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Αμφισβητούν τον Αη Στράτη οι Τούρκοι με τις πλάτες Αμερικανών και ΝΑΤΟ

30.05.2011 | 09:26
Μια περίεργη δήλωση του Αμερικανού τότε Υφυπουργού Εξωτερικών, Νίκολα Μπέρνς ύστερα από τη συνάντηση του με την Ντόρα Μπακογιάννη το 2008 σχετικά με τον Άη Στράτη, έφερε τη χώρα ενώπιον της αμφισβήτισης των κυριαρχικών της δικαιωμάτων: “ Είναι ένα πολύ ευαίσθητο θέμα” είχε πει ο κ. Μπέρνς “όμως πρόκειται για ένα ελληνικό νησί και δεν χωρά καμία αμφιβολία γιαυτό. Θέση μας είναι όμως ότι πρόκειται καθαρά για θέμα του ΝΑΤΟ και η συμμαχία θα πρέπει να προσπαθήσει να υπάρξει διακανονισμός και να προχωρήσουν οι ασκήσεις και να επιλυθούν οι διαφορές”
 
Λίγες ώρες πριν, οι προειδοποιήσεις των Τούρκων ότι δεν μπορούν να ελέγξουν την αντίδραση του στρατού τους, και ότι θα αναχαίτιζαν ελληνικά αεροσκάφη που θα πετούσαν πάνω από το νησί, έπιασαν τόπο.
Όπως αποκαλύπτουν τα ΝΕΑ σήμερα ΗΠΑ και ΝΑΤΟ υπέκυψαν στις αξιώσεις τις Άγκυρας με πολύ μεγάλη ευκολία “σιγοντάροντας” στο “γκριζάρισμα” του Αιγαίου και μάλιστα 2 φορές. Μια το 2007 στα πλαίσια της ΝΑΤΟικής άσκησης “noble archer” (τολμηρός τοξότης) και μια τον επόμενο χρόνο. Μάλιστα οι ΗΠΑ τονίζουν ότι το 2007 η άσκηση ματαιώθηκε επειδή οι Τούρκοι διαμαρτυρήθηκαν έντονα αφού η Αθήνα είχε συμπεριλάβει τη Λήμνο (και τον Άη Στράτη) στα πλαίσια της άσκησης. “Ο 'Αη Στράτης είναι αποστρατικοποιημένη ζώνη” αξίωσαν οι Τούρκοι και προειδοποίησαν για αναχαιτίσεις.
 
Απόρρητα τηλεγραφήματα που αποκαλύπτει το wikileaks, τονίζουν ότι οι ΗΠΑ ενημερώθηκαν για τη ματαίωση της άσκησης όχι από την ελληνική κυβέρνηση αλλά από ...τον Τύπο. Από τα ίδια τηλεγραφήματα προκύπτει επίσης ότι η περίφηµη δήλωση του Νίκολας Μπερνς για το καθεστώς του νησιού το 2008 δόθηκε ως «δώρο» στην Ντόρα Μπακογιάννη, η οποία ζητούσε δήλωση στήριξης για να κάµψει τις αντιδράσεις στο εσωτερικό. Η δήλωση έγινε µε παράλληλη επισήµανση στους Τούρκους ότι δεν στρεφόταν εναντίον τους, καθώς η Αγκυρα είχε ήδη επιβάλει τις µονοµερείς διεκδικήσεις της.
 
Το 2007 η ελληνική πλευρά συµπεριέλαβε τη Λήµνο (και τον Αϊ-Στράτη) στη ΝΑΤΟΪΚΉ άσκηση «Τολµηρός Τοξότης». Οταν οι Τούρκοι το αντιλήφθηκαν, διαµαρτυρήθηκαν στους Αµερικανούς υποστηρίζοντας ότι η Λήµνος όπως και ο Αϊ-Στράτης αποτελούν «αποστρατικοποιηµένη ζώνη». Το ΝΑΤΟ µαταίωσε την άσκηση, επιχειρώντας να µη δείξει ότι κλίνει υπέρ της Ελλάδας. Την επόµενη χρονιά (2008) το σενάριο επαναλήφθηκε και κατέληξε σε νέα µαταίωση της άσκησης.

