05ANKARA2060 / 2005-04-08 15:06:00
Embassy Ankara
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 002060 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2015 
TAGS: MOPS, MARR, PREL, PARM, TU, RS, GG, UP, RO, BU, NATO 
SUBJECT: TURKISH MFA OFFICIAL: "NATO INVOLVEMENT IN THE 
BLACK SEA IS OUR END GAME" 
 
REF: ANKARA 802 
 
Classified By: DCM Robert S. Deutsch for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Turkey shares with us the goal of eventual NATO 
involvement in the Black Sea, an MFA official told us April 
7.  At BLACKSEAFOR's March 31 senior officials meeting, the 
members agreed on a common threat assessment and agreed that 
it would be beneficial to build some ties with outside states 
and organizations.  Indeed, the U.S. and other interested 
states are welcome to observe BLACKSEAFOR's "activation" in 
Constanta, Romania this August.  Ukraine declared itself 
ready to join Turkey's maritime interdiction operation in the 
Black Sea; a number of other littorals--including Russia--are 
giving it a serious look.  Turkey's deliberate approach seems 
to be bearing fruit.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) PolMilCouns and PolMilOff called on MFA Deputy 
Director General for Security Affairs Fatih Ceylan and NATO 
Department Head Atilla Gunay on April 7 to get a readout on 
the March 31 BLACKSEAFOR meeting of MFA senior officials. 
Before Gunay could provide his readout (Ceylan could not 
attend due to illness), Ceylan (unprompted) said that 
Turkey's long-term goal is for NATO to be involved in the 
Black Sea.  "That's our end game," he declared.  Ceylan 
insisted there is "no plot" for Turkey and Russia to turn the 
Sea into their own personal lake.  He said Turkey was moving 
slowly in this regard, but also that the Turks have told the 
Russians that eventually BLACKSEAFOR or something like it 
would have a "NATO affiliation."  Ceylan reported that Russia 
did not object to this. 
 
3. (C) Gunay explained that the main goal of the Kiev meeting 
was to reach agreement on a senior experts report evaluating 
threats in the Black Sea maritime domain, chiefly terrorism 
and WMD proliferation.  The nations agreed that the wider 
Black Sea region may have many threats--WMD proliferation, 
terrorism, trafficking in persons and SA/LW, etc.--which have 
the potential to "spill over" into the maritime domain. 
However, Ceylan injected, based on Turkey's BLACK SEA HARMONY 
operation (see reftel) and input from the other littorals, 
Turkey cannot now make an assessment that there is an 
"imminent and direct" threat in the maritime domain.  Ceylan 
also pointed out that Turkey had worked assiduously to have 
the threat assessment include the same issues that are of 
concern to the Alliance and to the EU.  In essence, Ceylan 
said, the BLACKSEAFOR nations agreed to measure their threat 
assessment by Euro-Atlantic standards.   Ceylan allowed us to 
briefly review the threat assessment, but said he would need 
permission from his superiors to hand us a copy; he 
subsequently provided us a copy on April 8 (see para. nine), 
asking that we hold it closely. 
 
4. (C) The officials in Kiev focused on two issues: How to 
operationalize dealing with threats in the Black Sea, and 
whether the member nations had the legal framework in place 
to do so.  On the first issue, the nations agreed on the need 
to improve communications.  Additionally, the nations agreed 
to create some sort of command center, at first during 
activations of BLACKSEAFOR.  The officials assigned their 
respective naval commands to look into these issues.  On the 
legal issue, the officials agreed that in general the 
BLAKSEAFOR founding agreement and relevant UNSCRs (especially 
1540) provide an adequate legal framework. 
 
5. (C) Gunay reported that the member states also agreed on 
delicate language for how BLACKSEAFOR will relate in the 
future to the "outside world."  First, the officials agreed 
that the U.S. and other interested countries were welcome to 
observe BLACKSEAFOR's "activation" scheduled to begin August 
8 in Constanta, Romania.  Second, they agreed on language 
stating that it would be beneficial for the littorals to 
(collectively) look into "ways and means to interact with 
other states and organizations" in the future. 
 
