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Cablegate: Turkey's Top Business Group Takes Lead In

VZCZCXRO5524
PP RUEHDA
DE RUEHAK #3014/01 3531043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191043Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4737
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 1097
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0166
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0090
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1006
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0304
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3664
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2545
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 003014

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAID ETRD PREL TU IZ AF PA IS
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S TOP BUSINESS GROUP TAKES LEAD IN
RECONSTRUCTION

REF: A. ANKARA 2781

B. ANKARA 2779
C. TEL AVIV 2730
D. STATE 132207
E. ANKARA 2422
F. ANKARA 2928
G. ANKARA 2820

1. (SBU) Summary: The Turkish Union of Chambers and
Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) is a leader in the Ankara Forum
for Economic Cooperation between Turkey, Palestine, and
Israel (refs A-C). They are developing free trade zones in
Gaza and the West Bank, although they are frustrated by lack
of progress in Gaza. TOBB also is interested in the proposed
Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) (refs D-E) in the
FATA region along the Pakistani-Afghan border. TOBB leaders
met with Pakistani government and business leaders in
Islamabad in November, and plan to visit Afghanistan in
January. TOBB has also been approached by the UK to
participate in reconstruction in Basra, Iraq. They have the
institutional capability to mobilize significant Turkish
investment money to make these sorts of projects successful.
End summary.

West Bank & Gaza
----------------

2. (SBU) As part of its goal of restoring peace to Turkey's
troubled neighborhood (refs A-C), the Turkish Union of
Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) has become a leader
in the Ankara Forum for Economic Cooperation between Turkey,
Palestine and Israel. Its main focus has been to establish
free trade zones in Gaza and the West Bank, although they are
frustrated by the lack of progress in Gaza. Mustafa
Bayburtlu, TOBB Director for EU & International Affairs, told
us that negotiations continue with the Israeli Army for a
Security and Trade agreement in Gaza. During the September
Ankara Forum meeting in Jerusalem, they were asked to shift
their focus to creating a similar project in the West Bank
instead of Gaza. While they begin work on the West Bank
project, TOBB will continue to try to bring the Gaza project
to fruition.

3. (SBU) In cooperation with Israeli and Palestinian
officials, TOBB chose the West Bank region of Tarkumia for
the industrial zone. Bayburtlu estimated it will cost $25 -
30 million just to get the West Bank project started. Unlike
in Gaza, the land in Tarkumia is privately-owned. To avoid
separate negotiations with each landowner, TOBB will sign a
concession agreement with the Palestinian Authority and then
create a Palestinian Investment Fund to acquire the land. In
addition, the area is in a "B" zone, a Palestinian zone with
Israeli security, requiring double negotiations. Bayburtlu
added, however, that this is one of the few projects in the
region that Tony Blair cites as achievable. TOBB plans to
negotiate with the World Bank and other NGOs to improve the
infrastructure leading to the industrial zone area.
Bayburtlu also noted that the location of the two sites is
conducive to building a bridge between them in the future.

Afghan/Pakistani ROZs
---------------------

4. (SBU) During their November visit to Islamabad, TOBB
leaders met with Pakistani Chambers of Commerce and
government officials to discuss the proposed Reconstruction
Opportunity Zones (ROZ) in the FATA region, which EEB A/S
Sullivan mentioned during his September meetings with TOBB
President Rifat Hisarciklioglu (ref D) and MFA U/S Ertugrul
Apakan (ref E). TOBB is interested in participating in such
projects, but Bayburtlu admitted that their interest remains
theoretical at this point. Turkish companies operating
currently in Pakistan do about $2 billion in business each
year.

5. (SBU) TOBB plans to organize a trip to Afghanistan by the
end of January 2008. After that, they hope to organize a
trip to the U.S. with Pakistani and Afghan businessmen to
meet with USG officials and U.S. businessmen. Bayburtlu told
us that TOBB believes it is important to get Afghan and
Pakistani buy-in to the project. In the meantime, he echoed
a previous request made by Guven Sak, President of the
Economic Policy Research Council of Turkey (TEPAV, a think

ANKARA 00003014 002 OF 002


tank connected to TOBB University) for any feasibility
studies or reports available on business opportunities in the
FATA region.

Peace Through Economic Prosperity
---------------------------------

6. (SBU) One of TOBB's guiding philosophies is that economic
cooperation through trade and industry can lead to peace and
understanding. Their efforts to bring Israeli and
Palestinian businessmen together are some of the most
ambitious in the region. We should foster TOBB's interest in
the ROZs and Basra projects as well. They have the
institutional capability to mobilize significant Turkish
investment money to make these sorts of projects successful.

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

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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