Οπως προκύπτει από τηλεγράφηµα της αµερικανικήςπρεσβείας στην Αθήνα λίγες µέρες µετά τηµαταίωση της άσκησης (στις 27 Φεβρουαρίου του 2007), οι Αµερικανοί δεν είχαν ενηµερωθεί από το ΝΑΤΟ για το τι διηµείφθη µε τον Αϊ-Στράτη. Εξ ου και ο αµερικανός πρεσβευτής Τσαρλς Ρις σηµειώνει ότι «αν η πρεσβεία γνώριζε από ΝΑΤΟΪΚΉ ή αµερικανική πηγή την απόφαση γιαµαταίωση της άσκησης αντί νατο µάθει από τον ελληνικό Τύπο, θα είχαµεπροσπαθήσει να διαχειριστούµε την ελληνική αντίδραση µε τρόπο που να προκαλέσει µικρότερη ζηµιά στην εικόνα του ΝΑΤΟ». Εγραφε µάλιστα ότι προσπαθούσε να καταστήσει σαφές ότι η πρεσβεία δενµπορεί να βοηθήσει στη διαχείρισητης αντίδρα σης αν η ελληνική κυβέρνηση ενηµερώνει πρώτα τον Τύπο και µετά τους Αµερικανούς.

Σε ό,τι αφορά το πρακτικό µέρος, από το τηλεγράφηµα προκύπτει ότι οι Τούρκοι αντέδρασαν επειδή, όταν δηµοσιεύθηκε το προσχέδιο της άσκησης, οι ελληνικές Αρχές έσπευσαν να εκδώσουν ΝΟΤΑΜ, η οποία συµπεριελάµβανε στην άσκηση τον Αϊ-Στράτη και τη Λήµνο (σ.σ.: το καθεστώς της οποίας αµφισβητείται πάγια από την Αγκυρα). Στο σχόλιό του ο αµερικανός πρεσβευτής εκφράζει αµφιβολίες για το αν η ελληνική κυβέρνηση παίζει κάποιο παιχνίδι µε τη συµπερίληψη της Λήµνου στη NOTAM, ενώ σηµειώνει ότι στο παρελθόν οι Τούρκοι δεν είχαν αντιδράσει σε ελληνοαµερικανική άσκηση που είχε συµπεριλάβει τον Αϊ-Στράτη. Συµπληρώνει, ακόµη, ότι ο αρχηγός του ΓΕΕΘΑ ναύαρχος Χηνοφώτης είπε στους Αµερικανούς ότι το σύστηµα του ΝΑΤΟ «είχε κακοποιηθεί».
 
Όπως αποκαλύπτουν τα ΝΕΑ:
Λίγες µέρες αργότερα, οι Τούρκοι και συγκεκριµένα ο αναπληρωτής διευθυντής του τουρκικού ΥΠ.ΕΞ. για τις Αεροναυτικές Υποθέσεις, Μπασάτ Οζτούρκ, λέει στην αµερικανίδα επιτετραµµένη στην Αγκυρα Νάνσι Μακελντάουνι ότι οι Τούρκοι «εξεπλάγησαν» από την ελληνική αντίδραση στη µαταίωση της άσκησης,καθώς και από τις ελληνικές ανησυχίες για τον Αϊ-Στράτη. Υποστήριξε ότι τοτουρκικό ΥΠ.ΕΞ. δεν είχε καµία εµπλοκή στην απόφαση του ΝΑΤΟ, ούτε είχε παρουσιάσει κάποια νέα θέση για τα θέµατα του Αιγαίου και απέδωσε τη µαταίωση σε κακή επικοινωνία εντός του ΝΑΤΟ. Αφησε, πάντως, αιχµές για το γεγονός ότι τοτουρκικό ΥΠ.ΕΞ.

παρακολούθησε το θέµαµέσα από τον ελληνικό Τύπο, αφού ηΕλλάδα δεν προσέγγισε την Τουρκία διά της επίσηµης οδού.

Την ίδια µέρα κι ενώ το θέµα έχει λάβει µεγάλη δηµοσιότητα, ο αµερικανός επιτετραµµένος στην Αθήνα Τόµας Κάντριµαν σηµειώνει ότι ο αµερικανός αναπληρωτής βοηθός υπουργός ΕξωτερικώνΜάθιου Μπράιζα (είχε µόλις επισκεφθεί την Αθήνα)