6. (C) Gunay reported on Turkey's efforts to multilateralize 
its BLACK SEA HARMONY maritime interdiction operation (MIO) 
on the Black Sea.  Ukraine has volunteered to join and has 
only to sort out technical issues with the Turkish Navy.  The 
Russian official at the meeting said Russia is also quite 
interested in joining but needs higher-level political 
approval.  Georgia is interested, although it essentially has 
no navy.  The Bulgarians said they had yet to complete their 
interagency policy process on this issue.  Romania was 
apparently silent.  Gunay noted that the Romanians did not 
speak up as much as they normally do at the Kiev meeting, but 
added that the Romanian official was fairly new.  (COMMENT: 
We defer to Embassy Bucharest, but wonder if Romania's 
silence was based on what we understand is its reluctance to 
carry out MIO in the Black Sea under the BLACKSEAFOR rubric. 
END COMMENT.)  Ceylan reported that--as fellow NATO 
Allies--Turkey had offered Bulgaria and Romania "first dibs" 
at joining BLACK SEA HARMONY as early as January of this 
year, but that neither had responded by the time of the Kiev 
meeting, where Turkey threw it open to others. 
 
7. (SBU) Gunay noted that the next BLACKSEAFOR political 
consultations will likely take place before June of this year 
and again in the fall, followed by another senior officials 
meeting NLT December 2005. 
 
8. (C) Comment: While Turkey continues to take a "go slow" 
approach with us vis-a-vis NATO or U.S. involvement in Black 
Sea maritime security, we are impressed by Ceylan's comment 
that NATO involvement is in Turkey's end game.  The 
willingness to accept foreign observers for the August 
BLACKSEAFOR activation is encouraging.  If the Turks' readout 
of the BLACKSEAFOR meeting is accurate, their deliberate 
approach seems to be working.  We recommend that we continue 
to support Turkish leadership in this area, while also 
reminding all the littorals that we are always interested in 
learning more and standing by to assist at any time we are 
asked.  End comment. 
 
9. (C/NF) Text of BLACKSEAFOR document "Maritime Risk 
Assessment in the Black Sea" 
 
BEGIN TEXT (Note internal paragraph numbering) 
 
Maritime Risk Assessment in the Black Sea 
 
1. Definition of Maritime Risks: 
 
Maritime risks encompass all actions with the potential to 
disrupt law and order as well as to inflict certain damages 
on persons, property and environment in the maritime areas, 
caused by deliberate actions or negligence.  Maritime risks 
in the Black Sea are endogenous and exogenous in nature.  The 
following are the main risks which can be encountered in the 
maritime areas. 
 
a. Asymmetric Risks: 
 
Asymmetric risks are those terrorism-related maritime risks 
of non-military nature.  These asymmetric risks may also stem 
from spillover effects of risks such as aggressive 
nationalism, separatism, religious intolerance, xenophobia, 
temporary inability of some littoral states to enforce law 
and order, trafficking in human beings and drugs, illicit 
transfers in small arms and light weapons and possible 
proliferation of WMD, their means of delivery and related 
materials.  Vessels can be used in illegal activities, 
including terrorism at sea, and thus become tools of 
asymmetric risks.  Merchant shipping may also be misused to 
transport asymmetric means (material and manpower) in between 
certain geographic locations. 
 
Furthermore, financial gains by merchant ships through 
commercial activities might also be used in support of 
asymmetric acts.  Asymmetric risks in the maritime areas also 
entail activities using surprise as an element, as well as 
unexpected venues and means. 
 
Asymmetric risks jeopardize the safety and security of 
navigation, as well as of the maritime areas. 
 
b. Organized Crime: 
 
Illegal activities may be carried out in the maritime areas, 
due to the difficulty in controlling vast sea areas.  When 
sea-lines of communications, as well as critical choke points 
are controlled and partolled, these illegal activities might 
be redirected into areas where no shipping lines cross or no 
systematic surveillance takes place.  Organized crime might 
entail, but not be limited to the following illegal actions: 
(1) Drug Trafficking 
(2) Illicit Transfers in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) 
(3) Illegal Migration 
(4) Trafficking in Human Beings 
(5) Illicit Trafficking in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), 
delivery systems and related materials. 
 
c. Environmental Risks: 
 
Any environmental incident polluting the maritime areas poses 
a major risk to public health, economy and natural habitat, 
thus generating, in some cases, far-reaching consequences. 
These risks might be generated either by deliberate action 
(e.g. dumping waste), or human error (e.g. collision at sea). 
 
