05ANKARA4013 / 2005-07-10 11:06:00
Embassy Ankara
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 004013 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/08/2030 
TAGS: PREL, MARR, ECON, EU, RO, TU, NATO 
SUBJECT: TURKS DENY GO IT ALONE POLICY IN THE BLACK SEA 
 
REF: A. BUCHAREST 1432 
     B. ANKARA 3953 
 
Classified By: PolMil Counselor Timothy A. Betts for reasons 1.4 (b) an 
d (d) 
 
1. (C) Summary: An MFA official and a Turkish admiral 
admitted to us June 30 that RADM Kadir Sagdic's comments on 
the margins of a Harvard Black Sea Security Conference 
earlier that month (ref A) were "extreme" and did not reflect 
GOT policy.  They credited his comments to personal views 
prompted by frustration with Romanian political-level 
resistance to greater maritime cooperation with Turkey in the 
Black Sea.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) MFA International Security Affairs DDG Fatih Ceylan 
agreed to meet PolMilCouns one-on-one on June 30 to discuss 
statements by Turkish Admiral Kadir Sagdic on Turkey's Black 
Sea maritime security policy at the June 7-10 Harvard Black 
Sea Security Conference in Chisinau.  At Ceylan's request 
just prior to the meeting, TNFC/N5 Strategy Chief RADM (LH) 
Cem Gurdeniz joined as well. 
 
3. (C) PolMilCouns informed Ceylan and Gurdeniz of what 
Sagdic had told US participants on the margins of the 
Chisinau conference, drawing from ref A, para 2,  He noted 
that this differed from what Ceylan and Gurdeniz had 
previously explained to us was Turkey's policy and from what 
Turkish Navy Commander ADM Ornek had told USNAVEUR ADM Ulrich 
earlier in the week (ref b). 
 
4. (C) Ceylan, holding a copy of Sagdic's prepared remarks 
for the conference, said "this is Turkey's policy," not what 
Sagdic told our SECI Coordinator.  Both he and Gurdeniz 
thought Sagdic had poorly chosen his words; when he described 
NATO policies regarding PfP as "dictatorial," he likely meant 
"declared" or "directed".  After an extended discussion, they 
conceded that his language was "extreme." 
 
5. (C) Regarding Turkey's "going it alone," both Gurdeniz and 
Ceylan said that was not possible.  Currently, Turkey's 
OAE-like Operation Black Sea Harmony (BSH) covers only 45% of 
the Black Sea.  Other littorals must participate to gain 
complete coverage of the sea.  In this regard, they were 
critical of Romania.  Gurdeniz repeated what he had said 
during the Ornek-Ulrich meeting: Turkey alerts the Romanians 
when suspect vessels enter Romania's territorial waters, but 
Bucharest does nothing with the information.  They neither 
shadow the vessels nor report on their destination and cargo. 
 Turkey had invited fellow NATO members Romania and Bulgaria 
to join BSH before the other littorals in the hope of giving 
the operation more of a NATO flavor before the others joined. 
 Neither Bucharest nor Sofia indicated any interest, so BSH 
was opened to other littorals.  Now Russia and Ukraine have 
indicated a desire to join and still no word from the two 
Allies. 
 
6. (C) Ceylan explained that Turkey had worked for two years 
to convince Russia to join BLACKSEAFOR (BSF).  Moscow had 
been reluctant to place its vessels under the command of 
others during BLACKSEAFOR activations.  The Russians' 
agreement to do so was a first for the Russian Navy.  When 
they were considering participation in BSH, the information 
sharing elements concerned them.  Finally, the Turks 
convinced them to join.  Throughout this process, the 
Russians were learning the NATO concepts and vocabulary the 
Turks use, contributing to the broader Russian-NATO 
relationship.  But while Russia was becoming more comfortable 
with NATO, it was still wary of the Alliance's intentions. 
He argued that as Russia became more confident in its 
relationship with NATO, it would be open to more engagement 
by the Alliance and regional Allies.  He noted Russia's 
acceptance of foreign observers for the next BSF activation 
ceremony as a significant step.  He predicted that Russia 
might accept the deployment of foreign observers to 
participating ships in 2006.  This step-by-step approach 
would eventually lead to Russian acceptance of NATO 
activities in the Black Sea. 
 
7. (C) Gurdeniz added that with 10,000 Russian flagged 
vessels transiting the Turkish Straits every year together 
with the threat of Chechen terrorism, Russia's cooperation on 
maritime security was essential for Turkey.  Turkey had no 
objection to US activities in the Black Sea that conformed 
with the Montreux Convention, but believed a formal NATO 
presence would bring to an end Russia's cooperation.  This in 
turn would increase the risk to shipping through the Straits 
-- an important international energy corridor that passes 
through the heart of Istanbul. 
8. (C) After Gurdeniz's departure, Ceylan confided that 
another possible reason for Sagdic's defiant tone was the 
deep frustration the Turkish Navy felt towards Romania.  The 
navy-to-navy relationship is fine, with the Romanian navy 
requesting and receiving considerable assistance from their 
Turkish colleagues in support of Romania's participation in 
OAE.  However, the Turks believe Romania's political 
leadership is blocking their navy's greater participation in 
regional Black Sea efforts, instead pressing for NATO to rush 
into the region. 
 
9. (C) Comment: Sagdic's reported comments do represent 
Turkish policy regarding the here and now.  They do not, 
however, reflect what both civilian and military officials at 
all levels tell us in Ankara are Turkey's long-term goals for 
the region.  While the Turks are proud of their creations in 
the Black Sea -- BSF and BSH -- and want to preserve their 
leadership role, they also have a genuine desire to keep 
Russia positively engaged in cooperative maritime security. 
We are hopeful that the consultations between NATO's Maritime 
Component Command Naples and the Turkish Navy (ref b) will 
improve the transparency of BSH and make the Turks' 
profession of its "NATO affiliation" closer to a reality. 
End comment. 
MCELDOWNEY 

            
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