υποσχέθηκε στονεκπρόσωπο του ΥΠ.ΕΞ. Γ. Κουµουτσάκο ότιοι ΗΠΑ θα προχωρούσαν σεκάποια δήλωση – ενόψει ή κατόπιν της επίσκεψης της Ντόρας Μπακογιάννη στην Ουάσιγκτον –, σύµφωνα µε την οποία θα ξεκαθάριζαν ότι ο Αϊ-Στράτης δεν είναι αποστρατικοποιηµένος. Αλλά το ενδιαφέρον είναι άλλο. Ο Κάντριµαν εξέφραζε την πεποίθηση ότι οι πρεσβείες στην Αθήνα και στην Αγκυρα έπρεπε να προχωρήσουν σε παράλληλα διαβήµατα στις δύο πρωτεύουσες για να τους διαµηνύσουνότι οι Αµερικανοί δεν επιθυµούν να εµπλακούν περαιτέρω στους «καβγάδες» για τα νησιά του Αιγαίου.Επισηµαίνει, πάντως, ότι η πρεσβεία στην Αθήνα, παρότι έψαξε, «δεν βρήκε στοιχεία ή προηγούµενα που να υποστηρίζουν το επιχείρηµα ότι ο Αϊ-Στράτης είναι αποστρατικοποιηµένος». Παρέπεµπε, δε, σε δήλωση του Μπιλ Κλίντον του 1996 για τη Γαύδο.
Οι Αµερικανοί ανησυχούσαν για την αρνητική εικόνα του ΝΑΤΟ στην ελληνική κοινή γνώµη, ηοποία δηµιουργούσε αντιαµερικανικά ανακλαστικά, ενώ δυσκόλευε την όποια πολιτική απόφαση για µεγαλύτερη συµµετοχή της Ελλάδας στις ΝΑΤΟΪΚΈς επιχειρήσεις. Ξεκαθαρίζει ότι οι ΗΠΑ δεν σκοπεύουν να επιτρέψουν στην Ελλάδα να χρησιµοποιεί το ΝΑΤΟ ή τους Αµερικανούς για τους δικούς της σκοπούς. Οπως λέει, «στόχος µας δεν είναι να κρατήσουµε ισορροπία στις σχέσεις ανάµεσα στην Ελλάδα και την Τουρκία, αλλά να µη συρθούµε περισσότερο σε αυτή την τριβή». Προτείνει να υπάρξει αµερικανική δήλωση σε ανώτερο επίπεδο που θα ξεκαθαρίζει ότι το νησί δεν είναι αποστρατικοποιηµένο, αλλά ταυτόχρονα να ενηµερωθεί η Τουρκία ότι αυτή η δήλωση δεν είναι εναντίον της. Φτάνει µέχρι να πει πως, αν η Ελλάδα εγείρει το θέµα στο ΝΑΤΟ, οι ΗΠΑ θα τη στηρίξουν, αλλά δεν θα κάνουν όλη τη δουλειά. Και δεν παραλείπει να προσθέσει ότι η κυβέρνηση οφείλει να κατανοήσει ότι «ο βασικός σύµµαχός της στα ΝΑΤΟΪΚΆ ζητήµατα δεν είναι ο ελληνικός Τύπος, αλλά οι ΗΠΑ».

