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Viewing cable 04THEHAGUE1919, NETHERLANDS/EU/TURKEY: MOVING IN THE RIGHT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
04THEHAGUE1919 2004-07-30 15:03 2011-01-26 17:05 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001919 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/28/2014 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM TK NL EUN
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/EU/TURKEY:  MOVING IN THE RIGHT 
DIRECTION 
 
REF: USEU 3226 
 
Classified By: A...




19303

2004-07-30

04THEHAGUE1919

Embassy The Hague

CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

04USEUBRUSSELS3226

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001919 

SIPDIS 

NOFORN 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/28/2014 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM TK NL EUN
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/EU/TURKEY: MOVING IN THE RIGHT 
DIRECTION 

REF: USEU 3226 

Classified By: Amb. Clifford Sobel for reasons 1.4(B) AND (D). 

1. (C/NF) SUMMARY: According to Dutch sources, the European 
Council will most likely decide in December to open accession 
talks with Turkey, setting a fixed starting date contingent 
on Turkey's completion of specific concrete reforms. Senior 
Dutch officials based in The Hague are playing an active role 
in guiding the drafting of the European Commission's October 
report. In this poker game, the Government of Cyprus remains 
one possible wild card. End Summary. 

2. (C/NF) In recent discussions with Ambassador Sobel, Rob 
Swartbol (PM Balkenende's senior foreign policy advisor) has 
given clear indications that the Dutch are seeking to guide 
the EU toward a positive (albeit conditional) decision to 
begin accession talks with Turkey. In separate discussions 
following EUR DAS Laura Kennedy's meetings in Brussels 
(reftel), Poloff received similar signals from Pieter de 
Gooijer, Dutch MFA rep for European Integration (please 
protect), and Hannie Pollmann-Zaal. 

YES TO TURKEY... 
------------------ 

3. (C/NF) On July 29, Swartbol told Ambassador Sobel that he 
believed the EU could set an October, 2005 date for opening 
accession talks with Turkey. He asserted that nearly all EU 
member states recognized that Turkey would receive a yes 
decision from the EU, although some still hoped to push the 
date for starting talks back one or two years; this, however, 
would be a mistake, he said. Swartbol predicted actual 
accession negotiations from 6 to 8 years plus two and 
suggested that -- contrary to usual practice -- the EU would 
probably try to address some of the toughest issues (like 
immigration) early in the process rather than waiting until 
the end. Swartbol said that the EU would be careful not to 
talk about a 10-year process publicly in deference to Turkish 
sensitivities. 

4. (C/NF) Swartbol revealed that the Turks had been 
consulted about the proposed conditions and timetable 
described above, but they had not yet agreed. Several EU 
members also remained unconvinced. EU Commissioner 
Verheugen, he said, would go to Turkey in September to try to 
gain Turkish support for the EC report. 

...WITH QUALIFICATIONS 
---------------------- 

5. (C/NF) Swartbol and de Gooijer confirmed that most EU 
Members assume the Commission will appraise Turkey's success 
with the Copenhagen Criteria as virtually, almost, or 
just about. It is impossible to imagine a no, de Gooijer 
said. The Dutch cannot imagine an unqualified yes, either, 
listing outstanding issues such as judges' behavior, concerns 
about torture, access of Kurds to Kurdish language education, 
free exercise of religion, and the role of the military. 

6. (C/NF) The question remains what the Council will do with 
these areas of improvement. The Dutch anticipate the EU 
Yes will come with one list of goals for Turkey to reach 
within six to eight months before starting negotiations and a 
second list of other items that could slow the process down 
if Turkey did not make progress toward achieving them. 
Swartbol noted that the EU would ensure that negotiations 
would tackle the tough issues identified in the impact 
statement. 

7. (C/NF) De Gooijer cautioned that Turkey should 
concentrate on the yes and the date parts of the 
recommendation and not be overly-concerned by the 
blah-blah-blah that follows it where the Council may list 
must-do items for the Turks. 

EU AND DUTCH POLITICS: MORE FOR THAN AGAINST 
-------------------------------------------- 

8. (C/NF) Swartbol cited France, Austria, Denmark (where the 
Prime Minister is the problem) and the Netherlands as still 
needing more work on the domestic front. While the Dutch, in 
the Presidency role, will strive for objectivity in public 
and eschew overt statements about what Dutch preferences or 
strategies, de Gooijer said to watch for Dutch signals. He 
recalled PM Balkenende's July 21 Strasbourg Parliament 
speech, where he rejected prejudice against Islam as a basis 
for opposing Turkey. De Gooijer allowed how he had written, 
championed, and insured inclusion of the following lines, 
which he proudly reported received warm applause that day: 
We must not allow ourselves to be guided by fear, for 
example, of Islam. Raising barriers to any particular 
religion does not fit in with Europe's shared values. Our 
opposition should be directed not against religions but 
against people and groups misusing their religion to get 
their way by force. 

9. (C/NF) Swartbol said that potential divisions within the 
Dutch government had largely been resolved, thanks in part to 
Verheugen's (quiet) briefing of the Dutch cabinet. De 
Gooijer agreed that the Dutch government will ultimately 
support accession; Pollman was not so sure. Both feel that 
momentum toward Yes is lacking. Pollman alerted us that 
the constituents of some cabinet ministers could be tending 
negative, meaning the ministers would have to convince them 
otherwise or vote and anger the base. De Gooijer and Pollman 
predicted any opponents will eventually modify positions 
enough to be able to wag their fingers and say, We have 
serious problems with this and if it does not work out, well, 
we told you so. 

THE TIMING OF THE WRITING OF THE REPORT 
--------------------------------------- 

10. (C/NF) De Gooijer (please protect) confirmed that 
Commission officers have been on the ground in Turkey in July 
surveying conditions across the full matrix of issues. The 
various arms of the Commission will complete individual parts 
of the report during August and give it to Verheugen, who 
will collate the parts and circulate a complete draft in 
early September. He will present a final draft to the full 
Commission on October 6. The Commission will present it to 
the Council thereafter, by November. 

11. (C/NF) Both Swartbol and de Gooijer said that the Dutch 
(as President) and the Commission were trying to stay in sync 
on the report, meaning that the Dutch will have large 
influence over all aspects of it. De Gooijer added that the 
Commission is loathe to get out in front of the Presidency on 
any issue, especially one like this. Swartbol, while 
cautioning that the Dutch did not hold the pen, was also 
confident that the report would not hold any surprises for 
the presidency. (Note: Ambassador Sobel stressed that it 
should not hold any surprises for us or Turkey either, and 
pressed Swartbol to ensure that the process was as 
transparent as possible.) 

WILD CARD CYPRUS 
---------------- 

12. (C/NF) Pollman suggested the EU might give the GoC, as 
an EU Member State, its due on the Cyprus trade and financial 
support issues while then expecting Papadopoulos to relent on 
Turkey. However, EU partners do not really engage on Cyprus 
since only the UK has any real interest in the island, she 
said, adding, What does Cyprus have these days, besides the 
Turkey card? And this means the EU has but little leverage 
over Cyprus; Pollman hoped that powers outside the EU will 
pressure Popadopolous to support Turkish accession, using 
whatever psychological, political, or other means that might 
work. 

COMMENT 
------- 

13. (C/NF) The Dutch governing elite want a Yes for 
Turkey and they seem confident that they can bring the nation 
as well as the rest of the EU along. There is finesse at the 
top, as seen in de Gooijer's handling of the Islam question 
for PM Balkenende. There are many variables open and many 
forces at work, but the trends -- at least for now -- seem to 
be moving in the right direction. 
SOBEL