2. Assessment of Risks: 
 
a. Asymmetric Risks: 
 
The Black Sea has become a major route for oil, as well as 
passenger and containerized cargo transportation.  As in 
other regions of the world where there is an increase in the 
volume of maritime transportation, there are chances that 
cargo traffic may be misused to disrupt security. 
 
In the Black Sea, one specific incident took place in 1996, 
in which a Panama flagged ferryboat was hijacked from Turkish 
port of Trabzon.  One cannot rule out such an incident 
happening again in the future. 
 
b. Organized Crime: 
 
Trafficking in human beings exists in the territories of the 
Black Sea region.  However, there are no indications that it 
is systematically done through maritime transportation. 
 
Illegal migration stemming from the region, as well as from 
parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East is mainly using 
terrestrial routes, but is has already started to cross the 
Black Sea region. 
 
There is no firm evidence that systematic drug trafficking 
exists in the Black Sea.  Narcotics destined to Europe from 
Afghanistan via Central Asia are currently transported 
through land.  Although smugglers always use the most secure 
paths and alter them frequently as possible, the Black Sea 
may be used as a transit route in some isolated smuggling 
cases.  However, it remains a possibility that sea lines of 
communications may be used more often in the future, if not 
controlled properly. 
 
Illicit transfers in SALW are increasing all over the world. 
There are indications that the Black Sea is currently used to 
a certain degree for such activities. 
 
On the other hand, there have been no reported cases of 
illicit trafficking in WMD, delivery systems and related 
materials in the Black Sea.  However, this risk cannot be 
ruled out, given the lucrative nature of such activity. 
 
As it is the case in any other region, there is also a 
connection between international terrorism and transnational 
organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering and illegal 
arms-trafficking in the Black Sea region.  The Black Sea is 
not immune from possible illegal movement of nuclear, 
chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials. 
 
c. Environmental Risks: 
 
No major catastrophic environmental incident occurred in the 
Black Sea originating from asymmetric causes.  Some past 
incidents appear to have been caused by adverse environmental 
conditions and/or human error.  On the other hand, some cases 
involving dumping or discharge or industrial waste have been 
reported in the Black Sea. 
3. Suspect Vessels in the Black Sea: 
Since vessels prefer the shortest and safest routes to their 
destinations-generally defined as sea lines of communication 
- a vessel crossing the Black Sea through an unusual path or 
wandering in areas outside usual navigation routes might 
rationally be temporarily considered as a suspect vessel. 
Such vessels may possibly be involved in activities creating 
maritime risks, and deserve closer observation and 
monitoring.  Likewise, vessels identified by credible 
intelligence as involved in illegal activities, but have no 
such records in the past, may be classified as temporarily 
suspect vessels. 
 
Any vessel, formerly designated as temporarily suspect, with 
continuous record of being involved in illegal activities 
creating maritime risks may be classified as a "suspect 
vessel." 
 
4. Overall Assessment: 
 
The strategic location of the Black Sea at the crossroads of 
Europe, Asia and the Middle East and as an important transit 
route makes it vulnerable to asymmetric risks.  Instability 
in the Black Sea region would have widespread implications 
for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area. 
While there is no security void in the Black Sea maritime 
areas, asymmetric risks, organized crime and environmental 
risks are the main security challenges which might be 
encountered. 
 
It is evident that the maritime areas are not fully immune to 
risks of different nature that may originate from potential 
sources of instability in and around the Black Sea region. 
Terrorism, trafficking in human beings and drugs, illicit 
transfers in SALW and possible proliferation of WMD, their 
means of delivery and related materials require the littoral 
States to remain vigilant against the probability of the 
spillover effects of such risks into the maritime areas.  In 
other words, the principal challenge in this respect would 
arise from the possibility of the Black Sea maritime areas 
being turned into a transit route for sinister purposes.  In 
this regard, suspect vessels pose a major challenge, and the 
potential of their use for illegal purposes makes continuous 
surveillance of selected maritime areas as well as trailing 
of such vessels necessary.  This requires, inter-alia, 
combined efforts by the six littoral states in this vein to 
create synergy.  BLACKSEAFOR is an instrument available to be 
used effectively for countering the risks, threats and 
challenges in the Black Sea. 
 
END TEXT 
EDELMAN 

            
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