ΟΛΟΚΛΗΡΑ ΤΑ ΤΗΛΕΓΡΑΦΗΜΑΤΑ ΤΟΥ WIKILEAKS
 
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date: 3/2/2007 17:31
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----------------- header ends ----------------
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L ATHENS 000459
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2017
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MOPS, NATO, GR
SUBJECT: AEGEAN MIGRAINE: GREECE REACTS TO NATO EXERCISE
CANCELLATION
REF: HOTR 6 837 0051 07
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES RIES. REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).
1. (C) SUMMARY: The February 26 decision to withdraw NATO
participation from the February 27 Noble Archer exercise over
the Aegean island of Agios Efstratios has created an uproar
in Greece. The Greek press blasted NATO for being "duped by
Turkey" into believing the island's status was under dispute.
The normally low-key Greek armed forces chief Admiral
Chinofotis told Embassy DATT that he believed the NATO system
had been "abused." An attempt by the Greek government
spokesman to provide NATO some breathing space by claiming
the exercise had been postponed due to bad weather had little
impact (beyond attracting ridicule); GOG officials reportedly
plan to raise the issue in Brussels with the NATO SYG. At
the same time, the Embassy has only just learned that when
the exercise profile was published, Greek civilian air
authorities issued a NOTAM naming Agios Efstratios and the
island of Limnos in the exercise -- a move which undoubtedly
piqued the Turks. The GoG, thus, may have been playing its
own game with the issue. For the NATO-wary Greek public, the
incident has reinforced its belief that the Alliance tilts
toward Turkey -- and is simply unwilling to do its homework
on Aegean issues. END SUMMARY.
NATO CANCELS EXERCISE OVER AGIOS EFSTRATIOS . . .
--------------------------------------------- ----
2. (SBU) On February 27, Greek media reported that NATO had
canceled a scheduled training exercise involving Greek
warplanes and at least one NATO AWAC, which was to have taken
place in the north-central Aegean over the Greek island of
Agios Efstratios (Saint Eustratius), located near the larger
Greek islands of Limnos and Lesvos. Press reports
(apparently accurately) noted the cancellation had occurred
following a Turkish protest to NATO that the island was by
treaty &demilitarized territory.8
3. (C) Greek official and press sources sharply countered
that Agios Efstratios was not mentioned in any of the
international treaties addressing the armed status of the
Aegean islands and rejected as absurd the idea that the
island might be regarded as a disputed &grey zone8 whose
status as Greek territory was ever under question. NOTE:
Turkey apparently did not object in the past when military
exercises took place at Agios Efstratios, most notably during
a joint, mid-sized, amphibious exercise, involving Greek and
U.S. forces and code-named "Megas Alexandros", which took
place in June 1998 and March 1999 in the sea region between
Volos, Skyros and Agios Efstratios. END NOTE.
4. (C) The Embassy heard on March 2 that when the exercise
profile was published, Greek civilian air authorities issued
a NOTAM naming Agios Efstratios and the island of Limnos in
the exercise plan. Given the on-going Greek-Turkish dispute
over the demilitarized status of Limnos, the Greek decision
to include it in the NOTAM undoubtedly piqued Turkish ire.
. . . CHOD PROTESTS TO DATT, GOG TO RAISE AT NATO
--------------------------------------------- ----
5. (C) On February 28, Greek armed forces chief Admiral
Chinofotis called in Embassy DATT, providing details of the
issue -- though without mentioning the question of Limnos in
the NOTAM -- and suggesting that the NATO system had been
"abused." The CHOD categorically rejected any notion that
