkey would urge its fellow 
littorals to approach NATO for assistance. 
 
7. (C) Both Ceylan and Kutluk emphasized that the Turkish 
request for the U.S. to stay out of the Black Sea only 
extends to the maritime arena.  The Turks want to continue to 
work with us on issues on land, such as frozen conflicts and 
economic development, but want us--in Kutluk's words-- to 
"leave the maritime domain to Turkey."  They cite their 
continuing cooperation with us in areas such as the Caucasus 
Working Group.  (COMMENT: We find this argument somewhat 
disingenuous; the Turks seem to be saying that asymmetric 
threats stop at the water's edge.  We are not the only ones 
who doubt Turkish motives.  The Georgian DCM recently told 
PolMilOff that Turkey turns a blind eye to maritime smuggling 
emanating from Turkey into Abkhazia.  We raised this with 
Ceylan, but he only responded that Georgia (as well as 
Romania and Bulgaria) has limited maritime capability at 
present.  END COMMENT.) 
 
8. (C) In addition to Turkish concerns--real or 
imagined--that any U.S. or NATO activity in the Black Sea 
would anger the Russians and make them cease cooperation, the 
Turks observe that the Montreaux Convention serves as a brake 
on non-littoral navies' role in the Black Sea.  The 
Convention limits both the tonnage and duration of stay (21 
days) of outside naval forces.  Both Ceylan and Kutluk 
emphasized that Turkey has no interest in altering Montreaux; 
Kutluk in particular criticized alleged U.S. efforts to 
pressure Turkey to change the treaty in the past. 
 
Comment: Perhaps They Protest Too Much 
-------------------------------------- 
 
9. (C) It should come as no surprise that the Turks insist on 
having the lead in the Black Sea, and they are jealous of 
what they perceive as U.S. desires to nose our way in.  The 
positive side of this is that the Turks thus feel pressed to 
make BSF more effective and meaningful and to ensure BSH 
fulfills the role the OAE plays in the Mediterranean.  BSF's 
exercises up to now have been limited in scope and are also 
hampered by interoperability and language problems (the Turks 
insist that English be BSF's working language, though 
probably all the other navies could more or less manage in 
Russian).  It is clear that the Turks' fellow Allies on the 
Black Sea have a more welcoming approach to U.S. or NATO 
involvement, and the Turks have responded to this pressure by 
working to multilateralize BSH and share the resulting 
information with the Alliance. 
 
10. (C) Arguing that they are already doing what needs to be 
done, Turks are suspicious of our efforts to participate in 
the Black Sea.  A heavy-handed U.S. approach--especially 
vis-a-vis maritime security--will only increase Turkish 
resistance.  While we should not buy into all the Turks' 
rhetoric on the Black Sea, we should express appreciation for 
their taking the lead as they have.  We would defer to 
Embassy Moscow on whether  U.S. participation as observers or 
more actively would inhibit Russian cooperation in BSF or 
eventually BSH.  Regarding Turkey, both military and civilian 
authorities emphasize that their comments applied only to the 
maritime arena.  When USDP Feith visited Ankara in late 
January, he told the Turks that Washington was considering 
expanding the Proliferation Security Initiative from the 
maritime theater into ground and air operations (ref b). 
Perhaps one way to break down Turkey's resistance to U.S. 
activities in the Black Sea would be to encourage the Turks 
to host a PSI air exercise in 2006 focusing on the Black Sea 
region.  We will explore with Turkish officials receptivity 
to such an event in the weeks ahead.  End comment. 
EDELMAN 

            
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