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Cablegate: Turkey Wwf and Trilateral Water Talks

VZCZCXRO1090
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHAK #0737 0911215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011215Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1534
INFO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0922
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 1635
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 0367
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 1643
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 4224
RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ANKARA 000737

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: ENRG SENV EAGR KPAO OEXC SCUL TU IZ
SUBJECT: TURKEY WWF AND TRILATERAL WATER TALKS

REF. A) ISTANBUL 245, B) ANKARA 639, C) ANKARA 16

1. SUMMARY: (SBU) The Turkish MFA was pleased with the kick-off
planning meeting for the 2009 World Water Forum (WWF) conference in
Istanbul (ref A) and the subsequent "River Basin Management"
Conference in Antalya. On the margins of the latter, Turkish,
Iraqi, and Syrian ministers restarted trilateral water discussions,
dormant since 1992. With the announcement of approval by Austrian,
Swiss, and German export agencies, Turkey is poised to start
construction of the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris. According to a Turkish
MFA rep, Iraq and Syria did not express any opposition to Ilisu Dam.
The MFA rep also asked us to resubmit our proposal for the
Turkey-Iraq water VolVis program, noting that he thought MFA could
view it favorably, but regretting that Syria was not invited. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------
World Water Forum Gig 2009 in Istanbul
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General for Water
and Energy Vural Altay told us March 30 that he was pleased with the
March 19-20 World Water Forum (WWF) kick-off planning meeting in
Istanbul (ref A). He noted that the municipality of Istanbul, the
State Water Administration (DSI), the World Water Council, and the
GOT MFA would be working together to plan the 2009 WWF in Istanbul.
He implied that the GOT had not yet given detailed thought to their
objectives, other than to successfully host the big event aimed at
20,000 participants. MFA would in particular be involved with
organizing the Ministerial conference associated with the WWF.
Altay said that the WWF Secretary General would be Oktay Tabasaran,
a recently retired Turkish-German academic apparently resident in
Germany.

-------------------------------------------
Turkey-Iraq-Syria Trilateral Talks on Water
-------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Altay also expressed satisfaction with the subsequent
"River Basin Management" Conference held in Antalya March 22-24,
attended by 700 participants from 70 countries. For Turkey, the
most remarkable result was a meeting of the ministers responsible
for transboundary water issues from Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Altay
said the three agreed to restart trilateral technical meetings on
transboundary water in Damascus in May -- dormant since 1992 -- and
the ministers would meet again in Damascus in June. Altay
reiterated that the GOT had provided information repeatedly about
Ilisu Dam to its downstream neighbors and insisted that the Iraqis
said they had nothing against the project, at least in the meeting,
if perhaps not publicly. Given the recent announcement of approval
of export credit agency financing by Austria, Switzerland, and
Germany, Altay said that the GOT would imminently start construction
of the dam on the Tigris River.

--------------------------------
Turkey-Iraq Water VolVis - Again
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) Asking that we resend the revised version of the program
for the proposed Water VolVis, Altay expected that the MFA would
look at it favorably. Noting that the MFA could not schedule
participation of one of its professionals for the original two-week
program, he opined that the ten-day core program might be
acceptable. We cautioned that the timing would have to be
readdressed and we could not guarantee that the budget was still
available for 2007, given the passage of time. Altay also said that
in his opinion the program would be more valuable if it included
Syrian participants.

-----------------------------------------
Environment Minister Cancels Trip to U.S.
-----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Altay confirmed that Environment Minister Osman Pepe had
had to cancel his April 12-14 trip to the United States that was
being organized by the U.S. Forest Service. Altay referred to
political contingencies (the upcoming Presidential election by the
Parliament) and said he hoped that the trip could be rescheduled.

Wilson

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