Agios Efstratios is or ever had been demilitarized (and noted
that the Defense Minister had visited a small Greek platoon
stationed on the island in 2006). Chinofotis told DATT
frankly that, while he supported both the Alliance and the
U.S., since the "inflammatory event" had already reached the
press, there would be trouble.
6. (U) On March 1, Chinofotis told the daily "Kathimerini"
that the Greek response to these most recent Turkish claims
would be "thorough and immediate ... addressing every NATO
command level." The admiral added, however, that NATO had no
jurisdiction over international treaty interpretation. As
for Agios Efstratios specifically, Chinofotis said the
island, as part of Greek sovereign territory, could not be
subject to any discussions between him and any of his foreign
opposites "inside or outside NATO."
COMMENT
-------
7. (C) There are many hot-button issues in Greece, but
perhaps none is hotter than Greek sovereignty over islands in
the Aegean. The nationalities of those involved, the short
notice, and existing precedent for exercises in the area
raised the temperature. While the Greek and Turkish
governments want to keep things cool, this is an election
year in both countries. Thus, it is important that we be
sensitive to the impact that NATO exercises can have on
Aegean dynamics.
8. (C) We do not know whether the GoG was playing a game in
including Limnos in issuing its NOTAM notice. Nor do we know
whether a long-standing Turkish concern about Limnos or the
newly minted concern about Agios Efstratios was a more
important factor in NATO's decision. We are seeking to make
clear to the GoG that we cannot help manage reaction to such
issues if the GoG gives the entire story to the Greek press
before raising it with us.
9. (C) We are not questioning NATO's long-standing practice
of staying out of Greek-Turkish gamesmanship in the Aegean,
nor do we wish to insert ourselves in NATO decision-making
about exercises. The fall-out from this incident is minor
for the Embassy, but potentially serious for NATO. The
reinforced Greek public perception that NATO is reflexively
anti-Greek will not help NATO achieve its goals of increased
Greek involvement in Afghanistan and elsewhere. If Embassy
Athens had been aware of the decision to cancel the exercise
from a NATO or USG source rather than from the Greek CHOD and
Greek press, we could have tried to manage the Greek response
in such a way as to do less damage to NATO's image.
RIES
 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 000598

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2017
TAGS: PREL, MARR, MOPS, NATO, GR, TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY/GREECE/NATO: NOBLE ARCHER CANCELLATION AND
STATUS OF AGIOS EFSTRATIOS

REF: A. ATHENS 0459
B. ATHENS 0550

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Nancy McEldowney for reasons 1.4
(b,d).

1. (C) We understand the commander of the NATO Air Component
Command in Izmir cancelled NATO involvement in the February
27 Noble Archer exercise in the Aegean after Greek
authorities posted a NOTAM that included the island of
Limnos, whose demilitarized status is in dispute. MFA Deputy
Director General for Aviation and Maritime Affairs Basat
Ozturk, a NATO veteran who handles Aegean issues, told us
March 15 that the MFA was taken by surprise by the Greek
reaction to the cancellation and concerns over the island of
Agios Efstratios.

2. (C) He said the MFA had taken no position in the decision
on the exercise, nor has it presented any new position on
Aegean issues at NATO or elsewhere since then. He attributed
the exercise cancellation to poor communication between NATO
components, from Brussels down to the CAOC level. Ozturk
said the Secretary General had queried Turkey's NATO permrep,
who had merely advised that NATO should maintain its
traditional neutral stance in Greece-Turkey disputes.

