Cablegate: Security Survey: Istanbul Based Ecumenical

DE RUEHIT #0164/01 0601534
P 011534Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Subsequent to reported threats (reftel) against the
Ecumenical and Armenian Patriarchates in Istanbul, Ecumenical
Patriarchate administrative staffer Paul Gikas contacted us
on February 15 to accept Consulate's previous offers to
provide security improvement recommendations. In response,
Consulate RSO visited the Patriarchate's Fener headquarters
on February 20 and submitted the below observations and
recommendations. During a follow-up visit on February 28,
RSO staff provided security training for Patriarchate


2. (SBU) Approximately five uniformed Turkish National
Police were stationed outside the main entrance, which leads
to the church, apartments and administrative building. The
security staff has noticed additional plainclothes police in
the area as well, which may be in response to recent threats
against the Patriarch. A police booth located at the East
end of the road in front of the facility was unmanned. A
private security guard is located at the foot of the steps
leading to the main entry gate and controls visitor access.
Once through the gate, there is a guard room with an
additional person who monitors the security cameras.
Currently, there is no screening in place for visitors or
bags that enter the facility. The police congregate in
booths directly across from the main entrance. The result is
that all security personnel, including the Patriarch's, are
concentrated in one small area.

3. (SBU) The entire compound is surrounded by a significant
brick and mortar wall at least 8-10 feet high. In certain
sections, housing, not controlled by the Patriarch, abuts the
compound and in other areas apartments, built on the higher
part of the hill, rise above the wall. In front of those
apartments is a small road that runs the length of the
Patriarch's back wall. One police booth is on top of the
wall and is manned. In 1999, a hand grenade was thrown over
the back wall of the facility at night either from the road
or an apartment. Protective mesh and wire were installed to
keep these objects from entering the compound. With recent
renovations, a state of the art camera system was deployed
with infrared and video capability.


4. (SBU) The recommendations made below will require funding
and supervision to be successful. The goal is to build
concentric rings of security to deter an attack, protect
facilities and provide an early warning system for personnel.
For example, the facility in effect has one ring of security
since all security personnel (TNP and Patriarch) are located
at the steps leading up to the main entrance. Once past this
group, the only obstacle remaining is the person manning the
cameras. Presently, the guards and police have no emergency
button or alarm to warn those inside of an attack, nor are
there emergency action plans or drills to instruct personnel
on how to respond if such an incident were to occur.
Establishing concentric rings of security (vehicle access
controls, screening procedures, expanding the perimeter, etc)
along with emergency planning will make it more difficult for
an individual or group to successfully target personnel and
the facility.

5. (SBU) The RSO's recommendation is to hire a consultant
who can write an emergency action plan after surveying the
facility. This plan would be for earthquake, attack and
emergency response for security and non-security personnel.
More importantly, the expert would allow the Patriarchate to
tailor its security plan to fit its unique access needs and
provide guidance on implementing the recommendations below.
The RSO is available to further discuss these recommendations
and if requested provide the names of security consultants in

6. (SBU) Security Concern: The facility has no screening
procedures for visitors or bags.

-- Recommendations: Immediately install a walk through metal
detector and instruct security personnel to visually check
bags and packages of visitors before entering the church
courtyard. Mail should also be screened to prevent the
introduction of a letter/package bomb into the facility.

ISTANBUL 00000164 002 OF 002

-- Long Term: Establish a location and build a screening
area with a walk through metal detector, X-ray machine and
camera monitors. This location should be enclosed to protect
the machinery and big enough to handle the natural flow of
visitors. The X-ray machine will not only be able to
effectively screen bags it will also be able to screen for
explosives in mail deliveries.

7. (SBU) Security Concern: Windows do not have Mylar
(Shatter Resistant Window Film).

-- Recommendation: Immediately install protective Mylar on
all glass in the church (where feasible) and in the adjoining
offices and apartments. This would include all interior
glass. Glass normally placed on top of desk tops should be
removed. The US Government has learned that the majority of
injuries or deaths resulting from an explosion are from
flying glass. Although the glass may leave the window frame,
Mylar prevents it from breaking into shards in the event of
an explosion or an earthquake. The key is to use a company
that knows how to install it.

8. (SBU) Security Concern: The offices and church have
nominal setback from a vehicle borne improvised explosive
(VBIED) attack. Vehicles, which are not screened, can enter
the area and stop directly in front of the facility.

-- Recommendation: By establishing vehicle controls at the
beginning of both entrances to the street, valuable setback
will be gained to mitigate the impact of a VBIED. On the
East end of the street (currently blocked with a chain)
bollards can be installed. These bollards should be secured
but also have the capability to be manually removed to allow
an alternate means for the Patriarch to vary his routes. On
the West end of the street, Guards, a booth, bollards and a
delta barrier are needed to control vehicle access. This
expanded perimeter would not only increase setback, it would
put personnel in a better position to possibly detect
surveillance and alert other security personnel and employees
of an attack.

9. (SBU) Security Concern: Entry doors to the
administrative facilities are not a deterrent. Current doors
remain open and even if they were locked, the glass could be
broken and access gained with minimal delay to attackers.

-- Recommendation: Install more substantial security doors
on all entrances to further delay any potential attacker who
bypasses the other rings of security. Each security door,
which may require a new frame, could be outfitted with a
Unicam or other type device to facilitate entry during
working hours.

10. (SBU) Security Concern: Safe Haven for Patriarch/fellow
priests and employees. Note: The inside of his office was
not visited nor was time available to tour the living
quarters for priests or other offices. End Note.

-- Recommendation: Install security doors or harden all
existing interior doors that lead directly to the Patriarch's
Office in order to provide additional security in case
attackers breach all lines of defense. If there is an
interior bathroom in his office, that can be made into an
additional secure location (a safe haven). Other safe havens
can be established in other parts of the buildings for
employees and priests. An emergency action plan and drills
would teach priests and employees on what measures they
should take to protect themselves and how to react to alarms.

© Scoop Media

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