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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05ANKARA802 2005-02-11 13:57:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TURKS SEEK TO INCREASE MULTILATERAL MARITIME

Tags:   MOPS MARR PREL PARM TU RS GG UP RO BU 
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					  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