3. (C) Ozturk said the MFA has been following the issue in
the Greek press, since Greece has not approached Turkey
through any official channels. A senior Greek Embassy
official had visited his department March 15 and had not
mentioned the issue. He said that numerous channels exist
for the Greeks to express their concerns, including the
scheduled March 22 Turkey-GreeQ Steering Group meeting at
the political director level where Aegean confidence-building
measures are on the agenda.

4. (C) We recommend the Department refer specific queries
about the cancellation of Noble Archer to NATO. We should
stick to our standing guidance on Greece-Turkey Aegean issues
if asked about the status of Agios Efstratios. Injecting
ourselves into this latest dispute, merely a new variation on
an old theme, runs the risk of appearing to undermine NATO
decision-making and needlessly places the US squarely in the
middle of the controversy.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

=======================CABLE ENDS=
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L ATHENS 000550
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2017
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MOPS, NATO, GR
SUBJECT: PROPOSED U.S. STATEMENT ON GREEK ISLAND OF AGIOS
EFSTRATIOS
REF: ATHENS 459
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES THOMAS COUNTRYMAN.
REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).
1. (C) SUMMARY: The recent dispute between Greece and Turkey
over the status of the island of Agios Efstratios, which led
to NATO's cancellation of its participation in a February 27
exercise, has received major press and government attention
here. The GoG instructed its Pemrep to NATO Ambassador Sevas
to raise it with NATO SYG de Hoop Scheffer, but the SYG
reportedly declined to get involved. As DAS Bryza promised
during his visit to Athens March 13, the U.S. should make a
statement in the lead-up to, or during, FM Bakoyannis' March
22 visit to Washington affirming U.S. view that Agios
Efstratios is not/not a de-militarized island under any
treaty. Furthermore, Embassy proposes demarches to Athens
and Ankara explaining our position and stating firmly our
wish not to be further involved in their squabbles over
Aegean islands. We believe this statement and demarches will
help stop further deterioration of NATO's reputation in
Greece and reduce U.S. future involvement in Aegean disputes.
END SUMMARY.
SQUABBLING IN THE AEGEAN
------------------------
2. (C) BACKGROUND (see also reftel): The long-standing
dispute over the status of various islands in the Aegean
hinges on different interpretations of several treaties that
designated a dozen or so named Greek islands near Turkey as
"de-militarized." Beginning in the 1990s, GoT statements
have argued that the other several thousand Greek islands not
named specifically in the treaties may be considered "grey
zones" of un-determined status. The latest exchange in this
debate centers on the de-militarized status of the Greek
island of Agios Efstratios, which arose in connection with a
planned NATO exercise on February 27. The Turkish CAOC 6
commander advised NATO that the island was "one of the
demilitarized islands" under international treaties. Greece
further muddied the waters by issuing a NOTAM stating that
Agios Efstratios and the island of Limnos (whose
de-militarized status, while also debated, has de facto been
acknowledged by both sides) would be part of the NATO
exercise area. NATO withdrew its participation from the
exercise, citing its long-standing policy not to become
involved in disagreements between member states.
3. (C) The cancellation provoked considerable press and
government consternation in Greece. Always wary of NATO,
both interpreted "neutrality" on NATO's part as lending
support to Turkey's claim that Aegean islands constitute
undetermined "grey zones." Embassy has found no evidence or
precedent to support claims that Agios Efstratios (which is
not mentioned in any of the relevant treaties) is a
de-militarized island. Indeed, following a similar argument
over the island of Gavdos in 1996, President Clinton stated
that there was no question about Greek sovereignty.
GREEK ASKS BRYZA TO STEP IN
---------------------------
4. (C) On the margins of the March 13 Greece-U.S. ECC, Greek
MFA spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos asked DAS Bryza to make a
statement affirming the U.S. view that Agios Efstratios is
not a de-militarized island. Bryza declined to make an
immediate statement but committed the U.S. to go on-record on
the issue in the lead-up to, or during, Greek FM Bakoyannis,
March 22-23 visit to Washington.
WHY WE SHOULD DO IT
-------------------
5. (C) NATO's ability to conduct exercises near Agios
Efstratios is not crucial to its operations in the Aegean or
eastern Mediterranean. But the wide-spread perception in
Greece that Turkey can use NATO to score points in disputes
over islands, and that NATO has no capacity to differentiate
spurious claims from valid arguments, is extremely damaging
to NATO's image amongst Greeks, many of whom are reflexively
anti-American and, by association, critical of NATO. The GoG
has run political risks in making even its modest
contributions to NATO's operations in Afghanistan. NATO and
the U.S. cannot expect the GoG to make an effort to
contribute more to NATO if the Greek public believes that
NATO is willing to allow itself to be used by Greece's chief
regional rival.
PROPOSED PLAN OF ACTION
-----------------------
6. (C) At the same time, we have no desire to allow the
Greeks to use NATO or us in a similar way for their own ends.
Our goal, thus, is not to maintain a "balance" in relations
between Greece and Turkey but to avoid being dragged deeper
into the fray. Given recent events, we propose the following
steps to help repair the situation:
-- During the week of March 19 in the lead-up to FM
Bakoyannis' March 22-23 visit to Washington, an appropriate
U.S. official (U/S Burns or DAS Bryza) should make the
following on-record statement: "the U.S. does not consider
Agios Efstratios to be de-militarized under any treaty."
-- We should inform Turkey that this statement is not
directed against it. The statement simply expresses our view
of the new Turkish argument on the status of Agios Efstratios
and does not imply that we are in any way changing our
even-handed position on the long-standing disagreement over
islands like Limnos and Lesvos. We should also inform Turkey
that within NATO, we would not support the GoT position on
Agios Efstratios.
-- We should inform the Greeks that we intend to issue the
statement. If Greece intends to raise the issue further with
the NATO SYG or in the NAC in order to re-schedule the
exercise, Greece will have our support, but we will not do
the heavy lifting for them.
-- We should further inform Greece that our cooperation in
NATO and as strategic partners depends on good communication.
We were disappointed that the GoG released full details to
the press on the Agios Efstratios incident a full day before
informing us of its concerns. The GoG should view the U.S.
-- and not the Greek press -- as its chief ally on NATO
issues.
-- We should also note to the Greeks that it was not helpful
of them to release a NOTAM in advance of the February 27
exercise mentioning both Agios Efstratios and Limnos.
Mentioning the de facto de-militarized island of Limnos, for
whatever motives, unnecessarily raised tensions and created a
tit-for-tat atmosphere. The U.S. is not interested in
playing such games and does not appreciate either NATO or the
U.S. being dragged into them.
COUNTRYMAN
 
