141719 2/15/2008 16:06 08ANKARA296 Embassy Ankara CONFIDENTIAL 08STATE14821 VZCZCXYZ0004 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHAK #0296 0461606 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 151606Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5252 INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP:PDUSDP/ISA:EUR/ISA:NESA/DSCA// RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5// IMMEDIATE RUEKJCS/JCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 000296
EUR/RPM FOR SHINAGEL
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/15/2018 TAGS: MARR, NATO, PREL, GR, MK, TU SUBJECT: TURKEY SUPPORTS NIMETZ PROCESS, AMBITIOUS ENLARGEMENT ROUND AT BUCHAREST
REF: STATE 14821
Classified By: Pol-Mil Counselor Carl Siebentritt for reasons 1.4 (b,d) .
1. (C) We delivered reftel points to MFA Deputy Director General for NATO Affairs Serdar Kilic and Deputy Director General for Balkans Affairs Hasan Asan. Both Kilic and Asan stated Turkey's support for the Nimetz process as the appropriate channel to resolve the dispute between Greece and Macedonia on the latter's name. Turkey agrees that failure to resolve the name dispute with Greece should not disqualify Macedonia from receiving an invitation at Bucharest. Underscoring that the GOT has not adopted a formal policy regarding NATO enlargement, both Kilic and Asan said they believe NATO should extend an invitation to all three A3 members (Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia) at Bucharest. Asan assessed that Croatia is the most prepared among the three, followed by Albania and then Macedonia. However, he emphasized that it would be a mistake to admit Croatia and not the other two. He feared that failure to invite Macedonia and Albania at Bucharest may exacerbate ethnic tensions and nationalism, particularly in Macedonia. As a result, in Asan's personal view, it would be better for none of the A3 to receive an invitation, than to only invite one or two, but not the third. Asan expressed concern that Greece will cite reasons other than the name dispute to try to scuttle Macedonia's invitation at Bucharest, and may be actively working with other Allies to block Macedonia's membership bid.
2. (C) Kilic expressed strong support for the Nimetz process, but said he did not believe it would be constructive for Turkey to press the point with Greece. He refuted rumors that Turkish interlocutors promised Macedonian Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski during his visit to Ankara on January 30 that Turkey would block Croatia and Albania's NATO bid if Greece held up Macedonia's bid over the name issue. However, Kilic, in the same breath, also said Allies must keep pressure on Greece not to veto Macedonia's membership bid.
3. (C) Comment: Our assessment is that Turkey supports an invitation to all three aspirants at Bucharest but may be suggesting informally to other Allies that if all three are not invited, it would be better to invite none. Turkey may be taking this tact to keep pressure on Greece to relent on its veto threat against Macedonia. However, we do not believe Turkey has made the decision to exercise its veto to block the invitation of any of the aspirants.
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