=======================CABLE ENDS============================
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
id: 100734
date: 3/16/2007 12:29
refid: 07ATHENS559
origin: Embassy Athens
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 07ATHENS550
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----------------- header ends ----------------
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ATHENS 000559
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2017
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, GR
SUBJECT: FM BAKOYANNIS OUTLINES GOALS FOR HER MARCH 22
VISIT TO WASHINGTON
REF: ATHENS 550
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES RIES. REASON: 1.4 (B) AND (D).
1. (C) SUMMARY: In advance of her March 19-23 visit to the
U.S., FM Bakoyannis told the Ambassador of her hope that the
visit can result in a clear indication by the Secretary of
political support for Greece's entry into the Visa Waiver
Program. She also pressed for a U.S. statement supporting
Greece's position on a cancelled NATO exercise, arguing that
a NATO-wary Greek public needed to see that the U.S., and
NATO, would defend Greek interests as well. Ambassador
emphasized that he understood the importance of public
perceptions of NATO in relation to possible further Greek
contributions to NATO operations, including in Afghanistan.
Bakoyannis added that she anticipates discussing Balkan
issues with the Secretary, including Macedonia's NATO entry
and next steps on the Ahtisaari plan on Kosovo. END SUMMARY.
ONE (SMALL) STEP FORWARD ON VWP?
2. (C) Bakoyannis went straight to the point: under
political pressure at home for being too pro-American, she
needed to point to positive results from her March 22
meetings in Washington. She hoped that, as a result of their
meeting, the Secretary would be able to make a statement of
political will from the U.S. administration regarding Greek
participation in VWP. She hoped the Secretary could
emphasize that Greece deserved to enter VWP, and would be
both clear and positive -- not something journalists would
misunderstand. It also needed to go further than what had
been said to other Greek officials. While as an EU member,
Bakoyannis anticipated that Greece would eventually become
eligible through the EU's efforts, it would be better for
U.S.-Greek relations for the decision to be made on a
bilateral basis.
3. (C) Ambassador pointed out that the administration
wanted Greece to be able to participate in VWP, but that,
bureaucratically, the process was not yet ready to for a
formal finding that Greece was eligible. Bakoyannis
questioned the delay; hadn't the procedure had been under way
for a year? The Ambassador reminded her that, formally, it
had begun only late last fall. No decision on VWP could be
made during Bakoyannis' visit. Bakoyannis mulled a request
to see DHS Secretary Chertoff, but emphasized that she was
not looking for a final decision on Greek participation.
That was a deliverable for PM Karamanlis to achieve. Rather,
Bakoyannis wanted a step forward -- underscoring that the
U.S. Administration was commmitted to Greek entry into VWP.
NATO EXERCISE CANCELLATION: NEED U.S. SUPPORT
4. (C) Ambassador underscored the importance of effective
Greek participation in NATO, which he had just discussed
during consultations in Brussels. He noted that many factors
played into decisions regarding NATO exercises in the Aegean;
members of the SYG's staff had expressed concern about the
unfortunate handling of the Ayios Efstratios decision.
Bakoyannis confirmed that she would raise the subject with
Secretary Rice. For Greece, NATO acquiescence in Turkish
SIPDIS
efforts to cast doubt on the status of islands in the Aegean
would create a "black hole," with half of the Aegean
demilitarized. The United States could not remain neutral in
this case. For that reason, Bakoyannis hoped for a clear
statement from the U.S. during her visit, emphasizing our
agreement that Ayios Efstratios was not demilitarized. The
Greek public needed, for once, NATO (and U.S.) backing for
its position.
5. (C) Ambassador noted that we had already alerted
Washington to this request (reftel). We noticed the reaction
to the controversy here. We understand that a better opinion
of NATO in Greece could help the government find the
political capital to support committing further forces to
NATO efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Ambassador asked
whether Greece is pushing for a U.S. statement that we do not
consider Ayios Efstratios demilitarized, or U.S. suppport for
re-staging the cancelled exercise. Bakoyannis (and her Chief
of Staff Chalastanis) noted that while either would be
positive, they much preferred a U.S. statement backing
Greece's position.
MACEDONIA
6. (C) Bakoyannis noted she would also raise Greek concerns
regarding "FYROM" with the Secretary. The new government in
Skopje seemed to be losing its sense of restraint,
undertaking acts (airport naming, statue erection) that
needlessly provoked Greek public opinion. While Bakoyannis
was trying to keep this issue from affecting internal
ATHENS 00000559 002 OF 002
politics in Greece, it was clear that NATO accession was a
looming problem. If accession is delayed for a year, that
would provide additional time to work on a solution to the
name issue. Ambassador pointed out that the U.S. would not
agree to postpone Macedonia's accession to 2009 because of
the name dispute. The decisions would be taken on the basis
of whether the three met NATO criteria.
7. (C) Bakoyannis took the point, adding that there was no
need to highlight the name dispute if accession was postponed
for substantive implementation reasons. She added that while
the GOG believed that the previous government in Skopje had
been committed to an eventual agreement, the current
government made no secret of its intentions not to
compromise. The GOG was ready to do most of the heavy
lifting (and the Karamanlis government was prepared to take
the political heat), but they needed assurances that it would
not be a one-way street. As she put it, "We can move 80
percent of the way, but the Skopjeans have to be prepared to
move 20 percent."
KOSOVO
8. (c) Bakoyannis told the Ambassador she had discussed
Kosovo with Russian FM Lavrov March 15, admitting that even
after the discussion, she did not know how far Russia would
go in backing the Serbs. She also planned to talk to Serbian
PM Tadic later on March 16 (he is on a private visit to
Greece). Both the Russians and the Serbs were concerned
about the Ahtisaari's "lack of generosity" to the Kosovo
Serbs. Their fears should be addressed. Bakoyannis believed
that more time was needed to make progress on 3-4 issues that
might make the settlement go down more easily. She did not
expect the Serbs would ever explicitly agree, but if the deal
was rebalanced somewhat, it might have less impact on
instability in the wider region (she was particularly
concerned about Bosnia). Ambassador pointed out that NATO
forces needed to operate in a permissive environment; it was
not an occupying force. For that reason, it was essential to
craft a Kosovo transition that was supported by the majority
of Kosovars, and to do so now. Prolongation of the status
quo was not an option.
COUNTRYMAN
 
=======================CABLE ENDS=====
 
 
 
 
id: 154062
date: 5/15/2008 13:49
refid: 08ANKARA941
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classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU PRIORITY
 
----------------- header ends ----------------
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 000941
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2018
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, NATO, GR, TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY/NATO: TURKEY REQUESTS SUPPORT ON EXERCISE
NOBLE ARCHER
Classified By: A/DCM Kim Deblauw for reasons 1.4 (b,d).
1. (C) Summary: In conversations with Ambassador on May 14
and 15, MFA Undersecretary Apakan requested the U.S. urge
NATO political and military authorities to maintain NATO
impartiality in Aegean disputes, stating that conduct of
Exercise Noble Archer under the current scenario will
escalate tensions between Greece and Turkey while undermining
Alliance solidarity and credibility. MFA Maritime/Aviation
Deputy Director General Ozturk convoked us May 15 to
elaborate on the same points, stressing that NATO support to
the current Noble Archer scenario would violate NATO's
long-held policy of neutrality and could jeopardize progress
being made in the bilateral dialogue, including low-key
exploratory talks, between Turkey and Greece. Ozturk said
Turkey would protest vigorously a NATO decision to take part
in the exercise, suggesting the Turkish military may react
more strongly. End Summary
2. (C) Apakan told Ambassador May 14 that Turkey believes the
island of Aghios Efstratios, the focal point of Exercise
Noble Archer proposed by the Combined Air Operations Center 7
(CAOC 7) in Larissa, is demilitarized under international
agreements; any exercise involving that island would violate
its demilitarized status. In line with long-established
policy (the "Luns doctrine"), NATO should not get involved in
the dispute nor be the venue to discuss and judge
disagreements among Allies. Involving the Alliance in such
bilateral disputes will not be in the interest of NATO and
Allied countries. Apakan stated that conduct of the exercise
under the present scenario (with NATO participation) will
escalate tensions between two Allies, undermine Alliance
solidarity, and call into question NATO's impartiality.
Apakan noted that Greece and Turkey continue to try to solve
their problems through bilateral dialogue, including via
low-key exploratory talks.
3. (C) Ozturk told us May 15 that the May 8 meeting of Greek
and Turkish officials in Istanbul, under the 39th round of
exploratory talks, had gone extremely well with positive
feelings on both sides. The GOT is therefore surprised and
disappointed to hear the NATO Secretary General claim
bilateral talks are not going well. Ozturk wondered whether
the SYG is getting one-sided reporting from the Greek side,
and is therefore inclined to be sympathetic to the Greek
request for participation in Noble Archer. Ozturk also
stated that Turkish reporting from Brussels indicates the
U.S. is now leaning more toward the Greek view on Aegean
exercises. In any case, Ozturk emphasized, NATO
participation in Noble Archer would undermine the painstaking
bilateral talks underway to resolve the entire range of
complex and interlinked Aegean issues.
4. (C) Ozturk said the GOT would protest a NATO decision to
participate in Noble Archer vigorously and at all levels. He
stated he could not predict the Turkish military's reaction,
but suggested it would be very strong. At the least, NATO
participation under the current scenario would jeopardize
chances for any future NATO exercises in the Aegean. He
stated the U.S. has a great responsibility for taking a stand
in favor of NATO neutrality and that Turkey is hoping for our
strong support. We told Ozturk that any Turkish reaction to
a NATO decision to participate in the exercise should not
contribute to escalating tensions or creating dangerous
situations in the Aegean.
Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey
WILSON
 
=======================CABLE ENDS============================
 
 
 
 
id: 154271
date: 5/16/2008 13:18
refid: 08ATHENS678
origin: Embassy Athens
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 08ANKARA5|08ANKARA941
header:
VZCZCXRO7246
OO RUEHBW
DE RUEHTH #0678/01 1371318
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1817
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMUSNAVEUR NAPLES IT PRIORITY
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RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
 
----------------- header ends ----------------
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ATHENS 000678
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2018
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, NATO, MOPS, TU, GR
SUBJECT: GREECE/TURKEY: FALLOUT OF NATO DECISION NOT TO
SUPPORT AEGEAN EXERCISE
REF: ANKARA 941
Classified By: CDA Tom Countryman for 14 (b) and (d)
-------
SUMMARY
-------
1. (C) We understand NATO authorities have informed Greek
military officials that NATO will not provide support for the
proposed May 20 "Noble Archer" exercise, which involved
overflight of Agios Efstratios island (but which had excluded
overflight of the island of Limnos, which has long been a
NATO no-go area due to its disputed status). Given the
recent (originating in 2000) and dubious nature of the
Turkish claim that Agios Efstratios is also "demilitarized,"
coupled with U.S. public statements affirming Greek
sovereignty over Agios Efstratios and questioning the Turkish
"demilitarized" claim, we can expect a strong reaction from
the Greeks, including:
-- Hope for and encouragement of a firm NATO response to the
Turkish threats to scramble fighter aircraft in response to a
planned exercise involving aircraft from another NATO Ally
operating under the control of NATO AWACs. There will be
deep disappointment should there be no consequences for
Turkey in response to such a threat;
-- An increase in the number of Greek policy elites who share
the popular perception that NATO is "anti-Greek," coupled
with heightened negative linkage of the United States with
NATO. The Greeks believe that application in this particular
case of NATO's regular policy not to involve itself in
disputes between Allies legitimizes the Turkish claim that
the status of Agios Efstratios (and by extension many other
Greek islands not explicitly addressed in past legal
instruments) is somehow in question;
-- A widely-held perception that this decision is partly in
retaliation for the Greek veto of Macedonia's NATO membership
and a potential hardening of the Greek position on Macedonia;
-- A reduction in Greek willingness to work within NATO
channels and

 

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